William Collins (December 25, 1721 - June 12, 1759)
Born: 25th December, 1721
Died: 12th June, 1759
Nationality: English
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Chichester, England
Notable works: "Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegoric Subjects"

William Collins Facts

Biography

William Collins, (born Dec. 25, 1721, Chichester, Sussex, Eng.--died June 12, 1759, Chichester), pre-Romantic English poet whose lyrical odes adhered to Neoclassical forms but were Romantic in theme and feeling. Though his literary career was brief and his output slender, he is considered one of the finest English lyric poets of the 18th century.

He was educated at Winchester College, where he formed one of the most stable and fruitful relationships of his unstable life: his friendship with the poet and critic Joseph Warton. When only 17, under the influence of Pope's Pastorals, he composed his four Persian Eclogues (1742; 2nd ed., Oriental Eclogues, 1757), the only one of his works to be esteemed in his lifetime. In 1744 he published his verse Epistle: Addrest to Sir Thomas Hanmer on his Edition of Shakespeare's Works, containing his exquisite "Dirge from Cymbeline."

Collins graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford (1743), and went to London in 1744. An inheritance, supplemented by an allowance from his uncle, enabled him to live as a man-about-town. He made friends with Dr. Johnson, who expressed respect for his talents and, later, concern for his fate. By 1746 extravagance and dissipation had put Collins deeply in debt. He agreed to collaborate with Warton on a volume of odes. The two men's poems eventually appeared separately that December (the title page of Collins' Odes being dated 1747). Warton's collection was well received, but Collins' Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegorical Subjects was barely noticed. Though disappointed, Collins continued to perfect the style exemplified in his "Ode to Simplicity."

In 1749 Collins' uncle died, leaving him enough money to extricate himself from debt. In the next few months he wrote his "Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland," which anticipates many of the attitudes and interests of the Romantic poets. Threatened after 1751 by mental illness and physical debility, which he tried to cure by travel, Collins was confined in a mental asylum in 1754. Released to the care of his sister, he survived wretchedly in Chichester for five more years, neglected and forgotten by his literary friends, who believed him dead. His work, however, became influential and admired after his death.

The standard edition of his poems, The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith (1976), was edited by Roger Lonsdale.

Top 9 William Collins quotes

Always mistrust a subordinate who never finds fault with his superior.
Always
Fault
Finds
His
Mistrust
Never
Subordinate
Superior
Who
Beloved, till life can charm no more; And mourned, till Pity's self be dead.
Beloved
Charm
Dead
Life
More
Pity
Self
Till
By fairy hands their knell is rung; By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
Fairy
Forms
Hands
Rung
Sung
Unseen
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes blest!
Blest
Brave
Country
How
Rest
Sink
Sleep
Who
Wishes
In numbers warmly pure and sweetly strong.
Numbers
Pure
Strong
When a writer becomes a reader of his or her own work, a lot can go wrong. It's like do-it-yourself dentistry.
Becomes
Do-it-yourself
Go
Her
His
Like
Lot
Own
Reader
Work
Writer
Wrong
Words like feminism or democracy scare me. They are words with barnacles on them, and you can't see what's underneath.
Democracy
Feminism
Like
Me
Scare
See
Them
Underneath
Words
You
Prior to Wordsworth, humor was an essential part of poetry. I mean, they don't call them Shakespeare comedies for nothing.
Call
Comedies
Essential
Essential part
Humor
Mean
Nothing
Part
Poetry
Prior
Shakespeare
Them
I think humor is a very serious thing. I use it as a way of weakening the reader's defenses so that I can more easily take him to something more.
Easily
Him
Humor
I can
I think
More
Reader
Serious
Something
Take
Thing
Think
Use
Very

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