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unholy sonnet after the praying

"The conclusion of the Bard was much criticized, even by Gray's admirers. Walpole (l.c.) says, ''The last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.''
We must bear in mind the difficulty of Gray's plan at this point. It would have been absurd and incongruous to attribute to prophecy and the Welsh Bard the distinctness which belongs to a poetic retrospect. The 'fainter colours' are absolutely necessary; and as it is there is too much of criticism underlying 'pleasing pain,' ''Truth severe by fairy Fiction drest,'' and too much learning in 'buskined measures.'
Gray himself thought the last part of the poem 'weakly,' and adds to Mason, ''and you think so too,'' but he hoped that the ''ten last lines would have escaped untouched.'' Mr Bonfoy and Mr Neville, he says, ''like the first Ode (that has no tout-ensemble) the best of the two and both somehow dislike the conclusion of the Bard, and mutter something about antithesis and conceit in 'to triumph, to die,' which I do not comprehend, and am sure it is altered for the better. It was before

'Lo! to be free to die, are (sic) mine.'
If you like it better so, so let it be. It is more abrupt, and perhaps may mark the action better: or it may be,
'Lo! liberty and death are mine.' ''
[to Mason, June 1757].
''Let it be observed,'' says Johnson, ''that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had without expense of thought.'' This shows that Johnson was in the first instance a moralist and only in the second a critic; but it also shows that an autocratic position, such as his, in literature, may make a man's utterances quite fatuous."

william shakespear sonnet 12 poems

" ''Much as I admire Gray, one feels I think, in reading his poetry never quite secure against the false poetical style of the eighteenth century. It is always near at hand, sometimes it breaks in; and the sense of this prevents the security one enjoys with truly classic work...

'Thy joys no glittering female meets---'
[Ode on Spring .]
or even things in the Elegy:
'He gave to misery all he had - a tear;
He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend---'
are instances of the sort of drawback I mean.'' Matthew Arnold.
What Arnold notes is the affected antithesis and consequent exaggeration in 'all he had' and ''twas all he wished.' Add the straining after point. If his bounty was large, how comes it, the average reader asks, that he has only a tear to give to misery? If Heaven gave a large recompense, how came it that it gave him only one friend? The answer is that 'a tear' is 'large bounty,' and that 'a friend' is 'a large recompense.' And the retort is that, if this is the point, it is badly made and is not worth making.
We ought not, perhaps, to seek too close a correspondence between the poet's circumstances and the epitaph. It is a coincidence which we must not press, that he was temporarily inconvenienced during the time when he was fitfully engaged upon the second half of the Eleqy by the loss of a house (insured) in Cornhill; at no time in his life was he really embarrassed. During the same period also he had more than one true friend besides Wharton. One cannot however help suspecting either that this epitaph was the one part of the Elegy written in 1742, although undoubtedly not entered in the oldest extant MS. until the completion of the Poem, or that it is retrospective, and recalls the regrets of that melancholy year, when West was dead and Gray, then really solitary, may have longed to be with him (see Odes and Introductory notes). Both here and in the the 'personal note' with which a very general theme is made to end is distinctly not effective. Whether consciously or not, Gray in this imitates West, whose 'Muse as yet unheeded and unknown' winds up 'the monody on the Death of Queen Caroline' with a self-reference, the feebleness of which Gray would have recognised in the case of any other friend [footnote: See Gray and His Friends, pp. 14, 114.]."

research on the 10th holy sonnet

In the final lines of the poem, the mission school is recognized as less “fort-like” than prison-like:

