Literary criticism has perennially subjected the threnody in particular and occasional verse in general to the harshest negative evaluation. Numberless reams of poor threnodic verse have warranted much of this criticism, even inspiring on occasion such parodic gems as Johann von Besser's dirge, "Über den Tod Wachtelchens, seiner kurfürstlichen Durchlaucht schönes Hündchen." It seems, however, that serious criticism has made too much too often of inferior specimens, to the aspersion of countless threnodies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that are of high quality. Opitz, Dach, Günther and Goethe, to name only a few poets, composed funerary lyrics which far transcend the confines of their specific occasions and can still speak to us today.



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