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1.4. Of the strange and woonderfull places in Ireland. The fourth chapter.

Of the strange and woonderfull places in Ireland. The fourth chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _I Thinke it good to begin with S. Patrike his purga|torie, S. Patrike his purgato|rie. partlie bicause it is most notoriouslie knowne, & partlie the more, that some writers, as the author of Po|lychronicon and others that were miscaried by him, séeme to make great doubt where they néed not. For they ascribe the finding out of the place not to Patrike that conuerted the countrie, but an other Patrike an abbat, whom likewise they affirme to haue béene imploied in conuerting the Iland from heathenrie to christianitie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But the author that brocheth this opinion, is not found to carie anie such credit with him, as that a man may certeinlie affirme it, or probablie coniec|ture it; vnlesse we relie to the old withered worme ea|ten legend, loded with as manie lowd lies, as lewd lines. The better and the more certeine opinion is, that the other Patrike found it out, in such wise as Cambrensis reporteth. There is a poole or lake, saith Camb. lib 1. topo [...]. dist. 2. rub. 6. he, in the parts of Ulster, that inuironneth an I|land, in the one part whereof there standeth a church much lightned with the brightsome recourse of an|gels: the other part is ouglie and gastlie, as it were a bedlem allotted to the visible assemblies of horri|ble and grislie bugs. This part of the Iland contei|neth nine caues. And if anie dare be so hardie, as to take one night his lodging in anie of these ins, which hath béene experimented by some rash & harebraine aduenturers, streight these spirits claw him by the backe, and tug him so ruggedlie, and tosse him so crabbedlie, that now and then they make him more franke of his bum than of his toong; a paiment cor|respondent to his interteinement. This place is called S. Patrike his purgatorie of the inhabitors. For when S. Patrike laboured the conuersion of the people of Ulster, by setting before their eies in great heat of spirit, the creation of the world, the fall of our progenitors, the redemption of man by the bles|sed and pretious bloud of our sauiour Iesus Christ, the certeintie of death, the immortalitie of the soule, the generall resurrection, our latter doome, the ioies of heauen, the paines of hell, how that at length e|uerie man, small and great, yoong and old, rich and poore, king and keaser, potentate and pezzant must either through God his gratious mercie be exalted to the one, to floorish in perpetuall felicitie; or through his vnsearchable iustice tumble downe to the other, to be tormented in eternall miserie. These and the like graue and weightie sentences, wherwith he was abundantlie stored, so far sunke into their harts, as they séemed verie flexible in condescending to his be|hest: so that some proofe of his estrange preaching could haue béene verefied. Wherevpon, without fur|ther delaie, they spake to the prelat in this wise.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2

Sir, as we like of your preaching, so we dislike not of our libertie. You tell vs of manie gugawes and estrange dreames. You would haue vs to aban|don infidelitie, to cage vp our libertie, to bridle our pleasure: for which you promise vs for our toile and labour a place to vs as vnknowen, so as yet vncer|teine. You sermon to vs of a dungeon appointed for offendors and miscredents.
