Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
- Since the poor villagers who are buried in the churchyard live far away from the noise and strife of crowded cities, they never learned to stray away from more sober, serious wishes and desires.
- Because they live in a secluded ("sequester'd") area, they were able to live their lives without making a lot of hubbub or noise.
- Fun fact! Thomas Hardy, the English novelist, gives a shout-out to Thomas Gray by titling one of his novels Far from the Madding Crowd.