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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [19 September 1763]

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To the Honble Horace Walpole in Arlington Street London

Positively I can make nothing of St Islee, & thought myself sure, it was Chantilly; & even believe so still, not having the book before me.

To be sure I look'd in Grotius' Epistles the first thing I did: he writes to no body with a name at all similar. but in the little book of this Ld Herberts Verses, publish'd by the Divine Herbert after his death, is a thing addressed, to Tilenus after the fatal defluxion upon my arm. Now Daniel Tilenus was a great theological Writer of that time: he wrote about Antichrist, & Animadversions on the Synod of Dort, &c: & some of his works were publish'd (I see) at Paris. he was however a Silesian, & his true name might well be Tieleners; & as Grotius was also a deep Divine, he might well be acquainted with him, as well as Ld Herbert.

Do not lay your learning upon me, for I no more desire the title of Clarissimus & Celeberrimus, than you do. a Collecter of Antiquities, whose work (yet unpublish'd) I have before me, cites you under the name of the lively Editor of the Cat: of Noble Authors. will that satisfy you better?

I give you many thanks for your political riddles: before I print them, I shall send you a List of my doubts & difficulties, for I don't understand a word of the matter. I wonder, you should think folly less entertaining than wisdom. you, who live next door to the Theatre, may be as fastidious as you please, & disdain to cast an eye on Garrick above once in a year. I, who live in the country, am excusable, if I go every night to see a troop of Strollers in a barn, as long as they stay.

Adieu, I am ever
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Letter ID: letters.0430 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 46
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 46


Date of composition: [19 September 1763]
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To the Honble Horace Walpole in Arlington Street London (postmark: ROYSTON 20 SE)


Language: English
Incipit: Positively I can make nothing of St Islee, & thought myself sure,...
Mentioned: Grotius, Hugo
Herbert of Cherbury, 1st Baron
Herbert, George
Tilenus, Daniel
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/89, 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. 223, vol. ii, 219-221
  • 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. ii, 129-130
  • 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. 377, vol. ii, 818-819