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of the truth of the New Testament. Perhaps it may not be without effect to tell, that he read the prayers of the publick Iturgy every morning to his family, and that on Sunday evening he called his servants into the parlour, and read to them first a sermon and then prayers. Crashawis now not the only maker of verses to wlion may be given the two venerable names of Poet and Saint.
1 He was very often visited by Lyttleton and Pitt, who, when they were weary of faction and debates, used at Wickham to find books and quiet, a decent table, and literary conversation. There is at Wickham a walk made by Pitt; and, what is of far more importance, at Wickham Lyttleton received that conviction which produced his “ Dissertation on St. Paul."
These two illustrious friends had for a while listened to the blandishments of infidelity; and when West's book was pubiished, it was bought by some who did not know his change of opinion, in expectation of new objections against Christianity; and as infidels do not want malignity, they revenged the disappointment by calling him a Methodist.
Mr. West's income was not large; and his friends endeavoured, but with out success, to obtain an augmentation. It is reported, that the education of the young prince was offered to him, but that he required a more extensive power of superintendence than it was thought proper to allow him.
In time, however, his revenue was improved; he lived to have one of the lucrative clerkships of the Privy Council (1752); and Mr. Pitt at last had it in his power to make himn treasurer of Chelsea Hospital.
He was now sufficiently rich; but wealth came too late to be long enjoyed ; nor could it secure him from the calamities of life; he lost (1755) his only son; and the year after (March 26) a stroke of the palsy brought to the grave one of the few poets to whom the grave might be without its terrors.
Of his translations I have only compared the first Olympick ode with the original, and found my expectation surpassed, both by its elegance and its exactness. He does not confine himself to his author's train of stăozas; for he saw that the difference of the languages required a different mode of versification. The first strophe is eminently happy; in the second he has a little strayed from Pindar's meaning, who says, “if thou, my soul, wishest “ to speak of games, look not in the desert sky for a planet hotter than the " sun, nor shall we tell of nobler games than those of Olympia.” He is sometimes too paraphrastical. Pindar bestows upon Hiero an epithet, which, in one word, signifies delighting in horses; a word which, in the translation, generates these lines.
Hiero's royal brows, whose care
Tends the courser's noble breed,
W E S Pindar says of Pelops, that "he came alone in the dark to the White Sea :" and West,
Near the billow beaten side
Darkling, and alone, he stood
A work of this kind must, in a minute examination, discover many inperfections ; but West's version, so far as I have considered it, appears to be the product of great labour and great abilities.
His “ Institution of the Garter” (1742) is written with sufficient knowledge of the manners that prevailed in the age to which it is referred, and with great elegance of diction; but, for want of a process of events, neither knowledge nor elegance preserve the reader from weariness.
His “Imitations of Spenser” are very successfully perfornied, both with respect to the metre, the language, and the fiction; and being engaged at once by the excellence of the sentiments, and the artifice of the copy, the mind has two amusements together. But such compositions are not to be reckoned among the great atchievements of intellect, because their effect is local and temporary; they appeai not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. An Imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom Spenser has never been perused. Works of this kind may deserve praise, as proofs of great industry, and great nicety of observation, but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are those of which the effect is co-extended with rational nature, or at least with the whole circle of polished life; what is less than this can be only pretty, the plaything of fashion, and the amusement of a day. · THERE is in the “ Adventurer” a paper of verses given to one of the authors as Mr. West's, and supposed to have been written by him. It should not be concealed, however, that it is printed with Mr. Jago's name in Dodsley's Collection, and is mentioned as his in a Letter of Shepstone's. Perhaps West gave it without naming the author, and Hawkesworth, receiving it from him, thought it his; for his he thought it, as he told me, and as he tells the publick.
verses to a
ILLIAM COLLINS was born at Chichester on the twenty-fifth day W
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 Winchester College, where he was educared by Dr. Burton. His English exerciseswere better than his Latin.
He first courted the notice of the publick by some weeping,” published in “ The Gentleman's Magazine.”
In 1740, he stood first in the list of the scholars to be received in succession at New College, but unhappily there was no vacancy. 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 con tinued till he had taken a Batchelor'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 enquiries. He published proposals for a History of the Revival of Learning; and I have heard him speak with great kindness of Leo the Tenth, and with keen resentment of his tasteless successor. But probably not a page of his history was ever written. He planned several tragedies, but he only planned them. He wrote nowand-then odes and other poems, and did something, however little.
