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Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E.

"This stanza may be regarded as an answer to the question in the : When dying one rests on some loving friend, and needs the tears of affection; and even after one is buried the same natural desire for loving rememberance shows itself; and when all is dust and ashes the fire that was accustomed to be in those ashes lives in them (and finds expression in the inscription on the tombs).
Here Mitford quotes Drayton and Pope: -

''It is some comfort to a wretch to die,
(If there be comfort in the way of death)
To have some friend, or kind alliance by
To be officious at the parting breath.'' - Moses

''No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier,
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed.'' - Elegy, 81."

"This stanza may be regarded as an answer to the question in the : When dying one rests on some loving friend, and needs the tears of affection; and even after one is buried the same natural desire for loving rememberance shows itself; and when all is dust and ashes the fire that was accustomed to be in those ashes lives in them (and finds expression in the inscription on the tombs).
Here Mitford quotes Drayton and Pope: -

''It is some comfort to a wretch to die,
(If there be comfort in the way of death)
To have some friend, or kind alliance by
To be officious at the parting breath.'' - Moses

''No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier,
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed.'' - Elegy, 81."

Butler 12 May 2008  Kindred ESSAY TOPICS - BOOK REPORT IDEAS by Octavia E.

Kindred Essay Introduction - Servicios Toldeca

Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects - Online Library of Liberty INTRODUCTION↩.

