- Dustin Griffin
Collins, William (1721–1759), poet, was born on 25 December 1721 at Chichester, Sussex, the third of three children of William Collins (1674–1733), a respectable vendor of hats and a haberdasher by trade who was twice mayor of Chichester, and Elizabeth Martin (1682–1744). Educated as a gentleman, he published two slim volumes of verse by the age of twenty-five and very few poems thereafter. It is remarkable that an author who published so little—some twenty poems in all—before his death at the age of thirty-seven should have early acquired (and still retain) the status of an important poet. Although little is known of his life, reports of his genius, his neglect, his poverty, and his madness have attracted readers since his own day....