Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Resources
Well, Shmoopers, if you're jonesing for more Gray, the internet has you covered: there's a digital collection of the works of Thomas Gray available here.
This is a handy website for student of Renaissance through eighteenth-century literature. They have a page devoted to Gray—check it out!
When in doubt, go to that mother of all encyclopedias, the Britannica. They have a hefty entry on Gray.
Someone with some animation skills and some time to burn made an animation of Gray's portrait reading his most famous poem. It's slightly creepy, but we can't look away…
Here's an English prof giving a mini-lecture on Thomas Gray while wandering around the English country churchyard where Gray is buried.
Here's a YouTube recording of the "Elegy" being read out loud.
This one has the text scrolling in the background, which is helpful if you want to follow along as the guy reads it.
This is probably the most famous portrait of Thomas Gray out there.
This monument isn't directly over Gray's tomb, but it's in the same churchyard. In case you can't read the fine print, here's what it says:
"Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave." (lines 12-15 and 33-36)
Articles & Interviews
Here's an article by Prof. W. Hutchings on Gray's "Elegy" is fairly technical, but has some interesting insights if you want to do further research on Thomas Gray. It's available through JSTOR, so you might need to access it from a library computer.
This is an oldie but goodie. It's an article from 1951 by Frank Ellis, published in PMLA (the top journal for literary criticism!) and it's available for free online through JSTOR.
William Wordsworth is a bit of a Thomas Gray hater, even though he's clearly influenced by Gray's "Elegy." In his famous "Preface to Lyrical Ballads," which often gets read as a kind of manifesto for the English Romantic poets, Wordsworth uses Thomas Gray as an example of what poets should NOT do.
This is cool—it's a book responding to Gray's "Elegy"…written in 1810! And it's available online through Google Books. Check out the link!