One Complete Sentence of Gray’s Elegy (ll. 60-72)

Latinate syntax


Grammatical subject





Th’Applause of List’ning Senates to command,


The Threats of Pain and Ruin to despise,


To scatter Plenty o’er a smiling Land,


And read their Hist’ry in a Nation’s Eyes,


Their Lot forbad:* nor circumscribed alone


Their growing Virtues, but their Crimes confined;


Forbad to wade through Slaughter to a Throne,


And shut the Gates of Mercy on Mankind,


          The struggling Pangs of conscious Truth to hide,


To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame,


Or heap the Shrine of Luxury and Pride


With incense, kindled at the Muse’s Flame.



*Implicit, understood object of forbad = them, the poor, first object and then subject of verb “to command” l. 60