The Holinshed Project

Holinshed Project Home

The Texts

Previous | Next

10.5. The conspiracie of Rothorike mo|narch of Ireland, and of the residue of the princes against Mac Mo|rogh and Fitzstephans. Chap. 5.

The conspiracie of Rothorike mo|narch of Ireland, and of the residue of the princes against Mac Mo|rogh and Fitzstephans. Chap. 5.

IN the meane time the wheele of fortune is turned vpside downe, and they which before séemed to stand aloft, are now afraid of sli|ding: and they which were on high, in perill now to fall. For assoone as it was noised through the whole land of the good successe of Dermon, and of the comming in of strangers into the land, and whereof they were much afraid: Rothorike prince of (1) Co|nagh, and (2) monarch of the whole land, coniectu|ring how of small things great doo grow; and consi|dering that by the comming in of strangers, the whole land was in some perill; sendeth abrode his messengers, and summoneth a parlement of the whole land: who being assembled, and the matter at full debated, they doo with one voice and consent con|clude and determine to make open warres, and to giue the battell vnto Mac Morogh. And foorthwith e|uerie man hauing made readie both men and armor to his vtter most power, doo ioine all their forces and strengths togither, and with maine and strength doo inuade the countrie of Okensile in Leinster.

Dermon Mac Morogh in this distresse was som|what disquieted, and in a great perplexitie; partlie bicause some of his (but glosing) fréends distrusting the sequele, did shrinke from him, & hid themselues: some of them most traitorouslie, contrarie to their oth and promise, were fled to his enimies: and so in this his distresse he had verie few fréends, sauing on|lie Robert Fitzstephans and the Englishmen with him. He therefore with such companie as he had, went vnto a certeine place not farre from Fernes, which was compassed and inuironed round about with great thicke woods, high stikle hilles, and with bogs and waters; a place so strong of it selfe, as it was in a maner inaccessible, and not to be entred int [...]. And as soone as they were entred into the same, they foorthwith by the aduise of Fitzstephans (3) did fell downe trées, plashed the wood, cast great tren|ches and ditches round about, and made it so strict, narrow, crooked, and strong, that there was no pas|sage nor entrie for the enimie: and yet by their art and industrie it was made much more strong.

(1) Conagh, in Latine Conacia, is one of the fiue portions of the land, according to the ancient diuisi|on. In it are thirtie cantreds or baronies; and before and vntill the conquest they were vnder the gouern|ment of the sept of the O Conners, the eldest man of which sept by the Irish law was ouer the prince: but at the conquest it was giuen to certeine noble men of England, & by certeine descents it came to sir Walter de Burgo, who was lord of that whole prouince and earle of Wolster. From these Burghs descend the Burghs now being in Conagh, they being of a base line, and first were put onlie in trust to kéepe that countrie to the vse of their lords, who then dwelled and remained in England. This coun|trie lieth betwéene Ulster in the north, Mounster in EEBO page image 8 the south, and the seas in the west. The cheefest and onelie merchant towne or emporium thereof is Gallowaie.

(2) There was alwaies one principall gouernor among the Irish, whom they named a monarch; and he was commonlie either of the Mac Carthies in Mounster, or of the Moreghs in Leinster, or of the O Connors in Connagh, as this Rothorike was. He was elected & chosen by the common consent of all the nobilitie of the land: & being once chosen, all they did homage and fealtie vnto him. The pro|uince of Meth, which was the least of the fiue seue|rall portions, was reserued alwais vnto him for his diet. For though the Omolaghlins did dwell in M [...]th, and were great inheritors or possessioners there, yet they were not counted for princes as the o|ther were. This monarch did gouerne the whole land vniuersallie, & all the princes were directed by him: in him it laie whether it should be peace or warre; and what he commanded was alwaies doone.

(3) The maner of the Irishrie is to kéepe them selues from force of the enimies, or in the bogs, or in the woods: the one of his nature is so strong as no horsseman is to aduenture into the same; the other with industrie they make strong, by felling of trées & plashing of the woods; and by these means the horsse|man (in whom is all the strength of their warres) can haue no passage nor entrie to the enimie, but must either retire, or go on foot, or séeke some other wa [...]e. If they will and must néeds passe that waie, they must of necessitie go on foot, and then they are too weake, and easilie to be ouercome by the Kernes, whose seruice is onelie on foot: therefore they doo chéefelie kéepe themselues in such places, as where they can take the aduantage of others, and not o|thers of them.

