Thomas Gray: Poems
W. B. Hutchings, Thomas Gray
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Thomas Gray’s output of poetry is small, but constitutes one of the most significant collections in English literary history. Varied in form and subject-matter, Gray’s work is always distinguished, and such poems as the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard rank among the greatest in all English literature. He repeatedly takes forms and attitudes that have lent themselves to thoughtless repetition and transforms them into profound and moving poems.
care, Nor changing skies can hurt, nor sultry air. 95 ’Tis hard the elusive symptoms to explore. Today the lover walks, tomorrow is no more : A train of mourning friends attend his pall, And wonder at the sudden funeral. When then my fates, that breath they gave, shall claim; 100 When the short marble but preserves a name, 67 A little verse, my all, that shall remain : Thy passing courser’s slackened speed retain; (Thou envied honour of thy poet’s days, Of all our youth the ambition, and
the busy race to cheer, 10 And new-born pleasure brings to happier men : The fields to all their wonted tribute bear :  To warm their little loves the birds complain :  I fruitless mourn to him, that cannot hear, And weep the more, because I weep in vain. 10 Ode to Adversity  Daughter of Jove, relentless power,  Thou tamer of the human breast, Whose iron scourge and torturing hour, The bad affright, afflict the best! 5 Bound in thy adamantine chain The proud are taught to
pages of this eBook for your personal use to a maximum of 200 pages. All other reproduction requires the prior written permission of the Publishers Suggested Adobe Reader display settings: Continuous + Fit Width  indicates hyperlink www.cultural-resources.co.uk Hyperlinked List of Poems Page Ode on the Spring 6 Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College 7 Sonnet on the Death of Mr. Richard West 10 Ode to Adversity 11 Hymn to Ignorance. A Fragment 12 Ode on the Death of a Favourite
the Boar. [Gray] infant-gore. The murder of the princes in the Tower, commonly attributed to Richard III. Line 99. Half of thy heart. Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret, and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places. [Gray] Eleanor, wife of Edward I and so ‘half of thy heart’, died in 1290. Line 101.
the various poetic traditions from which English poetry derived. From 1753, Gray undertook a study of medieval English poetry, and Celtic, Germanic and Romance literatures. Essays towards the projected history can be found in his Commonplace Book. Gray’s work was interrupted when, under the influence of Walpole and assisted by the opening of the British Museum in 1759, he turned his attention to English history. The publication in 1760 of James Macpherson’s Fragments of Ancient Poetry, in which