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years, reading and transcribing"; and, so far as can be discovered, very little affected by two odes on Oblivion and Obscurity, in which his Lyrick performances were ridiculed with much contempt and much ingenuity?
When the Professor of Modern History at Cambridge died he 17 was, as he says, 'cockered and spirited up,' till he asked it of lord Bute, who sent him a civil refusal ; and the place was given to Mr. Brocket, the tutor of Sir James Lowther 3.
His constitution was weak, and believing that his health was 18 promoted by exercise and change of place. he undertook (1765) a journey into Scotland, of which his account", so far as it extends, is very curious and elegant; for as his comprehension was ample his curiosity extended to all the works of art, all the appearances of nature, and all the monuments of past events s.
· Mason, ii. 24. In July, 1759, he odes, that he never afterwards attook lodgings in Southampton Row. tempted any considerable work.' 'I am now settled in my new terri- Adam Smith, Moral Sent. 1801, i. tories commanding ... all the fields as 255. far as Highgate and Hampstead. Walpole, in 1796, says of Payne Here is air, and sunshine, and quiet. Knight :– He tells a silly falsehood In the reading-room of the Museum of Gray being terrified from writing they were, he said, five readers in by Lloyd's and Colman's trash.' all. Mitford, iii. 219. He visited Letters, ix. 462. Cambridge more than once.
Dr. J. Warton says: “Colman 253.
and Lloyd once said to me that they * Colman's Prose on Several Oc- repented of the attempt."' Gray's casions, &c., 1787, ii. 273. "These Letters, ii. 140 n. Odes,' writes Colman, “were a piece 3 Mitford, iii. 301, letter of Dec. 4, of boys' play with my school- 1762. Lowther, a year before, had fellow Lloyd, with whom they were married Bute's daughter. Burke's written in concert.' Ib. Preface, p. Peerage. Later on he was known 11. They are quoted in Gent. Mag. as 'the bad Lord Lonsdale,' that June, 1760, p. 291. According to gloomy despot,' among whose vicSteevens Johnson said: - Colman tims was Wordsworth's father. He never produced a luckier thing than treated Boswell also with brutality. his first Ode in ridicule of Gray. A Boswell's Johnson, ii. 179 n., V. 113. considerable part of it may be num- Walpole, speaking of the vast sucbered among those felicities which cession that fell to him in 1756, says no man has twice attained.' John. ‘it makes him Croesus. Letters, iii. Misc. ii. 320.
See also Boswell's 5. Nevertheless he was mean enough Johnson, ii. 334.
to pension his tutor at the cost of the Gray wrote in June, 1760:-'I University. believe Mr. Colman's Odes sell no * In his letters. Mitford, iv. 51-65. more than mine did, for I saw a heap 5 In 1758 he wrote :- The drift of of them lie in a bookseller's window, my present studies is to know, wherwho recommended them to me as a ever I am, what lies within reach that very pretty thing.' Letters, ii. 147. may be worth seeing.' lb. iii. 188. See also ib. p. 161.
For his Naturalist's Calendar see ib. • Gray is said to have been so iii. 216, 224, 276, iv. 13; for his obmuch hurt by a foolish and imper- servations on architecture and painttinent parody of two of his finest ing see ib. iv. 70, 225, v. 325.
He naturally contracted a friendship with Dr. Beattie, whom he found a poet, a philosopher, and a good man'. The Mareschal College at Aberdeen offered him the degree of Doctor of Laws, which, having omitted to take it at Cambridge, he thought it
decent to refuse ?. 19 What he had formerly solicited in vain was at last given him
without solicitation. The Professorship of History became again vacant, and he received (1768) an offer of it from the duke of Grafton?. He accepted, and retained it to his death; always designing lectures, but never reading them; uneasy at his neglect of duty, and appeasing his uneasiness with designs of reformation, and with a resolution which he believed himself to have made of
resigning the office, if he found himself unable to discharge it *. 20 Ill health made another journey necessary 5, and he visited
(1769) Westmoreland and Cumberland. He that reads his epistolary narration wishes that to travel, and to tell his travels, had been more of his employment; but it is by studying at
* Mitford, iv. 62-5. 'JOHNSON. for the Installation of the Duke as We all love Beattie. Mrs. Thrale Chancellor of the University. Mitsays, if ever she has another hus- ford, iv. 137. Post, GRAY, 481. 9. band, she'll have Beattie.' Boswell's • This state of mind Johnson knew Johnson, ii. 148.
