Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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242               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Our poet, though of a warm temper, was so confounded at the unexpected downfall, and so astonished at the unmerited insult, that he took no notice of the aggressor, but, getting up from his chair, calmly began picking up the pieces of bread and butter and the fragments of his china, repeating, very mildly,
" Invenias etiam disjecta membra Poeta."
This, by the bye, is not unlike the story told by Boswell of another scholar of the day, who, receiving a glass of wine in his face from a discomfited opponent, coolly remarked, "That is a digression; let us proceed with the argument."
Collins never married—never, indeed, seems to have been deeply in love. In this and in other respects, in his piety and mental suffering, he bears some resemblance to his fellow-Poet, Cowper, who was one of his fervent admirers.
There is a peculiar pleasure in finding one great Poet recognising the beauties, and sympathising with the mis­fortunes, of another, and this pleasure is doubled when, as in the case of Collins, such recognition comes from a Poet of the same locality. Collins refers both to Otway and to Fletcher. In his " Ode to Pity" he asks, after invoking the memory of " Pella's bard," Euripides,
But wherefore need I wander wide To old Ilissus' distant side—
Deserted stream, and mute ? Wild Arun too has heard thy strains, And Echo, 'midst my native plains,
Been soothed by Pity's lute.
There first the wren thy myrtles shed On gentlest Otway's infant head,
To him thy cell was shown ; And while he sang the female heart, "With youth's soft notes unspoil'd by art,
Thy turtles mix'd their own.
And, in the poetical epistle he addressed to Sir Thomas Hanmer, on his edition of Shakspeare's works, he thus places
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