From Thomas Gray--Obliquely relevant Thomas


Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" is considered amongst the finest flowering of the "graveyard school" of poetry. Yes, there is such a thing--fortunately a phenomenon relatively short lived, but giving rise to this one great elegiac tribute. Here is an excerpt that gave us another famous work.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Thomas Gray . . . Th' applause of list'ning senates to command, The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
. . .

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 9, 2002 4:49 PM.

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