Imatges de pàgina

leaves reason the knowledge of right without the power of pursuing it. These clouds which he perceived gathering on his intellects, he endeavoured to disperse by travel, and passed into France ; but found himself constrained to yield to his malady, and returned. He was for some time confined in a house of lunatics, and afterwards retired to the care of his sister in Chichester,' where death, in 1759,' came to his relief.

“ After bis return from France, the writer of this character paid him a visit at Islington, where he was waiting for his sister, whom he had directed to meet him : there was then nothing of disorder discernible in his mind by any but himself ; but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to the school : when his friend took it into his hand, out of curiosity to see what companion a man of letters had chosen, 'I have but one book,' said Collins, ' but that is the best.'

Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness."

He was visited at Chichester in his last illness by his learned friends Dr. Warton and his brother, to whom he spoke with disapprobation of his Oriental Eclogues, as not sufficiently expressive of

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& Afterwards married to the Rev. Dr. Durnford. She died at Chichester in Nov. 1789.

• Collins died on the 12th June, 1759, and on the 15th was buried in the church of St. Andrew's, Chichester. There is a mural monument to his memory in Chichester Cathedral, with a fine bas-relief hy Flaxman.

10 But how little can we venture to exult in any intellectual powers or literary attainmeats when we consider the condition of poor Collins ! I knew him a few years ago full of hopes and full of projects, versed in many languages, high in fancy and strong in retention. This busy and forcible mind is now under the government of those who lately would not have been able to comprehend the least and most narrow of its designs. What do you hear of hiin?

are there hopes of his recovery!-or is he to pass the remainder of his life in misery and de gradation, perhaps with complete consciousness of his calamity ?—Joussos to Joseph Warton, March 8, 1754.

Poor dear Collins ! Let me know whether you think it would give him pleasure if I should write to him I have often been near his state, and therefore have it in great commiseration. -Jonsson to Joseph Warton, Dec. 24, 1754.

What becomes of poor dear Collins! I wrote him a letter, which he never answered. I suppose writing is very troublesome to him that man is no common loss. The moralists all talk of the uncertainty of fortune, and the transitoriness of beauty ; but it is yet more dread. ful to consider that the powers of the mind are equally liable to change-that understanding may make its appearance and depart—that it may blaze and expire.—Johnson to Joseph Warton, April 15, 1756.

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Asiatic manners, and called them his Irish Eclogues." He showed them, at the same time, an ode inscribed to Mr. John Home, on the superstitions of the Highlands ; which they thought superior to his other works, but which no search has yet found."

His disorder was not alienation of mind, but general laxity and feebleness, a deficiency rather of his vital than intellectual powers. What he spoke wanted neither judgment nor spirit ; but a few minutes exhausted him, so that he was forced to rest upon the couch, till a short cessation restored his powers, and he was again able to talk with his former vigour.

The approaches of this dreadful malady he began to feel soon after his uncle's death ; and with the usual weakness of men so diseased, eagerly snatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce. But his health continually declined, and he grew more and more burthensome to himself.

To what I have formerly said of his writings may be added, that his diction was often harsh, unskilfully laboured, and injudiciously selected. He affected the obsolete" when it was not worthy of revival ; and he puts his words out of the common order, seeming to think, with some later candidates for fame, that not to write prose is certainly to write poetry. His lines commonly are of slow motion, clogged and impeded with clusters of consonants. As men are often esteemed who cannot be loved, so the poetry of Collins may sometimes extort praise when it gives little pleasure.

Mr. Collins's first production is added here from The Gentleman's Magazine."

11 Mr. Collins wrote his Eclogues when he was about seventeen years old, at Winchester School, and, as I well remember, had been just reading that volume of Salmon's Modern History which described Persia; which determined him to lay the scene of these pieces, as being productive of new images and sentiments. In his maturer years he was accustomed to speak very contemptuously of them, calling them his Irish Eclogues, and saying they had not in them one spark of Orientalism; and desiring me to erase a motto he had prefixed to them in & copy he gave me:

--quos primus equis oriens amavit anhelis.---VIRG. lie was greatly mortified that they found more readers and admirers than his Odes. Jos. W'ARTON : Pope's Workx, i. 61. (See also Warton's 'Pope,' il. 846 ) 12 It has since been discovered, and was first printed in 1788, 4to.

13 Spenser himself affects the obsolete,

And Sidney's verse halts ill on Roman feet.-POPE. 14 Collins's Odes, the volume which endears his name to every reader of true poetry, is a amall octavo of fifty-two pages, dated 1747, and published by Andrew Millar in Dec. 1746.

On her Weeping at her Sister's Wedding.
“Cease, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn;

Lament not Hannah's happy state ;
You may be happy in your turn,

And seize the treasure you regret.
With Love united Hymen stands,

And softly whispers to your charms,
• Meet but your lover in my bands,

'You'll find your sister in his arms.''

“ Have you seen the works of two young authors, a Mr. (Joseph) Warton and Mr. Collins, both writers of odes! It is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of expression, and a good ear: the second, a fine fancy, modelled upon the antique ; a bad car; a great variety of words and images, with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some years, but will not."-GRAY to Wharton, Dec. 27, 1746.

How little did Gray foresee that Collins's name as a poet, would hereafter be linked inseparably with his own!

Collias's first separate publication was his Oriental Eclogues, published in 1742, under the Utle of Persian Eclogues ;' his second was his Verses to Sir Thomas Hanmer; and the third was his volume of Odes. The best edition of Collins is that by Mr. Dyce, 8vo. 1827.


VOL. 11


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