1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Collins, Mortimer

COLLINS, MORTIMER (1827–1876), English writer, was born at Plymouth, where his father, Francis Collins, was a solicitor, on the 29th of June 1827. He was educated at a private school, and after some years spent as mathematical master at Queen Elizabeth’s College, Guernsey, he went to London, where he devoted himself to journalism in the Conservative interest. In 1855 he published his Idyls and Rhymes; and in 1865 appeared his first story, Who is the Heir? A second volume of lyrics, The Inn of Strange Meetings, was issued in 1871; and in 1872 he produced his longest and best sustained poem, The British Birds, a communication from the Ghost of Aristophanes. He also wrote several capital novels, the best of which is perhaps Sweet Anne Page (1868). Some of his lyrics, in their light grace, their sparkling wit, their airy philosophy, are equal to anything of their kind in modern English. On his second marriage in 1868 he settled at Knowl Hill, Berkshire. Collins was an athlete, an excellent pedestrian, and an enthusiastic lover of country life; and from this time he rarely left his home for a day. Conservative in his political and literary tastes, an ardent upholder of Church and State, he was yet a hater of convention; and his many and very varied gifts endeared him to a large circle of friends. He died on the 28th of July 1876.