previous next

The speeches and oration which Rothorike O Connor made vnto his soldiors.

ROTHORIKE O Connor, seeing that by these his deuises and practises he could doo no good at all, and thinking that forsomuch as he could not auaile with words, he with force and armes, as his last remedie and helpe, prepareth his armor, and maketh for the battell: and assembling his people togither, maketh vuto them these speeches. "Ye right noble and valiant defendors of your countrie and libertie, let vs consider with what people, and for what causes we are now to fight and wage the battell. That enimie of his owne countrie, that tyrant ouer his owne people, and an open enimie vnto all men, and who sometimes was an exiled man: sée how he being inuironed with the force of strangers, is now returned, & mindeth the vtter destruction of vs all, and of this his nation. He enuieng the safetie of his countrie and countrimen, hath procured and brought in a strange nation vpon vs, that by the helpe of a hatefull people he might satisfie and more effectuallie accomplish his malice, which otherwise by no means he could haue brought to passe. He then being an enimie, hath brought in that enimie which hath béene euer hatefull both vnto him, and vnto vs; and who are most gréedie to haue the souereigntie & dominion ouer vs all, protesting and openlie affirming, that by a certeine fatall destinie they are to be rulers ouer this land: yea, & so far hath he shed out his venome, and almost euerie man is so inuenomed therewith, that now no fauor nor mercie is so be shewed. O cruell beast, yea more cruell than euer was beast! for to satisfie his insatiable malice, and to be auenged with the bloudsheding of his owne people, he spareth neither himselfe, nor his countrie, nor sex. This is he who is a most cruell tyrant ouer his owne people: this is he who with the force and helpe of strangers vseth all force and crueltie against all men. He deserueth well therefore to be hated of all, which séeketh to be an enimie vnto all. Looke therefore (yee worthie citizens) well to your selues; I saie looke and consider well how by these meanes, I meane by ciuill discord, all realmes & nations haue for the most part béene ouerthrowen & vanquished. (1) Iulius Cesar minding to inuade Britaine had the repulse twise, & was driuen out by the Britons. But when Androgeus fell at variance with the king, he then to be reuenged, sent againe for Iulius, who thervpon returned and conquered the land. (2) The same Iulius also conquerd all the west parts of the world, but when he waxed & became ambitious, & would be a sole monarch, & haue the whole gouernement in himselfe, then discord was raised, & debate was rite, & by that meanes all Italie was filled with murthers and slaughters. (3) The Britons being at discord with their king, procured Gurmundus, who then was a terror to all the ocean Iles, that he with the Saxons should pursue and make wars vpon their king, who so did: but in the end to their owne confusion and destruction. Likewise not long after (4) Isembertus the French king, being an enimie to his owne people, and at discord with them, he procured the said Gurmund to aid and helpe him to subdue his people, who so did: but thereof he had but bad successe. Wherfore let vs with one mind like to these Frenchmen stand stoutlie to the defense of our countrie, and couragiouslie giue the onset vpon our enimies. And whiles these strangers be but few in number, let vs lustilie issue out vpon them: for fiue whiles it is but in sparkles is soone couered, but when it is in great flames, it is the harder to be quenched. It is good therefore to méet with things at the beginning, and to preuent sicknesse at the first growing: for diseases by long continuance hauing taken déepe root, are hardle to be cured. We therefore, who are to defend our countrie and libertie, and to leaue to our posteritie an immortall fame: let vs valian lie, and with a good courage aduenture and giue the onset, that the ouerthrow of a few may be a terror vnto manie; and that by this example all other forren nations may be afraid to aduenture the like attempt."

(1) Iulius Cesar hauing receiued two repulses, retired & tooke shipping, being in an vtter despaire & not minding to returne ame more. Whervpon Cassibelan then king of the land called & assembled all his nobles to London, where for ioie he kept a great and a solemne feast, and at the same were vsed all such games and pastimes, as in those daies were most accustomed. And at a wrestling game then it chanced two yoong gentlemen, the one being nephue to the king, and the other cousine to the erle of London (Kent) to fall at variance, & in the end the kings nephue was slaine. The king much grieued therwith sent for the earle, whose name was Androgeus: and bicause he would not come vnto him he made wars vpon him. The earle considering in what distresse he was, and how farre vnable to incounter the power and withstand the displeasure of the king, sendeth his messenger with his letters vnto Iulius Cesar, and besought him most earnestlie to returne with his armie, and he would aid and helpe him against the king with all the power he had. Iulius Cesar glad of these tidings returneth with all spéed, and in the end hath the victorie: and thus by meanes of debate and diuision the relme, which otherwise was thought to be impregnable, was subuerted and made tributarie.

(2) Iulius Cesar hauing happie and fortunate successe in all his affaires, grew into such a liking of himselfe, that he would needs be the sole monarch and emperor ouer the whole world, taking foule euill that according to the ancient gouernement of the Romans anie one should be ioined with him: and ambitiouslie séeking the same, he became dreadfull to the people, lothsome to his friends, and in the displeasure of the senat: who maligning at his aspiring and mistrusting the sequele thereof, conspired his death, and in the end he comming into the senat house, and mistrusting nothing, was murthered and slaine.

(3) At this time Careticus was king and ruled ouer Britaine, now named England, who was so vitious a man in all respects, that he became hatefull both to God and man: and his subiects not abiding his tyrannie, nor brooking his wickednesse, fell at diuision with him. Wherevpon Gurmundus then king of Ireland was procured (some saie by the Britons and some saie by the Saxons) who being entered into the land, and séeking by all the meanes they could to be the sole lords of the land, to inuade the land, which he did, and by the helpe of the Saxons droue the king out of his realme into Wales. And the Saxons hauing thus their wils droue also all the Britons out, who from thensefoorth hauing lost the land of Britaine, did inhabit themselues in Wales, Cornewall, and elsewhere, where they might haue refuge and succour. And thus though they were reuenged of their king, yet they themselues in the end felt the smart thereof: for they were all destroied or banished: such are the fruits of dissention and debate.

(4) This Isembertus was not king of France, but as (Gaufred saith) was nephue to the king: and the land being then in great troubles, this Isembert made title vnto it, and seeking by all the meanes and waies he could how to compasse the same, procured Gurmundus to helpe and aid him, promising him great rewards. Wherevpon Gurmundus passed ouer into France, where he had but an euill successe: for there was he slaine, Isembert ouerthrowne and the French nation preuailed. And herevpon Rothorike taketh an occasion to incourage his people to stand to their tackle, and valiantlie to withstand Mac Morogh, who as Isembert had procured in Gurmundus; so had he flocked in Englishmen to ouerrun his countrie.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: