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Metrical notation: - |- |- |- |- / - |- |- |- |- / - |- |- |- |- / - |- |- |- |- /Metrical foot type: iambic (- )Metrical foot number: pentameter (5 feet)Rhyme scheme: abab Rhyme (stanza position): cross (abab)Syllable pattern: .10Stanza: quatrain (4 lines)Genre(s): heroic quatrain, elegiac stanza, graveyard school, elegy Theme(s): hopelessness, vanity of life, night, social order, rural life, death ] [Era gia l' ora, che volge 'l disio A' naviganti, e 'ntenerisce 'l cuore Lo di ch' han detto a' dolci amici addio: E che lo nuovo peregrin d' amore Punge, se ode] — squilla di lontano Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore.[For I see in my thoughts, my sweet fire, One cold tongue, and two beautiful closed eyes Will remain full of sparks after our death.] was begun at Stoke-Poges in the autumn of 1742, probably on the occasion of the funeral of Jonathan Rogers, on the 31st of October. (Price sixpence).'' There was a preface by Horace Walpole.In the winter of 1749, after the death of his aunt, Mary Antrobus, Gray resumed it at Cambridge, and finished it at Stoke early in June, 1750; and on the 12th of that month he sent a copy of it in MS.to Horace Walpole, who circulated it among his friends.He therefore had it published (anonymously) on February 16, 1751, by the great London publisher, Dodsley. Edition followed edition in rapid succession; it was translated into living and dead languages; and - a sure evidence of popularity - it was repeatedly parodied.The facts as to its publication, etc., may be found in Gosse's edition of "The ''Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard'' was begun at Stoke-Poges in 1742, probably about the time of the death of Gray's uncle, Jonathan Rogers, who died there on the 21st of October.Accordingly, so soon as the 16th of February, there appeared anonymously ''. 1751, by Dodsley, & went thro' four editions, in two months; and afterwards a fifth, 6th, 7th, & 8th, 9th, 10th, & 11th; printed also in 1753 with Mr. there is a 2d edition; & again by Dodsley in his ; translated into Latin by Chr. at the British Museum, and that which belonged to Mason, and now belongs to Sir William Fraser, Bart., who printed a transcript of it in 100 copies in January 1884.
in the British Museum, and this copy is therefore referred to as the ''Egerton MS.'' The two other copies were among the ''books, manuscripts, coins, music printed or written, and papers of all kinds,'' which Gray bequeathed in his will to Mason, ''to preserve or destroy at his own discretion.'' These Mason bequeathed to Stonehewer (Fellow of St. Granville John Penn, of Stoke Park, for £100; in 1854 the MS. Gosse refers to it as the ''Mason MS.''; but it may not always belong to the Fraser family; and ''Mason MS.'' is not sufficiently distinctive, as the ''Pembroke MS.'' was also Mason's. seems to have been the rough draft, and contains a greater number of original readings and alterations, the other two apparently being made from it by Gray when he had almost ceased correcting the ''Elegy,'' I shall refer to it in the Notes and Various Readings as the ''Original MS.''" Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Gray added his after-thoughts without effacing the lines for which he meant to substitute them: this is characteristic of him, for he had a great aversion to erasure.
But this is all the genuine evidence I have been able to discover. xi, we find: ''It is highly probable that the Elegy in a Country Church-yard was begun also about this time'' (August, 1742).
Later editors state positively that it was begun in 1742 (Mitford, Gosse, Bradshaw, Rolfe, etc.).
If Dodsley do not do this immediately, he may as well let it alone.''Walpole lost no time, and on the 16th of February the poem was published in a quarto pamphlet, the following being the content of the title-page: - ''An Elegy Wrote in a Country Church Yard. - The poem was at once reproduced in the magazines; it appeared in the ''Magazine of Magazines'' on the 28th of February, in the ''London Magazine'' and in the ''Scots' Magazine,'' on the 31st of March, and in the ''Grand Magazine of Magazines'' on the 30th of April.
Gray has entered the following note in the margin of the Pembroke MS: - ''Publish'd in Febry.
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Yesterday I had the misfortune of receiving a letter from certain gentlemen (as their bookseller expresses it), who have taken the 'Magazine of Magazines' into their hands. As I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent, or so correspondent as they desire, I have but one bad way left to escape the honour they would inflict upon me; and therefore am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (which may be done in less than a week's time), from your copy, but without my name, in what form is most convenient for him, but on his best paper and character; he must correct the press himself, and print it without any interval between the stanzas, because the sense is in some places continued beyond them; and the title must be, - 'Elegy, written in a Country Church-yard.' If he would add a line or two to say it came into his hands by accident, I should like it better. It was anonymous, and contained these prefatory remarks by Walpole: - - The following Poem came into my hands by Accident, if the general Approbation with which this little Piece has been spread, may be call'd by so slight a Term as Accident.