Dear Ireland, You are Greatly Missed

Thomas Moore’s “Dear Harp of my Country” illustrates the feelings of loss, patriotism, and repression connected with Ireland and the Irish harp. The very first line, just the title repeated with an exclamation point followed by “in darkness I found thee,” conveys these feelings. The exclamation of those words convey both surprise and excitement that the harp still exists, but the reference to “darkness” reveals that Ireland and its harp have been repressed, with the spotlight of their people on things other than their beloved harp. This reflects the fact that after Ireland had been defeated by the Danes and then the English, many harpists had abandoned their home, and those who were left were very few. To find the Irish harp after its depressing history brings the narrator feelings of patriotism and joy that such a symbol of Ireland does yet exist. Similarly, in the second half of Part I., the narrator tells that the harp has played so many hymns of sadness that even in its joyful tunes the sadness rings through. This is how the Irish think about the harp. It is a symbol of their people, but harpists and Irishmen have suffered so much and had so much sadness to sing of that their past cannot be forgotten no matter how happy they are. Part II. shows how true these things are by relaying that the narrator must put away the harp with the hope that one day someone who can do it justice will find it again. The harp went in and out of style for hundreds of years after Ireland was defeated, and it was well known that the attempts to revive its popularity felt more like the last concerts that would ever be played with the instrument. The narrator’s own fervor for the instrument cannot keep him playing it. As he says in the final line, “all the sweetness I wak’d was thy own.” The artistry with which harpists of Ireland’s past played was legendary, but since that time, the beauty of the instrument had been overshadowed by the lack of interest in playing it. Ireland is a reflection of its harp since its defeat. Irish citizens were being overlooked by the rest of the world, and their own culture was being lost to that of England and the rest of Great Britain. “Dear Harp of my Country” is an homage to Ireland’s lost autonomy, a tribute that had been often sung before but lost to the dominion of England.

-Meredith Leonardo

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One thought on “Dear Ireland, You are Greatly Missed

  1. The writer’s main idea is that Thomas Moore’s poem is a tribute to the loss of Ireland’s individuality and his connection to those emotions. The writer connects the poem to Ireland’s political issues. The blog post could be improved by perhaps separating the large paragraph into one or two other paragraphs so that the readers will not feel so overwhelmed. This could also make the parts of the argument flowier.

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