Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
By Thomas Gray (17161771)
From the Letters
I MUST not close my letter without giving you one principal event of my history, which was, that (in the course of my late tour) I set out one morning before five oclock, the moon shining through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea-coast time enough to be at the suns levee.
I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreaths, and the tide (as it flowed gently in upon the sands) first whitening, then slightly tinged with gold and blue; and all at once a little line of insufferable brightness that (before I can write these five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen. It is very odd it makes no figure on paper, yet I shall remember it as long as the sun, or at least as long as I endure. I wonder whether anybody ever saw it before, I hardly believe it.