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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 28 March 1767

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My Dear Mason

I break in upon you at a moment, when we least of all are permitted to disturb our Friends, only to say, that you are daily & hourly present to my thoughts. if the worst be not yet past: you will neglect & pardon me. but if the last struggle be over: if the poor object of your long anxieties be no longer sensible to your kindness, or to her own sufferings: allow me (at least in idea, for what could I do, were I present, more than this?) to sit by you in silence, & pity from my heart not her, who is at rest; but you, who lose her. may He, who made us, the Master of our pleasures, & of our pains, preserve & support you!


I have long understood, how little you had to hope.

Letter ID: letters.0492 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 50
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 43


Date of composition: 28 March 1767
Date (on letter): March. 28. 1767
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I break in upon you at a moment, when we least of all are permitted...
Mentioned: Bristol Hot Wells

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 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 liv, section iv, 324
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter LIV, vol. i, 424
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter CXXVIII, vol. ii, 477
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter CXXX, vol. ii, 107
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CXXXIX, vol. iv, 85-86
  • 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 CV, 377-378
  • 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. CCXCVI, vol. iii, 136-137
  • 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. 436, vol. iii, 953