"The conclusion of the Bard was much criticized, even by Gray's admirers. Walpole (l.c.) says, ''The last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.''
We must bear in mind the difficulty of Gray's plan at this point. It would have been absurd and incongruous to attribute to prophecy and the Welsh Bard the distinctness which belongs to a poetic retrospect. The 'fainter colours' are absolutely necessary; and as it is there is too much of criticism underlying 'pleasing pain,' ''Truth severe by fairy Fiction drest,'' and too much learning in 'buskined measures.'
Gray himself thought the last part of the poem 'weakly,' and adds to Mason, ''and you think so too,'' but he hoped that the ''ten last lines would have escaped untouched.'' Mr Bonfoy and Mr Neville, he says, ''like the first Ode (that has no tout-ensemble) the best of the two and both somehow dislike the conclusion of the Bard, and mutter something about antithesis and conceit in 'to triumph, to die,' which I do not comprehend, and am sure it is altered for the better. It was before

'Lo! to be free to die, are (sic) mine.'
If you like it better so, so let it be. It is more abrupt, and perhaps may mark the action better: or it may be,
'Lo! liberty and death are mine.' ''
[to Mason, June 1757].
''Let it be observed,'' says Johnson, ''that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had without expense of thought.'' This shows that Johnson was in the first instance a moralist and only in the second a critic; but it also shows that an autocratic position, such as his, in literature, may make a man's utterances quite fatuous."

"The conclusion of the Bard was much criticized, even by Gray's admirers. Walpole (l.c.) says, ''The last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.''
We must bear in mind the difficulty of Gray's plan at this point. It would have been absurd and incongruous to attribute to prophecy and the Welsh Bard the distinctness which belongs to a poetic retrospect. The 'fainter colours' are absolutely necessary; and as it is there is too much of criticism underlying 'pleasing pain,' ''Truth severe by fairy Fiction drest,'' and too much learning in 'buskined measures.'
Gray himself thought the last part of the poem 'weakly,' and adds to Mason, ''and you think so too,'' but he hoped that the ''ten last lines would have escaped untouched.'' Mr Bonfoy and Mr Neville, he says, ''like the first Ode (that has no tout-ensemble) the best of the two and both somehow dislike the conclusion of the Bard, and mutter something about antithesis and conceit in 'to triumph, to die,' which I do not comprehend, and am sure it is altered for the better. It was before

'Lo! to be free to die, are (sic) mine.'
If you like it better so, so let it be. It is more abrupt, and perhaps may mark the action better: or it may be,
'Lo! liberty and death are mine.' ''
[to Mason, June 1757].
''Let it be observed,'' says Johnson, ''that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had without expense of thought.'' This shows that Johnson was in the first instance a moralist and only in the second a critic; but it also shows that an autocratic position, such as his, in literature, may make a man's utterances quite fatuous."

John Donne - Biography and Works

(X-XII) Essay: Tess Gallagher, "The Poem as Time Machine" Claims for Poetry.

"These lines on unfulfilled greatness among the villagers have been compared to Dryden, Annus Mirabilis 849-54: 'As when some dire Usurper Heav'n provides, / To scourge his Country with a lawless sway: / His birth, perhaps, some petty Village hides, / And sets his Cradle out of Fortune's way: // Till fully ripe his swelling fate breaks out, / And hurries him to mighty mischief on'; and Shenstone, The Schoolmistress (1745) st. xxvii-xxix, in which 'The firm fixed breast which fit and right requires, / Like Vernon's patriot soul', a potential Milton, and other great men are seen in embryo among the schoolchildren. Thomson's panegyric of England's 'sons of glory' in Summer 1488-91, 1493, includes: 'a steady More, / Who, with a generous though mistaken zeal, / Withstood a brutal tyrant's useful rage; / Like Cato firm ... / A dauntless soul erect, who smiled on death.' Thomson goes on to mention in this passage (not expanded to this form until 1744) Hampden, l. 1515: 'Wise, strenuous, firm, of unsubmitting soul'; and Milton, ll. 1567-71. As is shown below, G[ray].'s instances of greatness were originally classical in the Eton MS. The alteration to Hampden, Milton and Cromwell corresponds to the fact that the continuation of the poem after the original ending is markedly less classical and more English in character. But G. also wanted examples of greatness which had proved dangerous to society (as opposed to the innocence of the villagers) and the Civil War, 100 years earlier, provided him with three convenient examples. For all their individual qualities, these three men had been responsible in one way or another for bringing turmoil to their country. Without assenting to the identification of the churchyard with Stoke Poges, it is possible to accept Tovey's suggestion that G. may also have been influenced to some extent by the Buckinghamshire connections of Milton, who spent several early years at Horton, and Hampden, whose family home was at Great Hampden, where he was often visited by Cromwell."

