Biography of Thomas Gray
Gray's father was a scrivener while his mother and aunt kept a milliner's shop. He led a quiet, studious life in the main, training in law after his degree at Cambridge and then becoming a history done at Peterhouse.
Gray formed a friendship with Walpole which was broken off as a result of a disagreement during a "Grand Tour of Europe" (1734-39), though they were eventually reconciled in 1745. This friendship was important to Gray's literary career and Walpole later published The Progress of Poetry and The Bard, an impassioned summary of English history, on his Strawberry Hill Press. Gray sent his Ode on the Spring to an Etonian friend, Richard West, who died shortly afterwards, prompting the Sonnet on the Death of West. Gray was immensely popular and helped to create a new taste in poetry; fertile ground for the romantic poets to follow him. In 1757 at the death of the Poet
Laureate Cibber, the post was offered to Gray, but he refused it.
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Thomas Gray Poems
Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard
The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Ode On The Death Of A Favourite Cat Drow...
'Twas on a lofty vase's side, Where China's gayest art had dy'd The azure flow'rs that blow; Demurest of the tabby kind, The pensive Selima, reclin'd, Gazed on the lake below.
Ode On A Distant Prospect Of Eton Colleg...
Ye distant spires, ye antique towers, That crown the watry glade, Where grateful ScienceÊ still adores Her Henry'sÊ holy shade; And yeÊ that from the stately brow
Ode On The Spring
Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours, Fair Venus' train appear, Disclose the long-expecting flowers, And wake the purple year! The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Hymn To Adversity
Daughter of Jove, relentless Power, Thou tamer of the human breast, Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour The Bad affright, afflict the Best!
The Fatal Sisters
Now the storm begins to lower, (Haste, the loom of Hell prepares!) Iron-sleet of arrowy shower Hurtles in the darkened air.
Sonnet On The Death Of Mr Richard West
In vain to me the smiling mornings shine, And redd'ning Phoebus lifts his golden fire: The birds in vain their amorous descant join; Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King! Confusion on thy banners wait, Tho' fanned by Conquest's crimson wing They mock the air with idle state.
The Progress Of Poesy
Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake, And give to rapture all thy trembling strings. From Helicon's harmonious springs A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
On The Death Of Richard West
1 In vain to me the smiling Mornings shine, 2 And reddening Phœbus lifts his golden fire; 3 The birds in vain their amorous descant join;
Ode On The Pleasure Arising From Vicissi...
Now the golden Morn aloft Waves her dew-bespangled wing, With vermeil cheek, and whisper soft She woos the tardy Spring:
The Curse Upon Edward
WEAVE the warp, and weave the woof, The winding-sheet of Edward's race. Give ample room, and verge enough The characters of hell to trace.
If I Should Die
If I should die and leave you Be not like the others, quick undone Who keep long vigils by the silent dust and weep.
Epitaph On A Child
Here, freed from pain, secure from misery, lies A child, the darling of his parents' eyes: A gentler lamb n'er sported on the plain, A fairer flower will never bloom again:
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait,
Tho' fanned by Conquest's crimson wing
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor Hauberk's twisted mail,
Nor even thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria'sÊ curse, from Cambria's tears!'
Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride