Nuptial song or poem in honour or praise of a bride and bridegroom. In ancient Greece such songs were a traditional way of invoking good fortune on a marriage and often of indulging in ribaldry. The earliest evidence for literary epithalamiums are fragments by Sappho; the oldest surviving Latin examples are three by Catullus. In the Renaissance, epithalamiums based on classical models were written in Italy, France, and England; that of Edmund Spenser (1595) is considered the finest in English.
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