1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Lord Byron to Leigh Hunt, November 1815; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 3:247-48.



The paper on the Methodists I redde, and agree with the writer on one point, in which you and he perhaps differ; than an addiction to poetry is very generally the result of "an uneasy mind in an uneasy body;" disease or deformity have been the attendants of many of our best. Collins mad — Chatterton, I think, mad — Cowper mad — Pope crooked — Milton blind — Gray (I have heard that the last was afflicted by an incurable and very grievous distemper, though not generally known) and others — I have somewhere read, however, that poets rarely go mad. I suppose the writer means that their insanity effervesces and evaporates in verse — may it be so.