only too well. Ante, MALLET, • In declining the honour he speaks
14 n. of Cambridge in a tone different from Gray wrote to Nicholls on March his ordinary one-'a set of men 20, 1770:-'As to Wales, doubtless among whom I have passed so many I should wish it this summer, but I easy, and, I may say, happy hours of can answer for nothing; my own emmy life.' Mitford, iv. 63.
ployment so sticks in my stomach, 3 The Duke was Prime Minister. and troubles my conscience. Mitford, Gray wrote on Aug. 1, 1768, that'on v. 104. On May 20, 1771 (a few Sunday se'nnight Brocket died by a weeks before his death), he wrote: fall from his horse, being (as I hear) • The sense of my own duty, which I drunk. On the Wednesday following do not perform, my own low spirits I received a letter from the D. of (to which this consideration not a Grafton saying he had the King's little contributes),' &c. Ib. p. 141. commands to offer me the vacant Nicholls replied: -'For God's sake Professorship.' 16. iv. 123. On Oct. how can you neglect a duty which 31 he wrote: It is the best thing never existed but in your own imaginathe Crown has to bestow (on a lay- tion? It never yet was performed, man) here; the salary is £400 per nor, I believe, expected.'' 16. For ann.' Ib. p. 127. The drunken University Professors see Gibbon's Brocket was in orders. Gent. Mag. Memoirs, p. 53. 1768, p. 398. One of Gray's cor- 5 In his last published letter he respondents, Richard Stonehewer, wrote :- Travel I must or cease to was the Duke's Secretary: 'He is a exist. Mitford, iv. 200. See also ib. great favourite of the Duke, and the person that recommended Mr. Gray.' • 16. iv. 139-78; Mason, ii. 255WALPOLE, Letters, v. 117, 128. Gray, 92. a year later, wrote an Ode for Music
home that we must obtain the ability of travelling with intelligence and improvement'.
His travels and his studies were now near their end. The gout, 21 of which he had sustained many weak attacks, fell upon his stomach’, and, yielding to no medicines, produced strong convulsions, which (July 30, 1771) terminated in death 3.
His character I am willing to adopt, as Mr. Mason has done, 22 from a letter written to my friend Mr. Boswell, by the Rev. Mr. Temple, rector of St. Gluvias in Cornwall* ; and am as willing as his warmest well-wisher to believe it true.
'Perhaps he was the most learned man in Europes. He was
'JOHNSON. As the Spanish Boswell:~My Lives are reprinting, proverb says, “He who would bring and I have forgotten the author of home the wealth of the Indies must Gray's character; write immediately, carry the wealth of the Indies with and it may be perhaps yet inserted.' him.” So it is in travelling; a man
Boswell's Johnson, iv. 153. must carry knowledge with him if Temple was Vicar of St. Gluvias; he would bring home knowledge.' his grandson was Archbishop of Boswell's Johnson, iii. 302.
