Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Poets.                             241
1759 (he was born in 1721) and then expired in the arms of his sister, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's, Chichester, immediately behind the house in East Street, where he was born. To the world he had long been dead, and though his genius was recognised even then by the higher order of minds, it was not until some years after his death that it received full acknowledgment as of the highest order in one, and that a high, class of poetry—the Ode.
There could scarcely be a stronger contrast in moral character and course of life than between Otway and Collins. Though the former was the son of a clergyman and educated at Winchester and Oxford, he only refers to the clerical pro­fession (as in "The Orphan") in order to load it with insult and contempt. With regard to religion, he evidently shared in the latitudinarianism of the day. His morals were of the loosest, and some of his plays, as we have seen, were too gross and licentious even for an age which tolerated the works of Afra Behn and Wycherley. Even in "Venice Preserved" there are some scenes which no modern stage would allow. Collins, on the other hand, was temperate and deeply religious, and his writings were pure and moral. " He was," writes one who knew him, "passionately fond of music, good-natured and affable, warm in his friendship, and visionary in his pursuits; and, as long as I knew him, very temperate in his eating and drinking." That his temper was equable, is demonstrated by the following anecdote, told by the same friend:—"It happened, one afternoon, at a tea visit, that several intelligent friends were assembled at his rooms to enjoy each other's con­versation, when in comes a member of a certain College, as remarkable at that time for his brutal disposition as for his good scholarship,* who though he met with a circle of the most peaceable people in the world, was determined to quarrel, and though no man said a word, lifted up his foot and kicked the table and all its contents to the other side of the room.
• Hampton, the translator of Polybius.
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