1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Tickell

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 8:402.



Tickell is said to have been a man of most pleasing manners, and of unquestioned honour and integrity. His conversation was gay and lively; he was a very agreeable companion, at least a temperate lover of wine and conviviality, and in domestic relations without censure. His writings discover a good understanding, an extensive knowledge of classical literature, a refined taste, and a feeling heart.

As a poet, he is characterised by elegance of diction, correctness of judgment, tenderness of sentiment, opulence of allusion, and harmony of numbers.

His versification exceeds Addison's, and is inferior to few of the English poets, except Dryden and Pope.

Most of his pieces, particularly the Prospect of Peace; the Royal Progress; the Letter to Avignon; Oxford; Kensington Gardens; Epistle to a Lady before Marriage, and the Elegy on the death of Addison, are distinguished by a judicious combination of ornament and simplicity; a happy mixture of sentiment and description, and a rare union of the beauties of style, and the elegancies of versification, with the niceties of method, connection, and arrangement.

Of Tickell, it has been said by Goldsmith, that through all his poetry, there is a strain of Ballad-thinking to be found: The remark is just, and to that strain he is not a little indebted for the reception he met with; whether he had it from reading, or from nature, cannot now be known, as no memoirs of his life are satisfactory enough to inform us of his particular studies. His beautiful ballad of Colin and Lucy, probably assumed a tincture of tenderness and simplicity, from his taste for our obscure writers; a taste which his friend Addison undoubtedly possessed in a degree superior to any of his contemporaries, except Rowe, as appears by his elegant critique on Chevy Chace, and various scattered notices of a congenial nature in his periodical papers.