“Dry be that tear, my gentlest love,
Be hushed that struggling sigh:
Nor seasons, day, nor fate shall prove
More fixed, more true, than I:
Hushed be that sigh, be dry that tears,
Cease boding doubt, cease anxious fear-
Dry be that tear.”
From time immemorial the Irish have been poets, but, paradoxically only a minute part of Irish poetic literature is familiar to those outside of Ireland itself.
1000 years of Irish Poetry presents for the first time a panorama of Irish poetry as a literature, showing the many facets of the Irish poetic genius; lyrics, elegies, songs, street balads, satires, patriotic hymns, dramatic epics, natural and contemplative poetry, odes, and sonnet, and older unusual Gaelic forms of verse, which influenced the bardic poets of ancient and medieval Europe.
The name of the finest Irish poets – Joseph Campbell, Padraic Pearse, Francis Ledwidge – to cite only three moderns – are little know while others, among them are Oscar Wilde, Kathleen Tynan, Winfrey Letts, Louis MacNiece, and some of the great figures of literature, Swift and Goldsmith, for instance, are seldom thought of as Irish authors, so fully has their work been absorbed into the steam of English Literature.
If your knowledge of poetry embraces only the work of a few of the great moderns such as Yeats and A.E, or if by chance you have the impression that Irish poetry is largely a matter of sentimental songs sprinkling liberally with ‘macushla’ and ‘mavourneen’, 1000 Years of Irish Poetry is full of wonderful surprises.
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