Thomas Gray

Alan McKenzie (Purdue University)
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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maintained that “there is surely some pleasure in contemplating the progress of a virtuous and enlightened mind, early withdrawn from public life to the stillness of the academic cloister; and confining its pleasures and prospects within the serenity of a studious retirement.”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



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 ignorance is bliss,/ ‘Tis folly to be wise”, from

Ode on a

1633 words

Citation: McKenzie, Alan. "Thomas Gray". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 May 2005 [, accessed 26 May 2024.]

5092 Thomas Gray 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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