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" The paths of glory lead but to the grave"Elegy written in a Country Churchyard



Gray: death has a democatising effect in that it brings all people down to the same level. It doesn't matter if we have an impressive monument or a humble tomb, in the end death takes us all.

Foscolo: the grave is the symbol of the illusion of life after death and is the link between the dead and the living. The memory of the dead is kept alive thanks to those living who remember them. The dead people are the strong ones, those who will be remembered for their deeds.

Foscolo had long lived in Britain, and had read a great deal of English literature. He got inspiration from 'Elegy' for 'Dei Sepolcri'. Besides being a Graveyard poem, it was a patriotic poem written as a protest against Napoleon's decree forbidding tomb inscriptions.

  • 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College' (1742)
  • 'Elegy written in a Counrty Chuchyard' (1742-51)
  • 'The Bard' (1757)
  • 'On Lord Holland's Seat Near Margate, Kent' (1769)

'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' He moves from the neoclassical themes to a more Romantic sensitivity thanks to his interest in alternative verse forms and his travels to the Lake District and the Alps, in search for the sublime.

'Elegy Written in a Country Chuchyard': structure- 32 quartains - abab rhyme scheme - neoclassical structure with a rich complex language. - iambic pentameter and internal rhyme, alliteration and onomatopoeia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl9MF4BINA8

'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard': themes- from the moment of death back to the lives which preceded it - how social differences are all destined to be extinguished by man's mortality - by focusing on the lowly in society he questions the social hierarchy, anticipating the Romantic themes.

Although his poetical production was slight, he was a dominant poetical figure in the mid-18th century and a precursor of the Romantic movement.


He was a professor in Modern History in Cambridge.He did not produce many literary works as he was conditioned by the neoclassical search for perfection in writing, typical of the first century.

Contemplation of human motalityMan's relation to the divineGloomy and funerary imagesInfluence on the gothic novel, on its dark and mysterious elements of the plotEarly precursor of the Romantic movement in Europe

The Graveyard poets were a group of poets of the 18th century.Poetry characterized by meditations on mortality in a graveyard.Christian clergymen

Graveyard poetsThe main representative of Graveyard poetry is Thomas Gray. Other important Graveyard poets were Edward Young (Night Thoughts), Thomas Parnell (A Night-Piece on Death) and Thomas Percy (Reliques of Ancient English Poetry).

Gray and Foscolo Both poets consider the grave crucial for the commemoration of dead people.