Originally in Greece a funeral ovation written in couplets of hexameter followed by a pentameter, the word 'elegy ' was later applied by Ovid to describe love poems such as his Amores. Donne's elegies followed Ovid and were sometimes witty and ribald. Generally the term elegy signified a meditation on love inflected with a sense of mortality.
Editors. "Elegy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=321, accessed 30 May 2016.]