I want to live like common people/I want to do whatever common people do/I want to sleep with common people/I want to sleep with common people like you Common People JARVIS COCKER
In Thomas Gray's finest and most well-known poem, Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard, which I quoted in my last post, the dead lie all around - and of course they will continue to lie all around: Can storied urn or animated bust/Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Gray muses that many of these ordinary villagers, these 'rude Forefathers', had many shining skills, talents and virtues which were forever destined to remain secret and unremarked: Full many a gem of purest ray serene,/The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;/Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,/And waste its sweetness on the desert air. In just a few lines Gray shows how history is written by society's tiny percentage of the rich, the influential and the literate; and how popular history, ordinary everyday history, the history of the 'common people', has by and large been erased from the records - or it was never recorded in the first place.
In one of the most often-quoted verses from this poem, Gray characterizes again the 'hidden' life of the long-suffering, country poor: Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,/Their sober wishes never learnt to stray;/Along the cool sequestered vale of life/They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
This verse may sound a bit patronising - but I don't think it's meant to be so: Let not ambition mock their useful toil,/Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;/Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile/The short and simple annals of the poor.