« AnteriorContinuar »
mind by any but himself; but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to the school: when his friend took it into his hand, out of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 Asiatic manners, and called them his Irish Eclogues. He shewed them, at the same time, an ode inscribed to Mr. John Hume, on the Superstitions of the Highlands; which they thought superior to his other works.
'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 mrnutes exhausted him, so that he was forced to re-t 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 he add d, 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 ia added here from tht •Poetical Calendar.'
TO MISS A U REM A C R.
On her weepmg at her Sister's Wedding,
Cease, fair Aurelia, cease tc mourn;
Lament not Hannah's bappy state;
And seize the treasure you regret.
With Love united Hymen stands,
* Meet but your lo\ er in my bands,
A monument has been erected by public subscription to Collins. He is represented as just recovered from a wild fit of phrensy, to which he was subject, and in a calm and reclining posture, seeking refuge from his misfortunes in the consolations of the Gospel, while his lyre and one of the first of his poems lie neglected on the ground, &c. The whole was executed by Flaxman, at that time lately returned from Rome: the following most excellent epitaph was written by Mr. Hay ley.
Ye who the merits of the dead revere,
Who hold misfortune's sacred genius dear,
Regard this tomb, where Collins, hapless name,
Solicits kindness with a double claim.
Though Nature gave him, and though Science taught
The fire of Fancy, and the reach of thought,
Severely doom'd to Penury's extreme,
He pass'd in madd'ning pain life's fev'rish dream,
While rays of genius only served to shew
The thick'ning horror, and exalt his woe.
Ye walls, that echo'd to his frantic moan,
Guard the due. records of this grateful stone;
Strangers to him, enamonr'd of his lays,
This fond memorial to his talents raise.
For this the ashes of the bard require,
Who touch'd the tend'rest notes of Pity's lyre;
Who joinM pure faith to strong poetic powers,
Who, in reviving Reason's lucid hours,
Sought on one book his troubled mind to rest.
And rightly deem'd the book of God the best.
Written by Scott, of Amwell, on his return from Chichester, where he had in vain attempted to find th$ burial place of Collins.
To view the beauties of my native land,
O'er many a pleasing, distant scene, I rove J
Now climb the rock, or wander on the strand,
From Baia's hills, from Portsea's spreading wave,
To her famed Poet's venerated grave
O'er the dim pavement of the solemn fane,
Midst the rude stones that croud th'adjoining space,
The sacred spot I seek : but seek in vain-^-
What boots the eye whose quick observant glance
What,the skill'd ear that sound's sweet charms entrance,
What boots the power each image to portray,
How vain the hope that through life's little day,
While Folly frequent boasts th' insculptured tomb,
While rustic Labour's undistinguish'd doom
Of Genius oft and Learning worse the lot,
Al've neglected, and when dead forgot,