« ПредишнаНапред »
the foundation of Winchester, to New College in Oxford. But as there were then no vacancies in that society, he was admitted a commoner of Queen's College in the same university; where he continued till July 1741, when he was elected a demy of Magdalen College. During his residence at Queen's, he was at once distinguished for genius and indolence; his exercises, when he could be prevailed upon to write, bearing the visible characteristics of both. This remiss and inattentive habit might probably arise, in some measure, from difappointment: he had, no doubt, indulged very high ideas of the academical mode of education, and when he found science within the fetters of logic and of Aristotle, it was no wonder if he
abated of his diligence, to seek her where the search was attended with artificial perplexities, and where, at last, the pursuer would grasp the shadow for the substance.
While he was at Magdalen College, he applied himself chiefly to the cultivation of poetry, and wrote the epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer, and the Oriental Eclogues, which, in the year 1742, were first published under the title of Persian Eclogues.—The success of these poems was far from being equal to their merit; but to a novice in the pursuit of fame, the least encouragement is sufficient: if he does not at once acquire that reputation to which his merit intitles him, he embraces the encomiums
of the few, forgives the many, and in : tends to open their eyes to the striking beauties of his next Publication.
With prospects such as these, probably, Mr. Collins indulged his fancy, when, in the year 1743, after having, taken the degree of a batchelor of
a arts, he left the university, and removed to London.
To a man of small fortune, ą liberal spirit, and uncertain dependencies, the metropolis is a very dangerous place. Mr. Collins had not been long in town before he became an instance of the truth of this observation.-His pecuniary resources were exhausted, and to restore them by the exertion of ge
nius and learning, though he wanted not the power, he had neither steadiness nor industry. His necessities, indeęd, sometimes carried him as far as a scheme, or a title page for a book; but, whether it were the power of distipation, or the genius of repose that interfered, he could proceed no farther.Several books were projected, which he was very able to execute ; and he became, in idea, an historian, a critic, and a dramatick poet by turns. At one time he determined to write an hirtory of the revival of Letters ; at another to translate and comment upon Aristotle's Poetics; then he turned his thoughts to the Drama, and proceeded so far towards a tragedy-as to become acquainted with the manager.
Under this unaccountable diffipation, he suffered the greatest inconveniences. Day succeeded day, for the support of which he had made no provision, and in which he was to subsist either by the long-repeated contributions of a friend, or the generosity of a casual acquaintance.-Yet indolence triumphed at once over want and shame ; and neither the anxieties of poverty, nor the heart-burning of dependence had power to animate resolution to perseverance.
As there is a degree of depravity into which if a man falls, he becomes in. capable of attending to any of the ordinary means that recall men to virtue, so there are fome circumstances of indigence so extremely degrading, that