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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 11 January 1762

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Dear Mason

It is a mercy, that Old Men are mortal, & that dignified Clergymen know how to keep their word. I heartily rejoice with you in your establishment, & with myself that I have lived to see it, to see your insatiable mouth stopt, & your anxious perriwig at rest & slumbering in a stall. the Bp of London (you see) is dead: there is a fine opening. is there nothing farther to tempt you? feel your own pulse & answer me seriously: it rains Precentorships, you have only to hold up your skirt, & catch them.

I long to embrace you in your way to Court: I am still here: so are the Glasses & their Master. the first still delight me; I wish I could say as much for the second. come however & see us, such as we are. Mr Brown is overjoy'd at the news, yet he is not at all well.

I am (wch is no wonder, being undignified & much at leisure) entirely Yours,
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0405 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 45
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 37


Date of composition: 11 January 1762
Date (on letter): Jan: 11. 1762
Calendar: Gregorian


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


Language: English
Incipit: It is a mercy, that Old Men are mortal, & that dignified Clergymen know...
Mentioned: Brown, James, 1709-1784

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 LXXIV, 284-285
  • 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. CCXXXVI, vol. ii, 247
  • 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. 352, vol. ii, 768-769