In deed if we could find that to be true, we would the sooner be weaned from the sweet napple of our libertie, and frame our selues pliant to the will of that God, that you re|ueale vnto vs. S. Patrike considering, that these sealie soules were (as all dulcarnanes for the more part are) more to be terrified from infidelitie through the paines of hell, than allured to christianitie by the ioies of heauen, most hartilie besought God, so it stood with his gratious pleasure, for the honour and glorie of his diuine name, to giue out some euident or glimsing token of the matter they importunatlie required. Finallie by the especiall direction of God, he found in the north edge of Ulster a desolate cor|ner hemmed in round, and in the middle thereof a pit, where he reared a church, called Reglis or Re|glasse. Reglasse. At the east end of the churchyard a doore leadeth into a closet of stone like a long ouen, which they call S. Patrike his purgatorie, for that the people resort thither euen at this daie for penance, and haue re|ported at their returne estrange visions of paine and blisse appearing vnto them.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The author of Polychronicon writeth that in the Polychr. lib. 1. c. 36. 1138 reigne of king Stephan, a knight named Owen pil|grimaged to this purgatorie, being so appalled at the strange visions that there he saw, as that vpon his returne from thense he was wholie mortified, and sequestring himselfe from the world, he spent the remnant of his life in an abbeie of Ludensis. Also Dyonisius a charterhouse moonke recordeth a Dyon. Cart. in lib. de quatu|nouiss. art. 48. vision seene in that place by one Agneius, or Egne|ius, whereof who so is inquisitiue, may resort to his treatise written De quatuor nouissimis. Iohannes Ca|mertes Ioh. Camert. in lib. Solini. cap. 35. holdeth opinion, which he surmiseth vpon the gesse of other, that Claudius writeth of this purga|torie. Which if it be true, the place must haue béene extant before saint Patrike, but not so famouslie knowen. The poet his verses are these following:

Est locus, extremum pandit qua Gallia littus. Claud. lib. 1 in Ruffin.
Oceani praetentus aquis, quo fertur Vlysses
Sanguine libato populum mouisse silentum,
Flebilis auditur questus, simulachra coloni
Pallida, defunctásque vident migrare figuras.
There is a place toward the ocean sea from brim of Gallish shore,
Wherein Vlysses pilgrim strange with offred bloud ygore,
The people there did mooue, a skrit|ching shrill from dungeon lug
The dwellers all appall with gast|lie galpe of grislie bug.
There onelie shapes are seene to stare with visage wan and sad,
From nouke to nouke, from place to place, in eluish skips to gad.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 They that repaire to this place for deuotion his EEBO page image 29 s [...]ke vse to continue therein foure & twentie houres, which dooing otherwhile with ghostlie meditations, and otherwhile a dread for the conscience of their de|serts, they saie they see a plaine resemblance of their owne faults and vertues, with the horror and com|fort therevnto belonging, the one so terrible, the o|ther so ioious, that they verelie déeme themselues for the time to haue sight of hell and heauen. The reue|lations of men that went thither (S. Patrike yet li|uing) are kept written within the abbeie there adioi|ning. When anie person is disposed to enter (for the The ceremo|nies vsed in entering S. Patrike his purgatorie. doore is euer spard) he repaireth first for deuise to the archbishop, who casteth all pericles, and dissuadeth the pilgrime from the attempt, bicause it is knowen that diuerse entering into that caue, neuer were seene to turne backe againe. But if the partie be ful|lie resolued, he recommendeth him to the prior, who in like maner fauourablie exhorteth him to choose some other kind of penance, and not to hazard such a danger. If notwithstanding he find the partie fullie bent, he conducteth him to the church, inioineth him to begin with praier and fast of fiftéene daies, so long togither as in discretion can be indured. This time expired, if yet he perseuere in his former purpose, the whole conuent accompanieth him with solemne pro|cession & benediction to the mouth of the caue, where they let him in, and so bar vp the doore vntill the next morning. And then with like ceremonies they a|wait his returne and reduce him to the church. If he be séene no more, they fast and praie fiftéene daies after. Touching the credit of these matters, I sée no cause, but a christian being persuaded that there is both hell and heauen, may without vanitie vpon suf|ficient information be resolued, that it might please God, at sometime, for considerations to his wisdome knowen, to reueale by miracle the vision of ioies and paines eternall. But that-altogither in such sort, and by such maner, and so ordinarilie, and to such per|sons, as the common fame dooth vtter; I neither be|léeue nor wish to be regarded. I haue conferd with diuerse that had gone this pilgrimage, who affirmed the order of the premisses to be true; but that they saw no sight, saue onelie fearefull dreams when they chanced to nod, and those they said were excéeding horrible. Further they added, that the fast is rated more or lesse, according to the qualitie of the peni|tent.