1760 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Edward Cooper, in "In Retirement. Inscribed to Mr. Thompson" A Collection of Elegiac Poesy (1760) 34 & n.



He that can draw the soft pathetic tear
In pious drops from pity's modest eye;
To merit's sons must be for ever dear,
Nor can the muse her gratitude deny.

Learn this in Gray, sweet elegy's own son,
Whose tender sweetness melts the female heart;
Whilst soft'ning angels list'ning at the song,
Ask wond'ring who this secret did impart?

See his celebrated elegy on a country church yard, so well liked as to have occasioned many humble imitations of it by the herd of versifying scribblers.