Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray
Stanza 23 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
- Even simple, poor, country folks like the villagers in the churchyard depend on their loved ones as they die (or as their souls "part" from the world).
- They need some pious, religious friend or neighbor to close their eyes for them as they die.
- It's only natural, after all—it's the "voice of Nature" (yep, "Nature" is—you guessed it—being personified!).
- That voice of Nature calls out from the grave, and the villagers' accustomed passions (their "wonted fires") live on in their ashes, or their remains.