I need someone to give me a definition, in ONE sentence, of the following poetic term : 'elegy'.Many thanks in advance!

Asked on by mercure

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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An elegy is a kind of poem. Its topic is sad, having a mournful tone, often referring to death. A great deal of thought is put into an elegy, written in memory of a specific person or group of people who have died.

The term "elegy" dates back to the 1510s; it originated in the Middle French, used before that in the Greek and Latin, meaning, literally, "poem or song of lament" (deep mourning often reflected in verse or a dirge). The Greeks often placed elegies on tombs.

Examples of elegies are found in poems such as "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" 
 Thomas Gray; or "O Captain! My Captain" written by Walt Whitman at the death of Abraham Lincoln; "On My First Sonne" written by Ben Jonson at the death of his son Benjamin; and, W.H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats."

Your one-line definition is:

An elegy is a sad, mournful poem dealing with death, often written in memory of someone, first offering the lament, praise, and finally, consolation; it has no specific structure as in rhythm (metrical form) or repetition, but is free-flowing.

reuben64's profile pic

reuben64 | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

'elegy'- A mournful or plaintive poem or song, esp a lament for the dead.

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