Jan Kochanowski with dead daughter in painting inspired by the poet's Laments

A lament or lamentation is a song, poem, or piece of music expressing grief, regret, or mourning.

Many of the oldest and most lasting poems in human history have been laments.[1] Laments are present in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and laments continued to be sung in elegiacs accompanied by the aulis in classical and Hellenistic Greece.[2] Lament elements figure in Beowulf, in the Hindu Vedas, and in ancient Near Eastern religious texts, including the Mesopotamian city laments such as the Lament for Ur and the Jewish Tanakh (or Old Testament).

In many oral traditions, both early and modern, the lament has been a genre usually performed by women:[3] Batya Weinbaum made a case for the spontaneous lament of women chanters in the creation of the oral tradition that resulted in the Iliad[4] 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".[5]