The son of a hatter, William Collins was friends with Joseph Warton and William Whitehead at Winchester (1733-40) where he composed his first published poems, the Persian Eclogues. He entered Queen's College Oxford in 1740 (B.A. 1744) and seems to have planned a career as a poet. Collins was an early admirer of Elizabethan poetry; Thomas Warton refers to a lost collection black-letter treasures. Removing to London Collins attracted the attention and encouragement of James Thomson and Samuel Johnson. In 1749 he received a timely inheritance, only to be stricken with a debilitating disease that left him incapable of writing.
1742Eclogue the First. Selim; or, the Shepherd's Moral.
1742Eclogue the Fourth. Agib and Secander; or, the Fugitives.
1742Eclogue the Second. Hassan; or, the Camel-driver.
1742Eclogue the Third. Abra; or, the Georgian Sultana.
1742Persian Eclogues: The Preface.
1745Ode to a Lady, on the Death of Col. Charles Ross, in the Action of Fontenoy. Written May, 1745.
1745 ca.[Lines Addressed to a Friend about to visit Italy.]
1746Ode on the Poetical Character.
1746Ode to Evening.
1746Ode to Fear.
1746Ode to Liberty.
1746Ode to Mercy.
1746Ode to Peace.
1746Ode to Pity.
1746Ode to Simplicity.
1746Ode, written in the Beginning of the Year 1746. [How Sleep the Brave.]
1746The Manners. An Ode.
1746The Passions. An Ode for Music.
1747Of the essential Excellencies in Poetry.
1749An Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands.
1749Ode occasion'd by the Death of Mr. Thomson.
1749Superstitions Ode: The London Text.
Persian eclogues, written for originally for the entertainment of the ladies of Taurus and now first translated. 1742.
Verses humbly address'd to Sir Thomas Hanmer on his edition of Shakespear's works, by a gentleman of Oxford. 1743.
Odes on several descriptive and allegorical subjects. 1746.
Ode occasion'd by the death of Mr. Thomson. 1749.
The passions, an ode. 1750.
Poetical works, ed. John Langhorne. 1765.
An ode on the popular superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland, considered as the subject of poetry. 1788.
Poetical works, ed. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, 1797.
Poetical works, ed. by Alexander Dyce. 1827.
Poetical works of Goldsmith, Collins, and T. Warton, ed. G. Gilfillan. 1854.
Poetical works, ed. W. Moy Thomas. 1858.
Poems, ed. W. C. Bronson. 1898.
Poetical works of Gray and Collins, ed. Austin Lane Poole. 1917.
Poems, ed. Edmund Blunden. 1929.
Drafts and fragments of verse, ed. J. S. Cunningham. 1956.
Poems of Gray, Collins, and Goldsmith, ed. R. Lonsdale. 1969.
Works, ed. Richard Wendorf and Charles Ryskamp. 1979.