COLLINS, WILLIAM An Eng lish poet. He was born at Chichester, where his father was a hatter, and received his education at Winchester College and at Oxford. In 1742 he published a small volume containing the Per sian Eclogues, and in 1743 the Epistle to Sir Thomas Hamner. These are not so character istic of his talent as his later writings. Leaving Oxford, probably early in 1744, he went to Lon don, resolved upon a literary career. Here, from time to time, he published other poems. consist ing chiefly of odes; hut misfortunes, occasioned by his indolence and irresolution, finally- ren dered him a prey to melancholy, which at times deepened into insanity. He died at Chichester. The poems which Collins left are comparatively few; hut they entitle him to high rank among the poets of the eighteenth century. He was essentially a lyrist; and it is upon his odes that his reputation is principally founded.
His most popular ode is The Passions. The personification of the passions is true and striking, and the variation of the measure is well adapted to the various emotions to be ex pressed. Among his poems may be mentioned the odes, To Liberty, To Mercy, To Evening, On the Death of Mr. 7'hom•won, the ode, written in 1746', beginning, "Hew sleep the brave who sink to rest,"' and the Song front Cymbelinc. Not only is much of Collins's poetry exquisite, hut it marks the beginning of English romanticism. This is partimilarly true of the Ode on the Pop itlar Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland, completed in 1749, but not published until 1788. Consult: Johnson, sketch of Collins in Lines of the Poets (Oxford, 1781) ; Poems, ed. Bron.:on (Boston, 18981; and Beers, Eng/is1+ Romanti cism in the Eighteenth, Century (New York, 1899).