The following list represents the most common verses used by Gray’s Pottery on a wide range of products from the mid-1940s through into the 1950s. Many of the designs were destined for the North American market and examples regularly appear on auction sites in that continent. The first product with a verse is likely to be A7894, created around 1945. A surviving original publicity photograph has the following label:
A.E.GRAY & CO.LTD DESIGNED BY S.C.TALBOT.
PATT.NO.A7894. Ship printed in Black. Painted in Silver
Brown, (sails) Blue & Green. Printed verse at back.
Finish is in Copper Lustre.
This example of pattern A7894 (Image 1 / Image 2 / Image 3) has The Sailor’s Farewell verse (2V below). Many more patterns with verses follow in the A8000, A9000, ‘D’ and ‘S’ series of numbers. Note that some patterns can have several different verses, the best illustrative example being the Tom & Jerry punch sets, pattern A9008, where at least two different verses are used throughout the set.
Gray’s Pottery continued a long tradition of the use of verses on pots, many relating to a nautical theme, and the most useful reference source Sunderland Pottery (5th Edition, revised JC Baker 1984) published by Tyne and Wear County Council Museums contains a comprehensive listing in Appendix IV: Rhymes, Mottoes and Designs. The figures in italics in the list below cross-refer to this publication.
|Reference||Verse/quotation as printed||Image||Used in patterns||Source|
|1V (184)||The man doomed to sail|
With the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer,
As he bends o'er the wave
Which may soon be his grave
Remembers his home with a tear.
|A7894, A8514, A8576, A8735, A9399, A9419, D387||Based on a verse of George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron's poem The Tear, circa 1807.|
|2V (63)||THE SAILOR'S FAREWELL|
Far from home across the sea
To foriegn* climes I go,
While far away O think of me,
And I'll remember you.
*Note the spelling mistake!
|A7894, A8621, A8622, A8735, A9281, A9414, A9683, A9688, D1354||Found on early 19th century English ceramics.|
|3V (109)||THE SAILOR'S TEAR|
He leap'd into the boat,
As it lay upon the strand;
But, oh! his heart was far away,
With friends upon the land,
He thought of those he lov'd the best
A wife and infant dear;
And feeling fill'd the sailor's breast
The sailor's eye - a tear.
|A7968, A8621, A8622, A8709, A9398||Found on early 19th century English ceramics.|
|4V (103)||The hardy sailor braves the Ocean,|
Fearless of the roaring Wind.
Yet his heart, with soft emotion,
Throbs to leave his love behind.
|A8622, A8735, A9283, A9414, A9684, D387, D929||From Act 1 Scene 1 of John O'Keeffe's three-Act opera The Castle of Andalusia, written in 1782.|
|5V||OLD TOBEYS JUG|
Fill your cups and banish grief,
Laugh and worldly care despise;
Sorrow ne'er will bring relief.
Joy from drinking will arife (arise):
So pour this full and sup it up.
And call for more to fill your cup.
|A8734, A8829, A8904, A8930, A9008, A9010 Dickensian Ladies||Known to have been used on an English pot of 1808, but this verse is probably much earlier.|
|6V||Though wisdom oft has sought me,|
I scorned the lore she brought me,
My only books were womens looks,
And folly's all theyv'e taught me.
|A8806, A8829, A9008, A9009, A9010 Dickensian Ladies||From Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) The time I've lost in wooing.|
|7V (318)and (228)||When this you see, remember me|
And bear me in your mind;
Let all the World say what they will
Speak of me as you find.
|View Image||A8829, A9434, A9436, A9442, A9865, D115, D440, D573, D603, D616, D1051, D1088, D1260||Found on early 19th century English ceramics.|
|8V||Friend of my soul this goblet sip,|
'Twill chase that pensive tear,
'Tis not so sweet as woman's lip,
But Oh! Tis more sincere.
|A8829, A8834, A8904, A9007, A9008, A9010 Dickensian Ladies, A9418, A9685, D560, D1474||From Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) Friend of my soul - an Anacreontic verse. The verse is known to have appeared in 1828.|
|9Q||Within this goblet rich and deep.|
I cradle all my woes to sleep.
