1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Fawkes

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 3:219-20.



This "learned and jovial parson," as Campbell calls him, was born in 1721, in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge, and became curate at Croydon, in Surrey. Here he obtained the friendship of Archbishop Herring, and was by him appointed vicar of Orpington in Kent, a situation which he ultimately exchanged for the rectory of Hayes, in the same county. He translated various minor Greek poets, including Anacreon, Sappho, Bion and Moschus, Theocritus, &c. He died in 1777. His Brown Jug breathes some of the spirit of the first of these writers, and two or three lines of it were once quoted triumphantly in Parliament by Sheil, while charging Peel, we think it was, with appropriating arguments from Bishop Philpotts — "Harry of Exeter."

Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
Was once Toby Philpotts, &c.

THE BROWN JUG.
Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
(In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale,)
Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul
As e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;
In boosing about 'twas his praise to excel,
And among jolly topers he bore off the bell.

It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease
In his flower-woven arbour as gay as you please,
With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away,
And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay,
His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.

His body, when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolved it again,
A potter found out in its covert so snug,
And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug,
Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale;
So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale.