Thomas Gray to Norton Nicholls, 14 April 1770
To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Blundeston near Leostoff Suffolk By Yarmouth
I thought my mysteries were but too easy to explain, however you must have a little patience, for I can hazard only word of mouth. what you say of poor B: is so true, & (let me add) expresses so well my own feelings, that I shall transcribe your words, & send them to him: were I in his place, I should be grateful for them! by this time I should think, you may have received a letter from him yourself, for in that I received from Abbeville, 31 March, he spoke of his intention to write to you. I wrote to you myself as soon as I return'd from London, the 1st (I think) of April.
I am coming to see you, my good Friend, that is, on Monday se'nnight I mean to call on Palgrave for a few days in my way to Blundeston. as to Wales you may do with me, what you please, I care not. there is this inconvenience in our way, that I must call on Mason at Aston (& so may you too) for a little while, the last week in May: from thence we strike across to Chester, & enter Wales. for the summer of next year (tho' I shall be dead first) I am your Man, only I desire it may be a secret between ourselves, till the time comes, as you love your life.
I rejoice to see, you are so great a Gardiner & Botanist: my instructions will be very poor: De B: with five lessons from Miller (before he departed for Sumatra) & his own matchless industry, could have told you much more than I can. it would be strange if I should blame you for reading Isocrates. I did so myself 20 years ago, & in an edition at least as bad as yours. the Panegyrick, the De Pace, Areopagitic, & Advice to Philip, are by far the noblest remains we have of this Writer, & equal to most things extant in the Greek tongue: but it depends on your judgement to distinguish between his real & occasional opinion of things, as he directly contradicts in one place what he has advanced in another, for example in the Panathenaic & the De Pace, &c: on the naval power of Athens: the latter of the two is undoubtedly his own undisguised sentiment.
Talk your fill to me, & spare not. it would perhaps be more flattering, if you lived in the midst of an agreable society: but even as it is, I take it in good part, & heartily thank you, for you have given me a late instance of your partiality & kindness, that I shall ever remember.
I received on ye 10th of this month a long letter from Paris lively & sensible as usual: but you will see it, & I shall hope for a sight of such as you have got by you. there are two different directions. A Mons: M:r B: a l'hotel de Luxembourg, rue des Petits Augustins, Fauxbourg St Germain, Paris. the other, to the same, chez Messrs Lullin, Freres, & Rittiel, rue Thevenot, Paris. the latter seems the safer, but then I am uncertain, whether I read it right. what shall I do? I have tried both ways, but do not know yet with what success.
Bonstetten, Charles Victor de, 1745-1832
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
College Library, Eton College , Windsor, UK <http://www.etoncollege.com/collegelibrary.aspx>
- 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 xi, section v, 393
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XXVII, vol. v, 106-108
- 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. CCCLXI, vol. iii, 274-276
- 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, 299
- 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. 517, vol. iii, 1121-1122