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THOMAS GRAY
English poet, prose writer and scholar
(1716 - 1771)
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Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
  The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
    Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
      Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard [Graves]

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
  And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Await alike th' inevitable hour,
      The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard [Graves]

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 in a Country Churchyard [Evening]

There scatter'd oft the earliest of ye Year
  By Hands unseen are showers of Vi'lets found;
    The Redbreast loves to build and warble there,
      And little Footsteps lightly print the ground.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard,
        his manuscript [Footsteps]

Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
  The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 10)
        [Music]

Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
  Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 12)
        [Character]

Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
  And froze the genial current of the soul.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 13)
        [Poverty]

Rich with the spoils of time.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 13)
        [Time]

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
  And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 14)
        [Obscurity]

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
  The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 14)
        [Ocean]

And read their history in a nation's eyes.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 16)
        [History]

Scatter plenty o'er a smiling land.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 16)
        [Philanthropy]

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 17)
        [Mercy]

Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
  They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 19)
        [Life]

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 19)
        [Solitude]

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 20)
        [Sighs]

And many a holy text around she strews
  That teach the rustic moralist to die.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 21)
        [Epitaphs]

Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 22)
        [Resolution]

E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
  E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 23),
        Gray says it was suggested by Plutarch
        [Fire : Nature]

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 5)
        [Morning]

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield:
  Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
    How jocund did they drive their team a-field!
      How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 7)
        [Agriculture]

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 9)
        [Glory]

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
  Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
    (There they alike in trembling hope repose),
      The bosom of his Father and his God.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard--Epitaph
        [Charity]

Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
  A youth, to fortune and to fame unknown;
    Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
      And Melancholy marked him for her own.
      - Elegy in a Country Churchyard--The Epitaph
        [Melancholy]

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
  Heaven did a recompense as largely send;
    He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
      He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
      - Elegy--The Epitaph [Philanthropy]


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