Pictured: Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review 1948-1949

A8514EB-700The 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:

Unfortunately, as yet, no example of pattern A7894 has come to light. Which verse it carries is therefore unknown. The first recorded surviving pattern with a verse is A8514, one of several incorporating the sailing vessel Ship Caroline: both a tobacco jar (humidor) and a jug have been recorded in the USA. 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 green in the list below cross-refer to this publication.



Reference Verse/quotation as printed Used in patternsSource

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.

A8514, A8576, A9399, D387

Based on a verse of George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron’s poemThe Tear, circa 1807.

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!A8621, A8735, A9281, A9414, A9683, A9688, D1354

Found on early 19th century English ceramics.



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.

A8621, A9398

Found on early 19th century English ceramics.

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

From Act 1 Scene 1 of John O’Keeffe’s three-Act opera TheCastle of Andalusia, written in 1782.


Fill your cups and banish grief,
Laugh and worldly care despise;
Sorrow ne’er will bring relief.
Joy from drinking will arife 
So pour this full and sup it up.
And call for more to fill your cup.

A8734, A8827
A8829, A8904
A8930, A9008
Dickensian Ladies

Known to have been used on an English pot of 1808, but this verse is probably much earlier.

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, A9010 Dickensian Ladies

From Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) The time I’ve lost in wooing.

318 and 228When 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.

A8829, A9434
A9436, A9442
A9865, D115
D440, D573
D603, D612
D1051, D1260, D1265

Found on early 19th century English ceramics.8VFriend 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
 Dickensian Ladies
A9418, A9685

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, A9476, A9680Ode 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.

Women make men love
Love makes them sad
Sadness makes them drink
And drinking sets them mad

A9010 Dickensian Ladies


“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.

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.


The last verse of the song The Wandering Sailor as written by Miles Peter Andrews for his 1779 comic opera Summer amusementor An adventure of Margate.

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
the farmer.

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.

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.
English translation:
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

 D1469, D1470A

Gaelic song from Ross-shire in Scotland, written by Prof Ewen Alaclachlan and published as Ealaidh Ghaoil in 1875.

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 songHail, Columbia.

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.


Sweet, Oh Sweet is that Sensation
Where two hearts in union meet
But the pain of separation
Mingles bitter with the Sweet

No known number

Recorded on a Sunderland rolling pin and a mug 1820-30.