1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Tickell

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:523.



THOMAS TICKELL, the son of a clergyman, was born at Bridekirk, in Cumberland, in 1686, and, in 1701, became a member of Queen's College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1708, and obtained a fellowship, in 1710, which he held till his marriage, about sixteen years afterwards. Some verses, written whilst he was at college, in favour of Addison's opera of Rosamond, gained him the notice of that poet, and they continued on the most intimate terms of friendship throughout the rest of their lives. When Addison was appointed secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, the subject of our memoir accompanied him thither; and, on his friend's appointment to the secretaryship of state, in 1717, he was chosen under secretary. In June, 1724, he was made secretary to the lords justices in Ireland; and held that situation until his death, which took place at Bath, on the 23rd of April, 1740. His poems are entitled, The Prospect of Peace, The Royal Progress, Kensington Gardens, Description of the Phoenix from Claudian, a translation of The First Book of Homer's Iliad, Letter to Avignon, and several other pieces, which will be found in the second volume of The Minor Poets. The work, by which he is principally known, is his versification of Homer, although it is doubtful whether, as we have stated, in our life of Pope, Addison was not the real author. It will bear no comparison with the version of Pope, though there are some of the opening lines not unworthy the genius of that poet. Mr. Tickell's elegy on Addison should not go unnoticed; it contains a few paragraphs of exceeding beauty; and Dr. Johnson remarks, that a more sublime or more elegant funeral poem is not to be found in the whole compass of English literature. Tickell is deficient in energy and invention; but, among the minor poets, none display more harmony of numbers, or a greater degree of taste and feeling.