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the aggressor, but getting up from his chair calmly, he began picking up the slices of bread and butter, and the fragments of his china, repeating very mildly, * Invenias etiam disjecti membra poetæ.' “I am your very humble Servant,
The following Letter appeared in “The Monthly Magazine, for 1806:" “ A Letter from Mr. John RAGSDALE, containing an Account
of Collins, the Original of which was communicated by
Hill Street, Richmond, Surry, July, 1783. “Your favour of 30th June I did not receive till yesterday, &c.
“As you express a wish to know every particular (however trifling) of Mr. William Collins, I will endeavour to satisfy you. There are many little anecdotes, which tell well in conversation, but would be tiresome for you to read, or me to write.
“I had formerly several scraps of his poetry, which were suddenly written on particular occasions. These I lent among our acquaintance, who were never civil enough to return them; and, being then engaged in extensive business, I forgot to ask for them; and they are lost. All I have remaining of his are about twenty lines, which would require a little history to be understood, being written on trifling subjects.
“I have a few of his letters, the subjects of which are chiefly Son business; but I think there are in them some flights, which
strongly mark his character; for which reason I have preserved them. I am the only one now living who can give a true account of his family and connections. The principal part of what I now write is from my own knowledge, or what I heard from his nearest relatives.
“His father was not the manufacturer of hats; but the vendor. He lived in a genteel style at Chichester; and, I think, filled the office of mayor more than once: he was pompous in his manner; but, at his death, he left his affairs rather embarrassed. Colonel Martyn, his wife's brother, greatly assisted his family, and supported Mr. William Collins at the University, where he stood for a fellowship; which, to his great mortification, he lost, and which was his reason for quitting the place; at least, that was his pretext: but he had other reasons: he was in arrears with his bookseller, his tailor, and other tradesmen. But, I believe, a desire to partake of the dissipation and gaiety of London was his principal motive. Colonel Martyn was at this time with his regiment; and Mr. Payne, a near relation, who had the management of the Colonel's affairs, had likewise a commission to supply the Collinses with small sums of money. The Colonel was the more sparing in this order; having suffered considerably by Alderman Collins; who had formerly been his agent, and forgetting that his wife's brother's cash was not his own, had applied it to his own use.
“When Mr. William Collins came from the University, he called on his cousin Payne, gaily dressed, and with a feather 5 in his hat, at which his relation expressed surprize, and told him,
that his appearance was by no means that of a young man, who had not a single guinea he could call his own. This gave him great offence, but remembering his sole dependence for subsistence was in the power of Mr. Payne, he concealed his resentment; yet could not refrain from speaking freely behind his back, and saying "he thought him a d---d dull fellow;' though, indeed, this was an epithet he was pleased to bestow on every one, who did not think as he would have them.
“This frequent demand for a supply obliged Mr. Payne to
tell him he must pursue some other line of life; for he was sure Colonel Martyn would be displeased with him for having done so much.
“This resource being stopped, forced him to set about some work, of which his · History of the Revival of Learning' was the first; and for which he printed Proposals, (one of which I have) and took the first subscription in money from many of his particular friends. The work was begun; but soon stood still. Both Dr. Johnson and Mr. Langhorne are mistaken, when they say, the “ Translation of Aristotle' was never begun. I know the contrary; for some progress was made in both; but most in the latter.
“From the freedom subsisting between us, we took the liberty of saying any thing to each other. I one day reproached him with idleness; when, to convince me my censure was unjust, he shewed me many sheets of his · Translation of Aristotle,' which he said he had so fully employed himself about, as to prevent his calling on many of his friends, as he used to do.
“Soon after this, he engaged with Mr. Manby, a bookseller, on Ludgate Hill, to furnish him with some · Lives for the Biographia Britannica,' which Manby was then publishing. He shewed me some of the Lives in embryo; but I do not recollect that any of them came to perfection.
“To make a present subsistence, he set about writing his "Odes;' and having a general invitation to my house, he passed whole days there, which he employed in writing them; and as frequently burned what he had written, after reading them to me: many of them, which pleased me! but without effect; for pretending he would alter them, he got them from me, and thrust them into the fire.
“He was an acceptable companion every where; and among the gentlemen, who loved him for a genius, I may reckon the Doctors Armstrong, Barrowby, and Hill; Messrs. Quin, Garrick, and Foote, who frequently took his opinion on their pieces before they were seen by the public. He was particularly noticed by the geniuses who frequented the Bedford and Slaughter Coffee Houses. From his knowlege of Garrick, he had the liberty of the scenes and green-room, where he made diverting observations on the vanity and false consequence of that class of people; and his manner of relating them to his particular friends was extremely entertaining.
“ In this manner he lived with, and upon his friends, until the death of Colonel Martyn,d who left what fortune he died possessed of unto him and his two sisters. I cannot be certain ; but believe he left the University in the year forty-five. Some circumstances I recollect, make me almost certain he was in London that year: but I will not be so certain of the time he died; which I did not hear of till long after it had happened.
“When his health and faculties began to decline, he went to France, and after to Bath, in hope his health might be restored; but without success. I never saw him after his sister removed him from Mr. Donald's mad-house, at Chelsea, to Chichester, where he sunk into a deplorable state of ideotism, which, when I was told, shocked me exceedingly; and even now my remembrance of a man, for whom I had a particular friendship, and in whose company I have passed so many pleasant happy hours, gives me a severe shock. Since it is in con
This, according to Dr. Joseph Warton, was Colonel Martin Bladen, the translator of “ Cæsar's Commentaries."
“ Colonel Martin Bladen was a man of some literature, and translated · Cesar's Commentaries.' I never could learn that he had offended Pope. He was uncle to my dear and lamented friend Mr. William Collins, the poet, to whom he left an estate which he did not get possession of, till his faculties were deranged and he could not enjoy it. I remember Collins told me that Bladen had given to Voltaire, all that account of Camoens, inserted in his · Essay on the Epic Poets of all Nations,' and that Voltaire seemed before entirely ignorant of the name and character of Camoens." Warton's Pope, v. 284. Dr. Warton is surely wrong. Collins's uncle's name was Martin; not Bladen. Colonel Bladen was the uncle of Lord Hawke.
sequence of your own request, Sir, that I write this long farrago, I expect you will overlook all inaccuracies.
“I am, Sir, your very humble Servant, “Mr. William HYMERS,
“ JOHN RAGSDALE." Queen's College, Oxford."
SONNET, BY COLLINS, FROM “GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE,
Not inserted in his Poems.
“When Phæbe form'd a wanton smile,
My soul! it reach'd not here!
Before a rising tear!
From midst the drops my Love is born,
That o'er those eyelids rove:
The fabled Queen of Love!” DelicaTULUS.
After a continual recurrence for thirty years to K“ Johnson's Life of Collins" in every frame of mind,
and every state of my humble judgment, I feel no diminution of that disgust at the biographer, which seized me at the first perusal of it. It is uncandid, ungenerously depreciating, and unjust. So far from being the voice of friendship, it seems to come from an enemy, labouring under the strongest prejudices. I know not how to reconcile it with the following passages of two letters from the same author to Dr. Joseph Warton. JOHNSON TO JOSEPH WARTON.
March 8, 1754. “ How little can we venture to exult in any intellectual powers, or literary attainments, when we consider the condition