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them. He wrote now-and-then odes and other poems, and did something, however little.
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 cheerful. 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 On this occasion recourse was had to the booksellers, who, on the credit of a translation of Aristotle's Poetics, 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, left him about two thousand 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 studied to live, felt no evil but poverty, no sooner lived to study than his
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.
"The latter part of his life cannot be remembered but with pity and sadness. He languished some years under that depression of mind which unchains 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, 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 1756 came to his relief.
"After his 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he had directed to meet him: there was then nothing of disorder discernible in his mind by any but himself; but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to the school: when his friend took it into his hand, out of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 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 minutes exhausted him, so that he was forced to rest upon the couch, till a short cessation restored his powers, and he
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 seBut his health continually declined, and he grew more and more burthensome
To what I have formerly said of his writ
ings 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 Poetical Calendar:
TO MISS AURELIA C-R,
ON HER WEEPING AT HER SISTER'S WEDDING.
CEASE, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn;
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."
A monument of the most exquisite workmanship has been erected by public subscription to Collins. He is finely represented as just recovered from a wild fit of phrensy, to which he was unhappily 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.