Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/287

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270

COLFAX.

journals with wliich he was con- nected, critical essays on these writers ; and his contributions to Const<ible*8 Edinburgh Magauine and the Critical Review caused public attention to be directed to many writers who had been strangely neglected. He was one of the ear- liest critics of the present century who showed that the works of Peele, Greene, Nash, Lodge, Middleton, Marlow, and Webster deserved to be rescued from the obscurity into which they had fallen. Mr. Collier proved himself able to appreciate the merits of our old English drama- tists, and to second the efforts of Headly, Kitson, G. Ellis, Ha^litt, and Lamb, in drawing attention to their writings. One of his earliest works, ** The Poetical Decameron," published in 1820, was exclusively devoted to this object. In 1822 he privately printed his allegorical poem in four cantos, " The Poet's Pilgrimage." In his edition of " Dodsley's Old Plays," published in 1825, Mr. Collier introduced six dramas of high merit, not included in any previous edition of the work ; and in a supplementary volume he published five additional plays of the time of Shakespeare, which had been neglected by former critics. His " History of Dramatic Poetry " was published in 1831. The Duke of Devonshire (to whom Mr. Collier became librarian) and others opened their valuable libraries to his re- searches, and enabled him to com- pile his " Bibliographical and Criti- cal Catalogpie ; and there was scarcely a collector of any note who did not readily give him access to his stores. It was amongst the manu- scripts of the late Lord EUesmere's library that Mr. Collier discovered the greater jpeat of the documents of which he has availed himself in his " New Facts regarding the Life of Shakespeare," a work which he fol- lowed up in 1836 by " New Particu- lars," and in 1839 by "Further Particulars." He has edited several works, more or less connected with

the same subject, for the Camden and Shakespeare Societies, of the first of which he was long treasurer, and of the last, director. He was engaged for more than twenty years in making collections of materials for a new Life of Shakespeare, pub- lished in 1842-41. The Boyal Com- mission, established for the purpose of inquiring into the condition and management of the British Museum, made him their secretary.. He was, however, unable to carry out his plan for the speedy preparation of a catalogue. A pension on the civil list of jBIOO per annum was con- ferred upon him as a recognition of the services he had rendered to literature. In 1832 he had declined to become a stipendiary magistrate, and afterwards a Judge of the County Court, when Lord Campbell would have procured his appoint- ment. In 1860 Mr. Collier was chosen a Vice-President of the So- ciety of Antiquaries, to the Transac- tions of which he has been a fre- quent contributor. Among his re- maining publications may be men- tioned *' A Book of Boxburghe Bal- lads," " Extracts from the Begisters of the Stationers' Company, of Books entered for publication 1557- 70," published in 1848 ; and " Me- moirs of the Principal Actors in the Plays of Shakespeare," in 1846. In 1858 he published a second edition of his Shakespeare, and in 1862 a new impression of the works of Spenser. He took a prominent part in advocating the early date and consequent authority of the MS. marginal notes in a copy of the folio edition of Shakespeare. The publi- cation of these emendations excited a very animated controversy, and they were not generally accepted by Shakespearian critics, although all later editors have more or less adopted them in their text. In 1866 Mr. Collier commenced a series of reprints of the scattered and scarce productions of our early poets and pamphleteers, including a collection of our old English poetical Misoel-