Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [11 or 12 February 1751]

Back to Letters page

The Honble Horace Walpole, Esq
in Arlington Street

My dear Sr

As you have brought me into a little Sort of Distress, you must assist me, I believe, to get out of it, as well as I can. yesterday I had the Misfortune of receiving a Letter from certain Gentlemen (as their Bookseller expresses it) who have taken the Magazine of Magazines into their Hands. they tell me, that an ingenious Poem, call'd, Reflections in a Country-Churchyard, has been communicated to them, wch they are printing forthwith: that they are inform'd, that the excellent Author of it is I by name, & that they beg not only his Indulgence, but the Honor of his Correspondence, &c: as I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent, or so correspondent, as they desire; I have but one bad Way left to escape the Honour they would inflict upon me. & therefore am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (wch may be done in less than a Week's time) from your Copy, but without my Name, in what Form is most convenient for him, but in his best Paper & Character. he must correct the Press himself, & print it without any Interval between the Stanza's, because the Sense is in some Places continued beyond them; & the Title must be, Elegy, wrote in a Country Church-yard. if he would add a Line or two to say it came into his Hands by Accident, I should like it better. if you think fit, the 102d Line may be read

Awake, & faithful to her wonted Fires.

but if this be worse than before; it must go, as it was. in the 126th, for ancient Thorn, read aged.

If you behold the Mag: of Mag:s in the Light that I do, you will not refuse to give yourself this Trouble on my Account, wch you have taken of your own Accord before now.

Adieu, Sr, I am
Yours ever
T G:

If Dodsley don't do this immediately, he may as well let it alone.

[Use arrow keys to navigate]
Letter ID: letters.0178 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 34
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 33


Date of composition: [11 or 12 February 1751]
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horace Walpole, Esq / in Arlington Street / London (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 12 FE)


Language: English
Incipit: As you have brought me into a little Sort of Distress, you must assist...
Mentioned: Magazine of Magazines
Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/49, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, 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 xv, section iv, 222
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter XV, vol. i, 332-333
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XXV, vol. ii, 210-211
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter LXXVI, vol. i, 161-162
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter XXXII, vol. iii, 79-80
  • 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. XCII, vol. i, 208-209
  • 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. 171, vol. ii, 103-105
  • 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. ii, 44-45
  • 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. 157, vol. i, 341-342