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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [28 March 1738]

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

[           ]

You can never weary me with repetition of any thing, that makes me sensible of your kindness: since that has been the only Idea of any social happiness that I have ever received almost, & which (begging your pardon for thinking so differently from you in such cases) I would by no means have parted with for an exemption from all the uneasinesses mixed with it. but it would be unjust to imagine my taste was any rule for yours, for which reason my letters are shorter & less frequent than they would be, had I any materials but myself to entertain you with. love, & brown Sugar must be a poor regale for one of your Goût, & alas! you know I am by trade a Grocer. Scandal (if I had any) is a merchandize, you don't profess dealing in; now & then indeed, & to oblige a friend you may perhaps slip a little out of your Pocket, as a decayed Gentlewoman would a piece of right Mechlin, or a little quantity of run Tea; but this only now & then, not to make a practise of it. Monsters, appertaining to this Climate, you have seen already both wet & dry: so you see within how narrow bounds my Pen is circumscribed; & the whole contents of my share in our Correspondence may be reduced under the two heads of 1: You, 2: I: the first is indeed a subject to expatiate upon, but [you might] laugh at me for talking of what I do not understand; the second is as tiny, as tiresome, wherefore you shall hear no more of it, till you come to Finis. Ashton was here last night, he goes to morrow, he bid me farewell, & drank a health in Ale & small, to our meeting hereafter in a happy Eternity. Mrs Ward has bought her a silver Chamberpot. Mademoiselle Quimbeau (that was) is weary of her new husband, & has sent a petit billet to a gentleman to pray he would come, & ravish her. there is a curious woman here that spins Glass, & makes short Aprons, & furbelow'd petticoats of it, a very genteel wear for summer, & discover's all the motions of the limbs to great advantage. she is a successour of Jack, the Aple dumpling Spinner's: my Duck has eat a Snail, &c: & I am

yours eternally
T: G:

P:S: I give you a thousand thanks for your characters. if I knew whither West was in town, I'd write to him.

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Letter ID: letters.0056 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: [28 March 1738]
Date (on letter): [Mar 28]
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horace Walpole Esq / at the Treasury St James's (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 29 MR)


Language: English
Incipit: You can never weary me with repetition of any thing, that makes...
Mentioned: Ashton, Thomas, 1715-1775

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/20, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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 vi, section i, 16-17
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section I, letter VI, vol. i, 147-148
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section I, letter VI, vol. ii, 11-13
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter VI, vol. i, 14-15
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section I, letter VI, vol. ii, 13-14
  • 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. V, vol. i, 5-6
  • 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. 28, vol. i, 65-67
  • 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, 155-156
  • 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. 52, vol. i, 83-85