Today’s fascination with horror films and gothic novels dates back to the mid 18th century and the Graveyard poets, so called because of the presence of graves, darkness, night, and the supernatural in their poetry. Graveyard Poetry was an exploration into man’s fascination with the origins of death. It was the intent of these poets to introduce the end of life as a welcome beginning to a spiritual existence that was both glorified and feared.
“Death’s but a path that must be trod/If man would ever pass to God” (from “A Night Piece on Death”, written in 1714, which is often regarded as the first work of the Graveyard school of poetry.) The Irish poet Thomas Parnell (right) who was born with a 13 soul urge and 13 letters in his name wrote it.
The most celebrated of the Graveyard Poets was Thomas Gray (13 quiet self), whose “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is one of the best-known poems in the English language.
The “Country Churchyard”, the subject of Gray’s poem (Press on the link below to hear a recitation of the full poem)
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