1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Anna Brownell Jameson, "Poetical Old Bachelors" Loves of the Poets (1829; 1857) 479-80.



Collins was never a lover, and never married. His odes, with all their exquisite fancy and splendid imagery, have not much interest in their subjects, and no pathos derived from feeling or passion. He is reported to have been once in love; and as the lady was a day older than himself, he used to say jestingly, that "he came into the world a day after the fair." He was not deeply smitten; and though he led in his early years a dissipated life, his heart never seems to have been really touched. He wrote an Ode on the Passions, in which, after dwelling on Hope, Fear, Anger, Despair, Pity, and describing them with many picturesque circumstances, he dismisses Love with a couple of lines, as dancing to the sound of the sprightly viol, and forming with joy the light fantastic round. Such was Collins's idea of love!