"Elegy written in a country Churchyard"Thomas Gray was a preromantic poet: he was preromantic because he employed a classical form, but he was also romantic beacause he dealt with feelings and meditation. He wrote a great elegy, which is a greek poetic form, used to express the regret and the sadness for the loss of a person (it was dedicated to a dead person). Later elegies started to be used also to express the sadness for the loss of a situation, instead of a person. Through the elegy, the autor could give an elevated tone to the subject he was dealing with.
Gray's elegy contains 32 stanzas, each one represents a unit and expresses a concept so it is completed in itself. Thomas Gray focuses on the life of humble people and their importance, which was something new. The elegy starts with the description of the nature and the setting in time and place. The poet is the speaking voice and he stands in front of a sunset. He is in a country churchyard because he wants to be in solitude in order to favour meditation. The presence of the sunset makes the reader understand that the day is at the end and the night is coming. The poet says that the paesants have finished their work, so they are coming back home; then he describes the churchyard and focuses on what surrounds him: he reflects about the state of the tombs around him: they are extremely simple, without any identification sign of who lies inside them; there is just a little weep near the grave and no other distinguiscing element. The poet analyzes the way in which the paesants live, focusing on the fact the buried people will no longer be able to enjoy the pleasures of life because they are dead (the poet uses a melancoly tone); then he sets a comparison between the simple tombs of humbles people, which are accompanied only by the sorrow and the tears of their families, and the well decorated tombs of important people. The poet aquires an evocative tone and asks the reader and the powerful people of the time not to despise humble people only beacause they are poor: indeed in that period important people used to consider humble people inferior so, through the poem, the poet makes a request to the upper classes and asks to avoid neglecting the humble people and consider that they are important for the economy (their work allows the nobility to live in prosperity). Morover simple people are considered innocence beacuse they still base their relationships on strong principles and, even if their life is poor, they are able to enjoy life trough love and affections.
It is clear that the main theme of the elegy is death which is exploite in a new way: it death people are all on the same level, it doesn't matter who you are or how reach you are when life comes to an end. Death can't be avoided, it is human destiny that leads everyone to an epiloge. In death everything becomes useless, especially human vanity (collegamento con "Pamela": Pamela was considered inferior by Lady Davers). The poet concludes that human vanity should be avoided and a wide sense of community should spread among all social classes.
The poet concludes the elegy saying that he wants to be remembered not as a rich man, but a simple man full of feelings.