Page images

Yet what he had stol'n was so liule worth stealing,

They forgave him the damage and cost :
Had he ta'en the whole ode, as he took it piece-mealing,

They had fined him but ten-peace at most.
The poet whom he was charged with robbing was Congreve.
He wrote another poem on the death of the duke of Gloucester.

In 1710 he became fellow of the college ; and next year, entering into orders, was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire, consistent with the fellowship, and chosen lecturer of moral philosophy, a very honourable office.

On the accession of queen Anne he wrote another poem ; and is said, by the author of the Biographia, to have declared himself of the party who had the honourable distinction of High-churchmen.

In 1706 he was received into the family of the duke of Beaufort. Next year he became doctor in divinity, and soon after resigned his fellowship and lecture ; and, as a token of his gratitude, gave the college a picture of their founder.

He was made rector of Chalton and Cleanville, two adjoining towns and benefices in Hertfordshire ; and had the prebends, or sinecựres, of Deans, Hains, and Pendles, in Devonshire. He had before* been chosen, in 1698, preacher of Bridewell Hospital, upon the resignation of Dr. Atterbury t.

From this time he seems to have led a quiet and inoffensive life, till the clamour was raised about Atterbury's plot. Every loyal eye was on the watch for abertors or partakers of the horrid conspiracy ; and Dr. Yalden, having some acquaintance with the bishop, and being familiarly conversant with Kelly his secretary, fell under suspicion, and was taken into custody.

Upon his examination he was charged with a dangerous correspondence with Kelly. The correspondence he acknowledged; but maintained, that it had no treasonable tendency. His papers were seized ; but nothing was found that could fix a crime upon him, except two words in his pocket-book, thorough-paced doctrine. This expression the imagination of his examiners had impregnated with freason, and the doctor was enjoined to explain them. Thus pressed, he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocketbook from the time of queen Anne, and that he was ashamed to give an account of them: but the truth was, that he had gratified his curiosity one day, by hearing Daniel Burgess in the pulpit, and those words was a memorial hint of a remarkable sentence by which he warned his congregation to “ beware of” thorough-paced doctrine, “ that doctrine which coming “ in at one ear, paces through the head, and goes out at the other."

* Not till long after. N.

+ Lt. Alterbuty retained the office of preacher at Bridewell, till his promotion to the Bishoprick of Rochester. Dr. Yalden cucceeded-Lim as preaches in June, 1713. N.


Nothing worse than this appearing in his papers, and no evidence arising against him, he was set at liberty.

It will not be supposed that å man of this character attained high dignities in the church ; but he still retained the friendship, and frequented the conversation, of a very numerous and splendid set of acquaintance. He died July 16, 1736, in the 66th year of his age.

Of his poems, many are of that irregular kind, which, when he formed his poetical character, were supposed to be Pindarick. Having fixed his attention on Cowley as a model, he has attempted in some sort to rival him, and has written a Hymn to Darkness, evidently as a counter-part to Cowley's Hymn to Light.

This hymn seems to be his best performance, and is for the most part, imagined with great vigour, and expressed with great propriety. I will not transcribe it. The seven first stánzas are good; but the third, fourth, and seventh, are the best; the eighth seems to involve a contradiction; the tenth is exquisitely beautiful; the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, are partly mytholgoical, and partly religious, and therefore not suitable to each other; he might better have made the whole merely philosophical.

There are two stanzas in this poem where Yalden may be suspected, though hardly convicted, of having consulted the Hymnus ad Umbram of Wawerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines:


suo præest nocturnis numine sacris' Perque vias et rare novis dat spectra figuris, Manesque excitos medios ululare per agros

Sub noctem, et questú notos complere penates.
And again at the conclusion :

Illà suo senium secludit corpore toto
Haud pumerans jugi fugientia secula lapsu,
Ergo ubi postremuin mundi compage solutâ .
Hanc rerum molem suprema absumpserit hora
Ipsa leves cineres nube amplectetur opacâ,

Et prisco imperio rursus dominabitur UMBRA, His Hymn to Light is not equal to the other. He seems to think that there is an East absolute and positive where the Morning rises.

In the last stanza, having mentioned the sudden eruption of new-created Light, he says,

A while th' Almighty wondering stood. He ought to have remembered that Infinite Knowledge can never wonder. All wonder is the effect of novelty upon ignorance. · Of his other poems it is sufficient to say that they deserve perusal, though they are not always exactly polished, though the rhymes are sometimes very ill sorted, and though his faults seem rather the omissions of idleness than the negligences of enthusiasm. Vol. I. 3 E


[ocr errors]


HOMAS TICKELL, the son of the reverend Richard Tickell

was born in 1636 at Bridekirk in Cumberland ; and in April 1701 became a member of Queen's College in Oxford ; in 1708 he was made Master of Arts, and two years afterwards was chosen Fellow ; for which, as he did not comply with the statutes by taking orders, he obtained a dispensation from the Crown. He held his Fellowship till 1726, and then va, cated it, by marrying, in that year, at Dublin.

Tickell was not one of those scholars who wear away their lives in closets ; he entered early into the world, and was long busy in public affairs in which he was initiated under the patronage of Addison, whose notice he is said to have gained by his verses in praise of Rosamond.

