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of Gray which were incorrectly published by Mr. Mason; together with those subsequently printed in the works of Lord Orford, and in the Gentleman's Magazine. In addition to these, the editor has been enabled, by the kindness of Richard Wharton, Esq., to enrich his work with many original and highly valuable letters from Gray to his most intimate and respected friend, Dr. Wharton, of Old Park, Durham. From this collection in the hand-writing of Gray, the editor made the selection which he offers to the public, with the most perfect confidence of its affording additional delight to those who have estimated the value of that part of the correspondence of Gray, formerly edited by Mr. Mason. In these additional letters, they will acknowledge the same marks of that sound and correct judgment, that excellent sense, and polished taste, expressed in the most lively and unaffected language, and adorned by a fancy highly playful and elegant.
Mr. Mason, it is known, published about thirty letters from Gray to Dr. Wharton, in many of which he transposed the sentences, inserted paragraphs from one letter into another, and connected these insertions with sentences of his own; in almost all, he altered the style, and changed, in a greater or less degree, the truth and character of the original composition. These letters will now be found restored to their original state from the manuscripts of the author.
The same volume which was entrusted to the present editor was lent by the late Dr. Wharton to Mr. Mason, when the latter was preparing to publish the memoirs of his friend and the editor has the very best authority for stating, that Dr. Wharton was much displeased at the extraordinary liberties which Mr. Mason had taken with the volume that had been entrusted to his care. Much, of course, that may now be published with the greatest propriety, was at the time, in which Mr. Mason lived, very judiciously omitted by him. But for the system of alteration which he has intentionally, constantly, and silently adopted in that which he has published; so as often to disfigure and change the real style and manner of Gray; what reason can be assigned, what apology can be offered?
The editor has also been favoured in the most obliging manner, with copies of the original letters from Gray to Mr. Taylor How, and he has found the same plan of transposition of sentences and alteration of style pursued by Mr. Mason in them. The blank spaces which sometimes occur in the following letters are occasioned by similar deficiencies in the original manuscript. Before Dr. Wharton entrusted his volume of letters to Mr. Mason, he cut out, and erased several passages. The editor has only further to observe, that he has formed the following selection according to the best of his judgment: he has made a few trifling
omissions where the subject turned on mere matters of business, or private and domestic circumstances; and he has taken the liberty of altering a very few words which occurred in the freedom of the most familiar correspondence; but it must be added, that this has not taken place above three or four times in the whole collection of letters; and only in those cases where the original expression could not with propriety have been retained.
The thanks of the editor are also due to Mrs. Chute, of the Vine, in Hampshire, who with great liberality forwarded whatever manuscripts of Gray's were in her possession. They consisted of a few letters, written in his most pleasing manner, and the valuable remarks which he made on the works of ancient and modern art which he saw at Rome. To Mr. Rogers, the ready and generous friend of every attempt to improve and illustrate the art which he has cultivated with such eminent success, the editor is under similar obligations, for the use of the copies of Mason's edition of Gray, with MS. remarks by Cole and G. Steevens; for some letters, and for some remarks on Gray's Poems which will be found among the notes: and he has also received from him the additional favour of being permitted to inscribe this edition of a Poet whom he much admires, to him. James Heywood Markland, Esq. of the Inner Temple, will be kind. enough to receive the editor's thanks for the interest he has taken in the work, and the readiness
with which he offered any assistance that was required. To his friend, Mr. Dyce, he is under many similar obligations, and indeed the editor looks to him on all subjects connected with literature, as affording a never-failing supply of valuable and authentic information. He has only further to observe, that he is not aware of any other letters of Gray being in existence, than those now printed; except that very valuable correspondence which passed between him and his friend Mr. Nichols, of Blundeston, now in the possession of Mr. D. Turner, of Yarmouth and which, with the most courteous liberality, he permitted the editor to peruse. It is much to be desired, that this gentleman should add to the obligations he has already conferred upon the public, by permitting them to be acquainted with a correspondence, which will afford more than all the rest, a familiar acquaintance with the character of Gray. The notes marked with a W, are taken from the edition of Mr. Wakefield.
Since these volumes were printed the Editor has learned that the article on Gray's Odes, in the Monthly Review, 1757, was written by Goldsmith. He has seen also with pleasure, that Mr. Carey in his Translation of the Birds of Aristophanes,* has done justice to Gray's accurate erudition, as displayed in his notes on that author; and that * See Birds of Aristophanes, by Carey, Prf. xx. and notes passim.