"When I was a young man we'd have given a lifetime to- be in Ireland a score of weeks; and to this day the old men have nothing so heavy as knowing it's a short while they'll lose the high skies are over Ireland, and the lonesome mornings with birds crying on the bogs. Let you come this day, for there's no place but Ireland where the Gael can have peace always."
THESE words, spoken by Fergus in the second act of Deirdre of the Sorrows,1 Synge's last tragedy, might as well be taken as a retrospective confession of Synge himself. Synge in Paris and elsewhere on the Continent was little short of a literary déraciné. He might have achieved criticism, though it had many drudgeries which he was perhaps too lazy to overcome; but, had he not discovered Ireland, he would never have really discovered himself. Like all geniuses, he was contradiction incarnate : he resided abroad because he could find himself at home only in his native environment. Foreign influence moulded and perfected but the outward form or manner of his art; the solid human matter remained to be found in Ireland. It is this profound social reality which underlies all his later work that we must now investigate.____________________