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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 23 May 1767

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Dear Mason

All this time have I been waiting to say something to the purpose, & now am just as far off as at first. Stuart appointed Mr Weddell an hour, when I was to meet him, & (after staying an infinite while at his lodgings in expectation) he never came: indeed he was gone out of Town. the drawing & your questions remain in Weddell's hands to be shew'd to this Rogue, as soon as he can meet with him: but I firmly believe, when he has got them, he will do nothing. so you must tell me, what I am to do with them. I have shew'd the Epitaph to no one but Hurd, who entirely approves it. he made no objection, but to one line (& that was mine) Heav'n lifts &c: so if you please to make another, you may: for my part I rather like it still.

I begin to think of drawing northwards (if my wretched matters will let me) & am going to write to Mr Brown about it. you are to consider, whether you will be able or willing to receive us at Aston about a fortnight hence, or whether we are to find you at York, where I suppose you to be at present. this you will let me know soon, & if I am disappointed, I will tell you in time. you will tell me, what to do with your Zumpe, wch has amused me much here. if you would have it sent down, I had better commit it to its Maker, who will tune it & pack it up. Dr Long has bought the fellow to it. the base is not quite of a piece with the treble, & the higher notes are somewhat dry & sticky: the rest discourses very eloquent musick.

Adieu! Dear Sr, I am ever
T G:

Gisburne, Fraser, & Stonhewer, often enquire kindly after you, with many more.

Letter ID: letters.0496 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: 23 May 1767
Date (on letter): 23 May. 1767
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn-Street


Language: English
Incipit: All this time have I been waiting to say something to the purpose,...
Mentioned: Aston
Brown, James, 1709-1784
Hurd, Dr. Richard
Hurd, Richard, 1720-1808
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Stuart, James

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 CVII, 380-381
  • 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. CCXCVIII, vol. iii, 137-138
  • 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. 440, vol. iii, 957-958