Gray dismisses its positives as merely being that he was able to complete the poem, which was probably influenced by his experience of the churchyard at Stoke Poges, where he attended the Sunday service and was able to visit the grave of Antrobus.
It is easy to point out that its thought is commonplace, that its diction and imagery are correct, noble but unoriginal, and to wonder where the immediately recognizable greatness has slipped in.
Through the medium of these, Romanticism was brought to the host literatures in Europe. When Gray sent his most famous poem, "Elegy," to Walpole, Walpole sent off the poem as a manuscript and it appeared in different magazines.
The poem's composition could also have been prompted by the entrance of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland into London or by a trial of Jacobite nobility in Each of Eliot's four poems has parallels to Gray's poem, but "Little Gidding" is deeply indebted to the Elegy's meditation on a "neglected spot".
Gray goes on to explore a counter-argument.
Originally, Gray chose three Romans as representative men of achievement: After reading the poem, he is reported to have said: The later ending also explores the narrator's own death, whereas the earlier version serves as a Christian consolation regarding death.
The latter filled the columns in newspapers and comic magazines for the next century and a half. It is the Approbation which makes it unnecessary for me to make any Apology but to the Author: The first, Mason's concept, argues that the Eton copy was the original for the Elegy poem and was complete in itself.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Gray goes on to explore a counter-argument. His "A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire" is metrically more inventive and written in a six-line stanza that terminates Gray's cross-rhymed quatrain with a couplet.
You will, I hope, look upon it in light of a thing with an end to it; a merit that most of my writing have wanted, and are like to want, but which this epistle I am determined shall not want. As he cannot but feel some Satisfaction in having pleas'd so many Readers already, I flatter myself he will forgive my communicating that Pleasure to many more.
Many of the foreign words Gray adapted were previously used by Shakespeare or Milton, securing an "English" tone, and he emphasised monosyllabic words throughout his elegy to add a rustic English tone.
This contemplation provokes the speaker's thoughts on the natural process of wastage and unfulfilled potential.
I have never seen the notions in any other place; yet he that reads them here, persuades himself that he has always felt them. These still need to be traced and verified. But surely its intended function is clear, and it is a necessary function if the poem is to have a structure and is not to be considered merely a loose collection of poetic passages.
If poverty circumscribes the "growing virtues" of the rustics, equally, it limits their "crimes". He established a ceremonial, almost religious, tone by reusing the idea of the "knell" that "tolls" to mark the coming night. It is dusk and the landscape seems to glimmer in the still air.
You will, I hope, look upon it in light of a thing with an end to it; a merit that most of my writing have wanted, and are like to want, but which this epistle I am determined shall not want.The Thomas Gray Archive is a collaborative digital archive and research project devoted to the life and work of eighteenth-century poet, letter-writer, and scholar Thomas Gray (), author of the acclaimed 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' ().
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is a poem by Thomas Gray, completed in and first published in The poem’s origins are unknown, but it was partly inspired by Gray’s thoughts following the death of the poet Richard West in "Gray's Elegy" is a poem that most older adults in the UK can quote, if only a few lines.
In my ideal school curriculum, it would still be required reading. Musical, eloquent, moral, the "Elegy. Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is one of “the best-known and best-loved poems in the English.” For each of its stanzas I provide [in brackets] a brief explanation of its meaning which may not be clear to a modern ear.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.
And when that happens, you might find Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" to be just what the doctor ordered. Gray's "Elegy" isn't just about death, and it isn't just doom and gloom.
The Thomas Gray Archive is a collaborative digital archive and research project devoted to the life and work of eighteenth-century poet, letter-writer, and scholar Thomas Gray (), author of the acclaimed 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' ().Download