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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 13 October 1757

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To The Revd Mr Mason at The Earl of Holdernesse's in Arlington Street

Dear Mason

I thank you for your history of Melpomene, wch is curious, & ought to be remember'd. the judgement of the knowing ones ought always to be upon record, that they may not be suffer'd to retract & mitigate their applause: if I were Dodsley I would sue them, & they should buckle my shoe in Westminster-Hall. what is the reason, I hear nothing of your waiting, & your performances in publick? another thing. why has Mr H:s letter to you never been advertised, & why do not I hear, what any body says about it?

I go from hence for three days on Wednesday next, & hope your inoculation will not be so over, that you should come to Windsor, before I return: if I had notice in due time, I would meet you at the Christopher in Eton, or if you chuse it (you know the worst, having been already here) shall rejoice to see you at Stoke. in town I shall hardly be, till next month. our expedition is extremely a l'Angloise: but I have given up all thoughts of England, & care for no body but the King of Prussia. pray, do not suffer your Megrims to prevail over you. it is good for you, that you should come to school for a few months now & then. I must say, no one has profited more in so few lessons. Common-Sense no where thrives better than in the neighbourhood of Nonsense.

take care of your health, & believe me ever

Send me Elegy. my hoe is sharp.

Letter ID: letters.0288 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 40
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 33


Date of composition: 13 October 1757
Date (on letter): Oct: 13. Friday. [Thursday] 1757
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Stoke Poges, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To The Revd Mr Mason at The Earl of Holdernesse's in Arlington Street


Language: English
Incipit: I thank you for your history of Melpomene, wch is curious,...
Mentioned: Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764
Hurd, Dr. Richard
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Stoke Poges

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 XXVI, 110-112
  • 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. CLII, vol. i, 368-369
  • 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. 253, vol. ii, 534-535