Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tickell, Thomas

TICKELL, Thomas (1686-1740), English man of letters, the son of a clergyman, was born at Bridekirk, near Carlisle, in 1686. After a good preliminary education he went to Queen's College, Oxford, where in 1708 he took his degree, and of which college he was two years later elected fellow. He did not take orders, but by a dispensa tion from the crown was allowed to retain his fellowship until his marriage in 1726. As a poet Tickell displayed very mediocre qualities. His success in literature, as in life, was mainly due to the friendship and patronage of Addison, who procured for him (1717) the under-secretaryship of state, to the chagrin of Steele, who thenceforth bore Tickell no good will. During the peace negotiations with France Tickell published the Prospect of Peace, which was well spoken of in the Spectator and reached a sixth edition. In 1717 he brought out a translation of the first book of the Iliad contemporaneously with Pope's version. Ken sington Gardens, his longest poem, which appeared in 1722, is inflated and pedantic, and was doomed to oblivion from its birth. Dr Johnson's criticism of it gives it its due meed of praise and blame. The most popular of Tickell's poeti cal writings was the ballad of "Colin and Lucy," which will bear comparison with some of the ballad poems of Wordsworth. Whether from fear of Pope's rivalry or from unbiassed choice, Tickell abandoned the translation of the Iliad and set about rendering the Odyssey and Lucan into English. In 1725 he was appointed secretary to the lords justices of Ireland, a post which he retained until his death, which took place at Bath on 23d April 1740. Tickell rose once above the level of mediocrity, when he wrote his elegy addressed to the earl of Warwick on the death of Addison. Posterity has endorsed Dr Johnson's affirmation that this elegy is equal in sublimity and ele gance to any funeral poem which had theretofore appeared, and this notwithstanding Steele's caustic disparagement, that it was only "prose in rhyme." Tickell also contributed to the Spectator and the Guardian.

See "T. Tickell," in Johnson's Lives of the Poets; the Spectator; Anderson's English Poets; Ward's English Poets.