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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

VI. Gray

§ 16. Visit to the Lake country

This business over, Gray went with Wharton towards the English Lakes, but his companion fell ill at Brough, and Gray pursued his journey alone. The fruit of it was a journal which he sent from time to time to Wharton, and of which, with a Porsonian delight in his own beautiful handwriting, there is reason to believe that he made more than one copy. The journal was never published until after his death, and the public did not know till then how exactly he had surveyed the scenery. Wordsworth, if he knew, ignored the fact that a poet whom he habitually depreciated was, as a minute admirer of the views of nature, not less enthusiastic than his censor. The credit of discovering the Lakes belongs really to neither of these. It belongs to poor crazy Brown, the author of The Estimate, who wrote of a night scene near Keswick:

  • Nor voice, nor sound broke on the deep serene;
  • But the soft murmur of soft-gushing rills
  • (Unheard till now, and now scarce heard), etc.
  • The whole of Gray’s journal is precious, abounding in description, facts of natural history, historical detail, antique records, experiences gained with a persistent effort, very creditable to one generally very nervous and timid, but careless of fatigue and risk in his fascinating quest.