noun (plural elegies)
1(In modern literature) a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead.
- Addison was buried in Westminster Abbey, and lamented in an elegy by Tickell.
- As a result, modern elegies more often than not break with the decorum of earlier modes of mourning and become melancholic, self-centered, or mocking.
- That is, modern family elegies, though occasioned by death, do not seek compensation for that loss.
funeral poem/song, burial hymn, lament, dirge, plaint, requiem, keening;
Irish & Scottish keen, coronach
rare threnody, threnode
2(In Greek and Latin verse) a poem written in elegiac couplets, as notably by Catullus and Propertius.
- Originally, the Greek elegy expressed grief; but the form broadened widely with Latin adaptations, such as Ovid's love elegies, Amores, to include almost any kind of subject.
- The Echo Gate includes versions of the Latin love elegy.
- I suspect few readers of these elegies will come sufficiently prepared in Greek mythology and Roman legend not to make heavy use of Mr. Katz's 31 pages of notes.
Early 16th century: from French élégie, or via Latin, from Greek elegeia, from elegos 'mournful poem'.
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