1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:116-17.



There are, doubtless, a few exceptions, such as Gray, who wrote little, and did not like to write.... I have conversed on the subject with Bonstetten, who knew him; but Bonstetten was then very old, and his memory began to fail; and he was himself very young and lively when he visited the poet; and being also a foreigner, did not enter into those deep observations of this point. He seemed to think that Gray was little aware of his own celebrity, and said that he did not like to talk of his own writings. In short, Bonstetten, though himself a genius, very evidently had not penetrated Gray's character; but he admired his wonderful and various erudition, and amiable disposition and manners. It was, I think, in 1769, that Bonstetten, who was then twenty-four years old, visited Gray at Cambridge. He died at Geneva, February 1832, aged eighty-seven.