To a Child of Quality, Five Years Old, The Author Forty
This chapter explains two epitaphs written by Thomas Gray namely, Sonnet On the Death of Mr Richard West and Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Gray was educated at Eton where he first made the acquaintance of Horace Walpole, Richard West and Thomas Ashton. This 'Quadruple Alliance' was to continue at Cambridge University, where Gray was admitted at Peterhouse. After Cambridge Gray joined the Inner Temple with a view to a legal career. He did a 'grand tour' of Europe with his friend Horace Walpole. When Gray returned to England in 1741-42 after his tour he entered into one of the most creative years of his life. During this period he wrote his Ode on the Spring, Ode to Adversity and his Eton Ode. He also wrote his Sonnet on the Death of Mr Richard West around this time after the death of his friend on 1 June 1742.