1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 2:247-48.



Langhorne, knowing that Collins was buried at Chichester, travelled thither to visit the grave of his favourite poet. On enquiry he found that Mr. Collins was interred in a sort of garden, surrounded by the cloyster of the Cathedral, which is called the Paradise, and into this burial ground he was admitted by the Sexton. In the evening he supt with an inhabitant of the town, and describing to him the spot sacred to his sorrow, he was told that his effusions of feeling had not been misapplied, for he had been lamenting a very honest man, and a very useful member of society, Mr. Collins the taylor. But William Collins, from whose Poems these Specimens are taken, was also the son of a very useful member of society, though not a taylor, but a hatter; and what is more important with those who value distinctions and honours, an alderman of Chichester. At Winchester school he shewed proof of his early powers, which obtained for him a Demyship of Magdalen College. Subsequent disappointments and poverty broke his spirits, and tendered his fin talents inapplicable to his advancement in life. An accession of fortune, which might have been of benefit to him earlier, came too late to take him from habits destructive of his mind, which at last failed him altogether; and after remaining some time in a house opened for the care of lunaticks, he died at Chichester, where his sister had taken him with female goodness under her own protection.