Slike strani

"After his return from France, the writer of this character paid him a vifit at Iflington, where he was waiting for his fifter, whom he had directed to meet him: there was then nothing of diforder difcernible in his mind by any but himself; but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Teftament, such as children carry to the school: when his friend took it into his hand, out of curiosity to see what companion a Man of Letters had chofen, I have but one book, faid Collins, but that is the beft."


[ocr errors]

Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness,

[ocr errors]


He was vifited at Chichester, in his laft illnefs, by his learned friends Dr. Warton and his brother; to whom he spoke with disapprobation of his Oriental Eclogues, as not fufficiently expreffive of Afiatick manners, and called them his Irish Eclogues. He fhewed them, at the fame time, an ode infcribed to Mr. John Hume, on the fuper



ftitions of the Highlands; which they thought fuperior to his other works, but which no fearch has yet found.

His diforder was not alienation of mind, but general laxity and feeblenefs, a deficiency rather of his vital than intellectual powers. What he spoke wanted neither judgement nor fpirit; but a few minutes exhausted him, fo that he was forced to rest upon the couch, till a fhort ceffation restored his powers, and he was again able to talk with his former vigour.

The approaches of this dreadful malady he began to feel foon after his uncle's death; and, with the ufual weakness of men so difeafed, eagerly fnatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and feduce. But his health continually declined, and he grew more and more burthenfome to himself.

To what I have formerly faid of his writings may be added, that his diction was often harsh, unskilfully laboured, and injudiciously felected. He affected the obfolete when it



was not worthy of revival; and he puts words out of the common order, feeming to think, with some later candidates for fame, that not to write profe is certainly to writepoetry. His lines commonly are of flow mction, clogged and impeded with clusters of confonants. As men are often efteemed who cannot be loved, fo the poetry of Collins may fometimes extort praise when it gives little pleasure.

Mr. Collins's first production is added here from the Poetical Calendar:

[ocr errors]



Ceafe, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn;
Lament not Hannah's happy ftate;
You may be happy in your turn,

And feize the treasure you regret.

With Love united Hymen ftands,

And softly whispers to your charms;
"Meet but your lover in my bands,
"You'll find your fifter in his arms.

[ocr errors]



[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]


OHN DYER, of whom I have no other account to give than his own Letters, published with Hughes's correfpondence, and the notes added by the editor, have afforded me, was born in 1700, the fecond fon of Robert Dyer of Aberglasney, in Caermarthenshire, a folicitor of great capacity and note.


He paffed through Westminster-school under the care of Dr. Freind, and was then

called home to be inftructed in his father's

profeffion. But his father died foon, and

he took no delight in the study of the law, but, having always amufed himself with


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

drawing, refolved to turn painter, and became pupil to Mr. Richardson, an artist then of high reputation, but now better known by his books than by his pictures."

Having studied awhile under his master, he became, as he tells his friend, an itinerant painter, and wandered about South Wales and the parts adjacent; but he mingled poetry with painting, and about 1727 printed Grongar Hill in Lewis's Miscellany.

Being, probably, unfatisfied with his own proficiency, he, like other painters, travelled to Italy; and coming back in 1740, published the Ruins of Rome.


If his poem was written foon after his re-turn, he did not make much ufe of his acquifitions in painting, whatever they might be; for decline of health, and love of study, determined him to the church. He therefore entered into orders; and, it feems, married about the fame time a lady of the name of } Enfor; "whofe grand-mother," fays he, "was a Shakspeare, defcended from a brother "of every body's Shakspeare;" by her, in 7





« PrejšnjaNaprej »