elegy written in a country churchyard by thomas gray n.
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"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" By : Thomas Gray. The age : early eighteenth century poetry (pre-romantic). The age of early 18 th Century was under the role of king William the third.

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the age early eighteenth century poetry pre romantic
The age : early eighteenth century poetry (pre-romantic)
  • The age of early 18th Century was under the role of king William the third.
  • There were two political parts at the parliament. They were against each other, the part of construes, and the part of the right. The part of construes was with the catholic king James II, while the right part made a revelation in the year 1688, and toke off the king, by this William the third, who was a prince at Holland, become the king of England.
  • In the year 1707 Scotland and England made a union to see or to have we call, the great Britain. In 1759 there was a war called "Seven year war" the general of this war have recited to his officers from Gray's Elegy written in a country churchyard.
  • Although of the union both of Scotland and England became separated in legal institutions, and the national church.
  • With this age we see the industrial revolution which get out the middle class. Also emerged the building of rail way station.
  • Also we see the rise of the novel on the hands of Daniel Defoe , through his novel Robinson Crusoe. And on the hands of Swift on his novel Gulliver's travel.

The Neo-classical school was in, and a lot of people read to Pope and Dryden. But we see a group of poet who turned away from the bright. Teo-table chose Death for his subject. They were known as the Churchyard School for poets.

  • The poets of this school are Edward young and his poem Night Thoughts written in a good blank verse. Robert Blair and his poem The Grave. Thomas Gray his Elegy written in a country churchyard. They speak about Death and Graves.
  • The Graveyard School it started in 1740 till the end of 18th C it was a movement is known by a pre-romantic movement, they write about Death, Mortality, religion and melancholy. This school is important as it links between the Augustan age and the Romantic School. Also it speak about Nature.
  • The characteristic of the Graveyard School :

Their theme about Death, Mortality, Religion and Melancholy.

The setting of their poems is in the graveyard.

Their imagery is gloomy, funeral, images of night.

The tone is melancholic, elegiac, personal and somber.

Their main interests are by simple, ordinary, common people.

They helped (poets) in the development of the Gothic novel.

thomas gray
Thomas Gray :

*His Life

*His Works

*His Achievement



A countryside, end of a day, at the graveyard.

*Poetic Form:

-The poem is an Elegy ,but has the structure Ode.

-This elegy is Lyric rather than Narrative.

-It has a pastoral form when he mentions "shepherds, farmers".

-The poem is 32 stanza every stanza has 4 lines(quatrain) it is often referred as a heroic quatrain.

-The rhyme scheme is regular {abab – cdcd – efef -...etc.} Iambic pentameter.

-The Elegy in English is Lyrical lamentation of the death of a close friend or relative.

-Elegy is known in Greek and Latin poetry, it treats with variety of topics.


*The Occasion:

The poem is written in the death of Richard West Gray's best friend he laments his death as he has been killed.

The poem is translated into Latin and Greek, it is one of the most popular and most frequently quoted poems in the English language.

*The Structure:

First the poem is divided into two parts: the first part is representing by the poet himself, about death.

The second part is the search of yourself.

The structure is linked between Neo-classical and Pre-Romantic age.


1The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

  • 2 The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
  • 3 The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
  • 4 And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
  • 5 Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
  • 6 And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
  • 7 Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
  • 8 And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
  • 9 Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
  • 10 The moping owl does to the moon complain
  • 11 Of such, as wandering near her secret bower,
  • 12 Molest her ancient solitary reign.
  • 13 Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
  • 14 Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
  • 15 Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
  • 16 The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
  • 17 Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
  • 18 Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
  • 19 How jocund did they drive their team afield!
  • 20 How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

21 Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

  • 22 If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
  • 23 Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
  • 24 The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
  • 25 Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
  • 26 The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
  • 27 Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
  • 28 Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
  • 29 The applause of listening senates to command,
  • 30 The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
  • 31 To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
  • 32 And read their history in a nation's eyes,
  • 33 Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
  • 34 Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
  • 35 Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
  • 36 And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
  • 37 For thee, who mindful of the unhonoured dead
  • 38 Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
  • 39 If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
  • 40 Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
the epitaph
The Epitaph
  • 41 Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
  • 42 A youth to fortune and to fame unknown.
  • 43 Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
  • 44 And Melancholy marked him for her own.
  • 45 Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
  • 46 Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
  • 47 He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
  • 48 He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.
  • 49 No farther seek his merits to disclose,
  • 50 Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
  • 51(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
  • 52 The bosom of his Father and his God.


  • It is Personal as the poet refers to himself by using me.

*The Language:

  • It is Simple, everyday language. The words come with the occasion of death and mourning.


  • Mortality of man versus immortality of Nature.


  • 1- Death, Mortality and Melancholy.
  • 2- The search of yourself.
  • 3- The conflict of Social classes.

*The Main Idea:

  • The end of life and searching about oneself


  • To immortalize his sincerity to his friend Richard West

( T).

Done By : Ashjan Al , WasmuhAlAjmi , Asma AlBawardi.