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Cambrensis affirmeth, that in the north of Moun|ster there be two Ilands, the greater and the lesse. In Camb. lib. 1. topog. distinct. 2. rub. 5. the greater there neuer entereth woman o [...] anie li|uing female, but forthwith it dieth. This hath-béene of|ten prooued by bitches and cats, which were brought thither to trie this conclusion, and presentlie they died. In this Iland the cocke or mascle birds are seene to thirye, and yarch vp and downe the twigs, but the ben or female by instinct of nature abando|neth it as a place vtterlie poisoned. This Iland were a place alone for one that were vered with a shrewd wise. The lesse Iland is called Insula viuentium, bi|cause none died there, none maie die by course of na|ture, Insula viuen|tium. as Giraldus Cambrensis saith. Howbeit the dwellers when they are sore frusht with sicknesse, or so farre withered with age as there is no hope of life, they request to be conueied by boate to the greater Iland, where they are no sooner inshored, than they yéeld vp their ghosts. For my part, I haue béene ve|rie inquisitiue of this Iland, but I could neuer find this estrange propertie soothed by anie man of cre|dit in the whole countrie. Neither trulie would I wish anie to be so light, as to lend his credit to anie such feined gloses, as are neither verefied by experi|ence, nor warranted by anie colourable reason. Wherfore I see not why it should be termed Insula vi|uentium, vnlesse it be that none dieth there, as long as he liueth.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Cambrensis telleth further, that there is a church|yard Cambren. in codem loco. in Ulster, which no female kind maie enter. If the cocke be there, the hen dareth not follow. There is also in the west part of Connaght an Iland, pla|ced Aren. in the sea, called Aren, to which saint Brendan had often recourse. The dead bodies néed not in that Iland to be grauelled. For the aire is so pure, that the contagion of anie carrien maie not infect it. There, as Cambrensis saith, maie the sonne sée his father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, &c. This Iland is enimie to mice. For none is brought thither, but either it leapeth into the sea, or else being staied it dieth presentlie. There was in Kildare an The Fire|house or Kil|dare. ancient monument named the Firehouse, wherein Cambrensis saith, was there continuall fire kept day and night, and yet the ashes neuer increased. I tra|uelled of set purpose to the towne of Kildare to sée this place, where I did sée such a monument like a vault, which to this daie they call the Firehouse.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Touching the heath of Kildare Cambrensis wri|teth The heath of Kildare. that it maie not be tild: and of a certeintie with|in this few yeares it was tried, and found, that the corne which was sowed did not prooue. In this plaine (saith Cambrensis) stood the stones that now stand in The stories of Salisburie plaine. Salisburie plaine, which were conueied from thense by the sleight of Merlin the Welsh prophet, at the request of Aurelius Ambrosius king of the Britons. There is also in the countie of Kildare a goodlie field called Moolleaghmast, betwéene the Norrough and Moolleagh mast. Kilka. Diuers blind prophesies run of this place, that there shall be a bloudie field fought there, betweene the English inhabitants of Ireland and the Irish, and so bloudie forsooth it shall be, that a mill in a vale hard by it shall run foure and twentie houres with the streame of bloud that shall powre downe from the hill. The Irish doubtlesse repose a great affiance in this balducktum dreame. In the top of this height stand metes or rundels verie formalie fashioned, where the strength of the English armie (as they say) shall be incamped.