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HOMAS TICKELL, the son of the reverend Richard Tickell
was born in 1686 at Bridekick in Cumberland ; and in April 1701 became a member of Queen's Collcge 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 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 encomiastick strains; and, among the innemerable 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.
He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of Cato, with equal skill but, nct equal happiness.
When the ministers of queen Anne were negotiating with France, Ticke! 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 Suitt afterwards mentioned as Whigsissimus, had ihen 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 10 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 iemarks, " that it is common for the smaller party to make up in diligence what they want in numbers ; he appeals to the peo
ple aś his proper judges ; and if they are not inclined 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 brad 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 tavern, if I staid till those people were gone (Budgell and Philips).
He went accordingly; and after dinner Mr. Addison said, " That he had “ výanted for some time to talk with me; that his friend Tickell had for
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« merly, whilst et Oxford, translated the first book of the ligd; that he
desigped to print it, and had desired bim to look it over ; that he must "I 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! a 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 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 observations 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. Tichell was publishing the first book of " the Iliana, I met Di. 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
ceiveable to him, and that there must be some mistake in the matter ; that «s 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 word 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 bighly probable that there was some underhand deal<ing in that business; and indeed Tickell himself, who is a very fair wor“ thy man, has since, in a manner, as good as owned it to me. When it
was introduced into a conversation 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 Tiekell’s were rather to be preferred, and Pope seems to have since borrowed somethingfrom them in the correction of his own.
When the Hanover succession was disputed, Tickell gave what assistance his pen would supply. His Lelier to Avignon stands high among partypoems; it expresses contempt without coarseness, and superiority without insolence. It had the succea; 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
of state, made him under-secretary. Their friendship seems to have continued without abatement; for when Addison died, he left him the charge of publishing his works, with a solemn recommendation to the patronage of Craggs.
To these works he prefixed an elegy on the author, which could owe none of its beauties to the assistance which might be suspected to have strengthened or embellished his earlier compositions ; but neither he nor Addison ever produced nobler lines than are contained in the third and fourth paragraphs; nor is a more sublime or more elegant funeral-poem to be found in the whole compass of English literature.
He was afterwards (about 1725) made secretary to the Lords Justices of Ireland, a place of great honour; in which he continued till 1740, when he died on the twenty-third of April at Bath.
Of the poems yet unmentioned the longest is Kensington Gardens, of which the versification is smooth and elegant; but the fiction unskilfully compounded of Grecian Deities and Gothick Fairies. Neither species of those exploded Beings could have done much; and when they are brought together, they only make each other contemptible. To Tickell, however, cannot be refused a high place among the minor poets ; nor should it be forgotten that he was one of the contributors to the Spectator. With respect to his personal character he is said to have been a man of gay conversation, at least a temperate lover of wine and company, and in his domestick reJations without censure,
H A M M O N D.
F Mr. HAMMOND, though he be well remembered as a unan es
teemed and caressed by the elegant and the great, I was at first able to obtain no other memorials than such as are supplied by a bock called Cibler's Lives of the Poets; of which I take this opportunity to testify 1.26 it was not written, nor, I believe, ever seen, by either of the Cibbers; but was the work of Robert Shiels, a native of Scotland, a man of very acute understanding, though with little scholastick education, who, not long after the publication of his work, died in London of a consumption. His life was virtuous, and his end was picus. Theophilus Cibber, then a prisonet for debt, imparted, as I was told, his name for ten guineas. The mantscript of Shiels is now in my possession.
(have since found that Mr. Shiels, though he was no negligent enquirer had been misled by false accounts ; for he relates that James Hammond
, the author of the Elegies, was the son of a Turkey merchant, and had some office at the prince of Wales's court, till love of a lady, whose nam was Dashwood, for a time disordered his understanding. He was unex tinguishably amorous, and his mistress inexorably cruel.
Of this narrative, part is true, and part false. He was the second sond Anthony Hammond, a man of note among the wits, poets, and parliamer tary orators, in the begininng of this century, who was allied to Sir Robert Walpole by marrying his sister *. He was born about 1710, and educied at Westminster-school; but it does not appear that he was of any university He was cquerry to the prince of Wales, and seems to have come very carly into public notice, and to have been distinguished by those whose friend ship prejudiced mankind at that time in favour of the man on whom they were bestowed; for he was the companion of Cobham, Lyttleton, and Chesterfield. He is said to have divided his time between pleasure and books; in his retirement forgetting the town, and in his gaiety lesing the student. Of his literary hours all the effects are here exhibited, of which the Eiegies were written very early, and the Prologue not long before his death.
* This account is still erroncus. James Hammond our author was of a different family, the leece son of Anthony Hammond, of Sumersham-place, in the county of Huntingdon, Esq. See Gent. Nagi vol. LVII. Poco. E.