An early biographer of Thomas Gray, John Mitford, maintained that “there is surely some pleasure in contemplating the progress of a virtuous and enlightened mind, early withdrawn from public life to the stillness of the academic cloister; and confining its pleasures and prospects within the serenity of a studious retirement.” While Gray's poetry, like his life, was serene and studious, it was so enlivened by wit and a wonderful ear as to reach readers well beyond “the academic cloister”. It seems likely that almost every reader has heard of “Gray's Elegy”, and that even those who do not read know such phrases from it as “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”, or other phrases of Gray's such as “where i…
McKenzie, Alan. "Thomas Gray". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 May 2005; last revised 30 November -1.
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