Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

"Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" is an 18th century ode by Thomas Gray. It is composed of ten 10-line stanzas, rhyming ABABCCDEED, with the B lines and final D line in iambic trimeter and the others in iambic tetrameter. In this poem, Gray coined the phrase "Ignorance is bliss", possibly one of the most misconstrued phrases in English literature. It occurs in the final stanza of the poem:

To each his suff'rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan,
The tender for another's pain;
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.[1]

— Thomas Gray, Stanza 10


  1. ^ Gray, Thomas (1768). Poems. London: J. Dodsley. pp. 17–25.