About this time I fell into his company. His appearance was decent and manly ; his knowledge considerable, his views extensive, his conversation elegant, and his disposition chearful. By degrees I gained his confidence ; and one day was admitted to him when he was immured by a bailiff, that was prowling in the street. On this occasion recourse was had to the book
sellers who, on the credit of a translation of Aristotle's Poeticks, which he engaged to write with a large commentary, advanced as much money as enabled him to escape into the country. He shewed me the guineas sale in bis hand. Soon afterwards his uncle, Mr. Martin, a lieutenant colonel, left him about two thousand pounds; a sumn which Collins could scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did not live to exhaust. The guineas were then repaid, and the translation neglected.
But man is not born for happiness. Collins, who, while he studied to live, felt no evil but poverty, no sooner lived to study than his life was assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease and insanity.
Having formerly written his character, while perhaps it was yet more distinctly impressed upon my memory, I shall insert it here.
• Mr. Collins was a nian of extensive literature, and of vigorous faculties. He was acquainted not only with the learned tongues, but with the Italian, French, and Spanish languages. He had employed his mind chiefly upon works of fiction, and subjects of fancy; and, by indulging some peculiar habits of thought, was eminently delighted with those flights of imagination which pass the bounds of nature, and to which the mind is reconciled only by a passive acquiescence in popular traditions. He loved fairies, genii, giants and monsters; he delighted to rove through the meanders of inchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, to repose by the water-falls of Elysian gardens.
“ This was however the character rather of his inclination than his genius; the grandeur of wildness, and the novelty of extravagance, were always desired by him, but were not always attained. Yet, as diligence is never wholly lost, if his efforts sometimes caused harshness and obscurity, they likewise produced in happier moments sublimity and splendour. This idea which he had formed of excellence, led him to oriental fictions and allegorical imagery; and perhaps, while he was intent upon description, he did not sufficiently cultivate sentiment. His poems are the productions of a mind not deficient in fire, nor unfurnished with knowledge either of books or life, but somewhat obstructed in its progress by deviation in ques: of mistaken beauties.
“ His morals were pure, and his opinions pious; in a long continuance of poverty, and long habits of dissipation, it cannot be expected that any chajacter should be exactlly uniforın. There is a degree of want by which the freedom of agency is almost destroyed; and long association with fortuitous companions will at last relax the strictness of truth, and abate the fervour of sincerity. That this man, wise and virtuous as he was, passed always un. entangled through the snares of life, it would be prejudice and temeri'y to affirm; but it may be said that at least he preserved the source of action unpolluted, that his principles were never shaken, that his distinctions of right and wrong were never confounded, and that his faults had nothing of malignity or design, but proceeded from some unexpested pressure, or casual temptation.
« The latter part of his life cannot be remembered but with pity and sadness. He languished some years under that depression of mind which enchains the faculties without destroying them, and leaves reason the knowledge of right without the power of pursuing it. These clouds which he perceived gathering on his intellects, he endeavoured to disperse by travel, and passed into France; but found himself consirained to yield to his malady and returned. He was for some time confined in a house of lunaticks, and afterwards retired to the care of his sister in Chichester, where death in 1756 came to his relief.
“ After his return from France, the writer of his character paid him a visit at Islington, where he was waiting for his sister, whom he had directed to meet him : there was then nothing of disorder discernible in his mind by any but himself; but he had withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to school : when his friend took it into his hand, out of curiosity to see what companion a man of Letters had chosen, I have but one book,' said Collins, ' but that " is the best.”
Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness.
He was visited at Chichester, in his last illness, by his learned friends Dr. Warton and his brother; to whom he spoke with disapprobation of his Oriental Eclogues, as not sufficiently expressive of Asiatick manners, and called them his Irish Eclogues. He shewed them at the same time, an ode inscribed to Mr. John Hume, on the superstitions of the Highlands; which they thought superior to his other works, but which no search has yet found*.
His disorder was not alienation of mind, but general laxity and feebleness, a deficiency rather of his vital than intellectual powers. What he spoke wanted neither judgment nor spirit ; but a few minutes exhausted him, so that he was forced to rest upūn the couch, till a short cessation restored his powers, and he was again able to talk with his former vigour.
The approaches of this dreadful malady he began to feel soon after his uncle's death; and, with the usual weakness of men so diseased, eagerly snatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce. But his health continually declined, and he grew more and more hurthensome to hinself.
To what I have formerly said of his writings may be added, that his diction was often harsh, unskilfully laboured, and injudiciously selected. He affected the obsolete when it was not worthy of revival; and he puts his words out of the common order, seeming to think, with some later candidates for faine, that not to write pruse is certainly to write poetry. His lines commonly are of slow motion, clogged and impeded with clusters of consonants. As men
* It is now printed in the present collection. E.