Excerpt from The Household Library of Ireland's Poets: With Full and Choice Selections From the Irish-American Poets, and a Complete Department of Authentic Biographical Notes
As the compilation of Poetry contained in this book has been prepared in the belief that its merit w... ill sufficiently commend it to the public, an extended introduction to it is not deemed necessary. A few words bearing upon the character and in¿uence of Irish poetry, and especially Irish national poetry, by writers whose authority to speak upon the subject is beyond any doubt, may, however, be given. And first, the glowing phrases of Thomas Davis, in one of his most eloquent and stirring national essays. National poetry, he says, is the very ¿owering of the soul, - the greatest evidence of its health, the greatest excellence of its beauty. Its melody is a balsam to the senses. It is the play-fellow of childhood, ripens into the companion of manhood, consoles age. It presents the most dramatic events, the largest characters, the most impressive scenes, and the deepest passions, in the language most familiar 'to us. It shows us magnified, ennobles our hearts, our intellect, our country and our countrymen. - binds us to the past by its condensed and gem-like history, to the future by examples and aspirations. It solaces us in travel, fires us in action, prompts our invention, sheds a grace beyond the power of luxury round our homes, is the recognized envoy of our minds among all mankind and to all time. In possessing the power and ele ments of a glorious nationality, we owned the sources of a national poetry. In the combina tion and joint development of the latter, we find a pledge and a help to that of the former.
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