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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 30

Stanzas on the Death of Thomas Gray

By Anonymous

  • Thomas Gray, whose best known poem is the “Elegy in a Country Church-yard,” died on July 30, 1771.

  • BUT vain the magic lay, the warbling lyre,

    Imperious Death! from thy fell grasp to save;

    He knew, and told it with a Poet’s fire,

    “The paths of Glory lead but to the grave.”

    And shall the Bard, whose sympathizing mind

    Mourned o’er the simple rustic’s turfy cell,

    To strew his tomb no grateful mourner find,

    No village swain to ring one parting knell?

    Yes, honored shade! the fringed brook I’ll trace,

    Green rushes culling thy dark grave to strew;

    With mountain flowers I’ll deck the hallowed place,

    And fence it round with osiers mixed with yew.