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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 21 February 1758

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Dr Thomas Wharton M:D: in
Southampton-Row near Bedford:
22 FE

Dear Doctor

I feel very ungrateful (wch is the most uneasy of all feelings) in that I have never once enquired, how you and your family enjoy the region of air & sunshine, into which you are removed, & with what contempt you look back on the perpetual fogs, that hang over Mrs Payne & Mrs Paterson. yet you certainly have not been the less in my mind: that at least has pack'd up with you, has help'd Mrs. Wharton to arrange the mantle-piece, & drank tea next summer in the Grotto. but I am much puzzled about the Bishop & his fixtures, & do not stomach the loss of that money.

Would you know, what I am doing? I doubt, you have been told already, & hold my employment cheap enough: but every one must judge of his own capabilities, & cut his amusements according to his disposition. the drift of my present studies is to know, wherever I am, what lies within reach, that may be worth seeing. whether it be Building, ruin, park, garden, prospect, picture, or monument; to whom it does, or has belong'd, & what has been the characteristick, & taste of different ages. you will say, this is the object of all Antiquaries, but pray, what Antiquary ever saw these objects in the same light, or desired to know them for a like reason? in short say what you please, I am persuaded, whenever my list is finish'd, you will approve it, & think it of no small use. my spirits are very near the freezing point, & for some hours of the day this exercise by its warmth & gentle motion serves to raise them a few degrees higher. I hope the misfortune, that has befall'n Mrs. Cibber's Canary-bird will not be the ruin of Agis. it is probable you will have curiosity enough to see it, as it comes from the Writer of Douglas: I expect your opinion. I am told, that Swift's History of the Tory-Administration is in the Press, & that Stuart's Attica will be out this spring.

Adieu, Dear Sr, I am ever

Mr. Brown joins his compliments with mine to you & Mrs Wharton.

Letter ID: letters.0309 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 41
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 41[?]


Date of composition: 21 February 1758
Date (on letter): Feb: 21. 1758
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 2 pages, 199 mm x 161 mm
Addressed: To / Dr Thomas Wharton M:D: in / Southampton-Row near Bedford: / :House / London (postmark: 22 FE)


Language: English
Incipit: I feel very ungrateful (wch is the most uneasy of all feelings) in that...
Mentioned: Home, John
Stuart, James
Swift, Jonathan

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 106-107, 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 xxix, section iv, 259-260
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter XXIX, vol. i, 366-367
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter LXXI, vol. ii, 305-306
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter C, vol. ii, 29-30
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LXXIX, vol. iii, 187-189
  • 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. CLXIII, vol. ii, 22-24
  • 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. 267, vol. ii, 563-565