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GRAY'S AUNT AND MOTHER.
In 1751, Mr. Gray complains that his Elegy in a Country Church-yard had got into some magazine, and begs Dodsley to print it immediately without his name, with a line or two, saying it came into his hands by accident. He was quite overwhelmed with thanks and compliments. In 1753 he lost his MOTHER, whom he loved to distraction; she and his aunt, who died not long before her, were buried in the same tomb, in Stoke Church-yard, from which I copied this Inscription, written by the Son :
“In the Vault beneath are deposited, in hopt of a joyful Resurrection, the remains of Mary Antrobus ; she died unmarried, November 5, 1749, aged 66. In the same pious confidence, beside her friend and sister, here sleep the remains of Dorothy Gray, widow, the careful tender mother of many children: ONE of whom alone had the misfortune to survive her. She died March 11, 1753, aged 67." The latter sentiment, evidently dictated by an excess of filial affection, is overstrained and unnatural. That a child should 'survive a Parent, is according to the course of nature; it is agreeable to the ordinary vicissitudes
his age, July, 1813, having been forty years the eloquent Pastor of the respectable society at Salter's Hall; SAMUEL BRENT, Esq. who died in the 54th year of his age, June, 1814, to the deep regret of his numerous family, as well as of a large circle of connexions ; and the benevolent JOSEPH COOPE, Esq. who died May 27th, 1817, in the 53rd year of age. Nors Janua Vitæ. Sacred be their MEMORY!
GRAY, REGIUS PROFESSOR.
of mortality. During the summer of 1759, Mr. G. passed much of his time in London, for the sake of frequenting the British Museum, and in one of his letters to a friend, sends him a very humourous account of the company he met in the reading-room at this grand repository of national curiosities. In 1765, we find him on a visit to ScoTLAND, where Dr. James Beattie became acquainted with him.. On his inviting him to Aberdeen during the Christmas of 1767, he replies from his abode at Cambridge“ Alas! I am a summer bird, and can only sit drooping till the Sun returns; even then, too, my wings may chance to be clipped, and little in plight for so distant an excursion": The Duke of GRAFTON, in 1768, gave him the 'Regius "Professorship of MoDERN HISTORY, £400 per annum. In one of his letters he says,
" THE KING signed the warrant, and next day, at his levee, I kissed his hand, he made several gracious speeches, which I shall not repeat, because every body that goes to court does so; besides, the day was so hot, and the ceremony so embarrassing to me, that I hardly knew what he said.” Mr. G. felt grateful to the Duke of Grafton for this acceptable preferment; and in his beautiful ODE he repaid the obligation, when that' enlightened and liberal nobleman was installed Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
The Ode: was set to music in the Senate House, July 1, 1769, and'will be found among the Author's
DUKE OF GRAFTON'S DESCENT.
Poems. The twO STANZAS, applicable to the neue Chancellor, are these
What is grandeur, what is power!
Foremost, and leaning from her golden cloud,
* The Author would here, out of respect to the memory of this Nobleman, acknowledge the handsome present of Griesbach's Edition of the Greek Testament, and of Archbishop Newcome's Translution of the New Testament, in return for a copy of the Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World, with which his Grace had been presented. Indeed, he had once
In the autumn of 1769, Mr. Gray made a tour to the Lakes of Westmoreland and Cumberland, along with Dr. Warton, who, however, returned through indisposition. To this gentleman he wrote an account of what he saw, with an elegant simplicity. All his letters are marked by a poetical vivacity. He meditated, but never accomplished, an excursion into the principality of Wales.
These excursions proved uniformly favourable to Mr. Gray's health and spirits. Indeed, he viewed the ever-varying face of nature with the eye of a poet, and pourtrayed her charms with the pencil of a master. To shew how feelingly alive he was to every thing of this kind, take the following extract; the circumstance happened during one of his TOURS" I set out (says he) one morning before five o'clock, the moon shining through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea-coast time enough to be at the Sun's LEVEE! I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreaths; and the tide, (as it flowed gently in upon the sands,) first whitening, then slightly tinged with gold and blue, and all at once a little line of insufferable brightness, that (before I can write these five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen! It is very odd, it makes no figure on
the honour of passing a very pleasant hour with the late Duke of Grafton in his own library at Piccadilly, when he found hiin social, intelligent, and a warm friend 10 Christianity.
paper, yet I shall remember it as long as the Sun, or at least as long as I endure. I wonder whether any body ever saw it before. I hardly believe it.” *
In the spring of 1771, Mr. Gray complains of a cough, low spirits, and trembling at an east wind; but the gout, an hereditary disease, was now about to close his career. On the 24th of July he was seized with nausea, while at dinner in the College Hall, had a few days after a convulsion fit, and within a week expired! Sensible to the last, and aware of his danger, he expressed no visible concern at his approaching dissolution. Agreeably to his will he was interred along with his mother and aunt; but on the TOMB which covers the remains of these beloved relatives, I found (as I have before mentioned), to my astonishment, no inscription. His name might, indeed, have been engraven, with THE WELL KNOWN EPITAPH which closes his Elegy in a Country Church-yard ; the lines are simple and impressive, marking his extreme modesty and melancholy temperament: Here rests his head, upon the lap of Earth,
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own!
* In Bishop Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, page 17, will be found a similar description. The old divine almost equals thie modern poet,