|A9009, A9680||Ode XLV of the Greek Odes of Anacreon, translation by the Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852). The verse is known to have appeared in 1827.|
|10V (327)||Women make men love|
Love makes them sad
Sadness makes them drink
And drinking sets them mad
|A8834, A9010 Dickensian Ladies||Pre-1870.|
|11V (139a)||"In this jug there is good liquor,|
Fit for either priest or vicar;
But to drink and not to spill
Will try the utmost of your skill."
|A9010 Dickensian Ladies||Pre-1692. A common verse applied to country pottery puzzle jugs.|
|12V (316)||When round the bowl the jovial crew|
The early scenes of youth renew,
Tho' each his fav'rite fair will boast,
This is the universal toast,
May we, when toil and danger's o'er,
Cast anchor on our native shore.
|A8735, A9227, D281||The last verse of the song The Wandering Sailor as written by Miles Peter Andrews for his 1779 comic opera Summer amusement or An adventure of Margate.|
|13V (162)||Let the Wealthy & Great,|
Roll in Splendour and State,
I envy them not I declare it;
I eat my own Lamb,
My Chickens and Ham,
I shear my own fleece & I wear it
I have lawns I have Bow'rs
I have fruit, I have flow'rs
a lark is my morning Alarmer
So Jolly boys now
Heres God Speed the Plough.
Long Life & Succefs (Success) to
|D790, D922||Known as God Speed the Plough, this is a version of an anonymous poem or song probably from the 15th century. The verse appears on 17th century pottery such as two-handled mugs and lustre wall plaques.|
|14V||Gur gile mo leanan |
Na'n eal' air an t'snamh
Na cobhar nu tuinne,
'S e tilleadh bho'n traigh;
Na'm blath-bhainne buaile,
'S a chuach leis fo bharr,
Na sneached nan gleann dosrach,
G a fhroiseadh mu'n bhla'r.
Not the swan on the lake,
Or the foam on the shore,
Can compare with the charms
Of the maid I adore;
Not so white is the new milk
That flows o'er the pail,
Or the snow that is shower'd
From the brow of the vale.
|D1309, D1469, D1470||A Gaelic song from Ross-shire in Scotland, written by Prof Ewen Alaclachlan and published as Ealaidh Ghaoil in 1875.|
|15V||Firm united, let us be, |
Rallying round our Liberty.
As a band of brothers join'd
Peace and safety we shall find.
|S1560, S1565||From the American patriotic song Hail, Columbia.|
|16V||Since boxing is a manly game, |
And Britons recreation,
By boxing we will raise our fame
'Bove any other nation.
Throw pistols, poniards, swords, aside
And all such deadly tools;
Let boxing be the Britons pride
The science of their schools.
|S1587, S1588||This comes from the song A Boxing we will go, written in 1811 by the highly popular sports journalist Pierce Egan (1772-1849). It was included in his major work on the sport, Boxiana, fully published in 1829.|
|17V (271)||SAILORS' FAREWELL|
Sweet, Oh Sweet is that Sensation
Where two hearts in union meet
But the pain of separation
Mingles bitter with the Sweet
|A9227, D927||Recorded on a Sunderland rolling pin and a mug 1820-30.|
|18V||Let us drink and be merry, |
Dance joke and rejoice,
With claret and sherry theorbo and voice!
The changeable world to our joy is unjust
All treasures uncertain
Then down with your dust!
In frolics dispose your pounds, shillings and pence,
For we shall be nothing a hundred years hence
|No known number||This is actor & poet Thomas Jordan’s 1637 poem Coronemus nos Rosis antequam marcescant|
|19V (240)||The sailor tos’t in stormy seas, |
Though far his bark may roam,
Still hears a voice in every breeze,
That wakens thoughts of home.
|No known number||This comes from a poem called Forget me not by Bernard Barton, known as The Quaker Poet, and published in 1824.|
|20V (173)||The loss of gold is great, |
The loss of time is more,
But losing Christ is such a loss
That no man can restore.
|No known number||Found on early 19th century English ceramics.|
|21V (41)||Christ is my pilot wise |
My compass is His Word,
Each storm my soul defies,
While I have such a Lord
|22V||My true love hath my heart, and I have his, |
By just exchange one for the other given,
I hold his dear and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven.
|A9956||A song from Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, completed in 1580.
Note the original’s last line is: There never was a bargain better driven.