Thomas Gray to William Mason, 23 July 1759
I was alarmed to hear the condition you were in, when you left Cambridge, & tho' Mr Brown had a letter to tell him, you were mending apace, while I was there; yet it would give me great pleasure to hear more particularly from yourself, how you are. I am just settled in my new habitation in Southampton-Row, &, tho' a solitary & dispirited creature, not unquiet, nor wholly unpleasant to myself. the Musæum will be my chief amusement. I this day passed thro' the jaws of a great Leviathan, that lay in my way, into the belly of Dr Templeman, Super-Intendent of ye reading-room, who congratulated himself on the sight of so much good company. We were A Man, that writes for Ld Royston; A Man, that writes for Dr Burton of York; a third, that writes for the Emperour of Germany, or Dr Pocock, for he speaks the worst English I ever heard; Dr. Stukely, who writes for himself, the very worst Person he could write for; & I, who only read to know, if there were any thing worth writing, & that not without some difficulty. I find, that they printed 1000 copies of ye Harleian Catalogue, and have sold fourscore; that they have 900£ a year income, & spend 1300, & that they are building apartments for the Under-Keepers, so I expect in Winter to see the Collection advertised, & set to auction.
Have you read the Clarendon-book? do you remember Mr Cambridge's account of it, before it came out; how well he recollected all the faults, & how utterly he forgot all the beauties? surely the grossest Taste is better, than such a sort of Delicacy.
The Invasion goes on as quietly, as if we believed every Frenchman, that set his foot on English ground, would die on the spot, like a Toad in Ireland: no body, but I & Fobus, are in a fright about it. by the way he goes to Church (not for the invasion) but eversince his Sister Castle-comer died, who was the last of ye brood.
At Mr. Jauncey's, Southampton-Row, Bloomsbury.
I have not a Frank in ye World, nor have I time to send to Mr Frazier.
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 <https://www.nypl.org/about/divisions/berg-collection-english-and-american-literature>
- 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, section iv, 275-276
- 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 XLV, 182-185
- 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. CLXXXVIII, vol. ii, 90-93
- 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. 297, vol. ii, 629-631