Thomas Gray: ‘Full many a gem of purest ray serene …’

Today sees the launch in EMLO of a discrete jewel of a catalogue: that of English scholar and elegiac poet Thomas Gray. Although he could not be described as particularly prolific in verse, at present his calendared letters number 651 and his correspondents comprise an intriguing selection of the ‘great and the good’, including Horace Walpole (of Strawberry Hill fame), physician Thomas Wharton, and fellow poet Richard West. The exemplary database of his correspondence, the Thomas Gray Archive, to which each letter record in EMLO is linked, has catalogued the corpus of letters to and from this polymath and scholar, who was described by his biographer William Mason as perhaps ‘the most learned man in Europe’.

Within the Thomas Gray Archive, you will find scans of and links to manuscript versions and printed copies as well as detailed information about the poet — his writing, his publications, his correspondence, and his circle — and we at CofK are truly delighted to count among our contributing partners this invaluable resource. We hope very much you enjoy consulting the correspondence and exploring in depth the Thomas Gray Archive, and we look forward greatly to enhancing our eighteenth-century metadata in EMLO with the numerous correspondences now in preparation for upload over the course of the coming year.