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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [20 March 1738]

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The Honble Horatio Walpole, Esq
at the Treasury St James's

[           ]

Thank God, I had a very good night's rest, and am sufficiently awake to answer your letter, tho' likely to be more dull, than you that write in your sleep: and indeed I do not believe, that you ever are so much asleep, but you can write to a relation, play a sober game at Picquet, keep up a tete á tete conversation, sell a bargain, or perform any of the little offices of life with tolerable spirit; certain I am, there are many people in the world, who in their top spirits are no better eveillés, than you are at four in the morning, reclined upon your pillow. I believe, I partly guess [what is] your hopeful branch; I fancy you may find the first letters of both somewhere between H & T inclusive; if I interpret your hieroglyphs aright. as to my journey to London, which you are so good as to press, alas! what can I do? if I come, it is for good & all, & I don't know how it is, I have a sort of reluctance to leave this place, unamiable as it may seem; 'tis true Cambridge is very ugly, she is very dirty, & very dull; but I'm like a cabbage, where I'm stuck, I love to grow; you should pull me up sooner, than any one, but I shall be ne'er the better for transplanting: poor Mr Cornwallis is here, sadly alter'd, so that one can very hardly know him; Towers still stands out, & refuses to admit him; so that they have called in their visitours, that is the Vice-chancellour, Dr Bently, & Dr Ashton; but nothing is yet determined: the Assizes are just over, I was there; but I a'nt to be transported: Adieu,

yours sincerely
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Letter ID: letters.0055 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: [20 March 1738]
Date (on letter): March: 20:
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horatio Walpole, Esq / at the Treasury St James's (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 20 MR)


Language: English
Incipit: Thank God, I had a very good night's rest, and am sufficiently awake...
Mentioned: Bentley, Richard

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/37, 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. 78, vol. i, 182-184
  • 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, 154-155
  • 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. 51, vol. i, 82-83