What are some of the "sound devices" used in  "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray?

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jmj616's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

In his famous "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," Thomas Gray uses several forms of poetic "sound devices."  Here are some examples.

1. Alliteration: The repetition of initial consonant sounds.

Line 2: "The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea"

Line 4: "The plowman homeward plods his weary way"

Line 28: "How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke"

2. Rhyme:

In most places, Gray uses standard, "full" rhyme: day-lea, sight-flight, holds-folds, complain, reign, etc.

Occasionally, though, Gray uses partial rhymes.

Lines 29,31: toil, smile

Lines 30, 32: obscure, poor

Lines 58, 60: withstood, blood

Some of these may indicate that Gray's pronunciation was different than our contemporary pronunciation.  In other cases , he may simply be "stretching" his rhymes.

Onomatopoeia: words that imitate a sound (moo, meow, etc.)

I have not been able to find examples of onomatopoeia in Gray's "Elegy."  At first, I thought that the words "tolls," "knell," and "lowing," might be onomatopoeic, but the dictionaries I consulted do not seem to agree with this theory.


bmarie1581's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

jmj616 - I've got a book that gives an example of an onomatopoeia it does confirm your idea. "The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea" because the word "lowing" suggests cows mooing.

jmj616's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

bmarie1281: Interesting!

frankie-saldana's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)



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