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he shews in his Letters, and in the Ode to May, which Mr. Mason has preserved, as well as by the sincerity with which, when Gray sent him part of Agrippina, a tragedy that he had just begun, he gave an opinion which probably intercepted the progress of the work, and which the judgement of every reader will confirm. It was certainly no loss to the English stage that Agrippina was never finished.

In this year (1742) Gray seems first to have applied himself seriously to .poetry; for in this year were produced the Ode to Spring, his Prospect of Eaton; and his Ode to Adversity. He began likewise a Latin poem, de Principis cogitandi.

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It seems to be the opinion of Mr. Mason, that his first ambition was to have excelled in Latin poetry : perhaps it were reasonable to wish that he had prosecuted his design ; for though there is at present some embarrassiment in his phrase, and some harshness in his Lyrick numbers, his copiousness of language is such as very few possess; and his lines, even when imperfect, discover a writer whom practice would quickly have made {kilful.

He now lived on at Peterhouse, very little folicitous what others did or thought, and cultivated his mind and enlarged his views without any other purpose than of improving and amusing himself; when Mr, Mason, being elected

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fellow of Pembroke-hall, brought hiin a companion who was afterwards to be his editor, and whole fondness and fidelity has kindled in him a zeal of admiration, which cannot be reasonably expected from the neutrality of a frranger and the coldness of a critick.

In this retirement he wrote (1747) an ode on the Death of Mr. Hl'alp:le's Cat; and the year afterwards attempted a poem of more importance, on Guvernment and Education, of which the fragments which remain have many excellent lines.

His next production (1750) was liis far-famed Elegy in the Church.yard, svhich, finding its way into a Magazine,

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first, first, I believe, made him known to the publick.

An invitation from lady Cobham about this time gave occasion to an odd compofition called a Long Story, which, though perhaps it adds little to Gray's character, I am not pleased to find wanting in this Collection. It will therefore be added to this Preface.

Several of his pieces were published (1753), with designs, by Mr. Bentley; and, that they might in some form or other make a book, only one fide of cach leaf was printed. I believe the poems and the plates recommended each other so well, that the whole impression was soon bought. This year he lost his another.

Some Some time afterwards (1756) some young men of the college, whose chambers were near his, diverted themselves with disturbing him by frequent and troubleCome noises. This insolence, having endured it a while, he represented to the governors of the society, among whom perhaps he had no friends; and, finding his complaint little regarded, removed himself to Pembroke-hall.

In 1757. he published The Progress of Poetry and The Bard, two compofitions at which the readers of poetry were at first content to gaze in mute amazement. Some that tried them confessed their inability to understand them, though Warburton said that they were understood as well as the works of Mil

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