« PreviousContinue »
HOMAS TICKELL, a poet of considerable ele gance, born at Bridekirk, near Carlisle, in 1686, was the son of a clergyman in the county of Cumperland. He was entered of Queen's College, Oxford, in 1701, and having taken the degree of M. A. in 1708, was elected fellow of his college, first obtaining from the crown a dispensation from de statute requiring him to be in orders. He then came to the metropolis, where he made himself known to several persons distinguished in letters. When the negotiations were carrying on which brought on the peace of Utrecht, he published a poem entitled “ The Prospect of Peace,” which ran through six editions. Addison, with whom he had ingratiated himself by an elegant poem on his opera of Rosamond, speaks highly of “ The Prospect of Peace,” in a paper of the Spectator, in which he expresses himself as particularly pleased to find that the author had not amused himself with fables out of the Pagan theology. This commendation
Tickell amply repaid by his lines on Addison's Cato, which are superior to all others on that sub ject, with the exception of Pope's Prologue.
Tickell, being attached to the succession of the House of Hanover, presented George I. with a poem entitled “ The Royal Progress ;" and more effectually served the cause by two pieces, one called “ An Imitation of the Prophecy of Nereus ;” the other, “ An Epistle from a Lady in England, to a Gentleman at Avignon.” Both these are selected for the purpose of the present work.
He was about this time taken to Ireland, by Addison, who went over as secretary to Lord Sunderland. When Pope published the first volume of his translation of the Iliad, Tickell gave a translation of the first book of that poem, which was patronized by Addison, and occasioned a breach between those eminent men. Tickell's composition, however, will bear no poetical comparison with that of Pope, and accordingly he did not proceed with the task. On the death of Addison, he was entrusted with the charge of publishing his works, a distinction which he repaid by prefixing a life of that celebrated man, with an elegy on his death, of which Dr. Johnson says,
“ That a more sublime or elegant funeral poem is not to be found in the whole compass of English literature.” Another piece, which might be justly placed at the head of sober lyrics, is his “ Ode to the Earl of Sunderland," on his installation as a knight of the Garter ; which keeping within the limits of truth, consigns a favourite name to its real honours.
Tickell is represented as a man of pleasing manners, fond of society, very agreeable in conversation, and upright and honourable in his conduct. He was married, and left family. His death took place at Bath, in 1740, the 54th year of his age.
COLIN AND LUCY.
Or Leinster, fam’d for maidens fair,
Bright Lucy was the grace;
Reflect so sweet a face :
Impair'd her rosy hue,
And eyes of glossy blue.
Oh! have you seen a lily pale,
When beating rains descend ?
Her life now near its end.
Take heed, ye easy fair :
Ye perjur'd swains, beware.
Three times, all in the dead of night,
A bell was heard to ring;
The raven flap'd his wing.
The solemn boding sound:
The virgins weeping round:
“ I hear a voice, you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay ;
Which beckons me away.
In early youth I die :
Was thrice as rich as I ?
“ Ah, Colin ! give not her thy vows,
Vows due to me alone :
Nor think him all thy own.
Impatient, both prepare !
That Lucy will be there !
“ Then bear my corse, my comrades, bear,
This bridegroom blithe to meet, He in his wedding-trim so gay,
I in my winding-sheet.”