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Mason seems to have had evidence for the 1742 date sufficient to satisfy Walpole, though what that evidence was we do not know. The 'Churchyard' was, I am persuaded, posterior to West's death  at least three or four years, as you will see by my note.
Writing to Mason, 1 December 1773 ( of Gray: ''There are ... At least I am sure that I had the twelve or more first lines from himself above three years after that period, and it was long before he finished it.'' Mason evidently made some satisfactory reply, for two weeks later, 14 December 1773 (, VI, 31), Walpole writes: ''Your account of the 'Elegy' puts an end to my other criticism.'' Then Mason in 1775 made the statement just quoted above.
Walpole did not at first accept the account of the date of the poem, submitted to him by Mason before the Memoirs of Gray went to press. 1, 1773:''The 'Churchyard' was, I am persuaded, posterior to West's death  at least three or four years.
Bright, - each set containing a copy of the ''Elegy.'' The copy in the possession of the College is usually described as the ''Pembroke MS.,'' and of it there is a facsimile in Mathias' edition of Gray's Works, published in 1814. When Gray sent the poem to Walpole in 1750, he could congratulate himself that the 'thing' had really an .
[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.] Expanding the poem lines () shows the results of a computationally facilitated analysis of the text.
These results should be considered as a basis for deeper interpretative enquiry such as can be found in the notes and queries.
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.You can add notes or queries to any part of the poetic text by simply clicking on the line in question and filling in the annotations form with your details.All contributions will be submitted to the editor in the first instance for review.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.