"The first notable criticism of the Elegy did not appear until the 1780s. Johnson's brief but eloquent tribute in the Lives of the Poets (1781) was followed in more senses than one in 1783 by John Young's Criticism of the Elegy (2nd edn, 1810), a detailed discussion of the poem in a manner deliberately imitating Johnson's. There is also a chapter on the Elegy in John Scott's Critical Essays (1785) pp. 185-246. Discussion of the poem in the next century tended to be pre-occupied with such matters as G.'s sources, the location of the churchyard and G.'s relationship to the 'Age of Reason', and to attempt little more critically than general appreciation of G.'s eloquence, along the lines of Johnson's tribute. Some recent discussions of the poem, in addition to those mentioned above, which should be consulted are: Roger Martin, Essai sur Thomas Gray (Paris, 1934) pp. 409-36; William Empson, Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) p. 4; Cleanth Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn (1949) pp. 96-113; F. W. Bateson, English Poetry: A Critical Introduction (1950) pp. 181-93; and three essays by Ian Jack, B. H. Bronson and Frank Brady in From Sensibility to Romanticism, ed. F. W. Hilles and H. Bloom (1965) pp. 139-89. Amy L. Reed's The Background to Gray's Elegy (New York, 1924), investigates melancholy as a subject in earlier eighteenth-century poetry, but does not throw a great deal of light on the poem itself.
The crucial fact about the poem, of which by no means all discussions of the Elegy take account, is that we possess two distinct versions of it: the version which originally ended with the four rejected stanzas in the Eton MS, and the familiar, revised and expanded version. Many of the difficulties in the interpretation of the poem can be clarified if the two versions are examined in turn. As has been stated above, Mason's assertion that the first version of the poem ended with the rejected stanzas appears to be fully justified. In this form the Elegy is a well-constructed poem, in some ways more balanced and lucid than in its final version. The three opening stanzas brilliantly setting the poem and the poet in the churchyard, are followed by four balanced sections each of four stanzas, dealing in turn with the lives of the humble villagers; by contrast, with the lives of the great; with the way in which the villagers are deprived of the opportunities of greatness; and by contrast, with the crimes inextricably involved in success as the 'thoughtless world' knows it, from which the villagers are protected. The last three stanzas, balancing the opening three, return to the poet himself in the churchyard, making clear that the whole poem has been a debate within his mind as he meditates in the darkness, at the end of which he makes his own choice about the preferability of obscure innocence to the dangers of the 'great world'. (It is the personal involvement of the poet and his desire to share the obscure destiny of the villagers in this version of the poem which make Empson's ingenious remarks in Some Versions of Pastoral ultimately irrelevant and misleading.)
Underlying the whole structure of the first version of the Elegy, reinforcing the poet's rejection of the great world and supplying many details of thought and phrasing, are two celebrated classical poems in praise of rural retirement from the corruption of the court and city: the passage beginning O fortunatos nimium in Virgil's Georgics ii 458 ff and Horace's second Epode, (Beatus ille ...). For a study of the pervasive influence of these poems on English poetry in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries, see Maren-Sofie Rostvig, The Happy Man (2 vols, Oslo, 1954-58). In the concluding 'rejected' stanzas of the first version of the Elegy the classical praise of retirement is successfully blended with the Christian consolation that this world is nothing but vanity and that comfort for the afflicted will come in the next, although G.'s handling of the religious theme is very restrained. His tact and unobtrusiveness are all the more marked when his poem is compared with the emotional, even melodramatic, effects to which the other 'graveyard' practitioners - Young, Blair and Hervey - are prepared to resort when handling the same themes. The appendix to the poem (see p. 140), giving some parallels between these final stanzas and Hervey in particular, will suggest G.'s relationship to the religious meditators, but he shares none of their cemetery horrors and emotional over-indulgence. The classical or 'Augustan' restraint and balance which preserved him from such excesses is a strength which is manifested similarly in the balanced structure of the poem as a whole, as well as in the balancing effect of the basic quatrain unit.
The conclusion of the first version of the Elegy ultimately failed to satisfy G., partly perhaps because it was too explicitly personal for publication, but also no doubt because its very symmetry and order represented an over-simplification of his own predicament, of the way he saw his own life and wished it to be seen by society. A simple identification with the innocent but uneducated villagers was mere self-deception. G.'s continuation of the poem may lack some of the clarity, control and authority of the earlier stanzas, but it does represent a genuine attempt to redefine and justify his real relationship with society more accurately by merging it with a dramatisation of the social role played by poetry or the Poet. As G. starts to rewrite the poem, the simple antitheses of rich and poor, of vice and virtue, of life and death, which underlay the first version, are replaced by a preoccupation with the desire to be remembered after death, a concern which draws together both rich and poor, making the splendid monuments and the 'frail memorials' equally pathetic. This theme, which runs counter to the earlier resignation to obscurity and the expectation of 'eternal peace' hereafter, leads G. to contemplate the sort of ways in which he, or the Poet into whom he projects himself, may be remembered after his death, and the assessments he gives in the words of the 'hoary-headed swain' and of the 'Epitaph' (not necessarily meant to be identical) also evaluate the role of poetry in society. The figure of the Poet is no longer the urban, urbane, worldly, rational Augustan man among men, with his own place in society; what G. dramatises is the poet as outsider, with an uneasy consciousness of a sensibility and imagination at once unique and burdensome. The lack of social function so apparent in English poetry of the mid- and late eighteenth-century is constantly betrayed by its search for inspiration in the past. Significantly, G.'s description of the lonely, melancholy poet is riddled with phrases and diction borrowed from Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton. The texture of these stanzas is fanciful, consciously 'poetic', archaic in tone.
If the swain's picture of the lonely Poet is respectful but puzzled, emphasising the unique and somehow valuable sensibility which characterises him, the 'Epitaph', from a different standpoint, assesses that sensibility as the source of such social virtues as pity and benevolence (see l. 120n). G.'s Pindaric Odes of the 1750s were to show his continuing preoccupation with the subject of the function of poetry in society: for all his assertions of its value, the deliberate obscurity of the poems themselves betrays G.'s own conviction that poetry could not and perhaps should not any longer attempt to communicate with society as a whole. The central figure of himself is a not totally unpredictable development of the Poet at the end of the Elegy: more defiant in his belief that poetry and liberty in society are inseparably involved with each other and his awareness of the forces which are hostile to poetry; equally isolated and equally, if more spectacularly, doomed.
Two marginal problems associated with the Elegy may be mentioned in conclusion. The early nineteenth-century tradition that General Wolfe, on the night before the capture of Quebec from the French in 1759, declared, 'I would rather have been the author of that piece than beat the French tomorrow', is examined in detail by F. G. Stokes in an appendix to his edn of the Elegy (Oxford, 1929) pp. 83-8. Stokes also deals in another appendix (pp. 89-92), with the tiresome question of 'The Locality of the Churchyard'. Not surprisingly, no definite identification of the churchyard can be made, in spite of the number of candidates for the honour. (In his own lifetime, G. was already having to deny that he had been describing a churchyard he had never visited.) Anyone versed in the 'graveyard' poetry and prose of the mid-eighteenth-century will be satisfied that G. borrowed the traditional apparatus of his churchyard from no particular location."

