Saturday, August 03, 2013


No News of the Present

Thomas Gray (1716-1771), letter to Richard West (May 8, 1742):
You see, by what I sent you, that I converse as usual, with none but the dead; they are my old friends, and almost make me long to be with them. You will not wonder therefore, that I, who live only in times past, am able to tell you no news of the present. I have finished the Peloponnesian War much to my honour, and a tight conflict it was, I promise you. I have drank and sung with Anacreon for the last fortnight, and am now feeding sheep with Theocritus. Besides, to quit my figure (because it is foolish), I have run over Pliny's Epistles and Martial ἐκ παρέργου; not to mention Petrarch, who, by the way, is sometimes very tender and natural.

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