Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray

Categories: ChurchCountry

Thomas Gray’s poem, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, was first published in 1751. Gray’s idea of rustic life as describe in this poem is agrarian and devoted to the land. He talks of the plow turning the sod and of the sickle mowing down the grain. He mentions the plowmen driving their team of draught animals from the fields. He tells of straw sheds and of people awaking to the crow of the rooster.

            Gray uses the metaphor of sleep to describe death.

He says that those asleep no longer hear the voices of children or the touch and the kisses of those loved ones. He describes death as lending a cold ear and those dead as no longer hearing a call to honor nor does it hear any words of flattery.

            Gray comments on the deaths of the rich and powerful, saying that those dead are no better off than the poor dead rustics. He says that the fact that the rich man’s bones are in some fine urn does not allow him to enjoy his mansion any more than the farmer enjoys the humble earth in which his bones are placed.

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            Gray takes on the issue of class as a rhetorical device to get his point across that the rewards for both are equal and that death is a leveler of the playing field. He impresses upon the reader the fact that in the humble churchyard may lie the remains of a life that had potential for greatness.

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He says that many sweet blossoms bloom, live and crumble to dust unseen and unknown by anyone.

            If I were to be lying in the graveyard of the country church I would like to have Gray say of me that I was a friend of heaven, of course, and that I saw and enjoyed the dawns of my days and lived my life to the fullest. Now that I am dead left me sleep in peace and forgive and forget the frailties I displayed on earth.

                                                  Works Cited

            Gray, T.  Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard 1751

Updated: Apr 12, 2021
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Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray. (2017, Mar 14). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/elegy-written-in-a-country-churchyard-by-thomas-gray-essay

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray essay
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