Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/30

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Gray
Gray
22

Cambridge. The question of authorship is settled by the verse anagram in the prologue which forms the words ‘Thomas Gray’ (Prol. pp. 1, 2). The title ‘Scala-chronica’ and the allegory in the prologue with its series of ladders point to the scaling ‘ladder’ in the Gray arms (Stevenson, p. iii, n. b). In the sixteenth century Dr. Wotton made extracts from the ‘Scala-chronica.’ The whole work has never been printed, but Mr. Stevenson edited the latter half (from 1066 a.d.) and the prologue for the Maitland Club in 1836. This edition is prefaced by an elaborate introduction and a series of important documents relating to the Grays. It also includes the abstract which Leland made of the ‘Scala-chronica’ when it was in more perfect state than now, and a short analysis of a French work which seems to have borne a close relation to the ‘Scala-chronica’ (ib. pp. xxxv, xxxvi, 259–315).

[Scala-chronica, ed. Stevenson (Maitland Club), 1836; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. 1821; Kellaw's Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense, ed. Hardy (Rolls Series); Escheat Rolls; Tanner, p. 338; Nasmith's Catal. of Manuscripts of Corpus Christi Coll. Cambridge, ed. 1777; Raine's Hist. of North Durham; Wyntoun, ed. Laing (1872), ii. 485–6; Trivet, ed. Hog (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Bower's Scotichronicon, ed. Goodall (1759), ii. 350–1; Planta's Cat. of Cotton. MSS.]

T. A. A.


GRAY, THOMAS (1716–1771), poet, son of Philip Gray, ‘money scrivener,’ born 27 July 1676, by his wife Dorothy Antrobus, was born in his father's house in Cornhill, London, 26 Dec. 1716. The mother belonged to a Buckinghamshire family, but at the time of her marriage kept a milliner's shop in the city with an elder sister, Mary. Another sister, Anna, was married to a retired attorney, Jonathan Rogers, who lived in Burnham parish. She had two brothers, Robert and William. Robert, who was at Peterhouse, Cambridge (B.A. 1702, M.A. 1705), and elected a fellow of his college in 1704, lived at Burnham, Buckinghamshire, and vacated his fellowship, probably by death, in January 1730; William was at King's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1713, M.A. 1717), a master at Eton, and afterwards rector of Everton, Northamptonshire, where he died in 1742 (Harwood, Alumni, ii. 290). Philip Gray was a brutal husband. A curious paper, written by Mrs. Gray in 1735, to be submitted to a lawyer, was discovered by Haslewood, and published by Mitford. She states that Gray had ‘kicked, punched,’ and abused his wife, with no excuse but an insane jealousy. The shop had been continued by the two sisters, in accordance with an ante-nuptial agreement, and Mrs. Gray had found her own clothes and supported her son at school and college. Gray now threatened to close the shop. No legal remedy could be suggested, and Mrs. Gray continued to live with her husband. She had borne twelve children, all of whom, except Thomas, the fifth, died in infancy. His life was saved on one occasion by his mother's bleeding him with her own hand. He was sent to his uncle Robert Antrobus at Burnham. About 1727 he was sent to Eton as an oppidan and a pupil of his uncle William. Here he formed a ‘quadruple alliance’ with Horace Walpole (born 24 Sept. 1717), Richard West, and Thomas Ashton [q. v.] This intimacy was cemented by common intellectual tastes. Walpole, West, and Gray were all delicate lads, who probably preferred books to sport. Less intimate friends were Jacob Bryant [q. v.] and Richard Stonehewer, who maintained friendly relations with Gray till the last, and died in 1809, ‘auditor of the excise.’ On 4 July 1734 Gray was entered as a pensioner at Peterhouse, and admitted 9 Oct. in the same year. Walpole entered King's College in March 1735; while West was sent to Christ Church, Oxford. Ashton, who entered Trinity College in 1733, was less intimate than the others with Gray. Walpole and Gray kept up a correspondence with West, communicating poems, and occasionally writing in French and Latin. All three contributed to a volume of ‘Hymeneals’ on the marriage of Frederick, prince of Wales, in 1736. Gray also wrote at college a Latin poem, ‘Luna Habitabilis,’ published in the ‘Musæ Etonenses,’ ii. 107. The regular studies of the place were entirely uncongenial to Gray. He cared nothing for mathematics, and little for the philosophy, such as it was, though he apparently dipped into Locke. He was probably despised as a fop by the ordinary student of the time. His uncle Rogers, whom he visited at Burnham in 1737, despised him for reading instead of hunting, and preferring walking to riding. The ‘walking’ meant strolls in Burnham Beeches, where he managed to discover ‘mountains and precipices.’ His opinion of Cambridge is indicated by the fragmentary ‘Hymn to Ignorance,’ composed on his return. He left the university without a degree in September 1738, and passed some months at his father's, probably intending to study law. Walpole, who had already been appointed to some sinecure office, invited Gray to accompany him on the grand tour. They crossed from Dover 29 March 1739, spent two months in Paris, then went to Rheims, where they stayed for three months, and in September proceeded to Lyons. At the end of the month they made an excur-