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", Selected Poems of Gray and Collins (1967) p. 44, cites Swift's Thoughts on Various Subjects (Works (1735) vol i): 'There is in most people a reluctance and unwillingness to be forgotten. We observe even among the vulgar, how fond they are to have an inscription over their grave. It requires but little philosophy to discover and observe that there is no intrinsic value in all this; however, if it be founded in our nature, as an incitement to virtue, it ought not to be ridiculed.'"

"Cp. Dryden (cited by Johnson under 'noiseless'): 'So noiseless would I live, such death to find, / Like timely fruit, not shaken by the wind, / But ripely dropping from the sapless bough'; and Pope, Temple of Fame 330: 'The constant Tenour of whose well-spent Days'. There may also be a curious reminiscence of Essay on Criticism 240-1: 'Correctly cold, and regularly low, / That shunning Faults, one quiet Tenour keep'. It seems more likely that G. was remembering these passages than the parallel in Tacitus, Agricola vi 4, noted by J. C. Maxwell, Notes and Queries cxcvi (1951) 262: idem praeturae tenor et silentium (his praetorship followed the same quiet course). G. himself uses the phrase serventque tenorem in his Latin Verses at Eton (p. 290). For the sense see also Horace, Epistles I xviii 102-3: Quid pure tranquillet, honos an dulce lucellum, / an secretum iter et fallentis semita vitae (What gives you unruffled calm-honour, or the sweets of dear gain, or a secluded journey along the pathway of a life unnoticed?). Pope inscribed the second of these lines over his grotto."

"In Fraser MS., the punctuation showing that it was the poet's first intention to make the line part of the apostrophe to himself. It echoes the sentiment of Gray's beautiful written in the album of the Grande Chartreuse Aug. 1741, as he was returning from his sojourn in Italy, in which he says, - if he cannot have the silence of the cloistered cell:---

Saltem remoto des, Pater, angulo
Horas senectae ducere liberas
Tutumque vulgari tumultu
Surripias, hominumque curis.
At least, O Father, ere the close of life
Vouchsafe, I pray thee, some sequestered glen,
And there seclude me, rescued from the strife
Of vulgar tumults and the cares of men.
[R. E. Warburton in Notes and Queries, June 9, 1883.]
Mason is perhaps so far right that it was with this wish that the Elegy, like the was meant to end; we may admit this without supposing that it was intended to close with 'Doom.'
But whilst it is probable, from the punctuation of 'strife,' that Gray meant through this and possibly other stanzas to end the Elegy after the manner of the Alcaic Ode, it is quite clear that he soon abandoned that intention; for 'strife' here necessitated in the ending of the first line of previous stanza:
'No more with reason and thyself at strife,'---
and in the corresponding rhyme, some alteration which he never took the trouble to make, preferring to give his thoughts a more general scope and to use the four stanzas above cited as far only as they could be set in a natural sequence on this new model. This is the explanation of his side line. He in fact could avail himself only of two stanzas, the second and the fourth; the first 'The thoughtless World' &c. has in either sequence a little too much the character of a detached sentiment to please him, and, upon the altered plan, it was, for the same reason, difficult to introduce the third. We may well regret this, for Mason is right in saying that it is equal to any in the whole Elegy.
'Far from the Madding Crowd' is the title of one of Thomas Hardy's best novels, in which every one of the characters is drawn from humble life."

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"a prime example of semantic clustering, the repetition of words covering the same semantic ground, for the purpose of reinforcement in establishing the tone of the poem in its opening lines: "curfew", "knell", "parting" (l. 1), "wind slowly" (l. 2), "plods", "weary way" (l. 3), all reinforcing the contemplative mood."

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"a prime example of semantic clustering, the repetition of words covering the same semantic ground, for the purpose of reinforcement in establishing the tone of the poem in its opening lines: "curfew", "knell", "parting" (l. 1), "wind slowly" (l. 2), "plods", "weary way" (l. 3), all reinforcing the contemplative mood."

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"''Maddening'' would be the more correct formation; but Gray's use of madding has given it currency, and ''Far from the Madding Crowd'' has been adopted as the title of a novel [by Thomas Hardy (1874)], just as ''Annals of the Poor,'' , supplies the title of Leigh Richmond's well known work. Rogers quotes from one of Drummond's ''Sonnets'': - ''Far from the madding worldling's hoarse discord.'' Madding occurs in ''Paradise Lost'': - ''the madding wheels / Of brazen chariots raged.'' - vi. 210. Gray has it in ''Agrippina,'' , already quoted."

