1926 saw the composition of the three settings which two years later were published under the collective title Three Songs
. In the first two, Ireland returns to the themes of The Sacred Flame
—the solid virtue of constant, through-thick-and-thin friendship. Love and Friendship
is dedicated 'to A.G.M for February 22nd 1926', so another birthday gift for his friend Arthur Miller. It has a poem by Emily Brontë (1818-1848) as its text, which in quintessential Victorian fashion likens love to Nature—Love is like a wild rose from which the petals fall all too soon, but holly remains green to the end of the year. The second song of the set, Friendship in Misfortune
(to an anonymous text), compares the love that springs from such friendship in misfortune to the ivy that 'clings, when every hope has flown'. The One Hope
marks another of Ireland's excursions into verse by Dante Garbriel Rossetti. This poem teases with a guessing game ('When … all is vain, what shall assuage the unforgotten pain?' etc)—with the key word ('Hope', naturally enough) being revealed only at the last.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999