The Disposition and Maners of the Meere Irish, Commonlie Called the Wild Irish.

The Eight Chapter.

BEFORE I attempt the vnfolding of the maners of the meere Irish, I thinke it expedient, to forewarne thée reader, not to impute anie barbarous custome that shall be here laid downe, to the citizens, townesmen, and inhabitants of the English pale, in that they differ litle or nothing from the ancient customes and dispositions of their progenitors, the English and Welsh men, being therefore as mortallie behated of the Irish, as those that are borne in England. For the Irish man
Irish gentilitie. standeth so much vpon his gentilitie, that he termeth anie one of the English sept, and planted in Ireland, Bobdeagh Galteagh, that is, English churle: but if he be an Englishman borne, then he nameth him, Bobdeagh Saxonnegh, that is, a Saxon churle: so that both are churles, and he the onelie gentleman. And therevpon if the basest pezzant of them name himselfe with his superior, he will be sure to place himselfe first, as I and Oneile, I and you, I and he, I and my master, whereas the courtesie of the English language is cleane contrarie.

The inclination of the people. The people are thus inclined, religious, franke, amorous, irefull, sufferable infinit paines, verie glorious, manie sorcerers, excellent horssemen, delighted with wars, great almesgiuers, passing in hospitalitie. The lewder sort, both clearkes and laie men are sensuall and ouer loose in liuing. The same being vertuouslie bred vp or reformed, are such mirrors of holinesse and austeritie, that other nations reteine but a shadow of deuotion in comparison of them. As for abstinence and fasting, it is to them a familiar kind of chastisement. They follow the dead corpse to the graue with howling and barbarous outcries, pitifull in apparance: whereof grew, as I suppose, the prouerbe, To wéepe Irish.

To wéepe Irish. Gréedie of praise they be, & fearefull of dishonor, and to this end they estéeme their poets, who write Irish learnedlie, and pen their sonets heroicall, for the which Poets estéemed. they are bountifullie rewarded; if not, they send out libels in dispraise, whereof the lords and gentlemen stand in great awe. They loue tenderlie their foster children, Foster children. and bequeath to them a childes portion, whereby they nourish sure friendship: so beneficiall euerie waie, that commonlie fiue hundred cowes and better, are giuen, in reward to win a noble mans child to foster, they loue & trust their foster brethren more than their owne. The men are cleane of skin and hew, of stature tall. The stature of the people. The women are well fauoured, cleane coloured, faire handed, big & large, suffered from their infancie to grow at will, nothing curious of their feature and proportion of bodie.

Their infants, they of meaner sort, are neither swadled nor lapped in linnen, Infants. but folded vp starke naked in a blanket till they can go. Proud they are of long crisped bushes of heare which they terme glibs, and the same they nourish with all Glibs. their cunning, to crop the front thereof they take it for a notable péece of villanie. Water cresses, which they tearme shamrocks, roots and other herbs they féed vpon, Their diet. otemeale and butter they cram togither, they drinke wheie, milke, and beefebroth. Flesh they deuoure without bread, and that halfe raw: the rest boileth in their stomachs with Aqua vitœ, which they swill in after such a surfet by quarts and pottels: they let their cowes bloud, which growne to a gellie, they bake and ouerspread with butter, and so eate it in lumps. No meat they fansie so much as porke, and the fatter the better. One of Iohn Onels houshold demanded of his fellow Porke. whether béefe were better than porke? That (quoth the other) is as intricat a question, as to aske whether thou art better than Onele.

Their noble men, and noble mens tenants, now and then make a set feast, which they call coshering, wherto flocke all their reteiners, whom they name followers, Coshering. Followers. their rithmours, their bards, their harpers that féed them with musike: and when the harper twangeth or singeth a song, all the companie must be whist, or else he chafeth like a cutpursse, by reason his harmonie is not had in better price. In their coshering they sit on straw, they are serued on straw, and lie vpon mattresses and pallets of straw. The antiquitie of this kind of feasting is set foorth by Virgil, Lib. pri. Aen circa finem. where Dido interteineth the Troian prince and his companie. They obserue di uerse degrées, according to which each man is regarded The basest sort among them are little yoong wags, called Daltins, these are lackies, and are seruiceable Daltin. to the groomes or horssebotes, who are a degrée aboue the Daltins. Of the third Groome. degrée is the kerne, who is an ordinarie souldior, vsing for weapon his sword and Kerne. target, and sometimes his peece, being commonlie so good markemen as they will come within a score of a great castell. Kerne signifieth (as noble men of deepe Kigheiren. udgement informed me) a shower of hell, because they are taken for no better than for rakehels, or the diuels blacke gard, by reason of the stinking sturre they kéepe, wheresoeuer they be.