10.6. The description of Dermon Mac Mo|rogh, and of the message of Rothorike O Connor sent vnto him for peace. Cap. 6.

The description of Dermon Mac Mo|rogh, and of the message of Rothorike O Connor sent vnto him for peace. Cap. 6.

DErmon Mac Morogh was a tall man of stature, and of a large and great bodie, a valiant and a bold warrior in his nation: and by reason of his continuall ha|lowing and crieng his voice was hoarse: he rather chose and desired to be feared than to be loued: a great oppressor of his nobilitie, but a great aduancer of the p [...]re and weake. To his owne people he was rough and greeuous, and hatefull vnto strangers; he would be against all men, and all men against him. Rothorike minding to attempt anie waie what soe|uer, rather than to aduenture and wage the battell, sendeth first his messengers with great presents vn|to Fitzstephans, to persuade and intreat him: that for so much as he made no chalenge nor title to the land, that he would quietlie, and in peace returne home againe into his owne countrie, but it auailed not. Then they went vnto Mac Morogh himselfe, & persuaded him to take part with Rothorike, and to ioine both their forces and armies in one, and then with might and maine to giue the onset vpon the strangers, and so vtterlie to destroie them. And in this dooing he should haue Rothorike to his good freend, and all Leinster in rest and quietnesse: manie reasons also they alledged concerning their countrie and nation; but all was to no purpose.

10.7. The speeches and oration which Rothorike O Connor made vnto his soldiors. Chap. 7.

The speeches and oration which Rothorike O Connor made vnto his soldiors. Chap. 7.

ROthorike O Connor, seeing that by those his deuises and practises he could doo no good at all, and thinking that for somuch as he could not auaile with words, he with force and armes, as his last remedie and helpe, pre|pareth his armor, and maketh for the battell: and as|sembling his people togither, maketh vnto 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 sa|tisfie and more effectuallie accomplish his malice, which otherwise by no means be 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 sauereigntie & dominion ouer vs all, protesting and openlie affirming, that by a certeine fatall desti|nie 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 cru|ell than euer was beast! f [...] to satisfie his insatiable malice, and to be auenged with the bloudsheding of his owne people, be spareth neither himselfe, nor his countrie, [...]. This is he who is a most cruell ty|rant ouer his owne people: this is he who with the force and helpe of strangers useth all force and cru|eltie 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 ouer throwen & 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 wa [...]ed & became am|bitious, & would be a sole monarch, & haue the whole gouernement in himselfe, then discord was raised, & debate was rife, & by that me [...]es all Italie was fil|led with mur [...]hers and slaughters. (3) The Britons being at discord [...] their [...] [...]cured Eurmun|dus, who then was a te [...]ror to all the ocean I [...]es, that he with the Satons should pursue and make wars vpon their king, who so did [...] [...]ut in the end to their owne confusion and destr [...]on. Likewise not long after (4) [...] us the French king, being an e|nimie to his owne people, and at discord with them, he procured the said [...] to and and helpe him to subdue his people, who so did, but thereof to had but bad succe, Wherfore let vs with [...]ne mind like to these Frenchmen stand [...]outlie to the defense of our countrie, and couragi [...] giue the onset vpon our enimies. And whiles these strangers be but few in number, let vs lustilie [...]ue out vpon them: for [...] while [...] [...] in sparkles is s [...]ne couered, but EEBO page image 9 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 hardlie to be cured. We there|fore, who are to defend our countrie and libertie, and to leaue to our posteritie an immortall fame: let vs valiantlie, 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 anie more. Whervpon Cas|sibelan 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 Lon|don (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 tribu|tarie.

(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 dis|pleasure 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 hate|full both to God and man: and his subiects not abi|ding 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 en|tered 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 re|fuge and succour. And thus though they were reuen|ged of their king, yet they themselues in the end felt the smart thereof: for they were all destroied or bani|shed: 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 o|uer into France, where he had but an euill successe: for there was he slaine, Isembert ouerthrowne and the French nation preuailed. And herevpon Rotho|rike taketh an occasion to incourage his people to stand to their tackle, and valiantlie to withstand Mac Morogh, who as Isembert had procured in Gur|mundus; so had he flocked in Englishmen to ouer|run his countrie.

Previous | Next