In the classification of literary activity, it is possible to establish three major genres: novel, theater and poetry. Within poetry we find two major subgenres: the lyrical and the epic. The elegy is a poem that belongs to the lyrical genre such as the ode, the hymn and the égloga, all of which are a form of versification in which the poet exalts feelings . Elegy
Main features of Elegy
Elegy is a word that comes from Latin and which in turn comes from Greek, more specifically from the word elegos, which can be translated as sad or melancholic singing. The Greek poets and then the Romans were those who wrote elegies, which initially were formed by a fixed meter (the hexameters or pentameters).
In the elegy, the poet usually expresses an idea in the form of a lamentation.
His lamentation is usually related to death, for example, the passing of a loved one. In this sense, the elegiac poem is a posthumous tribute to a deceased person , such as “The verses about the death of his father” by Jorge Manrique, “The elegy to Ramon Sijé” by Miguel Hernandez or “Elgy interrupted” by the Mexican poet Octavio Paz .
In the elegy, lamentation is not always related to death, as it also addresses the passing of time, lack of love, melancholy or any malicious aspect linked to human existence.
The origin of elegy
Although this subgenre of lyricism is part of universal literature and because it has great importance in such different times (such as the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Contemporary Period), it is in the field of Greco-Latin culture that it reached its maximum splendor. It should be noted that Roman civilization is culturally heir to the legacy of the Greeks and the elegy is a clear example of this legacy.
Greco-Latin elegies are understood within the context of funeral ceremonies, where the words of poets symbolize the last homage to a celebrity, something similar occurs with epigrams or epitaphs.
For the Greeks and Romans, elegy is a way of expressing the most intimate, personal and deepest feelings
To extol the great events that affected the collectivity, poets leaned towards the epic genre.
The tradition of elegiac poetry was cultivated by the Romans Ovid, Propertius and Tibulus, and by the Greeks Calinus of Ephesus and Solon of Athens.