The fourth degrée is a galloglasse, vsing a kind of pollar for his weapon. These Galloglasse. men are commonlie weieward rather by profession than by nature, grim of countenance, tall of stature, big of lim, burlie of bodie, well and stronglie timbered. chieflie féeding on béefe, porke & butter. The fift degrée is to be an horsseman, which is the chiefest next the lord and capteine. These horssemen, when Horsseman. they haue no staie of their owne, gad & range from house to house like arrant knights of the round table, and they neuer dismount vntil they ride into the hall, and as farre as the table. There is among them a brotherhood of karrowes, that Karrow. proffer to plaie at cards all the yeare long, and make it their onelie occupation. They plaie awaie mantle and all to the bare skin, and then trusse themselues in straw or leaues, they wait for passengers in the high waie, inuite them to game vpon the gréene, and aske no more but companions to make them sport. For default of other stuffe, they pawne their glibs, the nailes of their fingers and toes, their dimissaries, which they léese or redéeme at the courtesie of the winner.

One office in the house of noble men is a taleteller, who bringeth his lord asléepe A taleteller. with tales vaine and firiuolous, wherevnto the number giue sooth and credit. Without either precepts or obseruations of congruitie, they speake Latine like a vulgar Latin spoken as a vulgar language language, learned in their common schooles of leachcraft and law, whereat they begin children, and hold on sixtéene or twentie yeares, conning by rote the aphorismes of Hippocrates, and the ciuill institutes, with a few other parings of those faculties. In their schooles they groouell vpon couches of straw, their bookes at their noses, themselues lie flat prostrate, and so they chant out with a lowd voice their lessons by péecemeale, repeating two or three words thirtie or fortie times togither. Other lawyers they haue liable to certeine families, which after the custome of the countrie determine and iudge causes. These consider of wrongs offered and receiued among their neighbors: be it murther, felonie, or trespasse, all is remedied by composition (except the grudge of parties séeke reuenge) and the time they haue to spare from spoiling and preiding, they lightlie bestow in parling about such matters. The Breighon (so they call this kind of lawyers) sitteth on a Breighon. banke, the lords and gentlemen at variance round about him, and then they procéed. To rob and spoile their enimies they déeme it none offense, nor seeke anie meanes to recouer their losse, but euen to watch them the like turne. But if neighbors & friends send their purueiors to purloine one another, such actions are iudged by the Breighons aforesaid. They honour and reuerence friers and pilgrims, Rèigious fauoured. by suffering them to passe quietlie, and by sparing their mansions, whatsoeuer outrage they shew to the countrie besides them. The like fauor doo they extend to their poets & rithmours.

In old time they much abused the honorable state of mariage, either in contracts Matrimonie abused. vnlawfull, méeting the degrées of prohibition, or in diuorsements at pleasure, or in reteining concubines or harlots for wiues: yea euen at this daie, where the clergie is faint, they can be content to marrie for a yeare and a daie of probation: and at the years end, or anie time after, to returne hir home with hir mariage goods, or as much in valure, vpon light quareis, if the gentlewomans friends be vnabie to renenge the iniurie. In like maner maie she forsake hir husband. In some Superstition in baptisme. corner of the land they vsed a damnable superstition, leauing the right armes of their infants vnchristened as they tearme it) to the intent it might giue & more vngratious and deadlie blow. Others write that gentlemens children were baptised Iohn Cai. li. 2. Cant. ant. in milke, and the infants of poore folke in water, who had the better or rather the onelie choise. Diuerse other vaine and execrable superstitious hey obserue, that for a complet recitall would require a seuerall volume. Whereto they are the more Ireland why superstitious. stiffelie wedded, bicause such single preachers as they haue, reprooue not in their sermons the péeuishnesse and fondnesse of these friuolous dreamers. But these and the like enormities haue taken so déepe root in that people, as commonlie a preacher is sooner by their naughtie liues corrupted, than their naughtie liues by his preaching amended.

Againe, the verie English of birth, conuersant with the sauage sort of that people become degenerat, and as though they had tasted of Circes poisoned cup, are quite altered. Such force hath education to make or mar. God with the beams of his grace clarifie the eies of that rude people, that at length they maie see their miserable estate: and also that such as are deputed to the gouernement thereof, bend their industrie with conscionable policie to reduce them from rudenes to knowledge, from rebellion to obedience, from trecherie to honestie, from sauagenesse to ciuilitie, from idlenesse to labour, from wickednesse to godlinesse, whereby they maie the sooner espie their blindnesse, acknowledge their loosenes, amend their liues, frame themselues pliable to the lawes and ordinances of hir maiestie, whome God with his gratious assistance preserue, aswell to the prosperous gouernment of hir realme of England, as to the happie reformation of hir realme of Ireland.

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