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YALDEN.

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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

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He now went to court, and was kindly received by queen Caroline ; to whom and to the princess Anne' he presented his works, with verses on the blank leaves, with which he concluded his poetical labours.

He died in Hanover square, Jan. 30, 1735, having a few days before buried his wife, the lady Anne Villiers, widow to Mr. Thynne, by whom he had four daughters, but no son.

Writers commonly derive their reputation from their works ; but there are works which owe their reputation to the character of the writer. The public sometimes has its favourites whom it rewards for one species of excellence with the honours due tố another. From him whom we reverence for his beneficence we do not willingly withhold the praise of genius ; a man of exalted merit becomes at once an accomplished writer, as a beauty finds no great difficulty in passing for a wit.

Granville was a man illustrious by his birth, and therefore attracted notice; since he is by Pope styled “the polite," he must be supposed elegant in his manners, and generally loved ; he was in times of contest and turbulence steady to his party, and obtained that esteem which is always conferred upon

firmness and consistency. With those advantages, having learned the art of versifying, he declared himself a poet ; and his claim to the laurel was allowed.

But by a critic of a later generation, who takes up his book without any favourable prejudices, the praise already received will be thought sufficient ; for his works do not show him to have had much comprehension from nature or illumination from learning. He seems to have had no ambition above the imitation of Waller, of whom he has copied the faults, and very

little He is for ever amusing himself with puerilities of mythology ; his king is Jupiter, who, if the queen brings no children, has a barren Juno. The queen is compounded of Juno, Venus, and Minerva. His poem on the dutchess of Grafton's lawsuit, after having rattled awhile with Juno and Pallas, Mars and Alcides, Cassiope, Niobe, and the Propetides, Hercules, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, at last concludes its folly with profane

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His verses to Mira, which are most frequently mentioned, have little in them of either art or nature, of the sentiments of a

lover, or the language of a poet ; there may be found, now and then, a happier effort ; but they are commonly feeble and unaffecting, or forced and extravagant.

His little pieces are seldom either sprightly or elegant, either keen or weighty. They are trifles written by idleness, and published by vanity. But his prologues and epilogues have a just claim to praise.

The Progress of Beauty seems one of his most elaborate pieces, and is not deficient in splendour and gaiety ; but the merit of original thought is wanting. Its highest praise is the spirit with which he celebrates king James's consort, when she was a queen no longer.

The Essay on unratural Flights in Poetry is not inelegant nor injudicious, and has something of vigour beyond most of his other performances; his precepts are just, and his cautions proper ; they are indeed not new, but in a didactic poem novelty is to be expected only in the ornaments and illustrations. His poetical precepts are accompanied with agreeable and instructive notes. The masque

of Peleus and Thetis has here and there a pretty line ; but it is not always melodious, and the conclusion is wretched.

In his British Enchanters he has bidden defiance to all chronology, by confounding the inconsistent manners of different ages; but the dialogue has often the air of Dryden's rhyming plays; and the songs are lively, though not very correct. This is, I think, far the best of his works ; for, if it has many faults, it has likewise passages which are at least pretty, though they do not rise to any high degree of excellence.

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When the ministers of queen Anne were negotiating with France, Tickell published The Prospect of peace, a poem, of which the tendency was to reclaim the nation from the pride of conquest to the pleasures of tranquillity. How far Tickell, whom Swift afterward mentioned as Whiggissimus, had then connected himself with any party, I know not ; this poem certainly did not flatter the practices, or promote the opinions, of the men by whom he was afterward befriended.

Mr. Addison, however he hated the men then in power, suffered his friendship to prevail over his public spirit, and gave in the Spectator such praises of Tickeil's poem, that when, after having long wished to peruse it, I laid hold on it at last, I thought it unequal to the honours which it had received, and found it a piece to be approved rather than admired. But the hope excited by a work of genius, being general and indefinite, is rarely gratified. It was read at that time with so much favour that six editions were sold.

At the arrival of king George he sung The Royal Progress; which being inserted in the Spectator is well known; and of which it is just to say, that it is neither high nor low.

The poetical incident of most importance in Tickell's life was his publication of the first book of the Iliad, as translated by himself, in apparent opposition to Pope's Homer, of which the first part made its entrance into the world at the same time.

Addison declared that the rival versions were both good, but that Tickell's was the best that ever was made ; and with Addison, the wits, his adherents and followers, were certain to concur. Pope does not appear to have been much dismayed ; “ for," says he, “ I have the town, that is, the mob, on my side.” But he remarks, that “it is common for the smaller party to make up in diligence what they want in numbers; he appeals to the people as his proper judges; and, if they are not inclined to condemn hiin, he is in little care about the highfliers at Button's."

Pope did not long think Addison an impartial judge ; for he considered him as the writer of Tickell's version. The reasons for his suspicion I will literally transcribe from Mr. Spence's collection.

“There had been a coldness, said Mr. Pope, between Mr. Addison and me for some time, and we had not been in com

; pany together, for a good while, any where but at Button's coffee

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