It is not meant that for three centuries the dirge-writers had nothing else to sing of; much less, that they sang of the fall of Jerusalem (presupposed by our book) before its occurrence.
Rather, the contrary; for he implies that The Qinoth contained not only Jeremiah's single dirge on Josiah, but also the elegies of " all the singing men and singing women," from the time of Josiah's death (608) down to his own day (3rd century).
A vivid description of the festival at Alexandria (for which Bion probably wrote his Dirge of Adonis) is given by Theocritus in his fifteenth idyll, the Adoniazusae.
The uniform gloom of this, the most dirge-like of all the pieces, is unrelieved by a single ray of hope, even the hope of vengeance; cf.
(e) The Dirges and Battle Songs - such as that on Hafur-firth Battle Hrafnsmal, by Thiodolf of Hvin orThorbjorn Hornklofi, shortly after 870; Eirik's Dirge (Eiriksmdl) between 950 and 969; the DartLay on Clontarf Battle (1014); Biarka-mal (fragments of which we have, and paraphrase of more is found in Hrolf Kraki's Saga and in Saxo).
The sailors, desirous of hearing so famous a musician, consented, and the poet, standing on the deck of the ship, in full minstrel's attire, sang a dirge accompanied by his lyre.
For Jeremiah's dirge on Josiah, or that the book he calls The Qinoth was identical with our Qinoth.
Such men were Egil, the foe of Eirik Bloodaxe and the friend of lEthelstan; Kormak, the hot-headed champion; Eyvind, King Haakon's poet, called Skaldaspillir, because he copied in his dirge over that king the older and finer Eiriksmal; Gunnlaug, who sang at Ã†thelred's court, and fell at the hands of a brother bard, Hrafn; Hallfred, Olaf Tryggvason's poet, who lies in Iona by the side of Macbeth; Sighvat, Saint Olaf's henchman, most prolific of all his comrades; Thormod, Coalbrow's poet, who died singing after Sticklestad battle; Ref, Ottar the Black, Arnor the earls' poet, and, of those whose poetry was almost confined to Iceland, Gretti, Biorn the Hitdale champion, and the two model Icelandic masters, Einar Skulason and Markus the Lawman, both of the 12th century.
Other works: C. Taylor, Dirge of Koh.