Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 63 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
This section contains 2,502 words
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Lines 1-4:

In the first stanza, the speaker observes the signs of a country day drawing to a close: a curfew bell ringing, a herd of cattle moving across the pasture, and a farm laborer returning home. The speaker is then left alone to contemplate the isolated rural scene. The first line of the poem sets a distinctly somber tone: the curfew bell does not simply ring; it "knells"—a term usually applied to bells rung at a death or funeral. From the start, then, Gray reminds us of human mortality.

Lines 5-8:

The second stanza sustains the somber tone of the first: the speaker is not mournful, but pensive, as he describes the peaceful landscape that surrounds him. Even the air is characterized as having a "solemn stillness."

Lines 9-12:

The sound of an owl hooting intrudes upon the evening quiet. We are told that the owl...

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This section contains 2,502 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.