Canterbury 1896-1903. 16. i. 436 n. 'They every scene with so much wit Some of Boswell's letters to him were did store
published in 1857. In one of them That who brought any in went out (p. 185) Boswell recalls the time with more.'
when you and I sat up all night at Epil. to The Rehearsal, ed. Arber, Cambridge and read Gray with a
noble enthusiasm.' 'Mr. Mason,' he ? In 1765 he wrote to Walpole, adds, 'concludes his Life of Gray who was ill of the gout :-‘The pain with a character of him, which he in your feet I can bear; but I shudder says he has taken from The London at the sickness in your stomach. ... Magazine (1772, p. 140). He menI conjure you, as you love yourself, tions it as by an anonymous writer. I conjure you by Strawberry (Wal- What is it, think you, but a character pole's house) not to trifle with these of Gray written by you to me in a edge-tools.' Mitford, iv. 68.
letter soon after his death, which I pp. 204-7, 213. Mason (ii. copied out for the Magazine, of which 318) wrongly gives July 31 as the I am a proprietor?' Ib. p. 184. See day of his death, as also Ann. Reg. also ib. p. 206. 1771, i. 179. In both Gent. Mag. For Gray's kindness to Temple see (1771, p. 378) and Ann. Reg. he is his correspondence with Nicholls. called Rev. Dr. Thomas Grey'- Mitford, v. 62, 69, 85, 110, 119, 133, three errors in four words in describ- 137 ing one of the first poets of the time. For his learning see Mason, ii.
Walpole wrote on Sept. 9:- One 236; Mitford, i. Preface,p.73. "When single paragraph is all that has been (writes Nicholls) I expressed my said on our friend; but when there astonishment at the extent of his are columns in every paper on Sir reading, he said: “Why should you Francis Delaval (a wealthy baronet] be surprised, for I do nothing else." ought we not to be glad ?' Letters, He said he knew from experience v. 336.
how much might be done by a person Mason, ii. 321; Mitford, v. 164. who did not fling away his time on In the first edition the character is middling or inferior authors, and read adopted from a nameless writer.' with method.' 16. v. 42. On Aug. 24, 1782, Johnson wrote to 'Reading, he has often told me
equally acquainted with the elegant and profound parts of science, and that not superficially but thoroughly. He knew every branch of history, both natural' and civil; had read all the original historians of England, France, and Italy; and was a great antiquarian. Criticism, metaphysicks, morals, politicks made a principal part of his study ; voyages and travels of all sorts were his favourite amusements; and he had a fine taste in painting, prints, architecture ?, and gardening. With such a fund of knowledge, his conversation must have been equally instructing and entertaining 3; but he was also a good man, a man of virtue and humanity. There is no character without some speck, some imperfection; and I think the greatest defect in his was an affectation in delicacy", or rather effeminacy, and a visible fastidiousness, or contempt and disdain of his inferiors in sciences. He also had, in some degree, that weakness which disgusted Voltaire so much in Mr. Congreve : though he seemed to value others chiefly according to the progress they had made in knowledge, yet he could not bear to be considered himself merely as a man of letters; and though without birth, or fortune, or station, his desire was to be looked upon as a private
i 16. ii. 243.
(writes Mason), was much From a melancholy turn, from living agreeable to him than writing.' Mason, reclusely, and from a little too much
dignity, he never converses easily ; 'Gray said he learnt all his words are measured and botany merely for the sake of sparing chosen, and formed into sentences ; himself the trouble of thinking.' Mit- his writings are admirable ; he himford, i. Preface, p. 119.
self is not agreeable.' Letters, ii. 128. 'He often vexed me,' wrote Wal- See also Mitford, i. Preface, p. 64. pole, 'by finding him heaping notes Bonstetten said of him :-Il avait on an interleaved Linnaeus instead de la gaieté dans l'esprit, et de la of pranking on his lyre.' Letters, ix. mélancolie dans le caractère.' 16. 343. Prank in this sense is not in V. 181. Johnson's Dict.
"'I wish I could say, 'writes Mr. · Mason, ii. 239. In 1765 he at- Tovey, 'that Gray's mirth was altacked the rage of repairing, beauti- ways free from coarseness; but even fying, whitewashing, painting and his extant letters are sometimes gilding. ... This well-meant fury has marked by the bad taste of his time.' been, and will be, little less fatal to Mitford advised that some of his our ancient magnificent edifices than letters should be strictly preserved the Reformation and the Civil Wars.' from inspection Letters of Gray, Mitford, iv. 73.
