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the Saracen or Moorish, he has a great authority to support him, that of sir Christopher Wren; and yet I cannot help thinking it undoubtedly wrong. The palaces in Spain I never saw but in description, which gives us little or no idea of things; but the doge's palace at Venice I have seen, which is in the Arabesque manner : and the houses of Barbary you may see in Dr. Shaw's book, not to mention abundance of other eastern buildings in Turkey, Persia, &c. that we have views of; and they seem plainly to be corruptions of the Greek architecture, broke into little parts indeed, and covered with little ornaments, but in a taste very distinguishable from that which we call Gothic. There is one thing that runs through the Moorish buildings that an imitator would certainly have been first struck with, and would have tried to copy; and that is the cupolas which cover every thing, baths, apartments, and even kitchens; yet who ever saw a Gothic cupola? It is a thing plainly of Greek original. I do not see any thing but the slender spires that serve for steeples, which may perhaps be borrowed from the Saracen minarets on their mosques.

I take it ill you should say any thing against the Mole, it is a reflexion I see cast at the Thames. Do you think that rivers, which have lived in London and its neighbourhood all their days, will run roaring and tumbling about like your tramontane torrents in the north ? No, they only glide and whisper.



Cambridge, March 9, 1755. I do not pretend to humble any one's pride ; I love my own too well to attempt it. As to mortifying their vanity, it is too easy and too mean a task for me to delight in. You are very good in showing so much sensibility on my account; but be assured my taste for praise is not like that of children for fruit; if there were nothing but medlars and blackberries in the world, I could be very well content to go without any at all. I dare say that Mason, though some years younger than I, was as little elevated with the approbation of lord * * and lord * *, as I am mortified by their silence.

With regard to publishing, I am not so much against the thing itself, as of publishing this ode alone.* I have two or three ideas more in my

what is to come of them ? Must they too come out in the shape of little sixpenny flams, dropping one after another till Mr. Dodsley thinks fit to collect them with Mr. This's Song, and Mr. Tother's epigram, into a pretty volume ? I am sure Mason must be sensible of this, and therefore cannot mean what' he says ; neither am I quite of your opinion with regard to strophe and antistrophe;t setting


* His Ode on the Progress of Poetry.

+ He often made the same remark to me in conversation, which led me to form the last ode of Caractacus in shorter stanzas: but we must not imagine that he thought the re. gular Pindaric method without its use; though, as he justly says, when formed in long stanzas, it does not fully succeed in point of effect on the ear: for there was nothing which he more disliked than that chain of irregular stanzas which Cowley introduced, and falsely called Pindaric; and which, from the extreme facility of execution, produced a number of miserable imitators. Had the regular return of strophe, antistrophe, and epode no other merit than that of extreme difficulty, it ought, on this very account, to be valued; because we well know that “ easy writing is no easy reading.” It is also to be remarked, that Mr. Congreve, who (though without any lyrical powers) first introduced the regular Pindaric form into the English language, made use of the short stanzas which Mr. Gray here recommendş. See his ode to the queen.

aside the difficulty of execution, methinks it has little or no effect on the ear, which scarce perceives the regular return of metres at so great a distance from one another : to make it succeed, I am persuaded the stanzas must not consist of above nine lines each at the most.-Pindar has several such odes.



August 21, 1755. I THANK you for your intelligence about Herculaneum, which was the first news I received of it. I have since turned over monsignor Baiardi's book, t where I have learned how many grains of modern wheat the Roman congius, in the capitol, holds, and how many thousandth parts of an inch the Greek foot consisted of more (or less, for I forgot which) than our own. He proves also by many affecting examples, that an antiquary may be mistaken : that, for any thing any body knows, this place under ground might be some other place, and not Herculaneum ; but nevertheless, that he can show for certain, that it was this place and no other place; that it is hard to say which of the several Hercules's was the founder ; therefore (in the third volume) he promises to give us the memoirs of them all; and after that, if we do not know what to think of the matter, he will tell us. There is a great deal of wit too, and satire, and verses, in the book, which is intended chiefly for the information of the French king, who will be greatly edified without doubt.

* Afterwards auditor of excise. His friendship with Mr. Gray commenced at college, and continued till the death of the latter.

| I believe the book here ridiculed was published by the authority of the king of Naples. But afterwards, on find

I am much obliged to you also for Voltaire's performance; it is very unequal, as he is apt to be in all but his dramas, and looks like the work of a man that will admire his retreat and his Leman-Lake no longer than till he finds an opportunity to leave it :* however, though there be many parts which I do not like, yet it is in several places excellent, and every where above mediocrity. As you have the politeness to pretend impatience, and desire I would communicate, and all that, I annex a piece of the prophecy ; * which must be true at least, as it was wrote so many hundred years after the events.

ing how ill qualified the author was to execute the task, the business of describing the antiquities found at Herculaneum was put into other hands ; who have certainly, as far as they have gone, performed it much better.

• I do not recollect the title of this poem, but it was a small one which M. de Voltaire wrote when he first settled at Ferney



Pembroke-Hall, March 25, 1756. Though I had no reasonable excuse for myself before I received your last letter, yet since that time I have had a pretty good one ; having been taken up in quarrelling with Peter-house, t and in removing myself from thence to Pembroke. This may be looked upon as a sort of æra in a life so barren of events as mine; yet I shall treat it in Voltaire's manner, and only tell you that I left my lodgings because the rooms were noisy, and the people of the house uncivil. This is all I would choose to have said about it; but if you in private should be cu

* The second antistrophe and epode, with a few lines of the third strophe of his ode, entitled the ard, were here inserted.

| The reason of Mr. Gray's changing his college, which is here only glanced at, was in few words this: two or three young men of fortune, who lived in the same staircase, had for some time intentionally disturbed him with their riots, and carried their ill-behaviour so far as frequently to awaken him at midnight. After having borne with their insults longer than might reasonably have been expected even from a man of less warmth of temper, Mr. Gray complained to the governing part of the society; and not thinking that his remonstrance was sufficiently attended to, quitted the college. The slight manner in which he mentions this affair, when writing to one of his most intimate friends, certainly does honour to the placability of his disposition..

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