1770 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Thomas Gray to Thomas Warton, 15 April 1770; Works, ed. Gosse (1895) 3:364-65.



Sir — Our friend, Dr. Hurd, having long ago desired me, in your name to communicate any fragments or sketches of a design, I once had, to give a History of English Poetry, you may well think me rude or negligent, when you see me hesitating for so many months, before I comply with your request, and yet, believe me, few of your friends have been better pleased than I, to find this subject (surely neither unentertaining nor unuseful) had fallen into hands so likely to do it justice. Few have felt a higher esteem for your talents, your taste, and industry. In truth, the only cause of my delay, has been a sort of diffidence, that would not let me send you anything, so short, so slight, and so imperfect as the few materials I had begun to collect, or the observations I had made on them. A sketch of the division or arrangement of the subject, however, I venture to transcribe; and would wish to know, whether it corresponds in any thing with your own plan, for I am told your first volume is in the press.