"And here may be the best place to note after Dr Phelps that the 'whole atmosphere of Collins's Ode is similar to that of the Elegy. Cf. especially stanza 10,

''And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.'' '
Dr Phelps notes also that Joseph Warton's verses contain some of Gray's pictures, and something of the same train of thought: e.g.:
''Hail, meek-eyed maiden, clad in sober grey,
Whose soft approach the weary woodman loves,
As homeward bent to kiss his prattling babes
Jocund he whistles through the twilight groves.''
add:
''Now every Passion sleeps; desponding Love,
And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride;
A holy calm creeps o'er my peaceful soul,
Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside.''
The latter stanza might well be the form in embryo of the four rejected stanzas quoted infra, n. on . Dr Phelps remarks that ''the scenery as well as the meditations of the Elegy were by no means original: they simply established more firmly literary fashions which were already becoming familiar.''
And certainly if the opening stanzas of the Elegy as we now have them were written as early as 1742, their composition was in no way affected by the poems of Warton and Collins; the same must be said even if the 'autumnal verses' of the letter of Sept. 11, 1746, were the Elegy. The spirit of gentle melancholy was in the air; and in 1746 and 1747 found in three young poets, Collins, Joseph Warton and Thomas Warton, that voice to the world at large which is found again in Gray in 1750. For in 1747 Thomas Warton published anonymously these lines, which he had written in his 17th year (1745):
''Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown pile
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve
Where thro' some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r:
''
where resemblance to the Elegy is closest of all.
Between these three poets communication of ideas was probable; but at this date even Thomas Warton, with whom he afterwards corresponded, was an absolute stranger to Gray. And Gray is so far from feeling that in any of these there were 'kindred spirits' who might 'enquire his fate' that he writes, Dec. 27, 1746:
'Have you seen the Works of two young Authors, a Mr Warton and a Mr Collins, both Writers of Odes? it is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable Man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of Expression, and a good Ear, the second a fine fancy, model'd upon the Antique, a bad Ear, great variety of Words, and Images with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some Years, but will not.'
So little are men conscious of that 'stream of tendency' on which they themselves are borne."

Kindred : Essay Questions - Kindred Study Guide | …

"And here may be the best place to note after Dr Phelps that the 'whole atmosphere of Collins's Ode is similar to that of the Elegy. Cf. especially stanza 10,

''And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.'' '
Dr Phelps notes also that Joseph Warton's verses contain some of Gray's pictures, and something of the same train of thought: e.g.:
''Hail, meek-eyed maiden, clad in sober grey,
Whose soft approach the weary woodman loves,
As homeward bent to kiss his prattling babes
Jocund he whistles through the twilight groves.''
add:
''Now every Passion sleeps; desponding Love,
And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride;
A holy calm creeps o'er my peaceful soul,
Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside.''
The latter stanza might well be the form in embryo of the four rejected stanzas quoted infra, n. on . Dr Phelps remarks that ''the scenery as well as the meditations of the Elegy were by no means original: they simply established more firmly literary fashions which were already becoming familiar.''
And certainly if the opening stanzas of the Elegy as we now have them were written as early as 1742, their composition was in no way affected by the poems of Warton and Collins; the same must be said even if the 'autumnal verses' of the letter of Sept. 11, 1746, were the Elegy. The spirit of gentle melancholy was in the air; and in 1746 and 1747 found in three young poets, Collins, Joseph Warton and Thomas Warton, that voice to the world at large which is found again in Gray in 1750. For in 1747 Thomas Warton published anonymously these lines, which he had written in his 17th year (1745):
''Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown pile
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve
Where thro' some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r:
''
where resemblance to the Elegy is closest of all.
Between these three poets communication of ideas was probable; but at this date even Thomas Warton, with whom he afterwards corresponded, was an absolute stranger to Gray. And Gray is so far from feeling that in any of these there were 'kindred spirits' who might 'enquire his fate' that he writes, Dec. 27, 1746:
'Have you seen the Works of two young Authors, a Mr Warton and a Mr Collins, both Writers of Odes? it is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable Man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of Expression, and a good Ear, the second a fine fancy, model'd upon the Antique, a bad Ear, great variety of Words, and Images with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some Years, but will not.'
So little are men conscious of that 'stream of tendency' on which they themselves are borne."

Since the introduction of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, (SOX) legislation turned corporate Octavia Butler's Kindred Essay.

