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HIS anthology, as its name implies, aims to pre
sent some of the best examples of Irish songs and lyrics from the Bards who wrote in their mother tongue, when Ireland was the island of saints and scholars and the school of the West; the folk songs, street ballads, the great wealth of patriotic poetry called forth by the suppression and oppression of centuries, the humorous and convivial verse with which Irish literature abounds, the pathetic, romantic and sentimental poetry for which the Irish have always been famous, and the elusive, refined, tender and mystical voices which breathe in the poetry of the Irish Renascence of to-day.
Songs and lyrics must necessarily be an elastic term, especially when applied to Irish verse, since nearly all Irish poetry is lyrical and nearly all Irish poetry is song ; even in narrative, descriptive and didactic poetry, the Irishman more often than not takes on a lyric tone. Hence, although the longer poems of Goldsmith and Moore have been excluded because they do not exactly answer to the title of this collection, many others may be found herein which, while not being strictly songs or lyrics, possess in some degree the characteristics of one or the other.