Thomas Gray was born in Cornill and he studied at Eton where he met Horace Walpole. Togheter they visited France and Italy. After he settled down in Cambridge. He published " ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD " with the help of his friend Walpole.
He was interested in Celtic mythology and English literary history.
A transitional poet
He was considered a transitional poet because he didn't use the neoclassical subject-matter,but he's tied however to the neoclassical tradition because he used poetic diction (only language to be used in poetry) and he was convinced that every day language cannot be the language of poetry
The elegy is divided in three parts:
1 lament for a dead person
2 reflection about the transitoriety of life
3 the mood of consolation: “the life goes on”
The poem opens with the contemplation of a country churchyard at twilight. The scene was described by use of assonance (repetition of same vowels in the same line), alliteration (repetition of same consonants in the same line)
He considers the humble people.
The tomb is a reminder of the dead person, not what he did during his life.
A new sensibility
The poem is written in heroic quatrains of ten-syllable lines.
The elegy marks the beginning of a new sensibility and introduces a new figure of poet who is the speaking voice in the poem. Ugo Foscolo for drafting of "Dei sepolcri" was inspired by this poem.