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The following representative parallels to the four rejected stanzas in the Eton MS (see l. 72 n) are intended to stress the mood of Christian Stoicism which underlies the first conclusion to the Elegy and which G[ray]. almost entirely removed in his revision of the poem. Most of the parallels are drawn from James Hervey's popular Meditations among the Tombs (1746) and his other Meditations and Contemplations (references here are to the 4th collected edn of 1748 in 2 vols), a work which acknowledged the influence of Young's slightly earlier Night Thoughts (1742-5). Certain features of the Elegy, in particular the churchyard setting, the silent darkness, the graves, the bell and the owl, although found in other writers, are exploited with sensational effect by Hervey, but the following parallels are confined to the four rejected stanzas:
1-2. Hervey i 72: 'Let Others, if they please, pay their obsequious Court to your wealthy Sons; and ignobly fawn, or anxiously sue, for Preferments; my Thoughts shall often resort, in pensive Contemplation, to the Sepulchres of their Sires; and learn, from their sleeping Dust, - to moderate my Expectations from Mortals: - to stand disengaged from every undue Attachment, to the little Interests of Time: - to get above the delusive Amusements of Honour; the gaudy Tinsels of Wealth; and all the empty Shadows of a perishing World.'
This passage is followed immediately, i 73, by a description of the bell: 'Hark! What Sound is That! - In such a Situation, every Noise alarms. - Solemn and slow, it breaks again upon the silent Air. - 'Tis the Striking of the Clock: Designed, one would imagine, to ratify all my serious Meditations ...'
3-4. Young, Night Thoughts v 253-4: 'Grief! more proficients in thy school are made / Than genius or proud learning e'er could boast'; Hervey ii 12: 'Our Innocence, is of so tender a Constitution, that it suffers in the promiscuous Croud; our Purity of so delicate a Complexion, that it scarce touches on the World, without contracting a Stain. We see, we hear, with Peril. But here Safety dwells. Every meddling and intrusive Avocation is secluded. Silence holds the Door against the Strife of Tongues, and all the Impertinencies of idle Conversation. The busy Swarm of vain Images, and cajoling Temptations; that beset Us, with a buzzing Importunity, amidst the Gaieties of Life; are chased by these thickening Shades.'
5-8. See Elegy 93-6 n (p. 135) for a parallel to this stanza from Thomas Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy (1747).
9-12. Young, Night Thoughts v 195-200: 'auspicious midnight! hail! / The world excluded, every passion hushed, / And opened a calm intercourse with heaven, / Here the soul sits in council; ponders past, / Predestines future action; sees, not feels, / Tumultuous life, and reasons with the storm'; and ibid ix at end: 'Thus, darkness aiding intellectual light, / And sacred silence whisp'ring truths divine, / And truths divine converting peace to pain'; Joseph Warton, Ode to Evening 21-4: 'Now ev'ry Passion sleeps; desponding Love, / And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride; / An holy Calm creeps o'er my peaceful Soul, / Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside'; Hervey i 3: 'The deep Silence, added to the gloomy Aspect, and both heightened by the Loneliness of the Place, greatly increased the Solemnity of the Scene. - A sort of religious Dread stole insensibly on my Mind, as I advanced, all pensive and thoughtful, along the inmost Isle. Such as hushed every ruder Passion, and dissipated all the gay Images of an alluring World'; ibid i 11: 'Drowned is this gentle Whisper, amidst the Noise of mortal affairs; but speaks distinctly, in the Retirements of serious Contemplation'; ibid i 13-14: 'Oh! that we might learn from these friendly Ashes, not to perpetuate the Memory of Injuries; not to foment the Fever of Resentment; nor cherish the Turbulence of Passion; that there may be as little Animosity and Disagreement in the Land of the Living, as there is in the Congregation of the Dead!'; ibid ii xvi: 'The Evening, drawing her Sables over the World, and gently darkening into Night, is a Season peculiarly proper for sedate Consideration. All Circumstances concur, to hush our Passions, and sooth our Cares; to tempt our Steps abroad, and prompt our Thoughts to serious Reflection.'
13-14. Dryden, Lucretius, Latter Part of Book III, Against the Fear of Death 267-70: 'Eternal troubles haunt thy anxious mind, / Whose cause and cure thou never hop'st to find; / But still uncertain, with thyself at strife, / Thou wander'st in the Labyrinth of Life.'"