Music: Ireland's Anthem

National anthems are not made to order. You can't tell a person to compose one and then arbitrarily adopt it. They spring full-grown from the national consciousness. They are born, not in the study, but in moments of stress, in great national crises. The Marseillaise grew out of an hysterical mob. The Star-Spangled Banner was inspired by the bursting of bombs by night. Most national anthems are old songs whose symbolic significance came to them later—almost unconsciously. Most of them are worthless as poetry. Many are not notable as music. Ireland, overlooking...

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