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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 26 July 1767

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Dear Mason

You are very perverse. I do desire, you would not think of dropping the design you had of obliging the A:p. I submitted my criticisms to your own conscience, & I allow'd the latter half to be excellent, two or three little words excepted. if this will not do, for the future I must say (whatever you send me) that the whole is the most perfect thing in nature, wch is easy to do, when one knows it will be acceptable. seriously I should be sorry, if you did not correct these lines; & am interested enough for the party (only upon your narrative) to wish, he were satisfied in it, for I am edified, when I hear of so mundane a Man, that yet–He has a tear for pity–

By the way I ventured to shew the other Epitaph to Dr Wh:, & sent him brim-full into the next room to cry: I believe, he did not hear it quite through, nor has he ever ask'd to hear it again. and now will you not come & see him?

We are just come back from a little journey to Barnard-Castle, Rookby, & Richmond (Mr Brown & all, all) some thoughts we have of going for two or three days to Hartlepool. then we (Dr W: & I), talk of seeing Westm:d & Cumberland, & perhaps the west of Yorkshire; the mountains I mean, for we despise the plains. then at our return I write to you, not to shew my talent at description, but to ask again, whether you will come or no.

Adieu! I wish you health & peace of mind, and am ever
T G:

Mr Brown & the Dr desire their comp:ts to Mr Robinson.

Letter ID: letters.0505 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: 26 July 1767
Date (on letter): 26 July. 1767
Calendar: Gregorian


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


Language: English
Incipit: You are very perverse. I do desire, you would not think of dropping the...
Mentioned: Barnard Castle
Brown, James, 1709-1784
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Richmond (Yorks.)
Rookby (Rokeby)
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794

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 CXIV, 398-400
  • 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. CCCVII, vol. iii, 151-152
  • 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. 449, vol. iii, 969-970