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To his most reuerend lord and belo|ued in Christ, Iohn the noble and worthie king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandie and of Aquitaine, and earle of Aniou: Giraldus offereth this his simple worke, and wisheth all health both of bodie and of soule, and a prosperous successe in all things according to his hearts desire.

_IT pleased your noble and excellent father king Henrie, to send me being then attendant vpon him, ouer with you into Ireland, where when I had noted sundrie notable things, and which were strange and vnknowne to other nations: then at my returne, I made a collection and choise of the chiefest matters therein: and within three yeares, I made my booke of Topographie, of the woonders of Ireland, and of the description of that land, doone in and for the honor of your father; who hauing good liking, and being well pleased with those my trauels (for why, he was a prince (a thing rare in our times) verie well learned) his desire and pleasure was, I should also write out the historie of the last conquest of the same land, made by him and his. Which renewing my former trauels I did: but neither it, nor these my paines were considered. For vertue commonlie is more commended than rewarded. But because by negligence, or rather by reason of the great businesse, where|with I was incumbred: I had almost forgotten the site, nature, and maner of the west parts of the said land, which I had not seene a long time. I thought it good to ouerrun, and peruse againe my said worke, and being better corrected, to dedicat the same vnto your highnesse. Wherein our historie taketh his be|ginning from the time that Dermon mac Morogh prince of Leinster was driuen out of his countrie by his owne men, and fled to your father then being in Aquitane: most humblie crauing, and at length obteining aid and succor, vntill your first comming into that land, when I was with you: and haue faith|fullie declared in order, what things were there doone by euerie of these noble men and capteins, which then passed thither; euen from the first to the last; and what good or euill was doone by them.

In which historie as in a glasse, a man may most apparantlie and euidentlie see and discerne truth; who, and what they were which deserued the most honor in this conquest; whether the first aduenturers out of the diocesse of saint Dauids my cousins and kinsmen; or they of the diocesse of Landaff, who came next, and who in verie deed are gentlemen, but more in name than valiant in act; and who vpon the good successe of the first, hoping to haue the like themselues, went ouer: or else they which passed ouer the third time, who were well and fullie furnished at all points with good store of armor, vittell, and o|ther necessaries. Surelie they deserued well, who gaue the first aduenture: and they also are much to be commended, which continued the same: but they deserued best, who went ouer last. For they not onelie did establish and confirme the authoritie and dooings of the first and second, but also made a finall end, and brought the whole countrie into subiection. But alas, by reason of their too hastie returning from thense, and of the vnnaturall warres and rebellion of the sonnes against their father, the land could not be brought to a perfect order, nor the things begun could haue his full perfection. Wherefore, รด no|ble king, despise not the great trauels and labors of your father, nor yet my poore paines herein. Doo not impart your honor and glorie to the vnworthie and vnthankefull: neither for the coueting of an Iland of siluer to hazard the losse of one of gold: the one far passing and exceeding the other in value. For the gold of Arabia and the siluer of Achaia doo both fill a mans cofer alike: but the one more in price and value than the other. Besides this, there is another thing which might persuade you to be mindfull, and haue some regard of the land of Ireland. It hath pleased God and good fortune to send you manie children, both naturall, and also legitimat; and more hereafter you may haue. It were therefore verie good as you may, to appoint and place in those two kingdomes, two of your sonnes to be gouernors and rulers of them: and vnder them to appoint a great number of your men, and endow them liberallie with great liuings and liuelehoods; and especiallie in Ireland, which as yet is rude, vnnurtured, and nothing to the purpose by our men inhabited. But if so be that neither for the increasing of your owne honor, the inriching of your treasurie, nor for the aduancing of your children, you will haue respect to your realme of Ireland; yet haue some consideration of your poore veterans and old seruitors, who haue most faithfullie and trusti|lie serued both you and your father, and by whose seruice that realme of Ireland was first conquered; and is yet kept and reteined; and yet are supplanted by such yoong nouices and yoonkers as are of late gone EEBO page image 69 thither, to inioy and to succeed into the fruits of other mens trauels, fortune better fauoring them, than vertue commending. And the follie of these men is growne to such a pride and arrogancie, that as it is said, they are greatlie to be suspected to aspire and to vsurpe the whole seigniorie and dominion to them|selues, which it lieth you vpon to see to be quailed and abated.

And in following these your Irish affaires, you are to haue great care and regard, that when so euer you doo march and take anie iourneie, either for the vanquishing of the enimie, or for the reuenging of anie wrongs and iniuries; that you haue alwaies an eie backeward, and leaue all things behind you in such safe and sure order, that no danger thereof doo insue vnto you. For why, the houshold enimies be alwaies wor|king of wiles, and waiting for an aduantage; and doo but looke when time and place may serue for them to rebell: and therefore you are to haue great care and good regard, that you doo leaue all things behind you in safetie, and out of danger: and that you doo not suffer the serpent to lurke and hide himselfe, as it were in your bosome: nor to nourish and rake vp the fire as it were in your lap, the same being readie to breake out into great flames: for this shall not onelie be counted a great retchlesnesse, but also a great fol|lie in you, and to your great reproch. It is verie expedient therefore to euerie prince, that in his land he doo not foster and mainteine anie such Hydras and venemous serpents. And for princes of Ilands, it should be good for them, that they in their dominions and realmes haue in no side anie other marches than the seas it selfe. But if it be so, that you will not be persuaded for anie of the foresaid reasons, to haue re|gard or remorse to your said land, being so oftentimes desolated, and almost vtterlie destroied; that it may be reduced to some better order and state, whereby it may be more profitable to your selfe and vnto yours: then I praie you to pardon vs Welshmen, notwithstanding we be of nature somewhat rash; and giue vs leaue to put you in remembrance touching which your father, for the aduancement of himselfe and of his posteritie, did promise to pope Adrian, when he first procured licence and libertie to inuade and to conquer the realme of Ireland. The first is, that you would set vp the true religion, and reforme the church of God in that realme: and then, as you doo now in England, so also in Ireland, you doo cause to be paied out of euerie house the Peterpence, according to the tenure of the said priuilege by your father obteined, and which remaineth in the treasurie of Winchester; that you maie so deliuer your fathers soule, and satisfie his promise. For why, as Salomon saith: A lieng toong beseemeth not a king, especiallie when he shall liue to God, and being a creature, wittinglie to offend his creator; for that is an offense verie heinous and dangerous.

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