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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, 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he had directed to meet him : there was then nothing of disorder discernible in his mind by any but himself, but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to the school.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 sce 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

* Mr. Collins was in stature somewhat above the middle size; of a brown complexion; keen, expressive eyes ; and a fixed, sedate aspect: which, from intense thinking, had contracted an habitual frown.-L.

he spoke with disapprobation of his Oriental Eclogues, as not sufficiently expressive of Asiatic manners, and called them his Irish Eclogues. He showed 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 lias yet found."

His disorder was not alienation of mind, but general laxity and feebleness,-a deficiency rather of his vital than his 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 common order, seeming to think, with some late 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.

* It is inserted in the present and late editions.

“ There is a curious anecdote of this singular and unfortunate man, which will shew what a quick feeling and sensibility he possessed from his earliest days. The boys on the foundation at Winchester College are lodged in seven chambers. Collins belonged to the same chamber with William Smith of Chichester, afterwards Treasurer of the Ordnance; by whom he was observed one morning to be particularly depressed and melancholy. Being pressed to disclose the cause, he at last said it was in consequence of a dream: for this he was laughed at, but desired to tell what it was; he said, he dreamed that he was walking in the fields where there was a lofty tree; that he climbed it, and when he had nearly reached the top, a great branch, upon which he had got, failed with him,

and let him fall to the ground. This account caused more ridicule; and he was asked how he could possibly be affected by this common consequence of a school-boy adventure, when he did not pretend, even in imagination and sleep, to have received any hurt, he replied, that the Tree was the Tree of Poetry,

The first time that Mr. Smith saw him, after they had left the College, was at an interval of twelve or fourteen years; and when, in a deplorable state of mind, he had been long under confinement: but no sooner had his old school-fellow on this occasion presented himself, than he exclaimed, “Sinith, do you remember my Dream!

It does not appear that the topic was further dwelt upon. It is probable indeed that his enfeebled mind was exhausted by this effort, or sudden burst of anguished recollection. The

presence of this old friend, altogether unexpected, and at so long an interval, drew to a point all that his miscrable mind had been long brooding over, under the accumulated pressure of disease, distraction, and despair ; which being interpreted, was plainly this I feel and know that I have attained high poetical distinction and eminence; but I have, by my irregularities, sadly deprived myself of that hope which I fostered from my cradle, and know that I was otherwise destined to have realized I have impaired and overturned my mind, that rare faculty, by which I was to have sustained the Poetical Character, (a boon scarce ever, and, perhaps, of all the Suns of Soul, to one only imparted, p. 31.) When I was climbing with success, and had got high in the Tree, my grossness broke its branch under me, and I fell to the ground instead of reaching the top.'

This anecdote Mr. Smith related to Dr. Busby, late Dean of Rochester, who was, like himself, a Wykehamist, and a native of Sussex.”

For the foregoing paragraph I am indebted to a learned and intimate Friend, to whom Dr. Busby used to relate the story; and who, being unwilling it should be forgotten,

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communicated it to me, to be employed as is here done. It is indeed to his advice and liberal assistance that the present Edition of his favourite Poet is owing.-C.

The character which Dr. Johnson has given of his friend can hardly be perused without exciting some degree of surprise. He allows him no poetical faculty whatever, without making a considerable detraction from it. He had employed his mind upon works of fiction, and subjects of fancy: but he had indulged some peouliar habits of thinking, which led him to flights of imagination, surpassing the bounds of nature: with these flights he was delighted; but they were such, that the mind could not be reconciled to them without a passive acquiescence in popular traditions. Even for this he had rather an inclination than a genius; and did not always attain what he always desired; which was the grandeur of wildness, and the novelty of extravagance.' Here is the same charge against Collins which he had brought against Cowley, and those of his .class. What was vicious was produced by a voluntary deviation from nature, in pursuit of something new and strange.'-Life of Cowley. His praise of Collins is scanty, and merely negative.

• His poems are the productions of a mind not deficient in .fire, nor unfurnished with knowledge either of books or life, but sometimes obstructed in its progress by deviation in quest of mistaken beauties.'

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