Skip main navigation

Richard West to Thomas Gray, [21 February 1738]

Back to Letters page

I ought to answer you in Latin, but I feel I dare not enter the lists with you – cupidum, pater optime, vires deficiunt. Seriously you write in that language with a grace and an Augustan urbanity that amazes me: Your Greek too is perfect in its kind. And here let me wonder that a man, longè græcorum doctissimus, should be at a loss for the verse and chapter whence my epigram is taken. I am sorry I have not my Aldus with me that I might satisfy your curiosity; but he with all my other literary folks are left at Oxford, and therefore you must still rest in suspense. I thank you again and again for your medical prescription. I know very well that those 'risus, festivitates, & facetiæ' would contribute greatly to my cure, but then you must be my apothecary as well as physician, and make up the dose as well as direct it; send me, therefore, an electuary of these drugs, made up secundùm artem, 'et eris mihi magnus Apollo', in both his capacities as a god of poets and god of physicians. Wish me joy of leaving my college, and leave yours as fast as you can. I shall be settled at the Temple very soon.

Letter ID: letters.0052 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: West, Richard, 1716-1742
Writer's age: 22[?]
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 21


Date of composition: [21 February 1738]
Date (on letter): [Feb. 21, 1737/8]
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]
Address (on letter): [Dartmouth-Street[, Westminster]]


Language: English
Incipit: I ought to answer you in Latin, but I feel I dare not enter the lists...

Holding Institution

Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives

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 xiii, section i, 29-30
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section I, letter XIII, vol. i, 158-159
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section I, letter XIII, vol. ii, 24-25
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter XIII, vol. i, 26-27
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section I, letter XIII, vol. ii, 27-28
  • Gray and his Friends: Letters and Relics, in great part hitherto unpublished. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890, section II, letter no. 19, 107-108
  • The Correspondence of Gray, Walpole, West and Ashton (1734-1771), 2 vols. Chronologically arranged and edited with introduction, notes, and index by Paget Toynbee. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915, letter no. 75, vol. i, 177-178
  • 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. 48, vol. i, 78-79