1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Yalden

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 7:747, 749.



Few characters could be more different than those of Addison and Sacheverell. Their academical intimacy, therefore, was not succeeded by a friendship of long duration. But Yalden, whose intellectual and moral qualities were truly estimable and amiable, did not lose the friendship of Addison, even when he espoused a very opposite interest to that of his friend, and became a High-churchman and a Tory.

The Whig wits at that time held the Tory wits in great contempt, and these retaliated in their turn; but Addison, with the liberality becoming a scholar, disclaimed not his private friends for happening to be of a different party in politics. He continued throughout his life his early friendship for Yalden, and lived in the same habits of familiar intercourse with him, when he held the high office of Secretary of State, as when their fortunes were more on a level....

The private character of Yalden seems to have been very respectable. His temper was cheerful, his conversation pleasing and instructive, his learning extensive, and his manners polite. How much his company was desired, appears from the extensiveness of his connections, and the number of his friends, among whom he reckoned Congreve and Addison, Hopkins and Atterbury.

As a poet, he cannot be placed in a high class. He is entitled to rank with Sprat, Stepney, Walsh, and King, and perhaps a little higher. He imitates Cowley; but he is inferior to him in the grace of wit, and in the vigour of nature. His two hymns, however, to the Morning, and to Darkness, are equal to the best lyric pieces of the poet. The last is admirable.