Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to James Dodsley, [c. 1 February 1768]

Back to Letters page

Let the Title be only Poems by Mr Gray without any mention of notes or additions. you will judge, whether what few notes there are should stand at bottom of each page, or be thrown to the end. all I desire is, that the text be accurately printed, & therefore whoever corrects the press, should have some acquaintance with the Greek, Latin, & Italian, as well as the English, tongues. let the order stand thus, unless you have begun to print already: if so, it is indifferent to me.

  • 1. Ode. (Lo, where the rosy-bosom'd &c:)
  • 2. Ode, on the death of a favourite Cat.
  • 3. Ode, on a distant prospect of Eton-College.
  • 4. Ode, to Adversity.
  • 5. The progress of Po√ęsy, a Pindaric Ode.
  • 6. The Bard, a Pindaric Ode.
  • 7. The Fatal Sisters.
  • 8. The Descent of Odin.
  • 9. The Triumphs of Owen, a fragment.
  • 10. Elegy, written in a country church-yard.

You will print the four first & the last from your own large edition (first publish'd with Mr B:s plates) in the 5th & 6th you will do well to follow the edition printed at St:y-hill: I mention this, because there are several little faults of the press in your Miscellanies. remember, the Long Story must be quite omitted. now for the notes.


I hope, you have not begun to reprint: but if you have, you must throw the notes, &c: to the end, or where you please, omitting the mottoes, wch do not much signify. When you have done, I shall desire you to present in my name a copy to Mr Walpole in Arlington-street, another to Mr Daines Barrington (he is one of the Welch Judges) in the Inner-Temple; & a third to Mr J: Butler at Andover: whether this latter Gentleman be living or not, or in that neighbourhood, I am ignorant: but you will oblige me in making the enquiry. if you have no better means of knowing, a line directed to the Post-mistress at Andover will bring you information. after this you may (if you please) bestow another copy or two on me.

I am
Your obedt humble Servant
T. Gray.

P:S: It is Mr Foulis of Glasgow, that prints them in Scotland: he has been told, that you are doing the same. I have desired, he would not print a great number, & could wish the same of you.

Letter ID: letters.0521 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Dodsley, James, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 44[?]


Date of composition: [c. 1 February 1768]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 9 pages, 320 mm x 200 mm


Language: English
Incipit: Let the Title be only Poems by Mr Gray without any mention of notes...
Mentioned: Odes by Mr. Gray (1757)
Poems by Mr. Gray (1768)
Poems by Mr. Gray (1768)
Butler, J., Mr
Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764

Holding Institution

Add. MSS 38511, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Athenæum, 18 Mar. 1899, printed by Arnold Glover, 388
  • 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. 465, vol. iii, 999-1001