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in her retirement at Stoke, near Windfor, where he wrote his beautiful Ode on the Spring. And it is not impoffible, but a prefage of what was to happen, occafioned the interefting melancholy which reigns in it. Hn regrets it is easier to conceive than to d scribe; and they feem immediately to have given birth to a very tender fonnet in English, in the manner of Petrarch, and to a noble apoftrophe in Latin, which he intended as the introduction to one of his books, De principiis cogitandi*. It is alfo worthy of obfervation, that within three months after Mr. Weft's death, he appears to have compofed the Ode on a diftant Profpect

* See his Memoirs by Mr. Mason.

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of Eton College, and the Hymn to Adverfity. Nor is it to be doubted, that his forrow for his beloved friend gave a tone to these delightful poems; and the reader of fenfibility, who perufes them under this impreffion, will find an addional charm in them.

The genius of Mr. Gray, which was averse to the mechanifm and toil of bufinefs, joined to his paffion for study and literature, inclined him to live at Cambridge, where he had free access to many valuable libraries. From the winter of the year 1742, to the end of his life, it was the feat of his refidence; and he was seldom abfent from it, except on occafional vifits to his mother; and dur



ing that period*, when, on the opening of the British Museum, he took lodgings in Southampton-Row, for the purpose of examining, and extracting from, the Harleian and other manufcripts.

It was not till the year 1750, that he put the laft hand to his much celebrated Elegy in a Country Church-yard. Mr. Walpole, who was infinitely delighted with it, communicated it in manuscript to many perfons of distinction, who failed not to feel for and to bestow on the author the admiration and applause he so justly merited. In this polite and fashionable circle was Lady Cob

* Between the years 1759 and 1762.


ham, who wishing much to be acquainted with Mr. Gray, procured this pleafure, by the means of her relation Mifs Speed, and of Lady Schaub. The history of this incident, the circumstances of which were fomewhat peculiar, he has thrown into a ballad, intitled, A True Story. Of this piece the humour does not appear very ftriking; and, though it has found admirers, the author himself refufed it a place in his own edition of his poems.

The year 1753 was memorable to Mr. Gray, by the lofs of his mother, whom he loved with an exemplary affection. In the year 1756, fome young men, who lived in the fame ftair-cafe,




and who fancied that birth and fortune

gave them a title to be impertinent, dif-, turbing him frequently and intentionally with their infults and riots, he found it neceffary to remove from Peter-house, and went to Pembroke-hall. In the year 1768, by the unfolicited influence of the Duke of Grafton, he was nominated King's Profeffor of Modern Hiftory in the University of Cambridge, a place of 400l. a year.

It appears, that in the early part of his life, he had entertained the defire of publishing an edition of Strabo; and, among his papers, there were many

geographical difquifitions, which had

been made with that intention. He


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