1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Beattie

Thomas Gray to James Beattie, 2 October 1765; Poems of Mr. Gray, ed. Mason (1775) 319.



It is a pleasure to me to find that you are not offended with the liberties I took when you were at Glames; you took me too literally, if you thought I meant in the least to discourage you in your pursuit of poetry: all I intended to say was, that if either vanity (that is, a general and undistinguishing desire of applause), or interest, or ambition has any place in the breast of a poet, he stands a great chance in these our days of being severely disappointed; and yet, after all these passions are suppressed, there may remain in the mind of one, "ingenti perculsus amore," (and such I take you to be) incitements of a better sort, strong enough to make him write verse all his life, both for his own pleasure and that of all posterity.