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Pindar says of Pelops that he came alone in the dark to the
Near the billow-beaten side
Darkling, and alone, he stood ?, which, however, is less exuberant than the former passage. 12 A work of this kind must in a minute examination discover
many imperfections, but West's version, so far as I have considered it, appears to be the product of great labour and
great abilities 3. 13 His Institution of the Garter (1742) * is written with sufficient
knowledge of the manners that prevailed in the age to which it is referred, and with great elegance of diction; but, for want of a process of events, neither knowledge nor elegance preserve the
reader from weariness. 14 His Imitations of Spensers are very successfully performed,
both with respect to the metre, the language, and the fiction; and being engaged at once by the excellence of the sentiments and the artifice of the copy the mind has two amusements together. But such compositions are not to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their effect is local and temporary; they appeal not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. An Imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom Spenser has never been perused. Works of this
Eng. Poets, lvii. 144.
Gray wrote to Richard West from . Though Johnson praised West's Florence on July 16, 1740:
-Now I translation of Pindar, he pointed out talk of verses, Mr. Walpole and I have the following passage as faulty, by frequently wondered you should never expressing a circumstance so minute mention a certain imitation of Spenser, as to detract from the general dignity published last year by a namesake of which should prevail :
yours, with which we are all en“Down then from thy glittering nail raptured and enmarvailed.' Letters, Take, O Muse, thy Dorian lyre." i. 78. [76. p. 140.)
'West began a school half Greek, Boswell's Johnson, iv, 28. half Gothick, which was followed 3 West has learning, good sense, by Mason, Gray and Warton, and and a tolerable style of versification.' is to be traced in Akenside and GIBBON, Misc. Works, v. 585. Collins.' SOUTHEY, Specimens, Pre
* The Institution of the Order of face, p. 32. the Garter. A Dramatic Poem, price 'The poems of West had the merit Is. 6d. Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 112. It of chaste and manly diction, but they is not in Eng. Poets, but it is in were cold, and, if I may so express Dodsley's Collection, ií. 106.
it, only dead-coloured.' COLERIDGE, 5 Eng. Poets, lvii. 263-322.
Biog. Lit. 1847, i. 23.
kind may deserve praise, as proofs of great industry and great nicety of observation ; but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are those of which the effect is co-extended with rational nature, or at least with the whole circle of polished life ; what is less than this can be only pretty, the plaything of fashion and the amusement of a day'.
THERE is in The Adventurer' a paper of verses given to 15 one of the authors as Mr. West's, and supposed to have been written by him ?. It should not be concealed, however, that it is printed with Mr. Jago's name in Dodsley's Collection", and is mentioned as his in a letter of Shenstone's 5. Perhaps West gave it without naming the author, and Hawkesworth”, receiving it from him, thought it his; for his he thought it, as he told me, and as he tells the publick.
* For Imitations see ante, POPE, 372.
[Elegy on a Blackbird in No. 37.] 3 In the first edition, the sentence continues :-—'which, having been left out by the compilers, it is proper to insert here.' It is inserted at the end of the Life. It certainly is not West's.
* A Collection of Poems in Six
Volumes. By Several Hands. 2nd ed. 1758, iv. 315.
Richard Jago, a school-fellow and friend of Shenstone's, matriculated at University College, Oxford, on Oct. 30, 1732. Alumni Oxon. See post, SHENSTONE, 3 n.
5 Shenstone's Works, 1791, iii. 242.
6 The editor of The Adventurer. Boswell's Johnson, i. 234.
I WILLIAM COLLINS"
was born at Chichester on the
twenty-fifth of December, about 1720?. His father was a hatter of good reputation?. He was in 1733, as Dr. Warton has kindly informed me, admitted scholar of Winchester College, where he was educated by Dr. Burton'. His English exercises
were better than his Latin. 2 He first courted the notice of the publick by some verses To
a Lady weeping, published in The Gentleman's Magazine 6. 3 In 1740 he stood first in the list of the scholars to be received
in succession at New College ; but unhappily there was no vacancy'. This was the original misfortune of his life. He became a Commoner of Queen's College, probably with a scanty maintenance; but was in about half a year elected a Demy of Magdalen College, where he continued till he had taken a Bachelor's degree, and then suddenly left the University 8 ; for what reason I know not that he told 9.
