Gray was a scholar
of Greek and history, he spent a secluded life at Cambridge. His poem, the meditative
"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard") is probably the most quoted
poem in the English language. Gray's poetry illustrates the evolution of 18th
century of English poetry from Classicism to early Romanticism.
In vain to methe smiling mornings shine,
And reddening Phoebus lifts his golden fire;
The birds in vain their amorous descant join,
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
These ears, alas! for other notes repine,
A different object do these eyes require;
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine,
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
Te fields to all their wonted tribute bear,
To warm their little loves the birds complain:
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
And weep the more because I weep in vain.