New York: Effingham Maynard & Co. Booklet. Paperback. 42pp. Thin sixteenmo. Stapled tan and black printed wraps. Good. The covers and pages are lightly moisture stained. Page 9 is slightly soiled. There is occasional marginalia in pencil throughout the pages. The corners of the pages are lightly bumped. Item #26163
Perhaps as early as 1742, or perhaps later, Gray embarked on a long meditative elegy in the style of the Retirement Poem. The "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" was composed over a long period of time, and was probably taken up again in the winter of 1749, upon the death of his aunt Mary. The poem, though immediately inspired by the deaths both of his intimate friend, Richard West, and of his aunt, in time turned into a memento mori meditation on and lament for the inevitable fate of all human beings.