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Of his poems, many are of that irregular kind, which, when he formed his poetical character, was 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 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, fonrth, 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 sacris
Sub noctem, et questu notos complere penates.
Illa suo senium secludit corpore toto
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,
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 TICKBLL, 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 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 publick 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 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,
Then future ages with delight shall see
He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of Cata, with egaal skill, but not equal happi
When the ministers of queen Anne were negotiating with France, Ticieli publisbed the Prospect of Peace, a porn, of whach the tendency was to reclaim the nation from the pride of conquest to the pleasures of tranquillity. How far Tackell, wbon Swift afterwards mentioned as shaggissimus, kad then connected himself with any party, I know nof; this poem certainly did not flatter the practices, or promote the opinions, of the men by whom he was afterwards befriended.
Mr. Addison, bowerer be hated the men then in power, suffered his friendship to prevail over his publick spirit, and gare, in the Spectator, such praises of Tickell's poem, that wben, after having long wished to peruse it, I laid bold on it at last, I thought it unequal to the honours which it bad 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 sang 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 pablication 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 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 wbile, 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.) 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 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. Accordingly 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 surprise at Tickell's having had such a translation so long by him. He said, that it was inconceivable