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pounds; a sum which Collins could scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did not live to exhaust. The guineas were then repaid, and the translation neglected.

But man is not born for happiness. Collins, who, while he 6 'studied to live',' felt no evil but poverty, no sooner 'lived to study' than his life was assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease and insanity.

Having formerly written his character 2, while perhaps it was 7 yet more distinctly impressed upon my memory, I shall insert it here.

'Mr. Collins was a man of extensive literature, and of vigorous 8 faculties. He was acquainted not only with the learned tongues, but with the Italian, French, and Spanish languages3. He had employed his mind chiefly upon works of fiction and subjects of fancy, and by indulging some peculiar habits of thought was eminently delighted with those flights of imagination which pass the bounds of nature, and to which the mind is reconciled only by a passive acquiescence in popular traditions. loved fairies, genii, giants, and monsters; he delighted to rove through the meanders of inchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, to repose by the water-falls of Elysian gardens*.


This was, however, the character rather of his inclination 9 than his genius; the grandeur of wildness and the novelty of extravagance were always desired by him, but were not always

Bladen, the translator of Caesar's Commentaries, with whom he had no connexion whatever.]

Curiously enough on the page of Gent. Mag. quoted above is the death on April 6 of 'Martin Bladen of Wigan, Esq.' Cunningham (iii. 282) is mistaken when he says that his uncle was Colonel Martin Bladen who died Feb. 15, 1745-6.

'I would live to study, and not study to live.' BACON, Works, 1803, vi. 332. 'You only paint to live, not live to paint.' DRYDEN, Works, xi. 89. 'For we that live to please must please to live.'

JOHNSON, Drury Lane Prologue. 2 In 1763 in The Poetical Character by Fawkes and Woty, vol. xii. p. 108, quoted in Gent. Mag. 1764, p. 24. It is introduced as an account of Mr. Collins by a gentleman deservedly

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attained'. Yet as diligence is never wholly lost, if his efforts sometimes caused harshness and obscurity, they likewise produced in happier moments sublimity and splendour. This idea which he had formed of excellence led him to oriental fictions and allegorical imagery, and perhaps, while he was intent upon description, he did not sufficiently cultivate sentiment. His poems are the productions of a mind not deficient in fire, nor unfurnished with knowledge either of books or life, but somewhat obstructed in its progress by deviation in quest of mistaken beauties.


10 'His morals were pure, and his opinions pious; in a long continuance of poverty and long habits of dissipation it cannot be expected that any character should be exactly uniform. There is a degree of want by which the freedom of agency is almost destroyed; and long association with fortuitous companions will at last relax the strictness of truth, and abate the fervour of sincerity. That this man, wise and virtuous as he was, passed always unentangled through the snares of life, it would be prejudice and temerity to affirm; but it may be said that at least he preserved the source of action unpolluted, that his principles were never shaken, that his distinctions of right and wrong were never confounded, and that his faults had nothing of malignity or design, but proceeded from some unexpected pressure, or casual temptation 3.


'The latter part of his life cannot be remembered but with pity and sadness. He languished some years under that depression of mind which enchains the faculties without destroying them, and 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,

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3 Ante, PRIOR, 52; Savage, 341.


Johnson wrote of Collins on March 8, 1754 :—' 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.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 276 n.

See also ib. for Johnson's letters of Dec. 24, 1754; April 15, 1756.


Johnson, in his Dictionary, gives no example of this use of intellect in the plural. In Rasselas, ch. iii, he describes a man as one whose intellects were exhausted.' In The Idler, No. 78, he has ́ a superiority of intel

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 lunaticks, and afterwards retired to the care of his sister in Chichester, where death in 1756 came to his relief?.

'After his return from France the writer of this character paid 12 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 3."'


Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to 13 converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness*.

lects.' See also Boswell's Johnson, iv. 181. Richardson generally uses the plural form, as 'the man who did not give himself his intellects.' Sir Charles Grandison, 1754, i. 52. 'Goodness of heart shining through intellects so disturbed.' Ib. iii. 145.

I Mulso wrote to White on Aug. 1, 1746:-'I have just received a letter from Collins, dated Antwerp.. He is in high spirits, though near the French. Holt-White's Gilbert White, i. 46.

2 In the summer or autumn of 1754 he visited T. Warton, at Oxford, who described him as labouring under the most deplorable languor of body and dejection of mind.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 276 n.

Gilbert White saw him 'under Merton wall, struggling and conveyed by force, in the arms of two or three men, towards the parish of St. Clement, in which was a house that took in such unhappy objects.' Thomas's Collins, Preface, p. 32.

Early in 1759 Goldsmith, in The Present State of Polite Learning, ch. ix, after speaking of two neglected authors, continues:-'But they are dead and their sorrows are over. The neglected author of the Persian Eclogues, which, however inaccurate, excel any in our language, is still alive. Happy if insensible of our neglect, not raging at our ingratitude.'

Collins died on June 12, 1759. It is

strange that Johnson places his death in 1756.

3 For an anecdote of Collins stopping his raving and moanings to listen to the reading of the Bible, see Thomas's Collins, Preface, p. 43.

