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Thomas Gray to Richard Stonhewer, [12 June 1769]

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I did not intend the Duke should have heard me till he could not help it. You are desired to make the best excuses you can to his Grace for the liberty I have taken of praising him to his face; but as somebody was necessarily to do this, I did not see why Gratitude should sit silent and leave it to Expectation to sing, who certainly would have sung, and that à gorge deployée upon such an occasion.

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Letter ID: letters.0556 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 52
Addressee: Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809
Addressee's age: 41[?]


Date of composition: [12 June 1769]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I did not intend the Duke should have heard me till he could not help it....
Mentioned: Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of, 1735-1811
Ode for Music

Holding Institution

Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives

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, section v, 349 note
  • 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. CCCXLVI, vol. iii, 224
  • 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. 497, vol. iii, 1062