[54] In particular, it is possible that Gray was interested in debates over the treatment of the poor, and that he supported the political structure of his day, which was to support the poor who worked but look down on those that refused to. With anecdotes of the life of Gray, and some remarks in French; by the editor", "Thomas Gray Archive : Texts : Digital Library : Élégie de Gray (1788)", "Elegia inglese ... sopra un cimitero campestre", "Le Champ du repos, ou le Cimetière Mont-Louis, dit du Père Delachaise, ouvrage orné de planches, représentant plus de 2000 mausolées érigés dans ce cimetière, depuis sa création jusqu'au 1er janvier 1816, avec leurs épitaphes ; son plan topographique, tel qu'il existait du temps de père Delachaise, et tel qu'il existe aujourd'hui ; précédé d'un portrait de ce jésuite, d'un abrégé de sa vie ; et suivi de quelques remarques sur la manière dont différens peuples honorent les défunts. And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r. W. K. Wimsatt, in 1970, suggested, "Perhaps we shall be tempted to say only that Gray transcends and outdoes Hammond and Shenstone simply because he writes a more poetic line, richer, fuller, more resonant and memorable in all the ways in which we are accustomed to analyze the poetic quality. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Overview Quiz. Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard Poem by Thomas Gray. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. However, it diverges from this tradition in focusing on the death of a poet. I should have been glad, that you & two or three more People had liked them, which would have satisfied my ambition on this head amply.     Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Garrison ch.4, “Gray’s language and the languages of translation”, p.153ff.     Dost in these notes their artless tale relate, "[144] In 1968, Herbert Starr pointed out that the poem was "frequently referred to, with some truth, as the best known poem in the English language. This is followed with the poet narrator looking through letters of his deceased friend, echoing Gray's narrator reading the tombstones to connect to the dead. One other point, already mentioned, was how to deal with the problem of rendering the poem's fourth line. Some other translators, with other priorities, found elegant means to render the original turn of speech exactly. [84], An obvious distinction can be made between imitations meant to stand as independent works within the elegiac genre, not all of which followed Gray's wording closely, and those with a humorous or satirical purpose. The only other letter to discuss the poem was one sent to Wharton on 11 September 1746, which alludes to the poem being worked on. Immediately, he included the poem in a letter he sent to Walpole, that said: 1. [69] Unlike Gray, Browning adds a female figure and argues that nothing but love matters. [86] This was an example of how later parodies shifted their critical aim, in this case "explicitly calling attention to the formal and thematic ties which connected the 18th century work with its 20th century derivation" in Edgar Lee Masters' work. [68] Robert Browning relied on a similar setting to the Elegy in his pastoral poem "Love Among the Ruins" which describes the desire for glory and how everything ends in death. In the winter of 1749 Gray took it in hand again, at Cambridge, after the death of his aunt, Mary Antrobus. 14 April 2015. [87] Ambrose Bierce used parody of the poem for the same critical purpose in his definition of Elegy in The Devil's Dictionary, ending with the dismissive lines, The wise man homeward plods; I only stay     And all the air a solemn stillness holds, 'Stoke Pages' in Buckinghamshire UK (Image above). [114] There is also an item described as "Gray's Elegy set to music" in various settings for voice accompanied by harpsichord or harp by Thomas Billington (1754-1832), although this too may have only been an excerpt. "[155] He later pointed out: "Gray's 'Elegy' was universally admired in his lifetime and has remained continuously the most popular of mid-eighteenth-century English poems; it is, as Gosse has called it, the standard English poem. The Second Edition", "The Magdalens. On some fond breast the parting soul relies. "[159], Northup, items 507, 515, 517, 533, 534, 542, 560, 571, Northup, items 635, 673, 684, 705, 727a, 727c, 728a, 735e, Weinbrott, Howard D., "Translation and parody: towards the genealogy of the Augustan imitation" in, Donald Keane, "The first Japanese translations of European literature” in. The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed. This is compounded further by the narrator trying to avoid an emotional response to death, by relying on rhetorical questions and discussing what his surroundings lack. A. Richards, following in 1929, declared that the merits of the poem come from its tone: "poetry, which has no other very remarkable qualities, may sometimes take very high rank simply because the poet's attitude to his listeners – in view of what he has to say – is so perfect. [36], The speaker focuses on the inequities that come from death, obscuring individuals, while he begins to resign himself to his own inevitable fate. No children run to lisp their sire's return. Any foreign diction that Gray relied on was merged with English words and phrases to give them an "English" feel. [102] What we learn from all this activity is that, as the centenary of its first publication approached, interest in Gray's Elegy continued unabated in Europe and new translations of it continued to be made. [67], In the Victorian period, Alfred, Lord Tennyson adopted many features of the Elegy in his own extended meditation on death, In Memoriam. The poem's primary message is to promote the idea of "Englishness", and the pastoral English countryside. Using the word "apply" would throw off the rhythm of the poem. Immediately after, Owen's magazine with Gray's poem was printed but contained multiple errors and other problems. Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires. "[128] Debate over Gray's work continued into the 19th century, and Victorian critics remained unconvinced by the rest of it. [42], The original conclusion from the earlier version of the poem confronts the reader with the inevitable prospect of death and advises resignation, which differs from the indirect, third-person description in the final version:[43], The thoughtless world to majesty may bow, The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. 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. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade. [123] The 18th-century writer James Beattie was said by Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet to have written a letter to him claiming, "Of all the English poets of this age, Mr. Gray is most admired, and I think with justice; yet there are comparatively speaking but a few who know of anything of his, but his 'Church-yard Elegy,' which is by no means the best of his works. "[138] After describing various aspects and complexities within the poem, Brooks provided his view on the poem's conclusion: "the reader may not be altogether convinced, as I am not altogether convinced, that the epitaph with which the poem closes is adequate. In choosing an "English" over a Classical setting, Gray provided a model for later poets wishing to describe England and the English countryside during the second half of the 18th century. All four contain Gray's meditations on mortality that were inspired by West's death. And leaves the world to darkness and to me. [56] It is probable that Gray wanted to promote the hard work of the poor but to do nothing to change their social position. In place of the plain English of Gray's “And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave”, he substituted the Parnassian Tous les dons de Plutus, tous les dons de Cythère (All the gifts of Plutus and of Cytherea) and kept this up throughout the poem in a performance that its English reviewer noted as bearing only the thinnest relation to the original.[89]. Some of these problems disappeared when that translation was into Classical Latin, only to be replaced by others that Gray himself raised in correspondence with Christopher Anstey, one of the first of his translators into Latin. Duncombe's “Evening contemplation” was preceded by a parody of itself, “Nocturnal contemplations in Barham Down’s Camp”, which is filled, like Duncombe's poem, with drunken roisterers disturbing the silence. Instead of making claims of economic injustice, Gray accommodates differing political views. In the year 1751, It was first published. Jerningham.]     The bosom of his Father and his God. [117] And finally, at the other end of the century, Alfred Cellier did set the whole work in a cantata composed expressly for the Leeds Festival, 1883. The poem's speaker calmly mulls over death while standing in … ", Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.     To wander in the gloomy walks of fate: "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" is the British writer Thomas Gray's most famous poem, first published in 1751. [14] The revised version of 1768 was that later printed. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r. [28] Although the ending reveals the narrator's repression of feelings surrounding his inevitable fate, it is optimistic. 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