Elegy written in a country churchyeard

Materie:Appunti
Categoria:Inglese
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Data:15.12.2009
Numero di pagine:3
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Testo

Elegy: a lament for a dead person, a meditative poem [lamento, canto funebre, spesso + strumenti musicali]. 32 quatrains with alternated rhyme, decasyllabe; stanzas are complex and slow-moving. Title = important 4 setting and mood.
Classical: form (elegy, quat., regular rhy. sch., refined, strange word order), personifications, themes = passing of time, death, praise of life in the fields, regret; Romantic: figure of the poet = solitary, melancholic, generous, nature lover, modest; setting = twilight, country-side churchyard (inspired Foscolo), nature seen as made of trees&birds with their actual name (elm, yew-tree, beech, swallow) and not a Goddess; themes = praise of humble people [Gray celebrates the humble lives and the forgotten existences of the dead buried in a c.c.].
Parts: 1) 1-12: description of the setting (place, hour of the day = dusk) with its typical sounds; landscape fades; slowly because it’s a peaceful life. The poet loves the night. 2) 13-28: consideration of the life of the poor, after a “link” between the two parts. About fore-fathers: what they used to do (morning: get up early, go hunting; then: fireplace, wife, children; harvest, cut wood, hard work) but can’t do anymore (regret for life) = series of work in the fields. Bucholic image, even too happy. 3) 29-44: invocation to pers. of ambition ecc. (not despise); everyone is bound to the grave, exp. if you’re looking for glory. Then: rhethoric questions (= no) which inspired Foscolo’s “Sepolcri” [cenere muto]. Memory doesn’t remember them but it’s not their fault. 4) 45-76: hypoteses about people who might have lived there [what important people could’ve been there], poets, kings, brave people: they didn’t have the opportunity to express their talent, like a gem hidden in the oceans or a flower left unseen. Some could’ve had the same qualities as Hampden, Milton, Cromwell but didn’t manage to “exercise” their qualities → they didn’t develop their abilities, failed to realise their potential but at least didn’t do any harm [fortunati/poverini], guiltless of any crime. (to get power bad actions are needed). Though this isn’t a praise of ignorance. 5) 77-92: these people live unknown, but in the churchyard there are words and crosses and memorials of them; their memory lives in relatives’ minds – everybody needs to be remembered –. 6) 93-116: complete change of focus: the poet imagines to be seen through the eyes of an old ploughman [villager], who relates what He used to do while alive to a “kindred spirit” who had inquired the p.m.: He didn’t have much to do, he woke up early to get the first sunbeams, then he slept by the brook, then wandered through the woods; [espediente che oggettivizza] then images his death and his funeral (we understand that from what the p.m. says…). 7): 117-128: the epitaph. Written by the poet, who had the luck to study despite its status. He describes himself as a cultivated person, examines his virtues (good, sincere) and bot his faults; he is satisfied with his life (had a friend). Then, at last, he asks God’s mercy.
Characters: [herd], ploughman, [beetle], [owl], the poet, the fore-fathers, their horses/oxen, the Muse, a “kindred spirit”, the “hoary-headed swain”.
Personifications: ambition, grandeur (not despise them); memory; honour, flattery; knowledge, penury; luxury, pride; nature; science, melancholy; misery, heaven.
Metaphors: poverty and ignorance limited their possibilities just as the ocean may hide gems in its caves or a flower [stella alpina] may blush yet be unseen, so is wasted.
Onom. + allitt.: line 104: brook that babbles by; line 2: lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea; line 3: ploughman homeward plods his weary way;

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