Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Analysis Pdf
1. What is the site of Gray’s Elegy?
The site of Gray’s Elegy is a country church-yard where common poeple are usually buried. Of course, the churchyard here was at Stoke Poges where the poet’s mother lived after his father’s death.
2. For whom does the poet mourn? Were they related to him?
The poet mourns for the rude forefathers of the hamlet. They were the dead ancestors of the poor villagers.
They were not related to him
. 3. What is meant by the rude forefathers of the hamlet?
‘Rude’ here means ‘ignorant’ and ‘hamlet’ is ‘village’ .
The rude forefathers of the hamlet, thus, means the ignorant ancestors of the poor residents of the village.
4. What are the sounds heard in the evening scene of the Elegy?
The evening scene is mainly of descending darkness and all-pervasive silence. Yet, some sounds are mentioned. These are the tolling of the curfew bell, the lowing of the home-coming oxen, the droning of the wheeling beetles and the tinklings of the bells attached to the necks of the sheep in the fold.
5. What were ‘the useful toil’, ‘homely joys’ and ‘destiny obsecure’ of the rude forefathers of the hamlet?
The useful toil was their hard work of tilling the lands and sowing the seeds, and harvesting the crops.
‘Homely joys’ refer to humble domestic happiness with the brightly burning hearths, dufiful wives and affectionate children, ready to receive them at their homes. ‘Destiny obscure’ signifies their unknown or little known future.
6. Whom does the poet forbid to mock the poor villagers?
The poet forbids the men of ambition and grandeur to mock and ridicule the simple and ignorant lives of the poor villagers.
7. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.’ of-What does this signify?
This signifies that nothing can escape death. The glory of high birth, wealth, beauty and even power comes to an ignoble end, that is death.
8. What did knowledge and penury do to the rude forefathers of the hamlet?
The ever increasing story of knowledge was kept closed to the rude forefathers of the hamlet. In fact, the light of knowledge was never meant for them.
9. Who did give to Misery all he had? What did he gain in The village ?
The poet gave to Misery all he had. He gained in return God’s blessing and companionship
10. Why is Gray called a graveyard poet?
This is primarily because Gray’s celebrated poem Elegy was on a grave yard (Elegy Written written in a country church yard). Moreover, his poetic tone is, too, grave. It is the tone of a grave yard.
Penury did not permit the poor rusties to cultivate their innate talent. Infact, their possibilities were all repressed by their acute poverty.
11. Who did inscribe on the frail memorials of the poor villagers and what?
The village poet inscribed on the frail memorials of the poor villagers. He inscribed their names, their ages at the time of their death and some extract from the Holy Bible.
12. What does a dying man require?
A dying man requires the affectionate touch of some friend or relation. He also requires the sight of the tears of sorrow and symphathy, shed from the eyes of a dear and near one.
13. What is an Epitaph? What is its importance in the Elegy?
An epitaph is the inscription on the tombstone of a dead person. It contains some biographical details about the dead person concerned.
The last three stanzas of the poem form the Epitaph. This is of much significance in the poem. The stanza bears autobiographical notes and indicates, his last wishes.
13. What is implied in the phrase “The dull cold ear of death”.
This actually refers to death. Death cold, insensible and does not listen to any prayer or persuasion from men.
14. ‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day’. Explain the meaning of the word ‘curfew‘ here.
This is the ringing of the curfew bell, a practice in England, introduced after the
Norman Conquest. It was a code to ring a bell at 8’o clock in the evening for putting off the fireplace of every house. That bell was designated as ‘curfew” [ from French couvrir (to cover) and feu (fire)]
15. ‘Fair seience frown’d not on his humble birth,’ -In what sense is the word ‘science’ used here ?
Fair science here indicates knowledge, education.
16. Which king did John Hampden resist? Who is referred to here as some village Hampdan’?
John Hampden (of Buckinghamshire) resisted the tyrannical imposition of taxes by King Charles I.
Hampden here implies a rude forefather of the hamlet who might have been as bold and spirited as Hampden.
17. Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife : What does the poet mean by ‘the madding crowd’s ignoble strife’?
This refers to the restless fanatical struggles of life with no noble or worthy gain at the end.
18. What does Gray mean by the phrase ‘Mute inglorious Milton’?
Gray means here a poetically talented person with
immense possibilities. But the hostitility of the situation does not allow such a man to speak out in poetry. Milton in him or her remains ultimately mute.
19. What churchyard actually Gray refers to in his ‘Elegy’?
Gray actually referred the churchyard of Stock Pages, a favourite haunt of his visit and where he himself was buried after his death on July 13, 1771.
20. To what class of poetry “Elegy written in a Country Churchyard” belong?
Gray’s “Elegy written in a Country Churchyard” belongs to the pre-Romantic age of poetry. He was one of the precursors of Romantic poetry.
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