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Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Elegy

Definition:

An elegy is a poem about a dead person or thing. Uplifting, right?

Whenever you see a poem with the title, "In Memory of… ", for example, you're probably reading an elegy. Kind of like that two-line poem you wrote for your pet rabbit Bubbles when you were five years old. Poor, poor Bubbles.

Check out Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died" for an elegy to the great jazz singer, Billie Holiday, or Milton's "Lycidas," for an example of a pastoral elegy.