Imagery in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Imagery Examples in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:
Text of the Poem
"lisp..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
"Lisp" in this context refers to the imperfect way that children speak. With this endearing characterization of children excited about their father's return, Gray creates a pastoral image of the poor. The pastoral tradition is a literary trope that idealizes the life, traditions, and landscapes of rural life. This is an idealized image of the end of a working man's day.
"mouldering..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
Gray references the graves buried in the church yard. "Mouldering," meaning to mold or decay, directly contrasts the elevated image of the church tower and it's "ancient solitary reign." In juxtaposing these two images, Gray is able to depict two types of graves: the grand tombs of the rich buried within the church, and the decrepit graves of the poor crammed into the church yard.
" ivy-mantled tower..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
The "ivy-mantled tower" could be the steeple of the church near the graveyard. In describing it as a "tower" Gray draws an implicit comparison between the steeple and a castle or manor, which would have had towers and turrets. Notice that a sharp distinction is made between the man made tower and the sloping fields. Using this imagery, Gray sets up a main theme within the poem: the difference between the famous rich and the indistinguishable poor.