To those verses it would not have been just to deny regard; for they contain some of the most elegant encomiastick stráins; and, among the innumerable poems of the same kind, it will be hard to find one with which they need to fear a comparison. It may deserve observation, that when Pope wrote long afterwards in praise of Addison, he has copied, at least has resembled Tickell.

Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's shade,
And wreaths of myrtle crown the lovely maid.
While now perhaps with Dido's ghost she roves,
And hears and tells the story of their loves,
Alike they mourn, alike they bless their fate,
Since Love which made them wretched, made them great:
Nor longer that relentless doom bemoan,
Which gain'd a Virgil and an Addison.


Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's, looks agree;
Or in fair series laurel'd bards be shown,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison.



He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of Cuto, with equal skill but, not equal happiness.

When the ministers of queen Anne were negotiating with France, Tickell published The Prospect of Peace, a poem, of which the tendency was to reclaim the nation from the pride of conquest to the pleasures of tranquillity. How far Tickell, whom Swift afterwards mentioned as Whiggissimus, had then connected himself with any party, I know not ; this poem certainly did not flatter the practices, or promote the opinions, of the men by whom he was afterwards befriended.

Mr. Addison, however he hated the men then in power, suffered his friendship to prevail over his public spirit, and gave in the Spectator such praises : of Tickell's poem, that when, after having long wished to peruse it, I laid hold on it at last, I thought it unequal to the honours which it had received, and found it a piece to be approved rather than admired. But the hope excited by a work of genius, being general and indefinite, is rarely gratified. It was read at that time with so much favour, that six editions were sold.

At the arrival of king George he sung The Royal progress; which being inserted in the Spectator is well known, and of which it is just to say, thài it is neither high nor low,

The poetical incident of most importance in Tickell's life was his publication of the first book of the Iliad as translated by himself, an apparen: opposition to Pope's Homer, of which the first part made its entrance into the world at the same time.

Addison declared that the rival versions were both good; but that Tickell's was the best that ever.was made ; and with Addison the wits, his Adherents and followers were certain to concur. Pope does not appear to have been much dismayed; “ for,” says he,

“ for,” says he, “ I have the town, that is, the mob on my But he remarks," that it is common for the smaller party to “ make up in diligence what they want in numbers ; he appeals to the peo“ ple as his proper judges; and if they are not inelined to condemn him, “ he is in little care about the high-flyers at Button's.”

Pope did not long think Addison an impartial judge ; for he considered him as the writer of Tickell's version. The reasons for his suspicion I will literally transcribe from Mr. Spence's Collection.

“ There had been a coldness (said Mr. Pope) between Mr. Addison and

me for some time; and we had not been in company together, for a good " while, any where but at Button's coffee-house where I used to see him “ almost every day.- On his meeting me there, one day in particular, he took me aside, and said he should be glad to dine with me, at such a ta

vern, if I staid till those people were gone (Budgell and Philips). He « went accordingly; and after dinner Mr. Addison said, “That he had « wanted for some time to talk with me; that his friend Tickell had for3 E 2



[ocr errors]

“ merly, whilst at Oxford, translated the first book of the Iliad ; that he « designed to print it, and had desired him to look it over ; that he must " therefore beg that I would not desire him to look over my first book, be<< cause, if he did, it would have the air of double dealing. I assured 56 him that I did not at all take ill of Mr. Tickell that he was going to

publish his translation; that he certainly had as much right to translate any author as myself; and that publishing both was entering on a fair

stage. I then added, that I would not desire him to look over my first « book of the Iliad, because he had looked over Mr. Tickell's; but could “ wish to have the benefit of his observațions on my second, which I had " then finished, and which Mr. Tickell had not touched upon. Accord« ingly I sent him the second book the next morning: and Mr. Addison a “ few days after returned it, with very high commendations.--Soon after “ it was generally known that Mr. Tickell was publishing the first book of “ the Iliad, I met Dr. Young in the street; and, upon our falling into that " subject, the Doctor expressed a great deal of surprize at Tickell's hav“ing had such a translation so long by him. He said, that it was incon« ceiyeable to him, and that there must be some mistake in the matter ; that “ each used to communicate to the other whatever verses they wrote, even to “ the least things; that Tickell could not have been busied in so long a work " there without his knowing something of the matter; and that he had never “ heard a single ward on it till on this occasion. This surprise of Dr. “ Young, together with what Steele has said against Tickell in relation to “ this affair, make it highly probable that there was some underhand deal"! ing in that business; and indeed Tickell himself, who is a very fair worç thy man, has since, 'in a manner, as good as owned it to me. When it “ was introduced into a conyersation between Mr. Tickell and Mr. Pope by " a third person, Tickell did not deny it; which, considering his honour “ and zeal for his departed friend, was the same as owning it.”

Upon these suspicions, with which Dr. Warburton hints that other circumstances concurred, Pope always in his Art of Sinking quotes this book as the work of Addison.

To compare the two translations would be tedious; the palm is now given universally to Pope; but I think the first lines of Tickell's were rather to be preferred, and Pope seems to have since borrowed something from them in the correction of his own.

When the Hanover succession was disputed, Tickell gave what assistance his pen would supply. His Letter to Avignon stands high among partypoems; it expresses contempt without coarseness, and superiority without insolence. It had the success which it deserved, being five times printed.

He was now intimately united to Mr. Addison, who when he went into Ireland as secretary to the lord Sunderland, took him thither, and employed him in public business; and when (1717) afterwards he rose to be secretary

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »