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After June, 1750, it was circulated in manuscript among his firends, and only an accident hastened its publication.
He therefore had it published (anonymously) on February 16, 1751, by the great London publisher, Dodsley. Edition followed edition in rapid succession; it was translated into living and dead languages; and - a sure evidence of popularity - it was repeatedly parodied.
The facts as to its publication, etc., may be found in Gosse's edition of "The ''Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard'' was begun at Stoke-Poges in 1742, probably about the time of the death of Gray's uncle, Jonathan Rogers, who died there on the 21st of October.
Walpole did not at first accept the account of the date of the poem, submitted to him by Mason before the Memoirs of Gray went to press. 1, 1773:''The 'Churchyard' was, I am persuaded, posterior to West's death  at least three or four years.
At least I am sure that I had the twelve or more first lines from himself above three years after that period, and it was long before he finished it.''And yet Mason appears to have satisfied Walpole that the opinion expressed in the Memoirs was correct, for Walpole writes to him Dec.
] [Era gia l' ora, che volge 'l disio A' naviganti, e 'ntenerisce 'l cuore Lo di ch' han detto a' dolci amici addio: E che lo nuovo peregrin d' amore Punge, se ode] — squilla di lontano Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore.
[(It was already the hour which turns back the desire Of the sailors, and melts their hearts, The day that they have said good-bye to their sweet friends, And which pierces the new pilgrim with love, If he hears) — from afar the bell Which seems to mourn the dying day.] Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco, Fredda una lingua, & due begli occhi chiusi Rimaner doppo noi pien di faville.
14, 1773, that his account of the could have been concluded, in any sense, in 1742.
What evidence could Mason have adduced that it was even begun in this year?
At any rate, 1742 is the traditional date; we know that it was finished at Stoke Poges, in June, 1750 (see p. It is not probable that Gray was steadily working at it all these years, even if he did begin it in 1742.