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Horace Walpole to Thomas Gray, [c. 3 January 1763]

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Portrait of Lord Granville

Commanding beauty, smoothed by cheerful grace,
Sat on each opening feature of his face:
Bold was his language, rapid, glowing, strong;
And science flowed spontaneous from his tongue.
With genius, seizing systems, slighting rules,
And, void of gall, with boundless scorn of fools.
Ambition dealt her flambeau to his hand,
And Bacchus aided to illume the brand.
His wish, to counsel monarchs or control;
His means?—th' impetuous ardour of his soul;
For Prudence, daring not to eye his aim,
Lent not a pop-gun to bring down the game.
Swift too the scaffold of his airy pride
Fell—but slight-built, diffused no ruin wide.
Unhurt, undaunted, undisturbed, he fell;
Could laugh the same, and the same stories tell:
And more a sage than he, who bade await
His revels, till his conquests were complete,
Our jovial statesman either sail unfurled,
And drank his bottle, though he missed the world.

Letter ID: letters.0651 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Writer's age: 45
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 46


Date of composition: [c. 3 January 1763]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: Portrait of Lord Granville...

Holding Institution

Class No. LC II, 90, no. 88, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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, 123-124