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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 5 February 1762

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Dear Mason

When the belly is full, the bones are at rest. you squat yourself down in the midst of your revenues, leave me to suppose, that somebody has broke in upon the Dean before you; that Mr Beedon has siezed upon the Precentorship; that you are laid up with a complication of distempers at York; that you are dead of an Apoplexy at Aston, & all the disagreeable probabilities, that use to befall us, when we think ourselves at the height of our wishes; and then away you are gone to Town, while I am daily expecting you here; & the first I know of it is from the Gazette. why, if you were Bishop of Lincoln, you could not serve one worse!

I wrote to you the same day I received your letter, the 11th of Jan:; & then to Dr Wharton, who sends you his congratulations to be deliver'd in your way to London. here, take them, you miserable Precentor! I wish all your Choir may mutiny, & sing you to death.

Adieu, I am
Ever Yours
T G:

Commend me kindly to Montagu.

Letter ID: letters.0407 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 45
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 38


Date of composition: 5 February 1762
Date (on letter): Feb: 5. 1761
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Pemb: Coll


Language: English
Incipit: When the belly is full, the bones are at rest. you squat yourself down...

Holding Institution

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 <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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 LXIV, 253-254
  • 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. CCXXXVIII, vol. ii, 253
  • 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. 354, vol. ii, 773-774