William Collins

William Collins, 1721–59, English poet. He was one of the great lyricists of the 18th cent. While he was still at Oxford he published Persian Ecologues (1742), which was written when he was 17. Unstable and weak-willed, he never chose a profession and was constantly in debt until he inherited money from an uncle. He won no popularity during his lifetime, and his career was curtailed by insanity. A precursor of the 19th-century romantics, Collins wrote exquisite verse that emphasized mood and imagination. Among his best odes are "To Evening," "To Simplicity," and the one beginning "How sleep the brave."

See biographies by P. L. Carver (1967) and H. W. Garrod (1928, repr. 1973); study by O. Doughty (1964).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

William Collins: Selected full-text books and articles

The Poems of Gray and Collins By Thomas Gray; William Collins; Austin Lane Poole Oxford University Press, 1937 (3rd Rev. edition)
Drafts & Fragments of Verse By J. S. Cunningham Clarendon Press, 1956
Personification in Eighteenth-Century English Poetry By Chester F. Chapin King's Crown Press, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "The Values of Allegorical Personification: Collins and Gray"
English Literature from Dryden to Burns By Alan Dugald McKillop Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1759)" begins on p. 218
The Rise of Romanticism: Essential Texts By Brian Hepworth Carcanet New Press, 1978
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1759)" begins on p. 186
A Survey-History of English Literature By William Bradley Otis; Morriss H. Needleman Barnes & Noble, 1938
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins, 1721-1759" begins on p. 412
A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800 By Ronald S. Crane Harper & Brothers, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1739-1759)" begins on p. 727
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