1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Richard Hurd to William Mason, 15 September 1771; in Correspondence of Hurd and Mason, ed. Pearce and Whibley (1932) 78.



Poor Mr. Gray! I sympathise tenderly with you for the loss of him. He had many and great virtues, the lustre of which was a little obscured to those, who did not know him well, by some peculiarities in his manner, and of which he had not the full enjoyment of himself, from a too splenetic habit. His learning was considerable; and his taste and genius above all praise. He showed the sincerity of his friendship, and at the same time a true judgment, in leaving his papers to your care. I question not but many of the fragments, you mention, will deserve to be made public; tho' hardly anything, he could have finished himself for the press, would add much to his fame, which already is as high, as it well can be, and yet not higher than is right: So just has this capricious world been, in one instance, to superior merit! Of his other MSS there may be room for more deliberation: And you do well to propose taking the opinions of your more judicious friends. If you honour me with a place in this list, you may depend on knowing my real sentiments, whatever they may be.