"This stanza may be regarded as an answer to the question in the : When dying one rests on some loving friend, and needs the tears of affection; and even after one is buried the same natural desire for loving rememberance shows itself; and when all is dust and ashes the fire that was accustomed to be in those ashes lives in them (and finds expression in the inscription on the tombs).
Here Mitford quotes Drayton and Pope: -

''It is some comfort to a wretch to die,
(If there be comfort in the way of death)
To have some friend, or kind alliance by
To be officious at the parting breath.'' - Moses

''No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier,
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed.'' - Elegy, 81."

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Essay argument: Kindred (by Octavia E. Butler) Essay


Kindred | Novelguide - Free Study Guide Answers, Book …

"Here again want of lucidity is the one defect in a beautiful stanza. Gray seems to mean 'who ever was so much a prey to dumb Forgetfulness as to resign life and its possibilities of joy and sorrow without some regret?' But not only is it patent that millions have been so much a prey to the 'second childishness and mere oblivion' of age that they have passed away without the power to feel regret, but the whole sequence of thought shows that this cannot be Gray's meaning. He uses 'prey' in a prospective sense, the destined prey; accordingly Munro translates

Quis subiturus enim Lethaea silentia &c.
It is perhaps Gray's classicism which betrays him here, for Horace, who has sometimes the same sort of obscurity due to condensation, has just this anticipatory use when he says (Odes, II. 3. 21 sq.) that it makes no difference whether as rich and high-born or poor and low-born you linger out life's little day, the victim of merciless Orcus; i.e. certain in either case to become so at last.
Again, Gray seems to be shaping anew the question in Paradise Lost (II. 146 sq.):
''For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
These thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion?''
and when he speaks of 'this pleasing anxious being' and 'the warm precincts of the cheerful day,' he may be supposed to express the same horror of the annihilation of thought, the same dread of eternal darkness. Yet, in the main, the terror of which Gray speaks is the forgetfulness of the dead by the living. In this and the following stanza the true significance of the 'frail memorials' is explained. Though men are destined to oblivion they crave to be remembered, as they have craved for human support and affection in their last hours; it is thus that 'even from the tomb the voice of nature cries.' In fact whilst we find the form and some of the accessories of Gray's thought in Milton, we find the substance of it rather in Homer, Virgil and Dante, who give us the same voice of nature as heard from the further shore; as when the spirits say to Dante, Inferno, xvi. 85 sq.:
''if thou escape this darksome clime
Returning to behold the radiant stars,
See that of us thou speak amongst mankind'' "

This study guide Kindred is a 1979 novel by Octavia Butler

"Here again want of lucidity is the one defect in a beautiful stanza. Gray seems to mean 'who ever was so much a prey to dumb Forgetfulness as to resign life and its possibilities of joy and sorrow without some regret?' But not only is it patent that millions have been so much a prey to the 'second childishness and mere oblivion' of age that they have passed away without the power to feel regret, but the whole sequence of thought shows that this cannot be Gray's meaning. He uses 'prey' in a prospective sense, the destined prey; accordingly Munro translates

Quis subiturus enim Lethaea silentia &c.
It is perhaps Gray's classicism which betrays him here, for Horace, who has sometimes the same sort of obscurity due to condensation, has just this anticipatory use when he says (Odes, II. 3. 21 sq.) that it makes no difference whether as rich and high-born or poor and low-born you linger out life's little day, the victim of merciless Orcus; i.e. certain in either case to become so at last.
Again, Gray seems to be shaping anew the question in Paradise Lost (II. 146 sq.):
''For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
These thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion?''
and when he speaks of 'this pleasing anxious being' and 'the warm precincts of the cheerful day,' he may be supposed to express the same horror of the annihilation of thought, the same dread of eternal darkness. Yet, in the main, the terror of which Gray speaks is the forgetfulness of the dead by the living. In this and the following stanza the true significance of the 'frail memorials' is explained. Though men are destined to oblivion they crave to be remembered, as they have craved for human support and affection in their last hours; it is thus that 'even from the tomb the voice of nature cries.' In fact whilst we find the form and some of the accessories of Gray's thought in Milton, we find the substance of it rather in Homer, Virgil and Dante, who give us the same voice of nature as heard from the further shore; as when the spirits say to Dante, Inferno, xvi. 85 sq.:
''if thou escape this darksome clime
Returning to behold the radiant stars,
See that of us thou speak amongst mankind'' "

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