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A mournful hymn. It can be a hymn that expresses grief, and it may be a lament for the dead. The term comes from the Latin Dirige, the first word of the antiphon Dirige, Dominus Deus, "Lead me, O Lord God" (Ps 5:8). This antiphon preceded the first psalm in the Office of the Dead in medieval breviaries and in early English primers. A dirge came to mean a burial hymn. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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