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 The Earle of Sussex being lord lieutenant of Ireland, was accustomed to wish, that if anie such The earle of Sussex. prophesie were to be fulfilled, it should happen in his gouernement, to the end he might be generall of the field. Not farre from Moolleaghmast, within a mile of Castledermot, or Thristledermot, is there a place marked with two hislocks, which is named the Ge|raldine The Geral|dines throw. his throw or cast. The length of which in ve|rie déed is woonderfull. The occasion procéeded of 1470. this. One of the Geraldins, who was ancestor to those that now are lords of Lackath, preded an enimie of his. The earle of Kildare hauing intelligence therof, suppressing affection of kinred, and mooued by zeale of iustice, pursued him with a great troope of horsse|men, as the other was bringing of the prede home|ward. The Geraldine hauing notice giuen him, that the earle was in hot pursute, and therefore being warned by the messenger to hie him with all speed possible: the gentleman being nettled, that his kinsman would séeme to rescue the prede of his dead|lie fe; and as he was in such fretting wise frieng in his grease, he brake out in these cholerike words; And dooth my cousine Kildare pursue me in déed? Now in good faith; where as he séemeth to be a suppresser of his The Geral|dines wish. kindred, and an vpholder of my mortall enimie,

I would wish him no more harme, than that this dart were as far in his bodie, as it shall sticke foorthwith in the ground:
and therewithall giuing the spurres to his horsse, he hurled his dart so farre, as he abashed with the length thereof aswell his companie as his posteritie:

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The Geraldine was not verie farre from thense, when the earle with his hand made hot foot after, and EEBO page image 30 dogging still the tracke of the predours, he came to the place where the dart was hurled, where one pick|thanke or other let the earle to vnderstand of the Ge|raldine his wild spéeches there deliuered. And to in|hanse the h [...]inousnesse of the offense, he shewed how farre he hurled his dart when he wished it to be pit|ched in his lordship his bodie. The erle astonied at the length thereof, said: Now in good sooth, my cousine in behauing himselfe so couragiouslie, is woor [...]hie to The earle of [...]dares answer. haue the prede shot frée.

And for my part I purpose not so much to stomach his cholerike wish, as to im|brace his val [...]ant prowesse.
And therewithall com|manded the retreat to be blowne and reculed backe. There is in Meeth an hill called the hill of Taragh, wherein is a plaine twelue score long, which was na|med The hill of Taragh. the Kempe his hall: there the countrie had their méetings and folkemotes, as a place that was ac|counted the high palace of the monarch. The Irish historians hammer manie fables in this forge of Fin mac Coile and his champions, as the French histo|rie dooth of king Arthur and the knights of the round table. But doubtlesse the place séemeth to beare the shew of an ancient and famous monument.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 There is in Castleknocke a village not far from Dublin, a window not glazed nor latized, but open, Castleknocke. The strange welles. and let the weather be stornne, the wind bluster boi|sterouslie on euerie side of the house; yet place a can|dle there, and it will burne as quietlie as if no puffe of wind blew. This maie be tried at this daie, who so shall be willing to put it in practise. Touching the strange wels that be in Ireland, I purpose to speake litle more than that which I find in Cambrensis, whose words I will English, as they are Latined in his booke. There is (saith he) a well in Mounster, with the water of which if anie be washed, he becõmeth forth|with Camb. in lib. 1. topog. dist. 1. rub. 8. & 10. hoare. I haue séene a man that had one halfe of his beard, being died with that water hoare; the other halfe vnwashed was browne, remaining still in his naturall colour. Contrariwise, there is a founteins in the further edge of Ulster, and if one be bathed therewith, he shall not become hoare: in which well such as loath greie heares are accustomed to diue. There is in Connaght a well that springeth on the top of an hill farre and distant from anie sea, [...]bbing and flowing in foure and twentie houres, as the sea dooth; and yet the place is vplandish, and the water fresh. There is another spring in the same countrie, the water of which is verie wholsome to men and wo|men, but poison to beasts: and if a man put but the grauell of this well into his mouth, it quencheth pre|sentlie his thirst.