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date: 23 June 2024

Elegy Written in a Country Church‐Yard 

Source:
The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature
Author(s):
Dinah BirchDinah Birch, Katy HooperKaty Hooper

Poem in quatrains by Thomas *Gray, published 1751, but begun earlier. The churchyard is identified with that of Stoke Poges, a village where Gray had family and where he was eventually buried. The poem situates the speaker alone in the churchyard at night, reflecting on the obscure destinies of the villagers who lie buried (‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen’) but drawing comfort from the safety that obscurity granted them. The poem concludes by imagining a sympathetic but puzzled villager reacting to the death of the melancholy and unknown author.... ...

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