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WHO WILL BUY MY POEM ?
A CHAPTER of Irish history which ought
to be carefully studied by all workers in
. the cause of the Irish language is that
dealing with the means adopted by the English
to stamp out native literary culture. Readers of
Spenser's View of the State of Ireland w\\\ remember
the terms of bitterness wherein he castigates what
he calls the lewd Irish rhymers who, according
to him, were in part responsible for the disloyalty
of so many of the Gaelic and semi-Gaelic aristo-
cracy. The policy was to get rid of all such
persons by the severities of martial law. It is
only in these days when the workmanship of the
Irish bards is beginning to come to light, that the
savagery of Spenser's counsels, and of the policy
of the Elizabethans here, can be studied in its
proper setting. We have evidence enough of this
policy on the English side ; but it is not often
that we find the condition to which the literary
caste were reduced by the horrors of the time
described in the writings of the poets themselves.
Hence the following short piece written about
1 1579, and bringing out well the poor plight of
the bards as a result of the atrocities practised
against them, ought to be of interest. It has never
been published before.^
There are two transcripts of this poem in the
library of Trinity College, Dublin. Both were
I. But see a summary in English, and two short extracts,
in Hyde, Literary History of Ireland y pp. 473, 474.
182

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