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Thomas Gray to William Mason, [1 August 1757]

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Dear Mason

If I did not send you a political letter forthwith, it was because Ld H: came in again so soon, that it was the same thing, as if he had never gone out: excepting one little circumstance indeed, the anger of old Priam; wch (I am told) is the reason, that he has not the blue ribband, tho' promised him before. I have been here this month or more, low-spirited, & full of disagreeablenesses, & to add to them, am at this present very ill, not with the Gout, nor Stone (thank God) nor with blotches, nor blains, nor with frogs, nor lice, but with a painful infirmity, that has to me the charms of novelty, but would not amuse you much in the description.

I hope you divert yourself much better, than I do. you may be sure, Dodsley had orders to send you some Odes, the instant they were off the spit. indeed I forgot Mr Fraser; so I fear, they will come to Sheffield in the shape of a small parcel by some coach or waggon: but if there is time, I will prevent it. they had been out three weeks ago, but Mr W:, having taken it into his head to set up a Press of his own at Twickenham, was so earnest to handsel it with this new pamphlet, that it was impossible to find a pretence for refusing such a trifle. you will dislike this, as much as I do, but there is no help. you understand, it is he, that prints them not for me, but for Dodsley. I charge you send me some Caractacus, before I die. it is impossible, this weather should not bring him to maturity.

If you knew, how bad I was, you would not wonder, I could write no more.

Adieu, Dear Mason, I am ever most truly
Letter ID: letters.0275 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 40
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 33


Date of composition: [1 August 1757]
Date (on letter): Monday. Aug. 1
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Stoke Poges, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Stoke


Language: English
Incipit: If I did not send you a political letter forthwith, it was because Ld H:...
Mentioned: Odes by Mr. Gray (1757)
Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

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 XXI, 91-93
  • 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. CXLIV, vol. i, 342-343
  • 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. 242, vol. ii, 511-512