s of distinguished men added fame to their country and drew to its schools students from far and wide. Through their work the spirit of the Irish found national expression in a code of law which showed not only extraordinarily acute and trained intelligence but a true sense of equity, in a literary language of great richness and of the utmost musical beauty, and in a system of metrical rules for poets shaped with infinite skill. The Irish nation had a pride in its language beyond any people in Europe outside of the Greeks and Romans.
While each tribe had its schools, these were linked together in a national system. Professors of every school were free of the island; it was the warrior's duty to protect them as they moved from court to court. An ancient tale tells how the chiefs of Emain near Armagh placed sentinels along the Gap of the North to turn back every poet who sought to leave the country and to bring on their way with honour every one who sought to enter in. There was no stagnation where compe
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