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I care not, Fortune, what you me deny :
grace, You cannot shut the windows of the sky,
Through which Aurora' shows her brightening face;
You cannot bar my constant10 feet to trace
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,
THOMAS GRAY.-Born, 1716; Died, 1771
Thomas Gray was born in London, and educated at Eton and Cambridge. His life was spent mainly at the University, where he became Professor of Modern History. His poems, few in number, are all exquisitely finished and perfect in their kind, but, with the exception of the Elegy, are too classical for the popular taste. The Elegy, however, is in all respects one of the most cherished compositions in the language.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
The curfew' tolls the knell of parting day
9 Aurora, the morning.
devoted, to this pleasure."
some village churches at sunset.
It was originally tolled, by command of William the Conqueror, at 8 p.m., as the signal for all to cover their fire (couvre-feu, Fr.); that is, to put out all lights.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
? moping, sad, stupid.
fields in the early morning is com
pared to incense. 5 twittering, making a succession
of sharp notes
GA clarion is a kind of shrill, clear
voiced trumpet. The crowing of
the cock is compared to its sound. ? the echoing horn of the hunts
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault,
Can storied urn 15 or animated bust16
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laida?
10 The sounding titlos given by the
College of Heralds. 11 inevitable, that cannot be es
caped. 12 trophies, grand monuments. 13 fretted vault, arch with highly
ornamented roof. 14 These two lines refer to pompous
funerals in a cathedral. 15 storied urn, an urn on the fu
neral monument engraved with
the story of him who lies beneath. 16 animated bust, life-like statue
or bust. 17 The village church-yard. 18 Filled. 19 The rod of empire is the royal
sceptre; here used for “the
highest offices of the state." 20 As a great poet.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Full many a gem of purest ray serene24
unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden,25 that with dauntless breast
Th'applause of list'ning senates to command,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed30 alone
26 dauntless, fearless.
21 Penury, poverty.
out the noble and healthful wishes
frost binds up the bright stream. 24 serene, clear. 25 Hampden was the first to resist
the illegal taxes of Charles the First,
28 Oliver Cromwell. Gray here
supposes him to have cause l the civil wars. But this is open to
question. 29 senates, parliaments. 30 circumscribed, shut in within
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
31 ingenuous, frank, free from de
ception. 32 Or heap, &c. "Or flatter the rich
and proud with fulsome praise in verse, as if they were gods, at whose shrine such incense might
34 Continuous course.
of the sun to the darkness of the