Preface, p. 22. Walpole, in Anecdotes of Paint- S'I have no relish,' he wrote, 'for ing, i. 195, speaking of architecture, any other fame than what is consays: 'If some parts of this work ferred by the few real judges that are are more accurate than my own so thinly scattered over the face of ignorance or carelessness would have the earth. Mitford, iv. 19, left them, the reader and I are 'Gray says (very justly) that learn. obliged to Mr. Gray, who conde- ing never should be encouraged ; it scended to correct what he never only draws out fools from their obcould have descended to write.' scurity.' WALPOLE, Letters, ii. 438.
Walpole wrote in 1748:~'Gray Ante, CONGREVE, 31. is the worst company in the world.
independent gentleman, who read for his amusement'. Perhaps it may be said, What signifies so much knowledge, when it produced so little? Is it worth taking so much pains to leave no memorial but a few poems?? But let it be considered that Mr. Gray was, to others, at least innocently employed; to himself, certainly beneficially?. His time passed agreeably; he was every day making some new acquisition in science; his mind was enlarged, his heart softened, his virtue strengthened; the world and mankind were shewn to him without a mask; and he was taught to consider every thing as trifling, and unworthy of the attention of a wise man, except the pursuit of knowledge and practice of virtue, in that state wherein God hath placed us.'
To this character Mr. Mason has added a more particular 23 account of Gray's skill in zoology. He has remarked that Gray's effeminacy was affected most before those whom he did not wish to please 5'; and that he is unjustly charged with making knowledge his sole reason of preference, as he paid his esteem to none whom he did not likewise believe to be good 6.
What has occurred to me, from the slight inspection of his 24 letters? in which my undertaking has engaged me, is that
L'A certain degree of pride led 3 'To find one's self business is him to despise the idea of being the great art of life.' GRAY, Mitford, thought an author professed.' Mason, iii. 236. "To be employed is to be ii. 236.
happy.' Letters, i. 347. I have no notion of poor Mr. Mason, ii. 321. Gray's delicacy. I would not sell 5 Wesley, after reading Mason's my talents, as orators and senators Memoirs of Gray, recorded on Dec. 4, do [his father had enriched him with 1776:—He does not appear, upon sinecures. Boswell's Johnson, iii. the whole, to have been an amiable 19.n.]; but I would keep a shop, and man. His picture, I apprehend, exsell any of my own works that would presses his character; sharp, sengain me a livelihood, whether books sible, ingenious, but at the same time or shoes, rather than be tempted to proud, morose, envious, passionate sell myself.' H. WALPOLE, Letters, and resentful.' Journal, 1827, iv. V. 339.
Sainte-Beuve, after quoting Bon- According to the Rev. William stetten's explanation of Gray's melan- Cole, 'in Gil Blas the print of Scipio choly by his living 'enseveli dans in the arbour was so like the counune espèce de cloître,' continues : tenance of Mr. Gray that, if he sat • Je ne sais si le secret de la mélan- for it, it could not be more so. It is colie de Gray était dans ce manque in a 12mo edition printed at Amd'amour ; je le chercherais plutôt sterdam, 1735, vol. iv. p. 94.!. Mitdans la stérilité d'un talent poétique ford, i. Preface, p. 101. The edition in si distingué, si rare, mais si avare.' the Museum is of 1755; the vol. and Causeries, xiv. 430.
page are the same. 'I fancy Gray would have written 6 Mason, ii. 323 n. and published more had his ideas Ante, GRAY, 8 n. 6. 'I find more been more copious, and his expres- people like the grave letters than sion more easy to him. E. FITZ- those of humour, and some think the GERALD, More Letters, p. 216. latter a little affected, which is as