"In 1768 G[ray]. cites Pindar, Olympian Odes ii 88, [Greek line (omitted)] (against the godlike bird of Zeus); and adds: 'Pindar compares himself to that bird, and his enemies to ravens that croak and clamour in vain below, while it pursues its flight, regardless of their noise.' G.'s epigraph to the poem comes from the same passage: cp. ll. 81-8: 'Full many a swift arrow have I beneath mine arm, within my quiver, many an arrow that is vocal to the wise; but for the crowd they need interpreters. The true poet is he who knoweth much by gift of nature, but they that have only learnt the lore of song, and are turbulent and intemperate of tongue, like a pair of crows, chatter in vain against the godlike bird of Zeus.'"

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English Essays: Sidney to Macaulay

"The conclusion of the Bard was much criticized, even by Gray's admirers. Walpole (l.c.) says, ''The last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.''
We must bear in mind the difficulty of Gray's plan at this point. It would have been absurd and incongruous to attribute to prophecy and the Welsh Bard the distinctness which belongs to a poetic retrospect. The 'fainter colours' are absolutely necessary; and as it is there is too much of criticism underlying 'pleasing pain,' ''Truth severe by fairy Fiction drest,'' and too much learning in 'buskined measures.'
Gray himself thought the last part of the poem 'weakly,' and adds to Mason, ''and you think so too,'' but he hoped that the ''ten last lines would have escaped untouched.'' Mr Bonfoy and Mr Neville, he says, ''like the first Ode (that has no tout-ensemble) the best of the two and both somehow dislike the conclusion of the Bard, and mutter something about antithesis and conceit in 'to triumph, to die,' which I do not comprehend, and am sure it is altered for the better. It was before

'Lo! to be free to die, are (sic) mine.'
If you like it better so, so let it be. It is more abrupt, and perhaps may mark the action better: or it may be,
'Lo! liberty and death are mine.' ''
[to Mason, June 1757].
''Let it be observed,'' says Johnson, ''that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had without expense of thought.'' This shows that Johnson was in the first instance a moralist and only in the second a critic; but it also shows that an autocratic position, such as his, in literature, may make a man's utterances quite fatuous."

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder - The Anne Boleyn Files

"The conclusion of the Bard was much criticized, even by Gray's admirers. Walpole (l.c.) says, ''The last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.''
We must bear in mind the difficulty of Gray's plan at this point. It would have been absurd and incongruous to attribute to prophecy and the Welsh Bard the distinctness which belongs to a poetic retrospect. The 'fainter colours' are absolutely necessary; and as it is there is too much of criticism underlying 'pleasing pain,' ''Truth severe by fairy Fiction drest,'' and too much learning in 'buskined measures.'
Gray himself thought the last part of the poem 'weakly,' and adds to Mason, ''and you think so too,'' but he hoped that the ''ten last lines would have escaped untouched.'' Mr Bonfoy and Mr Neville, he says, ''like the first Ode (that has no tout-ensemble) the best of the two and both somehow dislike the conclusion of the Bard, and mutter something about antithesis and conceit in 'to triumph, to die,' which I do not comprehend, and am sure it is altered for the better. It was before

'Lo! to be free to die, are (sic) mine.'
If you like it better so, so let it be. It is more abrupt, and perhaps may mark the action better: or it may be,
'Lo! liberty and death are mine.' ''
[to Mason, June 1757].
''Let it be observed,'' says Johnson, ''that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had without expense of thought.'' This shows that Johnson was in the first instance a moralist and only in the second a critic; but it also shows that an autocratic position, such as his, in literature, may make a man's utterances quite fatuous."

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