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analysis of Poseidippos, and Lucretius, and such like frivolous reading. One of West's letters contains a piece of highly practical advice. “Indulge, amabo te, plusquam soles, corporis exercitationibus,” but bodily exercise was just what Gray declined to indulge in to the end of his life. He does not seem to have been even a walker ; indoors he was a bookworm, and out-of-doors a saunterer and a dreamer ; nor was there ever, it would seem, a “good friend Matthew” to urge the too-pensive student out into the light of common life.

Certain interesting poetical exercises mark the close of Gray's undergraduate career. A Latin ode in Sapphics and a fragment in Alcaics were sent in June, 1738, to West, who had just left Oxford for the Inner Temple. The second of these, which is so brief that it may surely he quoted here,

O lacrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Ducentium ortus ex animo ; quater

Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit,

has called forth high eulogy from scholars of every succeeding generation. It is in such tiny seed-pearl of song as this that we find the very quintessence of Gray's peculiar grace and delicacy. To July 1737 belongs a version into English heroics of a long passage from Propertius, beginning

Now prostrate, Bacchus, at thy shrine I bend,

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which I have not met with in print; and another piece from the same poet, beginning “ Long as of youth,” which occurs in all the editions of Gray, bears on the original MS. at Pembroke the date Dec. 1738. It may be remarked that in the printed copies the two last lines,

You whose young bosoms feel a nobler flame
Redeem wbat Crassus lost and vindicate his name,

have accidentally dropped out. In September 1738 Gray left Cambridge, and took up his abode in his father's house for six months, apparently with no definite plans regarding his own future career ; but out of this sleepy condition of mind he was suddenly waked by Horace Walpole's proposition that they should start together on the grand tour. The offer was a generous one. Walpole was to pay all Gray's expenses, but Gray was to be absolutely independent: there was no talk of the poet's accompanying his younger friend in any secondary capacity, and it is only fair to Horace Walpole to state that he seems to have acted in a thoroughly kind and gentlemanly spirit. What was still more remarkable was, that without letting Gray know, he made out his will before starting, and so arranged that had he died while abroad, Gray would have been his sole legatee. The frivolities of Horace Walpole have been dissected with the most cruel frankness; it is surely only just to point out that in this instance he acted a very gracious and affectionate part. On the 29th of March, 1739, the two friends started from Dover.



GRAY was only out of his native country once, but that single visit to the Continent lasted for nearly three years, and produced a very deep impression upon his character. It is difficult to realize what he would have become without this stimulus to the animal and external part of his nature. He was in danger of settling down in a species of moral inertia, of becoming dull and torpid, of spoiling a great poet to make a little pedant. The happy frivolities of France and Italy, though they were powerless over the deep springs of his being, stirred the surface of it, and made him bright and human. It is to be noticed that we hear nothing of his “true and faithful companion, melancholy," while he is away in the south ; he was cheerfully occupied, taken out of himself, and serene in the gaiety of others. The two friends enjoyed a very rough passage from Dover to Calais, and on landing Gray anticipated Dr. Johnson by being surprised that the inhabitants of the country could speak French so well. He also discovered that they were all “ Papishes," and briskly adapted himself to the custom of the land by attending high mass the next day, which happened to be Easter Monday. In the afternoon the companions set out through a snow-storm for Boulogne in a post-chaise, a con


veyance--not then imported into England—which filled the young men with hilarious amazement. Walpole, sensibly suggesting that there was no cause for hurry, refused to be driven express to Paris; and so they loitered very agreeably through Picardy, stopping at Montreuil, Abbeville, and Amiens. From the latter city Gray wrote an amusing account of his journey to his mother, containing a lively description of French scenery. “The country we have passed through hitherto has been flat, open, but agreeably diversified with villages, fields well cultivated, and little rivers. On every hillock is a windmill, a crucifix, or a Virgin Mary dressed in flowers and a sarcenet robe; one sees not many people or carriages on the road. Now and then indeed you meet a strolling friar, a countryman with his great muff, or a woman riding astride on a little ass, with short petticoats, and a great head-dress of blue wool."

On the 9th of April, rather late on a Saturday evening, they rolled into Paris, and after a bewildering drive drew up at last at the lodgings which had been prepared for them, probably in or near the British Embassy, and found themselves warmly welcomed by Walpole's cousins, the Conways, and by Lord Holdernesse. These young men were already in the thick of the gay Parisian tumult, and introduced Walpole, and Gray also as his friend, to the best society. The very day after their arrival they dined at Lord Holdernesse's to meet the Abbé Prévôtd'Exiles, author of that masterpiece of passion, Manon Lescaut, and now in his forty-second year. It is very much to be deplored that we do not possess in any form Gray's impressions of the illustrious Frenchmen with whom he came into habitual contact during the next two months. He merely mentions the famous comic actress, Mademoiselle Jeanne Quinault “la Cadette,” who was


then, though in the flower of her years, coquettishly threatening to leave the stage, and who did actually retire, amid the regrets of a whole city, before Gray came back to England. She reminded the young Englishman of Mrs. Clive, the actress, but he says nothing of those famous Sunday suppers at which she presided, and at which all that was witty and brilliant in Paris was rehearsed or invented. These meetings, afterwards developed into the sessions of the Société du Bout du Banc, were then only in their infancy; yet there, from his corner unobserved, the little English poet must have keenly noted many celebrities of the hour, whose laurels were destined to wither when his were only beginning to sprout. There would be found the “most cruel of amateurs," the Comte de Caylus ; Voisenon, still in the flush of his reputation ; Moncrif, the lover of cats, with his strange dog-face; and there or elsewhere we know that Gray met and admired that prince of frivolous ingenuities, the redoubtable Marivaux. But of all this his letters tell us nothing, nothing even of the most curious of his friendships, that with Crébillon fils, who, according to Walpole, was their constant companion during their stay in Paris.

All the critics of Gray have found it necessary to excuse or explain away that remarkable statement of his, that " as the paradisaical pleasures of the Mahometans consist in playing upon the flute, etc., be mine to read eternal new romances of Marivaux and Crébillon." Mason considered this very whimsical, and later editors have hoped that it meant nothing at all. But Gray was not a man to say what he did not mean, even in jest. Such a reasonable and unprejudiced mind as his may be credited with a meaning, however paradoxical the statement it

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