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Thomas Gray to Norton Nicholls, 22 May 1770

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To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Blundeston near Leostoff Suffolk
22 MA

Dear Sr

When I return'd to Cambridge, I found a long letter from De B: expressing much kindness, but in a style un peu trop alambiqué, & yesterday I had another shorter, & making bad excuses for not writing oftener: he seems at present to give into all the French nonsense & to be employ'd much like an English boy broke loose from his Governor. I want much to know, whether he has wrote to you yet: if not, I am seriously angry, tho' to little purpose. A Marquis de Villevielle, who is here with the French Embassador, has found me out, & seems a quiet good sort of young Man. he knows & tries to speak English, & has translated me by way of exercise. that is our bond of union, but I have seen no specimen yet. he returns home soon with Mr de Chatelet; but means to return & acquaint himself better with this country.

On Monday or Tuesday I mean to leave this place & after passing two or three days at Cambridge proceed to Aston, where Mason expects me. now if you like to accompany me, you will meet me at Camb: & we pursue our way together, trees blooming & nightingales singing all round us. let me know your mind & direct to me at Camb:ge.

I have not forgot your microscope, but my Mr Ramsden (Mason's Favourite) is such a Lyar & a Fool, that ten to one it is not finish'd this month or two. my respects to Mrs. Nicholls! I hope the sermon is compleated between you.

Adieu! I am faithfully yours
T G:

I have got Gruner's book.

Letter ID: letters.0602 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 53
Addressee: Nicholls, Norton, c. 1742-1809
Addressee's age: 28[?]


Date of composition: 22 May 1770
Date (on letter): 22 May. 1770
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn-Str:t
Place of addressee: Blundeston, United Kingdom

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 2 pages
Addressed: To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Blundeston near Leostoff Suffolk (postmark: 22 MA)


Language: English
Incipit: When I return'd to Cambridge, I found a long letter from De B: expressing...
Mentioned: Aston
Bonstetten, Charles Victor de, 1745-1832
Gruner, Gottlieb Sigmund

Holding Institution

College Library, Eton College , Windsor, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; bound into a copy of Mathias's Works of Thomas Gray (London, 1814), vol. II, part 2; a photocopy is at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, OSB MSS c 467, box 1, folder 96

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XXVIII, vol. v, 108-109
  • 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. CCCLXVI, vol. iii, 283-284
  • 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. 524, vol. iii, 1133-1134