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Most of the numerous editions of the Poetical Works of Gray have his Biography prefixed, from the materials furnished by Mr. Mason's Memoirs. The present edition of his correspondence professes to give his " LetTers" only. The Orford collection has furnished fourteen, which have been inserted in their proper places; but the notes, excepting a few marked B. (Lord Orford's editor, Mr. Berry) are taken from Mr. Mason's edition.
The propriety of retaining the few Letters of Gray's early friend, Mr. West, will be readily admitted by the reader.
FROM MR. WEST* TO MR. GRAY.
•You use me very cruelly: you have sent me but one letter since I have been at Oxford, and that too agreeable not to make me sensible how great my loss is in not having more. Next to seeing you is the pleasure of seeing your hand-writing; next to hearing you is the pleasure of hearing from you. Really and sincerely I wonder at yon, that you thought it not worth while to answer my last letter. I hope this will have better success in behalf of your quondom schoolfellow; in behalf of one who has walked hand in hand with you, like the two children in the wood,
* Mr. West's father was lord chancellor of Ireland. His grandfather, by the mother, the famous bishop Burnet. He removed from Eton to Oxford, about the same time that Mr. Gray left that place for Cambridge. In April, 1738, he left Christ Church for the Inner Temple, and Mr. Gray removed from Peterhouse to town the latter end of that year; intending also to apply himself to the study of the law in the same socicty.
Through many * flowery path and shelly grot,
The very thought, you see, tips my pen with poetry, and brings Eton to my view. Consider me very seriously here in a strange country, inhabited by things that call themselves doctors and masters of arts; a country flowing with syllogisms and ale, where Horace and Virgil are equally unknown; consider me, I say, jn this melancholy light, and then think if something be not due to -~*-i—. Yours.
Christ Church, Not. 11,1735.
P. S. I desire you will send me soon, and truly and possitively, a History of your own time.*
* Alluding to his grandfather's history.