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A dirge is a somber song or lament expressing mourning or grief, such as would be appropriate for performance at a funeral. The English word dirge is derived from the Latin Dirige, Domine, Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam ("Direct my way in your sight, O Lord my God"), the first words of the first antiphon (a short chant in Christian liturgy) in the Matins (a canonical hour before sunrise) of the Office for the Dead (a prayer cycle), based on Psalms 5:8 (5:9 in the Vulgate). The original meaning of dirge in English referred to this office.

A Christian funeral lament from the Cleveland area of north-east Yorkshire is known as the Lyke-Wake Dirge. It’s associated with the Lyke Wake Walk, a 40-mile challenge walk across the moorlands of north-east Yorkshire,[1] as the members' anthem of the Lyke Wake Club, a society whose members are those who have completed the walk within 24 hours.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cowley, Bill (1959). Lyke Wake Walk (1st edition). Dalesman Books.
  2. ^ "The Lyke Wake Dirge". www.lykewake.org.


  • Marcello Sorce Keller, “Expressing, Communicating, Sharing and Representing Grief and Sorrow with Organized Sound (Musings in Eight Short Sentences)”, in Stephen Wild, Di Roy, Aaron Corn, and Ruth Lee Martin (eds.), Humanities Research: One Common Thread the Musical World of Lament, Australian National University, Vol. XIX (2013), no. 3, 3–14.