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Elegy Written in a country chrchyard

ELEGY (WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD) By: Thomas Gray, 1716-1771 Thomas Grays Elegy laments the death of life in general while mourning long gone ancestors and exhibiting the transition made by the speaker, from grief and mourning to acceptance and hope. It waswritten in 1742 and revised to its published form in 1746, and is one of the three highlights of theelegiac form in English literature, the others being Miltons Lycidas and Tennysons In Memoriam. Itwas first published, anonymously, in 1751, under the title "An Elegy wrote in a CountryChurchyard." Although believed to be started in 1742 the exact date of composition of the Elegy, apartfrom the concluding stanzas, cannot be exactly determined. The Elegy was concluded at Stoke Poges inJune, 1750, where Gray was buried. The churchyard as described by Gray is typical rather thanparticular; of the five disputed "originals" Stoke Poges bears the least resemblance to the graveyard in theElegy. The poem starts off dark and dreary often rousing images of death. The first four stanzas establishthe time and setting of the poem. There was a curfew around the time that this was written and the firstline supports this. It was wrung at eight oclock as a signal for extinguishing fires and marked the endof the day. The first stanza also includes a plowman(line 3) who, after a hard day , is on his wayhome. There is a solemn stillness(line6) which also suggests twilight or some time in the evening. Line15 places the speaker in the poem in a graveyard. Each in his narrow cell forever laid(line 15)describes people resting eternally in their narrow cells, which are usually associated with coffins or thenarrow graves that they were placed into. The speaker of the poem then goes on to talk about the lost pleasures of the dead. Line 21 startsdescribing these pleasures by using a hearth or a fireplace which symbolises the light of life. Theforefathers mentioned in the fourth stanza...

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