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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 'Miscellany,' vol. Roberts, & published in 1762, & again in the same year by Rob. A.''It first appeared with Gray's name in the ''Six Poems'' of 1753.4th, & in a Scotch Collection call'd the 'Union'; translated into Latin by Chr. Mason says that Gray ''originally gave it only the simple title of 'Stanzas written in a Country Church-yard,' '' but that he ''persuaded him first to call it an Elegy, because the subject authorized him so to do, and the alternate measure seemed particularly fit for that species of composition; also so capital a poem written in this measure, would as it were appropriate it in the future to writings of this sort.''The title of the eighth edition, 1753, is ''Elegy, originally written in a Country Churchyard.''Three copies of the ''Elegy'' in Gray's handwriting still exist.] [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.[(It was already the hour which turns back the desire Of the sailors, and melts their hearts, The day that they have said good-bye to their sweet friends, And which pierces the new pilgrim with love, If he hears) — from afar the bell Which seems to mourn the dying day.] Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco, Fredda una lingua, & due begli occhi chiusi Rimaner doppo noi pien di faville.On the 10th of February, 1751, Gray received a letter from the editors of the ''Magazine of Magazines,'' asking permission to publish it.
For interesting conjectures as to causes that inspired the poem, see Gosse, , pp. Gray was in no more haste to publish the poem than he had apparently been to complete it.
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.
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.
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).