Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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Thomas Tickell (1685-1740)



Born in 1685 at Bridekirk, Cumberland. Tickell was educated at Queen's College, Oxford. He published a translation of the first book of the Iliad in 1715. As a friend of Joseph Addison, who employed the poet when appointed secretary to Lord Sunderland, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Tickell wrote a well-known elegy "To the Earl of Warwick, on the death of Mr. Addison" (1721).

 Tickell's sentimental ballad "Lucy and Colin", based on the traditional "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" (Child 74), was translated into Latin by Vincent Bourne (1695-1747). Thomas Percy, who included it in his Reliques, praised it as "one of the most beautiful ballads in our own or any other language" (Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. III), and George Saintsbury (1845-1933) as "Any single copy of verses [does not] deserve so much credit for setting the eighteenth century back on the road of true romantic poetry by an easy path, suited to its own tastes and powers." [Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller (Cambridge UP, 1922; rpt. 1932) 9: 185-86]    (M. Y.)

1.Lucy and Colin