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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [12 January 1735]

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The Honble Horace Walpole Esq
at his house in St James's Square London

How severe is forgetful old Age
To confine a poor Devil so?
That I almost despair
To see even the Air;
Much more my dear Damon–hey ho!

Thou dear envious Imp, to set me a longing with accounts of Plays & Opera's, & Masquerades after hearing of which, I can no more think of Logick & Stuff, than you could of Divinity at a Ball, or of Caudle & Carraway-Comfits after having been stuffed at a Christening: heaven knows! we have nobody in our Colledge, that has seen London, but one; and he, I believe comes out of Vinegar-yard, & looks like toasted Cheshire cheese, strewed with brown Sugar. I beg you, give me the minutest Circumstances of your Diversions & your Indiversions; tho' if it is as great a trouble to you to write, as it is a pleasure to me to get 'em by heart, I fear I shan't hear from you once in a twelve-month, & dear now, be very punctual & very long: if I had the least particle of pleasure, you should know it; & so you should if I had any thing troublesome; tho' in Cambridge there is nothing so troublesome, as that one has nothing to trouble one. every thing is so tediously regular, so samish, that I expire for want of a little variety. I am just as I was, & so is every thing about me; I hope you'll forgive my formality, in being just the same

Friend of yours, & just
the same Servant
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Letter ID: letters.0008 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 18
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 17


Date of composition: [12 January 1735]
Date (on letter): Jan: 12
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horace Walpole Esq / at his house in St James's Square London (postmark: SAFFRON WALDEN 13 1A)


Language: English
Incipit: Thou dear envious Imp, to set me a longing with accounts of Plays & Opera's...
Mentioned: Cambridge

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/7, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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. 7, vol. i, 20-21
  • 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. i, 72-73
  • 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. 8, vol. i, 16-17