* In The Poetical Calendar, xii. chester, where an election is held 107, there is a brief memoir of Collins, annually to supply the vacancies reprinted in Gent. Mag. 1764, p. 23, which may happen in the course of which Johnson perhaps used.
the ensuing year.' Oxford Univ. 1721. Collins's Poems, ed. Moy Cal, 1833, p. 207. No one could be Thomas, Preface, p. 9.
examined after his nineteenth birthHe was thrice Mayor. 16. day. See ante, BROOME, 1 ; SOMER
Johnson, in his Dictionary, does VILE, 2; post, YOUNG, 5. not give scholar in the sense he uses 8 He matriculated at Queen's on it here one who had his education March 22, 1739-40, aged 18. 'Reand maintenance free. He gives maining still at Winchester he was scholarship.
elected in the summer of 1740, and 5 Warton and Collins were school- placed first upon the Roll for New fellows. Warton succeeded Burton College, but no vacancy occurring as head master.
during the year he became super• Oct. 1739, p. 545, under the title annuated. On July 29, 1741, he was of Sonnet. It is not included in admitted a Demy of Magdalen. In Eng. Poets. It is given in Thomas's 1743 he took his B.A. degree, and in Collins, p. 100, and in John. Letters, 1744 he resigned his Demyship.' ji. 131 n. See post, COLLINS, 18. Bloxam's Reg. of Mag. Coll. vi. 254.
? Winchester College and New For Demy see ante, ADDISON, 8. College, Oxford, formed two parts of According to Gilbert White, who one great foundation. "The seventy had known him at Oxford, ‘he had Fellows and Scholars of New College a sovereign contempt for all academic are elected from the College of Win- studies and discipline, and was always
He now (about 1744) came to London a literary adventurer, 4 with many projects in his head, and very little money in his pocket". He designed many works, but his great fault was irresolution, or the frequent calls of immediate necessity broke his schemes, and suffered him to pursue no settled purpose. A man, doubtful of his dinner, or trembling at a creditor, is not much disposed to abstracted meditation or remote enquiries 3. He published proposals for a History of the Revival of Learning *, and I have heard him speak with great kindness of Leo the Tenth, and with keen resentment of his tasteless successor 5. But probably not a page of the History was ever written. He planned several tragedies, but he only planned them. He wrote now and then odes and other poems, and did something, however little 6.
complaining of the dulness of a college life. Going to London, he commenced a man of the town. He soon wasted his little property.' Thomas's Collins, Preface, p. 31.
Eight years after Collins left Magdalen Gibbon entered, and took note of the Fellows, with their dull and deep potations, and the Demies, those 'poor scholars, whose ambition aspired to the peaceful honour of a Fellowship.' Memoirs, p. 58.
' Johnson describes himself as he had come to London seven years earlier. Boswell's Johnson, i. 101. Collins had inherited a small property which he sold. Thomas's Collins, Preface, pp. 16, 18.
* Mulso wrote to White on Sept. 7, 1745: -'Collins has been some time returned from Flanders in order to put on the gown as I hear, and get a chaplaincy in a regiment. Don't laugh. . . . This will be the second acquaintance of mine who becomes the thing he most derides.' R. HoltWhite's Lite of Gilbert White, i. 41.
3 For Johnson impransus see Boswell's Johnson, i. 137.
* His History was to include the pontificates of Julius II and Leo X. Poet. Cal. xii. 109. According to T. Warton he finished the Preliminary Dissertation. Thomas's Collins, Preface, p. 43. J. Warton refers to this book in his Essay on Pope, i. 186.
J. Mulso wrote to Gilbert White on
July 18, 1744:-'I saw Collins in town; he is entirely an author, and hardly speaks out of rule. I hope his subscriptions go on well in Oxford.' Life of White, i. 38. His subscriptions did not answer his expectations.' Gent. Mag. 1764, p. 23.
Johnson projected a work under the same title. Boswell's Johnson, iv. 382.
5 Adrian VI, preceptor of Charles V. 'He was indeed no inconsiderable proficient in those frivolous sciences which during several centuries assumed the name of philosophy. . But he was without any tincture of taste or elegance.' ROBERTSON, Hist. of Charles V, 1802, ii. 27.
