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Thomas Gray (1716—1771) poet and literary scholar

Lives of the English Poets

Lord Orford Horace Walpole (1717—1797) author, politician, and patron of the arts

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A Pindaric ode by Gray, published 1757, based on a tradition that Edward I ordered the violent suppression of the Welsh bards. It opens with the surviving Bard's cursing of the conqueror as he and his army return from Snowdon in 1283; he laments his slaughtered comrades, whose ghosts prophesy the fate of the Plantagenets. The Bard then foretells the return of the house of Tudor and commits triumphant suicide. Johnson's dismissal of the poem (Lives of the English Poets, 1781) outraged its many admirers, who regarded it as a fine example of the sublime, and it exerted a considerable influence on the imagination of both poets and painters (e.g. Blake and John Martin).

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