Thomas Gray

1716-1771

 

Thomas Gray is buried in St. Giles's Churchyard, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England.

 

Stoke Poges Monument
Photograph by David Conway

He died at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge and requested to be buried next to his mother. His tomb is below the east window of the Hastings Chapel. The tablet on the wall of the church records that his mother is buried in the vault below.

Gray is chiefly remembered for his great poem : Elegy in a Country Churchyard - which is believed to have been set in St. Giles. It is thought that Gray commenced writing this poem in 1742 but didn't complete it until 1750 when he sent it to Horace Walpole in a letter.

Verses from the Elegy are inscribed on his monument which was erected in 1799 and stands to the east of the church.

After the death of Colley Cibber in 1757 he was offered the Poet Laureateship but turned it down to take up a teaching post at Cambridge University.

His other famous poems include: Ode on a  Distant Prospect of Eton, Sonnet on the Death of (Richard) West and The Progress of Poesy (a Pindaric ode).

There is also a monument to Gray in 'Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London.

See also Graveyard Poets.

 Thomas Gray's Tomb

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

From Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard 
(Complete Poem)

Read more poetry by Thomas Gray 

Thomas Gray 2016

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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