GRAY, DAVID (1838-1861, Scottish poet)
AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HIS SONNET 'FIRST OF THE SERIES', signed ('David Gray'), with autograph revisions including the deletion of two lines, preserving reconsidered text, together with an autograph letter signed, to Sutherland, urging him not to become a teacher but rather to join him in quitting Scotland on foot for London and offering to share his meagre resources; Gray also mentions his 1,000-line poem [The Luggie] that he has sent on the rounds to G.H. Lewis, to Professors Aytoun and Mason and to Disraeli, but all claim they have not time to read it ('...I think the poem destined to live, and care not whether I were drowned tomorrow...'), the letter, 4 pages, octavo, [Glasgow, 1861] the poem, 1 page, octavo, the letter dated [Torquay] 4 May 1861
Enter, scared mortal! and in awe behold
The chancel of a dying poet's mind,
Hung round (say not adorned) with pictures bold
But of a touch too rough for the refined.
The chancel not the charnel-house! For I
To God have raised a shrine immaculate
Daily thereon His name to glorify
And wondrous mercy meekly celebrate.
So in, scared breather! here no hint of death
Shall a crossbones suggesting sceptik fear;
But rather calmer beauty, purer breath
Suck'd in from a divine atmosphere...
Clearly one of his last series of sonnets written when dying from consumption and living in Torquay at the expense of his patron Monckton Milnes, for which, other than The Luggie, he is best known. The present manuscript is for the 'Induction' to the series of sonnets which is printed in a truncated form without the last two lines (as deleted by Gray himself herein) and with substantial alterations of phraseology. Robert Buchanan was in fact the one to accompany Gray south. Gray died in December 1861.
REFERENCE: David Gray, The Luggie and Other Poems, 1862.