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
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide

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 13-16:

It is in the fourth stanza that the speaker directly draws our attention to the graves in the country churchyard. We are presented with two potentially conflicting images of death. Line 14 describes the heaps of earth surrounding the graves; in order to dig a grave, the earth must necessarily be disrupted. Note that the syntax...

(read more from the Poem Summary section)

This section contains 2,502 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide
Copyrights
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.