On the Death of Richard West

By Thomas Gray 1716–1771 Thomas Gray
In vain to me the smiling Mornings shine,
      And reddening Phœbus 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;
The 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.

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Poet Thomas Gray 1716–1771

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Poetic Terms Elegy

 Thomas  Gray

Biography

Thomas Gray is generally considered the second most important poet of the eighteenth century (following the dominant figure of Alexander Pope) and the most disappointing. It was generally assumed by friends and readers that he was the most talented poet of his generation, but the relatively small and even reluctantly published body of his works has left generations of scholars puzzling over the reasons for his limited production . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Poetic Terms Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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