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By W. B. Yeats

In 1895 the thirty-year-old W.B. Yeats, already demonstrated as one among Ireland's major poets and folklorists, released this extraordinary selection of Irish verse as a part of his crusade to set up a practice of Irish poetry healthy for the sunrise of a brand new age in Ireland's background. This Routledge Classics variation, whole with a particularly commissioned advent via acclaimed author and critic John Banville, is key analyzing for all who savor strong literature.

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Sample text

James Clarence Mangan THE WOMAN OF THREE COWS From the Irish O, Woman of Three Cows, agragh! don’t let your tongue thus rattle! O, don’t be saucy, don’t be stiff, because you may have cattle. I have seen—and, here’s my hand to you, I only say what’s true— A many a one with twice your stock not half so proud as you. Good luck to you, don’t scorn the poor, and don’t be their despiser; For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats the very miser; And death soon strips the proudest wreath from haughty human brows, Then don’t be stiff, and don’t be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

From glen and hill, from plain and town, One loud lament, one thrilling plaint, Would echo wide. There would not soon be found, I ween, One foot of ground among those bands For museful thought, So many shriekers of the keen Would cry aloud and clap their hands, All woe distraught! Two princes of the line of Conn Sleep in their cells of clay beside O’Donnell Roe; Three royal youths, alas! are gone, Who lived for Erin’s weal, but died For Erin’s woe; Ah! could the men of Ireland read The names these noteless burial-stones Display to view, Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed, Their tears gush forth again, their groans Resound anew!

I found in Leinster the smooth and sleek, From Dublin to Slewmargy’s peak; Flourishing pastures, valour, health, Long-living worthies, commerce, wealth. I found, besides, from Ara to Glea, In the broad rich country of Ossorie, o’hussey’s ode to the maguire Sweet fruits, good laws for all and each, Great chess players, men of truthful speech. I found in Meath’s fair principality, Virtue, vigour, and hospitality; Candour, joyfulness, bravery, purity, Ireland’s bulwark and security. I found strict morals in age and youth, I found historians recording truth; The things I sing of in verse unsmooth, I found them all—I have written sooth.

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