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Richard West to Thomas Gray, [17 September 1738]

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I thank you again and again for your two last most agreeable letters. They could not have come more a-propos; I was without any books to divert me, and they supplied the want of every thing; I made them my classics in the Country, they were my Horace and Tibullus – Non ita loquor assentandi causâ ut probè nosti si me noris, verum quia sic mea est sententia. I am but just come to Town, and, to shew you my esteem of your favours, I venture to send you by the penny-post, to your Father's, what you will find on the next page; I hope it will reach you soon after your arrival, your boxes out of the waggon, yourself out of the coach, and tutors out of your memory.

Adieu, we shall see one another, I hope, to-morrow.


Quod mihi tam gratæ misisti dona Camænæ,
Qualia Mænalius Pan Deus ipse velit,
Amplector te, Graie, & toto corde reposco,
Oh desiderium jam nimis usque meum:
Et mihi rura placent, et me quoqb sæpe volentem
Duxerunt Dryades per sua prata Deæ;
Sicubi lympha fugit liquido pede, sive virentem,
Magna decus nemoris, quercus opacat humum:
Illuc mane novo vagor, illuc vespere sero,
Et, noto ut jacui gramine, nota cano.
Nec nostræ ignorant divinam Amaryllida silvæ:
Ah, si desit amor, nil mihi rura placent.
Ille jugis habitat Deus, ille in vallibus imis,
Regnat & in Cælis, regnat & Oceano;
Ille gregem taurosqb domat, saeviqb leonem
Seminis; ille feros, ultus Adonin, apros:
Quin & fervet amore nemus, ramoqb sub omni
Concentu tremulo plurima gaudet avis.
Duræ etiam in sylvis agitant connubia plantæ,
Dura etiam & fertur saxa animasse Venus.
Durior & saxis, & robore durior ille est,
Sincero siquis pectore amare vetat:
Non illi in manibus sanctum deponere pignus,
Non illi arcanum cor aperire velim;
Nescit amicitias, teneros qui nescit amores:
Ah! si nulla Venus, nil mihi rura placent.
Me licet a patriâ longè in tellure juberent
Externâ positum ducere fata dies;
Si vultus modo amatus adesset, non ego contra
Plorarem magnos voce querente Deos.
At dulci in gremio curarum oblivia ducens
Nil cuperem præter posse placere meæ;
Nec bona fortunæ aspiciens, neqb munera regum,
Illa intrà optarem brachia cara mori.

Letter ID: letters.0062 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: West, Richard, 1716-1742
Writer's age: 22[?]
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 21


Date of composition: [17 September 1738]
Date (on letter): [Sept. 17. 1738]
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I thank you again and again for your two last most agreeable letters...

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Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives

Print Versions

  • The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, letter xviii, section i, 37-39
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section I, letter XVIII, vol. i, 165-167
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section I, letter XVIII, vol. ii, 30-31
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter XVIII, vol. i, 33-34
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section I, letter XVIII, vol. ii, 34-35
  • Gray and his Friends: Letters and Relics, in great part hitherto unpublished. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890, section II, letter no. 22, 117-119
  • 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. 85, vol. i, 198-200
  • 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. 57, vol. i, 91-92