Monday, November 17, 2008


ELEGY, n. A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of the methods of humor, the writer aims to produce in the reader's mind the dampest kind of dejection. The most famous English example begins somewhat like this:
The cur foretells the knell of parting day;
The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
The wise man homeward plods; I only stay
To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.
2008 Update: A rhyming lamentation, as if complaints ever don't rhyme. 
Elegies ring from hill to grotto,
So many suffer who really ought to;
So many struggle in fact and lore;
With the thought we've heard these songs before.
-G. Jonas Tinkleworth


Anonymous said...

I think your definition is oh so clever

when I hear the word "elegy" my mind goes straight to the book "Elegy for Iris" about Iris Murdoch written by her husband John Bayley while (almost wrote whilst) she was still alive, of course, but very demented. It's an incredibly beautiful and moving book I hope I still own. It should be in storage

Then I go into a eulogy for my old wall unit and apartment. I can even picture where Elegy for Iris was--last book before a section for dementia and aging and just before literature

Thank you Doug for this wonderful definition that brought my (old) apartment back to life for me

I know scents and things like that are supposed to make things come back to life and they do. But a word does it even more for me

Ariel the Thief said...

LOL @Tinkleworth! Not that Jonas was busy writing elegies in the stomach of the whale. Was that Christmast time?

Anonymous said...

ELEGY, n. Los Angeles deejay working funerals, memorial services, vigils, evacuation centers, etc. etc. No relation to bloggers from New York.

Anonymous said...

ELEGY, n. Los Angeles deejay working funerals, memorial services, vigils, evacuation centers, etc. etc. No relation to bloggers from New York.

TLP said...

You'd be among the best eulogists ever I think.

Jim said...

Elegy: I think of Elton John and his Candle In The Wind
Goodbye England's rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
You called out to our country
And you whispered to those in pain
Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And your footsteps will always fall you
Along England's greenest hills
Your candle's burned out long before
Your legend never will

It has fairly decent ryme although he thinks an 's' at the end of a word (and end of line) is invisible and unheard or doesn't count.

Jamie Dawn said...

My elegy...

Forlorn, she must mourn
Until she is worn
Down, down, down,
In sorrow, she drowns.


Now I'm depressed.

Not really. I'm feeling quite well because I am no longer ill. I could dance a jig and down a double double!!

Anonymous said...


And did young Stephen sicken,
And did young Stephen die?
And did the sad hearts thicken,
And did the mourners cry?

No; such was not the fate of
Young Stephen Dowling Bots;
Though sad hearts round him thickened,
‘Twas not from sickness’ shots.

No whooping-cough did rack his frame,
Nor measles drear with spots;
Not these impaired the sacred name
Of Stephen Dowling Bots.

Despised love struck not with woe
That head of curly knots,
Nor stomach troubles laid him low,
Young Stephen Dowling Bots.

O no. Then list with tearful eye,
Whilst I his fate do tell.
His soul did from this cold world fly
By falling down a well.

They got him out and emptied him;
Alas it was too late;
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft
In the realms of the good and great.

Anonymous said...

I'll write yours, it may not be a subtly satirical as Bierce's but it would sure be an honor.

Doug The Una said...

Pia, does anything move faster than nostalgia?

Ariel, it sure was a holiday.

Different species, Amoeba, really.

TLP, I can pretty much be trusted not to over-sentimentalize, it's true.

Sure, Jim. Verse takes constant pruning.

JD, you're elegy should be "I'm not dead yet."

Poetry, Actonbell, and in a single line. That's fairly you, isn't it?

Weirsdo, the funny rhyme about the death of a child is a lost and lamented art. Wilhelm Busch was another great.

Cooper, it would for me. Be sure and get me an advance copy, though, so I know when to get my affairs in order.

Anonymous said...


Jim said...

Amen on the meh......