What is an elegy?

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An elegy is a type of poem that is sad, melancholy or mournful. Sometimes poets and/or songwriters would put music to sad lyrics and perform them at funerals as an homage to the one who had died. These songs brought peace to those who mourned the loss of the loved...

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An elegy is a type of poem that is sad, melancholy or mournful. Sometimes poets and/or songwriters would put music to sad lyrics and perform them at funerals as an homage to the one who had died. These songs brought peace to those who mourned the loss of the loved one. Other elegies are those of self-reflection about a misdeed or mishap that might have occurred. Images and symbols used in elegies might seem dark and sad like one walking through a cemetery or churchyard as in Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." Or, the setting of the poem might be during the autumn or winter time to present a sense of death as in "Elegy IX: The Autumnal" by John Donne. The links below can take you to examples of these poems as well as others. Reading the types of poems that you are studying is a good way to be able to understand them better.

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