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THOMAS YALDEN, the sixth son of Mr. John Yalden, of Sussex, was born in the city of Exeter, in 1671. Having been educated in the grammar school belonging to Magdalen college in Oxford, he was in 1690, at the age of nineteen, admitted commoner of Magdalen hall, under the tuition of Josiah Pullen, a man whose name is still remembered in the university. He became next year one of the scholars of Magdalen college, where he was distinguished by a lucky accident.
It was his turn, one day, to pronounce a declamation ; and Dr. Hough, the president, happening to attend, thought the composition too good to be the speaker's. Some time after, the doctor finding him a little irregularly busy in the library, set him an exercise for punishment; and, that he might not be deceived by any artifice, locked the door. Yalden, as it happened, had been lately reading on the subject given, and produced with little difficulty a composition which so pleased the president, that he told him his former suspicions, and promised to favour him.
Among his contemporaries in the college were Addison and Sacheverell, men who were in those times friends, and who both adopted Yalden to their intimacy. Yalden continued, throughout his life, to think as probably he thought at first, yet did not forfeit the friendship of Addison.
When Namur was taken by king William, Yalden made an ode. There never was any reign more celebrated by the poets than that of William, who had very little regard for song himself, but happened to employ ministers who pleased themselves with the praise of patronage.
Of this ode mention is made in an humorous poem of that time, called The Oxford Laureat ; in which, after many claims, had been made and rejected, Yalden is represented as demanding the laurel, and as being called to his trial, instead of receiving a reward.
His crime was for being a felon in verse,
And presenting his theft to the king;
But the last was an impudent thing;
They forgave him the damage and costs,
They had fin'd him but tenpence at most.
He wrote another poem, on the death of the duke of Gloucester.
In 1700 he became fellow of the college; and next year, entering into orders, was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire,* consistent with his fellowship, and chosen lecturer of moral philosophy, a very honourable office.
On the accession of queen Anne he wrote another poem ; and is said, by the author of the Biographia, to have declared himself of the party who had the honourable distinction of high churchmen.
In 1706 he was received into the family of the duke of Beaufort. Next year he became doctor in divinity, and soon after resigned his fellowship and lecture; and, as a token of his gratitude, gave the college a picture of their founder.
He was made rector of Chalton and Cleanville,f two adjoining towns and benefices in Hertfordshire ; and had the prebends, or sinecures, of Deans, Hains, and Pendles, in Devonshire. He had before been chosen, in 1698, preacher of Bridewell hospital, upon the resignation of Dr. Atterbury.
From this time he seems to have led a quiet and inoffensive life, till the clamour was raised about Atterbury's plot. Every loyal eye was on the watch for abettors or partakers of the horrid
The vicarage of Willoughby, which he resigned in 1708. N. † This preferment was given him by the duke of Beaufort. N. # Not long after. § Dr. Atterbury retained the office of preacher at Bridewell till his promotion to the bishopric of Rochester. Dr. Yalden succeeded bim as preacher in June, 1713. N.
conspiracy; and Dr. Yalden, having some acquaintance with the bishop, and being familiarly conversant with Kelly his secretary, fell under suspicion, and was taken into custody.
Upon his examination he was charged with a dangerous correspondence with Kelly. The correspondence he acknowledged; but maintained that it had no treasonable tendency. His papers were seized; but nothing was found that could fix a crime upon him, except two words in his pocketbook, thoroughpaced doctrine. This expression the imagination of his examiners had impregnated with treason, and the doctor was enjoined to explain them. Thus pressed, he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocketbook from the time of queen Anne, and that he was ashamed to give an account of them; but the truth was, that he had gratified his curiosity one day, by hearing Daniel Burgess in the pulpit, and, those words were a memorial hint of a remarkable sentence by which he warned his congregation to beware of thoroughpaced doctrine, that doctrine, which, coming in at one ear paces through the head, and goes out at the other."
Nothing worse than this appearing in his papers, and no evidence arising against him, he was set at liberty.
, It will not be supposed that a man of this character attained high dignities in the church; but he still retained the friendship, and frequented the conversation, of a very numerous and splendid set of acquaintance. He died July 16, 1736, in the 66th. year
of his age.
Of his poems, many are of that irregular kind, which, when he formed his poetical character, was supposed to be Pindaric. Having fixed his attention on Cowley as a model, he has attempted in some sort to rival him, and has written a Hymn to Darkness, evidently as a counterpart to Cowley's Hymn to Light.
This hymn seems to be his best performance, and is, for the most part, imagined with great vigour and expressed with great propriety. I will not transcribe it. The seven first stanzas are good; but the third, fourth, and seventh, are the best ; the eighth seems to involve a contradiction ; the tenth is exquisitely beautiful; the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, are partly mythological, and partly religious, and therefore not suitable to each other; he might better have made the whole merely philosophical
There are two stanzas in this poem where Yalden may be suspected, though hardly convicted, of having consulted the Hymnus ad Umbram of Wowerus, in the sixth stanza, which answers in some sort to these lines ;
Illa suo præest nocturnis numine sacris,
Sub noctem, et questu notos complere penates.
Illa suo senium secludit corpore toto
His Hymn to Light is not equal to the other. He seems to think that there is an east, absolute and positive, where the morning rises.
In the last stanza, having mentioned the sudden eruption of new created light, he says,
Awhile th' Almighty wond'ring stood.
He ought to have remembered that Infinite Knowledge can never wonder. All wonder is the effect of novelty upon igno
Of his other poems it is sufficient to say, that they deserve perusal, though they are not always exactly polished, though the rhymes are sometimes very ill sorted, and though his faults seem rather the omissions of idleness than the negligences of enthusiasm.
THOMAS TICKELL, the son of the reverend Richard Tickell, was born in 1686, at Bridekirk, in Cumberland ; and in April, 1701, became a member of Queen's college in Oxford ; in 1708 he was made master of arts; and, two years afterward, was chosen fellow ; for which, as he did not comply with the statutes by taking orders, he obtained a dispensation from the crown. He held his fellowship till 1726, and then vacated it, by marrying, in that year, at Dublin.
Tickell was not one of those scholars who wear away their lives in closets ; he entered early into the world, and was long busy in public affairs, in which he was initiated under the patronage of Addison, whose notice he is said to have gained by his verses in praise of Rosamond.
To those verses it would not have been just to deny regard, for they contain some of the most elegant encomiastic strains ; and, among the innumerable poems of the same kind, it will be hard to find one with which they need to fear a comparison. It may deserve observation, that, when Pope wrote long afterward in praise of Addison, he has copied, at least has resembled, Tickell.
Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's shade,
Pope, He produced another piece of the same kind at the appearance of Cato, with equal skill but not equal happiness.