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Arnold's evaluation of Gray in his 'Study of Poetry



Arnold regards Gray as the poetic classic of the 18th century. Gray does not have the volume or the power of poets who have attained an independent criticism of life. But he caught the poetic point of view of great poets for regarding life, and caught also their poetic manner. The point of view and the manner were not inherent in him. He caught them from others and he had not the free and abundant use of them. But whereas Addison and Pope never had the use of them, Gray had the use of them all times. Gray is the scantiest and frailest of classics, but he is a classic.

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