Throughout the eighteenth century several talented poets arose during the era, Thomas Gray among them. Thomas Gray was a scholar of Greek and history, which he demonstrated at Cambridge University. Amid the numerous masterpieces of literature written during the eighteenth century, Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is one of the most appealing and most perfect poems of its time. Gray's Elegy contrasts the simplicity and virtue of the past with the vain and boastful present. He states that the growing age of industrialism should not ridicule their "useful toil," nor obscure over their "homely joys," nor hear a recital of their "short and simple annals" with contempt. He also expresses that all life's endeavors, whether positive or negative, are made useless by the shadow of the tomb.
Published in 1751, Gray's Elegy underwent nine years of composing and revising. The only reason Gray had not spent more time perfecting his poem was because Gray had learned that a deficient, pirated copy was being published. It seems we were blessed with such talent when Gray published his Elegy, making it one of the most engaging poems of the Eighteenth century. Because Gray was blessed with such remarkable verse, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard became on of the most quoted poems in the English Language. Gray's Elegy illustrated the evolution of the 18th Century English poetry from Classicism to early Romanticism.
Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard is acknowledged as a masterpiece and holds a very important role in English Literature today. In Gray's amazing Elegy, he elaborates on a simple but deeply moving theme, which is the universal fate of all people who must end their lives in the grave, no matter how glorious their lives. "Can storied urn or animated bust, Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust, Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?".The moral that the humble graveyard teaches is that whether...
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