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was eminently delighted with those flights of imagiration which pass the bounds of nature, and to which the mind is reconciled only by a passive acquiescence in popular traditions. He loved fairies, genii, giants, and monsters; he delighted to rove through the meanders of inchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, to repose by the waterfalls of Elysian gardens. This was however the character rather of his inclination than his genius, the grandeur of wildness, and the novelty of extravagance, were always desired by him, but were not always attained. But dili, gence is never wholly lost: if his efforts sometimes caused harshness and obscurity, they likewise produ. ced in happier moments sublimity and splendor. This idea, which he had formed of excellence, led him to oriental fictions, and allegorical imagery; and, perhaps, while he was intent upon description, he did not , sufficiently cultivate sentiment: his poems are the productions of a mind not deficient in fire, nor unfurnished with knowledge either of books or life, but somewhat obstructed in its progress, by deviation in quest of mistaken beauties.
His murals were pure, and his opinions pious. In a long continuance of poverty, and long habits of dis» sipation, it cannot be expectc Ithat any character should be exactly uniform. There is a degree of want by which the freedom of agency is almost destroyed, and long association with fortuitous companions will at last relax the strictness of truth, and abate the fervour
of sincerity. That this man, wise and virtuous as he was, passed always unentangled through the snares of life, it would be prejudice and temerity to affirm. But it may be said, that at least he preserved the source of action unpolluted, that his principles were never shaken, that his distinctions of right and wrong were never confounded, and that his faults had nothing of malignity or design, but proceeded from some unex. pected pressure, or casual temptation.
The latter part of his life cannot be remembered but with pity and sadness. He languished some years under that depression of mind which enchains the fa. culties without destroying them, and leaves reason the knowledge of right, without the power of pursuing it. These clouds, which he found gathering on his intellects, he endeavoured to disperse by travel, and passed into France, but found himself constrained to yield to his malady, and returned: he was for some time confined in a house of lunatics, and afterwards retired to the care of his sister in Colchester*, where death at last came to his relief.
After his return from France, the writer of this character paid him a visit at Islington, where he was waiting for his Sister, whom he had directed to meet him: there was then nothing of disorder discernable in his mind by any but himself, but he had then withdrawn from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children
* It is apprehended, Chichester.
carry to the school; when his friend took it into his hand, out of curiosity to see what companion a man of letters had chosen, I have but one book,' says Collins, • but that is the best.'
Mr. Collins, says Dr. Johnson, shewed theWARTons in his last illness an Ode, inscribed to Mr. JOHN Home, on the Superstitions of the Highlands, which they thought superior to his other works. Of this Ode the the foregoing is said to be a copy discovered among some old papers, in the concealed drawers of a bureau, left among other articles, by a relation, to the Pub. LISHER, who, however, ought not to have wITH-HOLD
IN HIS NAME.
Page 61. Mid those soft Friends, whose hearts some
Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song.) How truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers ! ib. Go, not unmindful of that cordial Youth
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's side;] A Gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins. 63
-the shepherd's shiel,] A summer hut, reared in the high part of the moun. tains, for the purpose of pasturing flocks in the warm season.
64. Stanza Five.] Before the Copy here given of this Ode was discovered, one still less perfect was found by a Scottish Clergyman, to fill a chasm in which the lines annexed were
substituted by Mr. MacKenzie, author of the Man of Feeling
• Or on some bellying rock that shades the deep,
Where is the west the brooding tempest lie ;
The broad, unbroken billows heave and swell,
• The lab’ring moon; or list the nightly yell
« The seer's entranced eye can well survey,
• And points the wretched bark its destin'd prey.
O'er the dire whirlpool, that, in ocean's waste,
“ The falling breeze within its reach hath plac'd-
Or, if on land the fiend exerts his sway,
Far from the sheltring roof and haunts of men,
And shrouds each star that wont to cheer the night; Or, if the drifted snow perplex the way,
With treach'rous gleam he lures the fated wight, "And leads him flound'ring on and quite astray.'
64. As Boreas threw his young Aurora forth,
In the first year of the first George's reign,] By young Aurora, The Poet undoubtedly meant the appearance of the northern lights, which happened
about the year 1715; a phaenomenon, it has been said, that no ancient writer has taken notice of, nor even any modern, previous to this period. An assertion, however, which but ill accords with Virgil's:
not to mention the vivid description of Spenser, alluding to a like appearance in the reign of Elizabeth.
ib. They rav'd! divining thro' their Second Sight,] Second Sight is the term used for the divination of the Highlanders.
ib. Illustrious William !- -] The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Culloden.
ib. Let not dank Will A fiery meteor, called by various names, such as Will o'the Wisp, Jack with a Lanthorn, &c. It hovers over marshes and fens.
66. Drown'd ly the Kelpie's -] The water fiend.
ib. that hoar pile- -] One of the Hebrides is called The Isle of Pigmies, where it is reported, that several miniature bones of the human species have been dug up in the ruins of a chapel. ib. Or thither, where beneath the show'ry west,
The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid:] ICOLMKILL, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are interred.