À sa mort on écrivit sur la porte de son médecin :-Au libérateur de la patrie.' VOLTAIRE, (Euvres, xxii. 16.
Of Leo's predecessor, Julius II, and of his great-grandfather, Cosmo de Medici, Collins wrote: "As Arts expired, resistless dulness
rose ; Goths, priests, or Vandals, -all were
learning's foes; Till Julius first recalled each exiled
maid, And Cosmo owned them in the Etrurian shade.'
Epistle to Hanmer, l. 35. o In Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 56, are announced 'Persian Eclogues, price 6d.,' and ib. 1746, p. 672, Oides on several descriptive and allegoric subjects. By W. Collins, price 1s.; Odes
5 About this time I fell into his company. His appearance was
decent' and manly; his knowledge considerable, his views extensive, his conversation elegant, and his disposition chearful. By degrees I gained his confidence; and one day was admitted to him when he was immured by a bailiff that was prowling in the street. On this occasion recourse was had to the booksellers, who, on the credit of a translation of Aristotle's Poeticks, which he engaged to write with a large commentary, advanced as much money as enabled him to escape into the country? He shewed me the guineas safe in his hand. Soon afterwards his uncle, Mr. Martin, a lieutenant-colonel 3, left him about two thousand
on several subjects. By Jos. Warton, ing'-according to the modern phrase B.A., price is. 6d!' Of the Persian 'that of a gentleman'-the reverse of Eclogues the British Museum has no the appearance of Johnson and of copy. (They were republished in many of his brother authors. 1757 as Oriental Eclogues. Thomas's • Johnson probably was the goCollins, Pref. pp. 15, 46; post, COL- between, as he was when he sold LINS, 14.] Warton wrote: -- Collins The Vicar of Wakefield for Goldsmith is not to publish the Odes unless he when arrested for debt. Boswell's gets ten guineas for them. Wooll's Johnson, i. 416. Warton, p. 15:
3 Edmund Martin, Esq., Lieut.Gray wrote in Dec. 1746:— Have Col. of the King's Reg. of Foot' died you seen the works of two young on April 18, 1749. Gent. Mag. 1749, authors, a Mr. Warton and a Mr. p. 188. [He had been wounded in Collins, both writers of Odes? It is the action of the Val in Flanders in odd enough, but each is the half of 1747 when in command of Wolfe's a considerable man, and one the Regiment of Foot, i.e. the 8th Regt., counterpart of the other. The first sometimes called the King's Own. has but little invention, very poetical Soon after he returned to England, choice of expression, and a good ear; where he died at Chichester in the the second a fine fancy modelled upon house of Collins's sisters. Collins's the antique, a bad ear, great variety of Poems, ed. Moy Thomas, Preface, words, and images with no choice at
pp. 15, 24.) all. They both deserve to last some Dr. Warton in a note on The years, but will not.'. Letters, i. 153.
Dunciad, iv. 560 of Collins's Eclogues 500 copies
“Wash Bladen white, and expiate were printed, and of his Odes 1,000. Hays's stain,' Thomas's Collins, Preface, pp. 16, 22. says : Colonel Martin Bladen was
* In what sense does Johnson use uncle to my dear friend Mr. Collins decent? He defines it as 'becoming ; the Poet, to whom he left an estate, fit ; suitable. Mr. Thomas thinks which he did not get possession of that here it means graceful.' Collins's till his faculties were deranged. I Poems, Preface, p. 49. That is more remember Collins told me that Bladen than Johnson meant. In The De- had given to Voltaire all that account serted Village, l. 12,
of Camoens inserted in his Essay on "The decent church that topp'd the the Epic Poets of all Nations [Euvres, neighbouring hill'
viii. 385).' Warton's Pope's Works, was not likely to have been graceful.
V. 281. When Pope said 'Secker is decent' [Mr. Moy Thomas (Collins's Poems, (Epil. Sat. ii. 71) he meant that his p. 26), in reference to Warton's note, conduct is not unbecoming a bishop. says that the name of Collins's uncle So Collins's appearance was ' becom- was simply Martin, and not Martin