Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [11 or 12 February 1751]
The Honble Horace Walpole, Esq
in Arlington Street
CAMBRIDGE 12 FE
As you have brought me into a little Sort of Distress, you must assist me, I believe, to get out of it, as well as I can. yesterday I had the Misfortune of receiving a Letter from certain Gentlemen (as their Bookseller expresses it) who have taken the Magazine of Magazines into their Hands. they tell me, that an ingenious Poem, call'd, Reflections in a Country-Churchyard, has been communicated to them, wch they are printing forthwith: that they are inform'd, that the excellent Author of it is I by name, & that they beg not only his Indulgence, but the Honor of his Correspondence, &c: as I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent, or so correspondent, as they desire; I have but one bad Way left to escape the Honour they would inflict upon me. & therefore am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (wch may be done in less than a Week's time) from your Copy, but without my Name, in what Form is most convenient for him, but in his best Paper & Character. he must correct the Press himself, & print it without any Interval between the Stanza's, because the Sense is in some Places continued beyond them; & the Title must be, Elegy, wrote in a Country Church-yard. if he would add a Line or two to say it came into his Hands by Accident, I should like it better. if you think fit, the 102d Line may be read
Awake, & faithful to her wonted Fires.
but if this be worse than before; it must go, as it was. in the 126th, for ancient Thorn, read aged.
If you behold the Mag: of Mag:s in the Light that I do, you will not refuse to give yourself this Trouble on my Account, wch you have taken of your own Accord before now.
If Dodsley don't do this immediately, he may as well let it alone.
GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/49, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <http://www.pem.cam.ac.uk/>
- 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 xv, section iv, 222
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter XV, vol. i, 332-333
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XXV, vol. ii, 210-211
- The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter LXXVI, vol. i, 161-162
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter XXXII, vol. iii, 79-80
- 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. XCII, vol. i, 208-209
- 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. 171, vol. ii, 103-105
- The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence. Ed. by W. S. Lewis. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP; London: Oxford UP, 1937-83, vols. 13/14: Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton i, 1734-42, Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray ii, 1745-71, ed. by W. S. Lewis, George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett, 1948, vol. ii, 44-45
- 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. 157, vol. i, 341-342