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January 2013

Poor Collins

by George Green

Chichester Cathedral Cloisters, 1758

Poor Collins, near the end, a lunatic,
would claim he’d found the source of Shakespeare’s Tempest
in a Spanish novel called Aurelio,
but when the Wartons asked to see the book,

he drew a map that led into the trees.
Poor Collins seldom left his mottled couch,
where he would often rave and “make great moanings,”
dying from melancholia, which was terminal

back then, at least for fey types like poor Collins.
Poor Collins reimbursed his publisher
for his unsold (and only) book of verse.
Then, like an idle felon flipping cards

into a hat, he stacked his books and flung
the whole edition in the fire. Poor Collins.
His sister Anne averred, glumly, that drink
had wrecked his nerves, but what unhinged poor Collins

was a horror of perdition. Now his name,

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George Green is a poet whose writing has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry 180 and 180 More Poems.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 January 2013, on page 47

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