THOMAS TICKELL (1686-1740), English poet and man of letters, the son of a clergyman, was born at Bridekirk near Carlisle in 1686. After a good preliminary education he went (1701) to Queen's College, Oxford, taking his M.A. degree in 1709. He became fellow of his college in the next year, and in 1711 university reader or professor of poetry. He did not take orders, but by a dispensation from the Crown was allowed to retain his fellowship until his marriage in 1726. Tickell's success in literature, as in life, was mainly due to the friendship of Addison, who procured for him (1717) an under-secretaryship of state, to the chagrin of Richard Steele, who thenceforth bore Tickell no goodwill. During the peace negotiations with France Tickell published in 1713 the Prospect of Peace. In 1715 he brought out a translation of the first book of the Iliad contemporaneously with Pope's version. Addison's reported description of Tickell's version as the "best that ever was in any language" roused the anger of Pope, who assumed that Addison himself was the author,' or had at any rate the principal share in the work. Addison gave Tickell instructions to collect his works, which were printed in 1721 under Tickell's editorship. In 1724 Tickell was appointed secretary to the lords justices of Ireland - a post which he retained until his death, which took place at Bath on the 23rd of April 1740.
Kensington Gardens (1722), his longest poem, is inflated and pedantic. It has been said that Tickell's poetic powers were awakened and sustained by his admiration for the person and genius of Addison, and undoubtedly his best work is the sincere and dignified elegy addressed to the earl of Warwick on Addison's death. His ballad of Colin and Mary was long the most popular of his poems. Tickell contributed to the Spectator and the Guardian. See "T. Tickell," in Johnson's Lives of the Poets; the Spectator; Ward's English Poets. His Works were printed in 1749 and are included in Chalmers's and other editions of the English Poets.
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