1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Tickell

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 1:566.



The friendship of Addison has shed a reflected light on some of his contemporaries, and it elevated them, in their own day, to considerable importance. Amongst these was THOMAS TICKELL (1686-1740), born at Bridekirk, near Carlisle, and educated at Oxford. He was a writer in the Spectator and Guardian, and when Addison went to Ireland as secretary to Lord Sunderland. Tickell accompanied him, and was employed in public business. He published a translation of the first book of the Iliad at the same time with Pope. Addison and the Whigs pronounced it to be the best, while the Tories ranged under the banner of Pope. The circumstance led to a breach of the friendship betwixt Addison and Pope, which was never healed. Addison continued his patronage of Tickell, made him his under secretary of state, and left him the charge of publishing his works. Tickell had elegance and tenderness as a poet, but was deficient in variety and force. His ballad of "Colin and Lucy" is worth all his other works. It has the simplicity and pathos of the elder lyrics, without their too frequent coarseness and abrupt transitions. His "Elegy on the Death of Addison" is considered by Johnson one of the most elegant and sublime funeral poems in the language. The author's own friend, Steele, considered it only "prose in rhyme!"