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How Iohn de Courcie inuadeth Flster.

IOHN Courcie, who (as is before said) was ioined in commission with William Fitzaldelme, when he saw the course and maner of his dealings, who as he was couetous, and did nothing but for monie; so was he timerous, and did all things in craft and deceit: as also that the enimie feared him not, and the good subiect loued him not. And considering also that the souldiers and garrison at Dublin, by means of their capteins couetousnesse were vnpaid of their wages, and by reason of his slouth and sluggishnesse the vittels waxed scant, & none went & scouted anie more abrode as they were woont to get anie booties or preies, he secretlie dealeth with some of them, and by his wise conference, and wittie persuasions, allureth and intiseth vnto him euen such as were the valiantest, honestest, and chosen men of them all: who were content and verie glad to accompanie and follow him. And hauing so gotten into his companie two and twentie gentlemen, and about three hundred others, he boldlie entreth and inuadeth into the prouince of Vlster, a countrie which hitherto had not tried the force and strength of the English nation. And then was fulfilled the prophesie of Merlin Celodine (as is said, howbeit I will
A prophesie of Merlin fulfilled. not so affirme it) "A white knight sitting vpon a white horse, bearing birds in his shield, shall be the first which with force of armes shall enter and inuade Vlster."

This Iohn Courcie was somewhat of a browne colour, but therewith somewhat whitish, and at that time he rode vpon a white horsse, as also did beare in his shield three painted (1) birds. After that he had passed three daies iourneie through the countrie of Vriell, he came the fourth daie (being the kalends of Februarie) to the citie of (2) Downe, without anie resistance of the inhabitants thereof: he being an enimie and a ghest vnlooked for. And (3) Odonell then the ruler of that countrie, being astonied and amazed at their so sudden conmming, fled awaie. The souldiers which before their comming from Dublin were halfe pined with famine, and hunger starued, hauing now recouered great booties and preies of neat and cattels, were full and well refreshed.

At this verie present time, there was come thither out of Scotland a legat from Rome named Viuianus, & he tooke great pains to intreat & make a peace betwéene Odonell & Iohn de Courcie, vsing all the persuasions that he could, affirming that if he would depart and go awaie, there should be a yearelie tribute paid to the king of England: but all his words auailed nothing. Odonell séeing that worls could little auaile, assembleth all the forces of the countrie: and within eight daies hauing gotten about ten thousand souldiors, with force inuadeth, & with great courage commeth to enter & breake into the citie of Downe. For in Ireland, as it is commonlie also in all other lands, they which inhabit in the north, are more warlike and cruell than anie others in other parts. Iohn Courcie séeing the course and bent of the enimies, who not onelie vpon a hope and confidence of their great multitude against so few enimies; but also their valiant and couragious minds, who were fullie determined to inuade the citie: thought it better with his small companie (which though they were but few in respect of their aduersaries, yet they were souldiors valiant, coragious, and of good seruice) to issue out and aduenture the fight with them, than to be pinned & shut vp in a beggerlie ward made with turffes in a corner of the citie, and there for want of vittels to be famished. Wherefore he issued out and ioined the battell with them, where the fight was hot, the bowes a farre off on the one side, and the darts on the other side: then lance against lance, and the bill against the spar, and the sword against the skeine: who buckled so lustilie the one against the other, that manie a man fell that daie to the dust. And in this terrible fight and buckling, he that had séene how valiantlie each man shewed himselfe, and speciallie how Iohn Courcie most valiantlie with the stroke of his sword mangled manie a man, killing some, but wounded and maimed manie, would and must néeds haue commended him for a right woorthie, noble, and right valiant warrior.

(1) He giueth thrée birds as this author saith, which by heralds are thus blasoned. Argent thrée griphs or geires gules crowned gold: this griph or geire is a kind of an eagle, but such as is rauenous, and feedeth more vpon carren than vpon anie foule of his owne preieng: & for his cowardnesse carieth neither the name nor praise apperteining to the true eagle.

(2) Downe is a towne lieng in the Ards, which is in Vlster, a profitable and a fertile soile : it is the sée of the bishop of that diocesse, who beareth his name of the said towne, being called the bishop of Downe.

(3) The Latine word is Dunlenus,, which I doo find to be Englished Odonell, which is the name of a great familie or nation in the prouince of Vlster; but whether this Latine be trulie so interpreted, I refer it to the reader, or such as be expert in such Irish names.

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