Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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of those which were good in themselves, from their native force and vigor or from their power as songs, have been preserved, but there is an immense amount of this uncollected and unedited verse which has a very great value as illustrating the sentiments and condition of the people, the waves of popular feeling during various phases of the war, the im­pressions of notable incidents and the estimates of prominent personages, and which tell, oftentimes more than the leading articles in the newspapers, how the common people were affected by the tre­mendous struggle. They have the interest, if no other, of the relics of arms and uniforms, and the tokens of the familiar life of a bygone age, and will one day be as valuable to the historian as the bal­lads of the civil war in England, which have been collected with so much care. In modern times and in civilized societies, the newspaper has taken the place of the street ballad as the record of his­torical events and the expression of political feeling, and Ireland is almost the only country where it now lingers in any quantity and force ; but during such times of popular excitement, and the occur­rence of great events involving the most intimate interests of the people, as during the civil war, the popular ballads resumed something of their former value as the expressions of popular feeling. It would be a mistake to omit from consideration even
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