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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [7 March 1738]

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The Honble Horace Walpole Esq
at the Treasury St James's

[           ]

I did not allow myself time to rejoyce with Ashton upon his good fortune, till after I had ransacked all his informations, as to you; & with him admired your judgement & conduct; for these virtues (I find, you are resolved to shew us) you are as well acquainted with, as we knew you were with their Sisters: what! will no less than the whole family serve your turn; sure one of 'em might have contented any moderate stomach! there's Miss Temperance, Miss Constance & the rest of 'em; e'er a one, i'gad, a match for an emperour: these, it is well known, or the world much belies you, you have Had; deny it, if you can; and must poor Miss Prue go to pot too? well, I say no more, but it's too much in all conscience, methinks, for one man to be fit equally for this world, & the next. they tell me you are to be here once more in a little while; dear now, don't let it be much longer. in the mean time have you seen Comus, & what figure does it make after cutting for the simples? have you read yourself to sleep with Dr Swift's conversation, as I did? that confounded Lady Answerall, tho' she says less than any body, is the devil to me! pray did you ever see an elephant? I have. if you han't, you never saw an ugly thing. I would not be Aurengzebe for the world; they say, he rid upon one: that's

yours ever,
T: G:
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Letter ID: letters.0054 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 21
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 20


Date of composition: [7 March 1738]
Date (on letter): March, 7
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Cantab:
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horace Walpole Esq / at the Treasury St James's (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 10 MR)


Language: English
Incipit: I did not allow myself time to rejoyce with Ashton upon his good fortune...
Mentioned: Ashton, Thomas, 1715-1775
Milton, John
Swift, Jonathan

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/36, 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. 77, vol. i, 180-182
  • 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, 152-153
  • 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. 50, vol. i, 81-82