244 BYGONE SUSSEX.
and he went to London to try his fortune as an author. He had many projects, but few of them were executed, and whilst intimate with Armstrong, Garrick, Thomson, Johnson, and other celebrities, he was also intimate with the bailiffs. The death of his uncle retrieved his fortunes, but a more grievous blow was impending, "Collins, who while he studied to live," says Johnson, "felt no evil but poverty, no sooner lived to study than his life was assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease, and insanity." He tried to dissipate the gathering gloom by an excursion to France, but without benefit. At Islington, when Johnson saw him, his only literature was the New Testament. " I have but one book," he said, " but that is the best."* For a time he was under restraint in a madhouse, but his latter years were passed under the care of his sister in his native city. In March, 1759, Goldsmith wrote to him as " still alive—happy if insensible of our neglect; not raging at our ingratitude." He died on June 12th of that year. Collins is not "a poet of bulk," but the small volume he has left behind is packed close with glittering
* This incident gave Flaxman the motive of his noble memorial ot Collins in Chichester Cathedral.