Graveyard Poetry

Graveyard poetry flourished in the first half of the Eighteenth Century and continued the ground work which would eventually become the Gothic. The Graveyard school's principle poetic objects which became staples in Gothic literature, other than graves and churchyards, were night, ruins, death and ghosts. While reveling in the images of death and the horrors of the grave, the principle goal of the graveyard school was to glory in the spiritual end that the tomb represented by turning the trappings of death into objects of aesthetic appreciation. "Thrice welcome Death!/That after many a painful bleeding step/Conducts us to our Home, and lands us safe/On the long-wish'd for shore."*

The attractions of darkness are among the foremost characteristics of Gothic works. "They marked the limits necessary to the constitution of an enlightened world and delineated the limitations of neoclassical perceptions. Darkness, metaphorically, threatened the light of reason with what it did not know. Gloom cast perceptions of formal order and unified design into obscurity; its uncertainty generated both a sense of mystery and passions and emotions alien to reason. Night gave free reign to imagination's unnatural and marvellous creatures, while ruins testified to a temporality that exceeded rational understanding and human finitude. These were the thoughts conjured up by Graveyard Poets."*

Several Graveyard poets are represented here but more work is required to bring these poets from the gloomy night of obscurity to the web. "Methinks I hear a voice begin"

*Robert Blair's The Grave (II. 706-9)
*Fred Botting Gothic (32)


Mark Akenside: Selected Poems*

James Beattie: Select Poems*

Robert Blair: Selected Poems*

William Collins: Selected Poems*

William Cowper: Selected Poems*

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems*

James Macpherson: Selected Poems*

Thomas Parnell: Selected Poems*

William Shenstone: Selected Poems*

James Thomson: Selected Poems*

Joseph Warton: Selected Poems*

Thomas Warton the Younger: Selected Poems*

Edward Young: Selected Poems*

*Toronto's Representative Poetry Index

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