The elegy, a type of lyric poem, is usually a formal lament for someone's death. The term elegy is sometimes used more widely. In antiquity it referred to anything written in elegiac meter, which consisted of alternating lines of pentameter and hexameter.

The category can include the threnody, the monody, the dirge, and the pastoral elegy. The last of these, an important Renaissance form, combines elements of the verse pastoral with the elegiac subject.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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