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He was educated at Eton fchool, where he contract

ed a friendship with Mr. Horace Walpole, and Mr. Richard Weft, fon to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and grandfon by the mother's fide to Bishop Burnet.

Mr. Gray intended to apply to the ftudy of law; but, being invited to go abroad with Mr. Walpole, this intention was laid afide, and never after refumed.

While he was abroad, a difference unhappily took place between him and Mr. Walpole, which however was afterwards made up. But, having haftened home, he found himself in circumstances which he thought narrow, and with a mind unfit for the profecution of a laborious and active employment. He therefore refided much at Cambridge, and was looked upon by many of his cotemporaries, as an effeminate


conceited being, with a great deal of learning, and very fine talents. By fome, he was reprefented as a very exalted foul. By the world in general he was thought. a referved, melancholy, proud man, of very fuperior merit in poetry. His Elegy in a Country Churchyard gained him more reputation than ever was gained by a poem of that fize. It has indeed a folemnity of reflection, a pathetic fenfibility of feeling, and a correct

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elegance of expreffion. But it is not the intention of this fketch to undertaké a critical examination of his poems, which will ever be read with pleasure and ad miration. Mr. Mafon has very ingeniously defended fome of his odes against the charge of obfcurity, by obferving, that we have a double pleasure in overcoming a difficulty, and in contemplating excellence when understood. We find that Mr. Gray began a tragedy on the ftory of Agrippina, which was never finifhed.

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In 1768, Mr. Gray was mot agreeably surprised,

by receiving a letter from the Duke of Grafton, acquainting him of his being appointed Profeffor of Modern History in the Univerfity of Cambridge, an office of about L. 400 per annum. This was doubly accept

able to a man of Mr. Gray's independent fpirit, being conferred without the fmalleft folicitation, or even knowledge.

Mr. Gray feems to have paffed his life in ftudy, in compofition, and in the exercife of friendly and charitable offices. He died at Cambridge of the gout in his stomach, on the 31st of July 1771..

He had a great knowledge in Gothic Architecture, but his most favourite ftudy, for the laft ten



years of his life, was Natural History, in the know

ledge of which he was excelled by few.

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We fhall conclude this account with a character of Mr. Gray, fent by the Rev. Mr. Temple, Rector of Mamhead in Devonshire, to James Bofwell, Efq; which appeared in the London Magazine for March 4772.

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Perhaps he was the most learned man in Europe.

He was equally acquainted with the elegant and "profound parts of science, and that not fuperficially

but thoroughly. He knew every branch of history, "both natural and civil; had read all the originaï

historians of England, France, and Italy; and was

a great antiquarian. Criticifm, metaphyfics, mo

"rals, politics, made a principal part of his plan of

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"Atudy; voyages and travels of all forts were his

"favourite amufement; and he had a fine tafte in


painting, prints, architecture, and gardening. With

"fuch a fund of knowledge, his converfation must "have been equally inftructing and entertaining; but "he was also a good man, a well-bred man, a man "of virtue and humanity. There is no character "without fome fpeck, fome imperfection; and I think

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the greatest defect in his was an affectation in delica

cy, or rather effeminacy, and a vifible faftidioufuefs,

or contempt and difdain of his inferiors in feience.

"He also had, in fome degree, that weakness which "difguted Voltaire fo much in Mr. Congreve; though

he feemed to value others, chiefly according to the

• progress they had made in knowledge, yet he could "not bear to be confidered himself merely as a man of letters; and though without birth, or fortune, or "Atation,

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