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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 9 August 1767

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To The Revd Mr Mason, Precentor of York

Dear Mason

I have been at Hartlepool like any thing, & since that visiting about (wch is the ruin of all my country-expeditions) so that I was not able to write to you sooner. tomorrow I go vizzing to Gibside to see the new-married Countess, whom (bless my eyes!) I have seen here already: there I drop our beatified Friend, who goes into Scotland with them; & return hither all alone. soon after I hope to go into Cumberland, &c: & when that is over, shall let you know.

I exceedingly approve the Epitaph in its present shape: even what I had best liked before is alter'd for the better. the various readings I do not mind, only perhaps, I should read the 2d line

Grace, that with tenderness & sense combined
To form &c:

for I hate sentiment in verse. I will say nothing to Taste & Truth, for perhaps the A:p may fancy they are fine things, but to my palate they are Wormwood. all the rest is just as it should be, & what he ought to admire.

Billy Hervey went directly to Durham, & call'd not here. he danced at the Assembly with a conquering mien, & all the Misses swear, he is the genteelest thing they ever set eyes on, & wants nothing but two feet more in height. the Doctor & Mr Brown send their blessing, & I am ever

T G:
Letter ID: letters.0507 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: 9 August 1767
Date (on letter): 9 Aug: 1767. Sunday
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To The Revd Mr Mason, Precentor of York (postmark: DARLINGTON)


Language: English
Incipit: I have been at Hartlepool like any thing, & since that visiting about...
Mentioned: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Mason, William, 1724-1797
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 CXVI, 404-406
  • 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. CCCIX, vol. iii, 155
  • Essays and Criticisms by Thomas Gray. Ed. with Introduction and Notes by Clark Sutherland Northup. Boston and London: D. C. Heath & Co., 1911, letter excerpt, 282
  • 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. 451, vol. iii, 973-974