« PreviousContinue »
GRAY, AND BEATTIE.
WITH A MEMOIR OF EACH.
NO. 10 JOHN STREET.
LIFE OF COLLINS.
WILLIAM COLLINS was born at Chichester, on the 25th of December, about 1720. His father was a hatter, of good reputation. He was, in 1733, as Dr. Warton has kindly informed me, admitted scholar of Win. chester College, where he was educated by Dr. Burton. His English exercises were better than his Latin.
He first courted the notice of the public by some verses to a 'Lady weeping,' published in the Gentleman's Magazine.
In 1740, he stood first in the list of the Scholars to de received in snccession at New College; but unliappily there was no vacancy. This was the original misfortune of his life. He became a Commoner of Queen's College, probably with a scanty maintenance; but was in about half a year elected a demy of Magdalen College, where he continued till he had taken a bachelor's degree, and then suddenly left the university; for what reason I know not that he told.
He now (about 1744) came to London a literary adventurer, with many projects in his head, and very little money in his pocket. He designed many works; but his great fault was irresolution, or the frequent calls of immediate necessity broke his schemes, and suffered him to pursue no settled purpose. A man, doubtful of his dinner, or trembling at a creditor, is not much disposed to abstracted meditation, or remote nquiries. published proposals for a History of the Revival of Learning; and I have heard hiin speak with great kindness of Leo the Tenth, and with keen resentment of his tasteless successor. But probably not a page of the History was ever written. He planned several tragedies; but he only planned them. He wrote, now.and-then, odes and other poems, and did something, however little.