A lament or lamentation is a passionate expression of grief, often in music, poetry, or song form. The grief is most often born of regret, or mourning. Laments can also be expressed in a verbal manner in which participants lament about something that they regret or someone that they have lost, and they are usually accompanied by wailing, moaning and/or crying. Laments constitute some of the oldest forms of writing, and examples exist across human cultures.
Many of the oldest and most lasting poems in human history have been laments. The Lament for Sumer and Ur dates back at least 4000 years to ancient Sumer, the world's first urban civilization. Laments are present in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and laments continued to be sung in elegiacs accompanied by the aulos in classical and Hellenistic Greece. Elements of laments appear in Beowulf, in the Hindu Vedas, and in ancient Near Eastern religious texts. They are included in the Mesopotamian city laments such as the Lament for Ur and the Jewish Tanakh, (which would later become the Christian Old Testament).
In many oral traditions, both early and modern, the lament has been a genre usually performed by women: Batya Weinbaum made a case for the spontaneous lament of women chanters in the creation of the oral tradition that resulted in the Iliad The material of lament, the "sound of trauma" is as much an element in the Book of Job as in the genre of pastoral elegy, such as Shelley's "Adonais" or Matthew Arnold's "Thyrsis".
The Book of Lamentations or Lamentations of Jeremiah figures in the Old Testament. The Lamentation of Christ (under many closely variant terms) is a common subject from the Life of Christ in art, showing his dead body being mourned after the Crucifixion.(Read More)