1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

William Hazlitt, in Lectures on the English Poets (1818; 1909) 157.



Gray's Pindaric Odes are, I believe, generally given up at present: they are stately and pedantic, a kind of methodical borrowed phrenzy. But I cannot so easily give up, nor will the world be in any haste to part with his Elegy in a Country Churchyard: it is one of the most classical productions that ever was penned by a refined and thoughtful mind, moralising on human life. Mr. Coleridge (in his Literary Life) says that his friend Mr. Wordsworth had undertaken to show that the language of the Elegy is unintelligible: it has, however, been understood!