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 There is in Ulster a standing poole thirtie thou|sand pases long, and fiftéene thousand pases brode, [...]nt of which springeth the noble northerne [...]uer, cal|led the Banne. The fishers complaine more often for bursling of their nets with the euer great lake of fish, than for anie want. In our time vpon the con|quest a fish swam from this poole to the shore, in shape resembling a salmon, but in quantitie so huge, that it could not be drawne or caried [...]holie togither, but the fishmongers were forced to hacke it in gob|bets, and so to carrie it in péecemeale throughout the countrie, making thereof a generall dole. And if the report be true, the beginning of this poole was strange. There were in old time where the poole now standeth, vicious and beastlie inhabitants. Al [...] time was there an old said saw in euerie man his mouth, that as soone as a well there springing ( [...]ch for the supers [...]tious reuerence they bare it was con|tinuallie couered and signed) we [...] le [...] open and vn|signed, so soone would so much water gush out of that well, as would foorthwith ouerwhelme the whole ter|ritorie. It happened at length, that an old tro [...]came thither to fetch water, and hearing hir chil [...] whine, she ran with might and maine to dandle hir babie, for|getting the [...]seruance of the superstitious order to|fore-vsed. But as she was returning backe to haue couered the spring, the land was so farre ouerflowne, as that it past hir helpe: and shortlie after she, hir suckling, & all those that were within the whole ter|ritorie were drowned. And this séemeth to carie more likelihood with it, bicause the fishers in a cleare sun|nie daie sée the stéeples and other piles plainlie and distinctlie in the water. And here would be noted, that the riuer of the Banne flowed from this head spring before this floud, but farre in lesse quantitie than it dooth in our time. Hitherto Giraldus Cam|brensis.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Boetius telleth a rare propertie of a poole in Ire|land, Hector Boet. in Scot. reg. descript. pag 9 Sect. 50. & for that he maketh himselfe an eiewitnesse of the matter, he shall tell his owne tale. Ac quoniam Hiberniae incidit mentio, praeter infinita in ea rerum miracu|la, haud importunum fore existimem, si vnum, quod ob porten|tuosam nouitatem fidem omnium excedere videatur, nos ta|men verum experti sumus, adiunxerimus. Lacus in eaest, circaquem amplissimo circumquaque spatio nec herba nec ar|bor vlla nascitur, &c. in quem silignum infigas anni circi|ter vnius curriculo, id quod in terra fixum erit, in [...]apidem conuertetur; quod deinceps aquâ operietur, in ferrum: reli|quum aqua exstans ligni formam naiuramque seruabit. Ita coniuncta, lapis, ferrum & lignumeodem in stipite inaudita nouitate conspectantur. But for that mention is made of Ireland, ouer and aboue the infinite number of woonders in that land, it will not be wholie beside the purpose, to insert one maruellous thing, which al|though i [...] [...]y seeme to some to haue no colour of truth: yet because it hath beene by vs experimented, and found out to be true, we maie the better aduouch it. There is a standing poole in that Iland, neere which of all sides groweth neither herbe, shrub, nor bush. If you sticke a rod or péece of timber in this poole, that which sticketh in the earth within the space of one yeare turneth to a stone; as much as is dipt in the water, is conuerted to iron; all that is aboue the water remaineth still in the pristinat and former woodden shape. So that you may s [...]e that which is strange, [...] one stocke or sticke, stone, iron and wood linkt and knit togither. Thus much Hector Boetius.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In the countrie of Kilkennie and in the borders there to confining, they vsed a solemne triall by a wa|ter they call Melashée. The propertie of this water is, as they say, that if a periured person drinke there|of, Melashée. the water will gush out at his bellie, as though the drinker his nauill were bord with an anger. The riuer that runneth by Dublin named the Liffie hath The Liffiie. this propertie for certeine, and I haue obserued it at sundrie [...]ies. As long as it reigneth, yea if it stood powring six daies, you shall find diuerse shallow brookes, and the riuer will be nothing thereby in|creased: but within foure a [...] twentie houres after the showres are ceast, you shall perceiue such a sud|den spring flow, as if the former raine were great; a verie few places or none at all will be found pasa|ble. Cambrensis writeth, that in the south part of Mounster, betwéene the maine sea coasting on His|paine Cambr. lib. 1. dist. 2. rub. 4 [...]