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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 5 June 1748

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My Dear Wharton

Tho' I have been silent so long; do not imagine, I am at all less sensible to your Kindness, wch (to say the Truth) is of a Sort, that however obvious & natural it may seem, has never once occur'd to any of my good Friends in Town, where I have been these seven Weeks. their Methods of Consolation were indeed very extraordinary: they were all so sorry for my Loss, that I could not chuse but laugh. one offer'd me Opera-Tickets, insisted upon carrying me to the Grand-Masquerade, desired me to sit for my Picture. others asked me to their Concerts, or Dinners & Suppers at their Houses; or hoped, I would drink Chocolate with them, while I stayed in Town. all my Gratitude (or if you please, my Revenge) was to accept of every Thing they offer'd me: if it had been but a Shilling, I would have taken it. thank Heaven, I was in good Spirits; else I could not have done it. I profited all I was able of their Civilities, & am returned into the Country loaded with their Bontés & Politesses, but richer still in my own Reflexions, wch I owe in great Measure to them too. suffer a great Master to tell them you for me in a better Manner

Aux sentimens de la Nature,
Aux plaisirs de la Verité,
Preferant le goût frelaté
Des plaisirs, qu'a fait l'imposture
Ou qu'inventa la vanité;
Voudrois-je partager ma vie
Entre les jeux de la folie,
Et l'ennui de l'oisiveté,
Et trouver la melancolie
Dans le sein de la volupté? &c:

Your Friendship has interested itself in my Affairs so naturally, that I can not help troubleing you with a little Detail of them. the House I lost was insured for 500£, & with the Deduction of 3 per Ct they paid me 485£, with wch I bought, when Stocks were lower, 525£. the Rebuilding will cost 590, & other Expences, that necessarily attend it, will mount that Summ to 650. I have an Aunt that gives me 100£; & another, that I hope will lend me what I shall want: but if (contrary to my Expectation) I should be forced to have recourse to your Assistance: it can not be for above 50£; & that, about Xmas next when the Thing is to be finish'd. and now, my dear Wharton, why must I tell you a Thing so contrary to my own Wishes, & to yours, I believe? it is impossible for me to see you in the North, or to enjoy any of those agreeable Hours I had flatter'd myself with. I must be in Town several Times dureing the Summer; in August particularly, when half the Money is to be paid: the Relation, that used to do Things for me, is from Illness now quite incapable; & the good People here would think me the most careless & ruinous of Mortals, if I should think of such a Journey at this Time. the only Satisfaction I can pretend to, is that of hearing from you; & particularly about this Time, I was bid to expect good News.

Your Opinion of Diodorus is doubtless right; but there are Things in him very curious, got out of better Authors now lost. do you remember the Egyptian History, & particularly the Account of the Gold-Mines? my own Readings have been cruelly interrupted. what I have been highly pleased with is the new Comedy from Paris, by Gresset; Le Mechant, one of the very best Drama's I ever met with. if you have it not, buy his Works altogether in two little Volumes. they are collected by the Dutch Booksellers, & consequently there is some Trash; but then there are the Ver-vert, the Epistle to P: Bougeant, the Chartreuse that to his Sister, an Ode on his Country, & another on Mediocrity; & the Sidnei, another Comedy, wch have great Beauties. there is a Poem by Thomson, the Castle of Indolence, with some good Stanzas. Mr. Mason is my Acquaintance: I liked that Ode very much, but have found no one else, that did. he has much Fancy, little Judgement, & a good deal of Modesty. I take him for a good & well-meaning Creature; but then he is really in Simplicity a Child, & loves every body he meets with: he reads little or nothing, writes abundance, & that with a Design to make his Fortune by it. there is now, I think, no Hopes of the Pembroke Business coming to any-thing. [My poor Tuthill] will be in a Manner destitute (even of a Curacy) at Midsummer. I need not bid you think of him, if any probable Means offer of doing him Good: I fear, he was not made to think much for himself. pray, let me hear from you soon. I am at Mrs Rogers's of Stoke near Windsor, Bucks. my thanks, & best Compliments to Mrs Wharton, & your Family. does that Name include any body, that I am not yet acquainted with?

Adieu, I am ever
Truly Yours
Letter ID: letters.0164 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 31
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 31[?]


Date of composition: 5 June 1748
Date (on letter): June, 5 ... 1748
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 3 pages, 185 mm x 151 mm


Languages: English, French
Incipit: Tho' I have been silent so long; do not imagine, I am at all less...
Mentioned: Diodorus
Gresset, Jean Baptiste Louis de
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Thomson, James
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 27-28, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

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 vii, section iv, 189-190
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter VII, vol. i, 302-304
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XVI, vol. ii, 186-189
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter LXVII, vol. i, 148-150
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter XXIII, vol. iii, 51-55
  • 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. LXXXI, vol. i, 175-179
  • Essays and Criticisms by Thomas Gray. Ed. with Introduction and Notes by Clark Sutherland Northup. Boston and London: D. C. Heath & Co., 1911, letter excerpt, 151-152
  • 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. 145, vol. i, 303-308