Overview

William Collins

(1721—1759) poet


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1721–59),

published his Persian Eclogues (1742) while an undergraduate at Oxford. His Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegoric Subjects (1746, dated 1747) was to have considerable influence; the volume includes his well‐known ‘Ode to Evening’ and ‘How sleep the Brave’, and odes to Pity, Fear, Simplicity, and other abstractions. (See Ode.) The last work published in his lifetime was an ode on the death of Thomson (1749), and in 1750 he presented an unfinished draft of his Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands (published 1788) to J. Home. Thereafter he suffered increasingly from severe melancholia, and died in Chichester. Johnson in his Lives of the English Poets commented on his wildness and extravagance, which produced harshness and obscurity as well as ‘sublimity and splendour’, but later poets responded more eagerly to his lyrical intensity and to his conception of poetry as visionary and sacred (see Sublime); with Gray he was one of the dominant influences of the later 18th cent.

Subjects: Literature.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.