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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [12 October 1736]

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The Honble Mr Horace
Walpole, of King's College
13 OC

[           ]

I brought my neck safe to town, & I promise you, when I break it, it shall not be after the Dogs, nor from so mean an elevation as the Saddle, no, let me fall from Dover-Cliff, or Leucate's promontory, & if I cannot die like a Hero, let it be at least like a despairing lover; Mem: I wo'nt swing in a Cambrick handkerchief, nor swallow Verdigrease. but however I that have preserved my neck in the country, have not been able to do as much by my throat in London; which I made so sore, coming from Othello, on Wednesday last, that I should not be easily persuaded even at this present to swallow a bumper, tho' it were crown'd with my dear Horace's health; it has not as yet turn'd to an absolute squinancie, or a fever; but if you have a mind, I can very easily improve it into either of 'em: you have imitated your Namesake very happily, I believe; for I have not the Latin to look at; I wish poor Mr Iccius in Ireland had taken the poets good advice: pray add my admiration of the first Stanza's to good Mr Ashton's, & give him my service for his, & believe me,

yours ever,
Letter ID: letters.0034 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 19
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 19


Date of composition: [12 October 1736]
Date (on letter): [Oct 12]
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Mr Horace / Walpole, of King's College / Cambridge (postmark: 13 OC)


Language: English
Incipit: I brought my neck safe to town, & I promise you...
Mentioned: Shakespeare, William
Surrogates: Digital facsimile [b&w GIF] from original letter

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/26, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Gray, Walpole, West and Ashton (1734-1771), 2 vols. Chronologically arranged and edited with introduction, notes, and index by Paget Toynbee. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915, letter no. 44, vol. i, 105-106
  • The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence. Ed. by W. S. Lewis. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP; London: Oxford UP, 1937-83, vols. 13/14: Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton i, 1734-42, Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray ii, 1745-71, ed. by W. S. Lewis, George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett, 1948, vol. i, 114-115
  • 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. 31, vol. i, 54-55