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OME variations having been introduced, by the editor of this volume, into the text of the “ Ode to Evening," and the “ Ode to a Lady on the Death of
Col. Ross,” it may be necessary here to explain his authority for so doing.
The “ Ode to Evening” first appeared in the little volume of Collins's Odes, published by Millar in December, 1746. The Ode on the death of Col. Ross (first printed in “ Dodsley's Museum,” in June of that year), was also inserted in the volume referred to. Collins never republished his Odes in an independent form ; but these two poems, with considerable variations, were subsequently inserted in the second edition of “ Dodsley's Collection,” published in 1748. Such variations could not have been introduced by Dodsley without authority; or without calling forth a protest from the author.
It has, moreover, been remarked by a recent writer,* that the “Ode to Evening” was reprinted in Collins's lifetime by his intimate friend, Thomas Warton, in the “ Union,” and that all the variations alluded to were there adopted. It is, therefore, impossible to doubt the authority of Dodsley ; although all editors of Collins, as pointed out by the writer alluded to, have hitherto printed from a text arbitrarily compounded of the two versions. In the present edition the text of Dodsley in these instances has been adopted—the several passages as they stood in the first edition being given in the margin. The propriety of Collins's alterations must be obvious to all readers of good taste. In so exquisite a miniature as the “Ode to Evening,” every tint and touch which the hand of the artist has bestowed upon it is precious, and will be carefully preserved by an editor who has
a feeling of his calling."
All the remaining Odes in the edition of 1746, (dated 1747,) are printed from that volume; and these and all the other poems (with one exception) have been carefully collated with the original authorities. The exception referred to is the “ Epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer," of which the editor has not been so fortunate as to find a copy of the author's edition, and has, therefore, trusted to the version in the careful and beautiful edition of Collins published by Mr. Dyce.
The editor desires to express here his acknowledgment of the kind assistance which he has received, in collecting materials for his short Memoir, from the Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, from Dr. Bloxam of Magdalen College, from the Warden of Winchester College, and from the Head Master of the Prebendal School in Chichester : also to record his obligation to Mr. Charles Crocker of Chichester for the trouble which he was good enough to take in searching the Parochial Registers, and the records in the Registry of Wills in that city, for notices of the poet or his family.
W. Moy THOMAS.
EMOIR of Collins, by W. Moy Thomas
Selim; or, The Shepherd's Moral
Scotland; considered as the subject of Poetry; in.
47 51 52 56 58 62
Song. The Sentiments borrowed from Shakespeare 101
ILLIAM Collins was born in the
city of Chichester, on Christmasday, 1721. The date of his bap
tism in the Register of the parish of St. Peter-the-Great, alias subdeanery, is 1721, 1 Jany; but it is evident, on examination of the book, that the entry was made according to the ecclesiastical year, ending on the 24th of March. He was the son of William Collins, a hatter in Chichester, who was at that time Mayor of the city, an office he had filled twice before. The poet's father married, in 1703, Elizabeth the daughter of Edmund and Magdalen Martyn, of Southcott, near West Wittering, a village in the neighbourhood.* Two daughters were the fruit of this marriage; Elizabeth, born in 1704, and
* “ 1703, Feb. 13, Mr. William Collins of Chichester, hatter, and Elizabeth Martin of West Wettring.”— Register of Ernley.