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Of this ode mention is made in a humorous poem of that time, called 'The Oxford Laureat:' in which, after many claims had been made and rejected, Yalden is represented as demanding the laurel, and as being called to his trial, instead of receiving a reward:
His crime was for being a felon in verse,
But the last was an impudent thing;
Yet what he had stol'n was so little worth stealing,
They forgave him the damage and costs,
Had he ta'en the whole ode, as he took it piece-mealing,
The poet whom he was charged with robbing was Congreve. He wrote another poem, on the death of the Duke of Gloucester.
In 1700 he became fellow of the College; and next year, entering into orders, he was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire,* consistent with his fellowship, and chosen lecturer of moral philosophy, a very ho nourable office.
On the accession of Queen Anne he wrote another poem; and is said, by the author of the Biographia,' to have de clared 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 sinecures, of Deans, Hains, and Pendles, in Devonshire. He had before been chosen, in 1698, preacher of Bridewell Hospital, upon the resignation of Dr. Atterbury.§
From this time he seems to have led a quiet and inoffensive life, till the clamour was raised about Atterbury's plot.
The vicarage of Willoughby, which he resigned in 1708.-N. + This preferment was given him by the Duke of Beaufort.-N. I Not long after.
§ Dr. Atterbury retained the office of preacher at Bridewell till his promotion to the bishoprick of Rochester. Dr. Yalden suc ceeded him as preacher, in June, 1713.-N.
Every loyal eye was on the watch for abettors 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 treason, and the Doctor was enjoined to explain them. Thus pressed, he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocket-book 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 were 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, passes through the head, and goes out at the other.'
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 a 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, was supposed to be Pindaric. 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 counterpart 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 stanzas 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 mythological 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 Wowerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines:
Illa suo præest nocturnis numine sacrisPerque vias errare novis dat spectra figuris, Manesque excitos medios ululare per agros Sub noctem, et questu notos complere penates. And again, at the conclusion:
Illa suo senium secludit corpore toto
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,
Awhile th' Almighty wond'ring 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.
THOMAS TICKELL, the son of the Reverend Richard Tickell, was born in 1686, 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 afterward, 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 vacated 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 encomiastic strains; 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 afterward in praise of Addison, he has copied, at least has resembled, Tickell:
Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's shade,
Since love, which made them wretched, made them great;
Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's, looks agree;
He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of Cato,' with equal skill, but not equal happi
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 afterward 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 afterward 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, that 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 apparent 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, 'I have the town, that is the mob, on my side.' 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 people as his proper judges; and, if they are not inclined to condemn him, he is in little care about the highflyers 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 suspición 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 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 tavern, if I stayed till those people were gone (Budgell and Philips). We went accordingly; and after dinner Mr. Addison said, "That he had wanted for. some time to talk with me; that his friend Tickell had formerly, 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, because, if he did, it would have the air of double dealing." I assured him that I did not at all take it 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 the VOL. II. E