. and saint Brenban his hills, there is an I|land of the one side incompassed with a riuer abun|dantlie s [...]ored with fish, & on the other pa [...] inclosed with a little brooke. In which place saint Brendan was verie much resiant. This plot is taken to be such a sanct [...]ie for bea [...]s, as i [...] [...]e hare, for, [...]ag, or other wild beast be chased néere that Iland by dogs, it maketh straight vpon the brooke, and as|soone as it passeth the streame, it is so cocke [...]e, as the hunter may perceiue the beast resting on the one banke, & the dogs questing on the other brim, being as it were by some inuisible railes imbard from dipping their féet in the shallow foord, to pursue EEBO page image 31 the beast chased. On the other [...]de of this Iland there runneth a riuer stored aboue measure with fresh wa|ter fish, and in especiallie with salmon. Which a|bundance, as Cambrensis writeth, procéeded of God, to mainteine the great hospitalitie that was kept there. And because the dwellers thereabout shall not like pinching coistrels make anie sale of the fish, let it be poudered as artificiallie as may be, yet it will not kéepe (as though it were manna) aboue the first night or daie that it be taken. So that you must eate it within that short compasse, otherwise it putrifieth and standeth to no stéed.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 This riuer ouerfloweth a great rocke, vsuallie called the Salmon leape: for as it is commonlie the The Salmon leape. propertie of all fish to swim against the tide, as for birds to flitter against the wind; so it is naturallie giuen to the salmon to struggle against the streme, and when it approcheth neere this high rocke, it ben|deth his taile to his head, and sometime taketh it in his mouth; and therewithall beareth it selfe ouer the water, and suddenlie it fetcheth such a round whiske, that at a trice it skippeth to the top of the rocke. The like salmon leape is néere Leislip, but not so high as this. There be also, as witnesseth Cambrensis, in the further part of Ulster, certeine hils néere to saint Bean his church, where cranes yearelie bréed. And when they haue laied their egs, if anie purpose to ransacke their nests, let him but attempt to touch the egs, they will shew like yoong scralling pullets without feather or downe, as though they were new hatched, and presentlie brought out of their shels. But if the partie plucke his hand from the nest, forth|with they shew (whether it be by anie metamorpho|sis, or some iugling legier de maine by dazeling the eies) as though they were transformed into egs. And further, saith Cambrensis, let two at one in|stance be at the nest, and let the one of them onelie giue the gaze, and the other attempt to take awaie the egs, they will séeme to the looker on as egs, and to the taker as yoong red little cranets, being as bare as a bird his arsse.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 The towne of Armagh is said to be enimie to rats, and if anie be brought thither, presentlie it dieth. Armagh. Which the inhabitants impute to the praiers of saint Patrike. But to omit the strange places, that ei|ther by false reports are surmised, or by proofe and ex|perience dailie verefied: there are in this Iland such notable quaries of greie marble and touch, such store of pearle and other rich stones, such abundance of cole, such plentie of lead, iron, latin and tin, so ma|nie rich mines furnished with all kind of metals, as nature séemed to haue framed this countrie for the Ireland the storehouse of nature. storehouse or iewelhouse of hir chiefest thesaure. Howbeit she hath not shewed hir selfe so bounti|full a mother in powring foorth such riches, as she prooueth hirselfe an enuious stepdame; in that she instilleth in the inhabitants a droulie lithernesse to withdraw them from the insearching of hir hourd|ded and hidden iewels. Wherein she fareth like one, that to purchase the name of a sumptuous franke|len or a good viander, would bid diuerse ghests to a costlie and deintie dinner, and withall for sauing of his meat with some secret inchantment would bo|num them of their [...]ms, or with some hidden loth|somnesse would dull their stomachs, as his ghests by reason of the one are not able, or for the other not willing, by taking their repast to refresh themselus, in so much as in my thantasie it is hard to decide whether estate is the better: either for a diligent la|borer to be planted in a barren or stonie soile, or for a luskish loiterer to be setled in a fertill ground; be|cause the one will, and may not; the other may and will not through his painefull trauell reape the fruit and commoditie that the earth yéeldeth.

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