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Thomas Gray to James Brown, 19 July 1762

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Dear Sir,

After my fortnight's residence at York, I am arrived here. The Precentor is very hopefully improved in dignity; his scarf sets the fullest about his ears: his surplice has the most the air of lawn-sleeves you can imagine in so short a time; he begins to complain of qualms and indigestions from repose and repletion: in short il tranche du Prelat. We went twice a-day to church with our vergers and all our pomp. Here the scene is totally altered: we breakfast at six in the morning and go to bed at ten. The house rings all day with carpenters and upholsterers, and without doors we swarm with labourers and builders. The books are not yet unpacked, and there is but one pen and ink in the house. Jetty and Fadge (two favourite sows) are always coming into the entry, and there is a concert of poultry under every window: we take in no newspaper or magazine, but the cream and butter is beyond compare. You are wished for every day, and you may imagine how acceptable a correspondent you must be.

Pray write soon, and believe me ever sincerely yours
T G.
Letter ID: letters.0414 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 45
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 53[?]


Date of composition: 19 July 1762
Date (on letter): July 19, 1762
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Durham, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Old Park


Language: English
Incipit: After my fortnight's residence at York, I am arrived here....
Mentioned: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Old Park
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794

Holding Institution

Private collection
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability; Christie's, 14 June 1979 (A. A. Houghton Sale), Lot 237, sold to Fleming

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 LXXVII, 291-292
  • 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, vol. ii, xxxii-xxxiii
  • 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. 361, vol. ii, 781-782