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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 7 September 1768

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Dear Mason

What can I say more to you about Oddington. you seem engaged to Mr Wood, & in consequence of that to Mr Meller. Mr Br: is not here, & (if he were) I could by no means consult him about it: his view to the Mastership will be affected by it just in the same manner, as if he had accepted of Framlingham, & had it in possession, wch I little doubt he would accept, if it were vacant & undisputed. as to the dubious title he told me of it himself, & I was surprised at it, as a thing quite new to me. this is all I know, nor (if you were under no previous engagement) could I direct, or determine your choice: it ought to be entirely your own, as to accept or refuse ought to be entirely his. the only reason I have suggested any thing about it is, that (when we first talk'd on this subject) you ask'd me, whether Mr B: would have it, & I replied, it would hardly be worth his while, as Framl:m was of greater value, in wch (all things consider'd) I may be mistaken.

I give you joy of your vase: I can not find P. et P. PA. in my Sertorius Ursatus, & consequently do not know their meaning. what shall I do? My learned Brethren are dispersed over the face of the earth. I have lately dug up three small vases, in workmanship at least equal to yours: they were discover'd at a place call'd Burslem in Staffordshire, & are very little impair'd by time. on the larger one is this inscription very legible 9/, & on the two smaller this 7/. you will oblige me with an explanation, for Ursatus here too leaves us in the dark.

I fear the K: of Denmark could not stay, till your hair was dress'd. he is a genteel lively figure, not made by nature for a Fool: but surrounded by a pack of Knaves, whose interest it is to make him one, if they can. he has overset poor Dr Marriot's head here, who raves of nothing else from morning till night.

Pray make my best compliments to your Brother-Residentiary Mr Cowper, & thank him for his obliging letter of congratulation, wch I did not at all expect: present also my respects & acknowledgements to Miss Patty. Mr Bedingfield I shall answer soon, both as to his civilities & his reproaches: the latter you might have prevented by telling him, that I gave my works to no body, as it was only a new edition.

Adieu, & write to me.
I am ever
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0543 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 44


Date of composition: 7 September 1768
Date (on letter): Sept: 7. 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Pemb: Coll:


Language: English
Incipit: What can I say more to you about Oddington. you seem engaged to...
Mentioned: Bedingfield, Edward, b. 1730
Brown, James, 1709-1784
Sertorius Ursatus

Holding Institution

Henry W. And Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, with Letters to the Rev. James Brown, D.D. Ed. by the Rev. John Mitford. London: Richard Bentley, 1853, letter CXXIII, 422-425
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, including the correspondence of Gray and Mason, 3 vols. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. London: George Bell and Sons, 1900-12, letter no. CCCXXXVI, vol. iii, 209-210
  • Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 486, vol. iii, 1046-1047