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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

VI. Lesser Verse Writers

§ 20. His attachment to Addison

Tickell followed up the Irish career which Addison had opened for him. In May, 1724, he was appointed secretary to the lord justices, and Carteret testifies to the ability with which he performed the duties of his office. “Whiggissimus” though he was, he managed to conciliate Swift. He seems to have retained no ill-feeling against his detractors, and he died at peace at Bath on St. George’s day, 1740. Johnson described his poem The Prospect of Peace, beginning “The Haughty Gaul in ten campaigns o’erthrown,” as a poem to be approved rather than admired; and this distinction applies to all his verses, more or less (with the exception of the elegy on Addison), including those in his favourite heroic measure, On Queen Caroline’s rebuilding of the Lodgings of the Black Prince and Henry V at Queen’s College, The Royal Progress, An Epistle from a Lady in England to a Gentleman in Avignon (an anti-jacobite piece, which ran to a fifth edition), a Fragment of a Poem on Hunting, Part of the Fourth Book of Lucan, complimentary poems To Mr. Addison and To Sir Godfrey Kneller, two formal poems entitled Oxford, and Kensington Gardens, and The First Book of the Iliad.

Johnson denounced him for confusing Grecian deities and Gothic fairies; both species were regarded by the critic as contemptible even when apart, but, in conjunction, positively rediculous. Outside the range of his correct pentameters, Tickell essayed a wooden ballad in eight and six, entitled Colin and Lucy, which was translated into Latin by Vincent Bourne, and pronounced by Gray and Goldsmith (himself an offender in this respect) to be one of the best ballads in English. Gray, at any rate, ought to have known better. Tickell had very few poetical notes at his command, and none of them were “wood-notes wild” suitable to ballad or octosyllabic measure. His elegy rings true, as a sincere commemoration of a notable literary friendship.