Cowper wrote in 1784:-'I have lately finished'eight volumes of Johnson's Lives of the Poets. In all that number I observe but one man-a poet of no great fame-of whom I did not know that he existed till I found him there, whose mind seems to have had the slightest tincture of religion. His name was Collins.... Of him there are some hopes. But from the lives of all the rest there is but one inference to be drawn-that poets are a very worthless wicked set of people.' Southey's Cowper, v. II.

Collins's Life is in vol. ix; West's, who was 'poet and saint' (ante, WEST, 5), in vol. x. Probably Cowper had passed over vol. ii; for it is not likely that he, untouched as he was by Tory prejudices, placed Milton in the very worthless wicked set.' For Southey's censure of this harsh judgement see Southey's Cowper, ii. 151.


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Johnson writes, in a note to his edition of Shakespeare [vii. 358], on Cymbeline, iv. 2:-'For the obsequies of Fidele a song was written by my unhappy friend, Mr. William Collins, a man of uncommon learning and abilities. I shall give it a place at the end in honour of his memory.'




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 Asiatick 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, but which no search has yet found 3.


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 judgement 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

The song was printed in Gent. Mag. 1749, p. 466, Fidele being changed by Cave, the editor, into Pastora. John. Letters, ii. 131n.

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''Mr. Collins,' writes his schoolfellow, Dr. Warton, wrote his Eclogues when he was about seventeen, at Winchester School, and, as I well remember, had been just reading that volume of Salmon's Modern History which described Persia. 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. . . . He was greatly mortified that they found more admirers than his Odes.' Warton's Pope's Works, i. 115; ante, COLLINS, 4 n. 6.

Goldsmith, after praising them as ' very pretty,' continues: The images, it must be owned, are not very local, for the pastoral subject could not well admit of it.' Works, iii. 437.

Mr. Moy Thomas (Preface, p. 56) points out some of the blunders in the first edition which led Collins to call the Eclogues Irish.


John Home, the author of Douglas. He and Hume the historian pronounced their names in the same way. Boswell's Johnson, ii. 320 n.; Hume's Letters to Strahan, p. 10.

Horace Walpole wrote of the Scotch reviewers of Mason's Gray :-'Every Hume, however spelt, will I don't know what do.' Letters, vi. 196.

Home came to London about the

end of 1749. Home's Works, 1822, 35:


J. H. Burton says in the Auto. of Dr. A. Carlyle, p. 562 :-' Carlyle remembered having read it in 1749 with Home. After a search he found the actual MS. in an imperfect state. He and Henry Mackenzie filled up the lacunae, and presented it in a complete shape to the Royal Society of Edinburgh [in 1783]. Soon after the Ode was published anonymously from what was said to be an original and complete copy.' The Royal Society published Carlyle's copy in their Transactions, 1788, vol. i. part 2, p. 63. Dict. Nat. Biog. xi. 379.

As for the anonymous copy, Francis Horner records on the authority of Mackintosh that' a very low northern littérateur published it at Cadell's shop, with all the vacancies supplied. The additions were a forgery of his own, of which he boasted to Mackintosh. Memoirs of F. Horner, 1843, ii. 276.

For a curious anecdote of 'the cordial youth' of this Ode see Home's Works, 1822, i. 6.

diseased, eagerly snatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce1. 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 17 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 order3, 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 5. As men are often esteemed who cannot be loved, so the poetry of Collins may sometimes extort praise when it gives little pleasure 6.


Johnson wrote of Collins to T. Warton on Dec. 21, 1754:—' I have a notion that by very great temperance, or more properly abstinence, he may yet recover.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 277.

'JOHNSON. Madmen are all sensual in the lower stages of the distemper. They are eager for gratifications to soothe their minds, and divert their attention from the misery which they suffer.' Ib. iii. 176.

'Collins,' wrote Gilbert White, 'as long as I knew him, was very temperate in his eating and drinking.' Thomas's Collins, Preface, p. 33.

2 Ante, PRIOR, 59.


3 'JOHNSON. No, Sir, Warton] has taken to an odd mode. For example, he'd write thus— "Hermit hoar, in solemn cell,

Wearing out life's evening gray." Gray evening is common enough; but evening gray he'd think fine.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. 158.

'These misguided innovators have not been content with restoring antiquated words and phrases, but have indulged themselves in the most licentious transpositions and the harshest constructions, vainly imagining that the more their writings are unlike prose, the more they resemble poetry. GOLDSMITH, Works, iv. 141. 5 Such as

'To old Ilissus' distant side,

Deserted stream and mute.'

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Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph,
at last?'

'O thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakespeare's
Ode to Fear.

For the collisions of consonants,' and 'the detruncation of our syllables,' by which our language is overstocked with consonants,' see The Rambler, No. 88.

['Collins's Ode to Evening shows equal genius in the images and versification. The sounds steal slowly over the ear like the gradual coming on of evening itself.' HAZLITT, Lectures on Eng. Poets, 1819, p. 232.]

6 There must have been some demand for Collins's Poems. They were reprinted in 1765, and in Brit. Poets in 1773; also at Glasgow in 1771, 1777.

Wordsworth wrote in 1829 (Memoirs, 1851, ii. 215):- Thomson, Collins and Dyer had more poetic imagination than any of their contemporaries, unless we reckon Chatterton as of that age. I do not name Pope, for he stands alone as a man most highly gifted; but unluckily he took the plain when the heights were within his reach.'

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