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teaching the word of God. And I assure you, it is a presumption for any prowd prelate to come where such matters are to be done, for it is contrary to his religion.' And so, O'Connor asked the Earl, what he would do with the judges and men of law in his company. 'Wee have no matters of pleading, nor matters of arguments, nor matter to debate, nor to be discussed by pen and ink, but by the bow, speare, and sword, and the valiant host of gentlemen and men of warr, by their fierce and lofty doings; and not by the simple, sorry, weak and doubtful stomachs of learned men, for I never saw those that were learned ever give good counsaile in matters of warr. For they were alway doubting, staying, or persuading men, in frivolous and uncertain words, that Hector or Lancelot's doings. Away with them, they are overbold to press among this company, for our matter is to be decided by valiant and stout stomachs of prudent and wise men of warr, practised in the same faculty, and not matters of law, nor matters of religion.' The Baron of Delvin, called Richard, said, his learning was not such that with a glorious tale he could utter his stomach ; ' but I promise to God and to the Prince, I shall be the first that shall throw the first speare among the Irish in this battle. Let him speak now that will, for I have done.' The lord of Gormanston said, that it was good to be advised what was to be done; 'for, after a good advisement, there shall come a good end, for a hasty man never lacked woe. Let us understand the matter ere we take the weighty matter in hand; for many perills may fall unless wee take the better hold thereof. Let us understand the quarrell again, and debate the matter whether we shall proceed or no ere wee begin; and let the King be privy to this weighty and uncertain enterprise, for wee may put the whole realm in hazard if wee speed not well, for I understand that they are many against us, and this is so much as I at this time mean to say.'
"This counsaill was at three of the clock in the afternoon before the day of battle, then within a few miles from the field appointed. Sir Nicholas, lord of Houth, sayd, 'The sayings of O'Neill and O'Connor are not to be disallowed, let it be as they have said. And my lord of Gormanston's opinion is good, so it had been spoke before our coming to the field; and for that, here is my opinion, seeing the time is short:' for at this time appeared upon a hill above two hundred horsemen. Whereunto Gerot, the Earl's son, would have been at them, and asked of the counsell to go to them; but the lords of the councell said that none should go until they had gone all; and, so staid this lusty and worthy gentleman, at which young Gerot was very sorry,, as though he never should have his fill of fighting. 'Well,' said the Lord of Howth, 'to answer the Lord of Gormanston, this matter was determined before we came hither deliberately by the councill, and if it were not, the time is not now to argue the case, our enemies being in sight; and for the displeasure of our Prince, if wee win this battle. as I am sure we shall, though the King frown a little with his countenance, his heart will rejoice. And admit he will be offended upon losing this field, he that shall live let him beare the blame or burthen, as for my part I am assured to win this battle or to loose my life, and then all the world is gone with me, vayell que vayell pourya, for I will be afoot in the wayward that day myself. But to the matter. Let us send away our sons and heires to revenge our quarrell, if need so require; and prescribe our battles in perfect order this night, that every man shall know to-morrow his charge. For it is not when we shall go to fight, that we should be troubled with discussing the matter.'
"'Well,' sayed the Earle, ' my dear cousin, you have well spoken; be it as you now have said.' 'No,' said young Gerot the Earl's son, 'by God's blood I will not go hence? and leave so many of my friends in battle, for I mean to live and die among you.' 'All well,' said the Lord of Houth, 'boy, thou speakest natural, for ever this kind is such from this first generation, and first coming into Ireland, so thou art to be boxrn withall, thou worthy gentleman and lyon's heart.' The lords of Killeen and Trimelston thought the number of Irishmen to be very great, as they were certainly informed by certain spies, which brought them word, that the number of the English side were not the sixth man to a man; and said in plain terms, 'that a good giving back were better than an evill standing, and in further time better provision might be made to serve such a turn.' 'It is well spoken,' said the Baron of Slane, and Lord of Dunsany. 'Good God,' said the Lord of Houth, 'by our Lady that is blessed in the north church of Houth, you four might have spoken those words in some other ground than this is, and our enemies now being in sight, and the night at hand.' "'Well,' said the Earl, 'call me the Captain of the Gallowglass, for he and his shall begin this game, for it is less fair of them four, than it is of our younger men.' 'I am glad, said the Captain, 'you can do me no more honour;' and took his axe in his hand and began to flourish. 'No,' said the Lord of Houth, 'I will be the beginner of this dance, and my kinsmen and friends; for we will not hazard our English good upon the Irish blood. Howbeit it is well spoken by the Captaine of the Gallowglass, nor shall they not be mixed among us.' Then all things was according to the matter prepared; the bowmen put in two wings, of which the Lord of Gormanston and Killeen had the charge, being good men that day. The bill-men in the main battle, of which the Lord of Houth was leader; and in the wayward himself. The Gallowglass and the Irish in another quarter. The horsemen on the left side the battle, under the guiding of the worthy Baron of Delvin, by reason there was a little wall of two foot high of the other side the battle, which would somewhat have troubled the horse. After all things put in order, they went to
supper, supper, and after, their lodging to rest the residue of the night. The ground was appointed, and all such things as were necessary for such a purpose.
"At midnight, a horseman came from the Irish camp to the Earl, and willed him to get him away, and save his life; and said, it was but folly to fight. For this man was, afore this time, a horse-boy to the Earl, and gave him first horses. The Earl came incontinent to the Lord of Houth, being in a sound sleep, to tell it him, and a long while he was e're he could wake him, for he called upon him divers times; at which the Earl marvelled, for he could not awake him by his voice, he slept so sound: and at length he awoke by stirring of him, and blamed him, who answered, that all things before were determined in his mind, and so nothing else in his mind to trouble him but sleepe. 'For it must be ours or theirs,' said the Lord of Houth, 'therefore my mind is settled, but before this I could not rest well.' 'Well,' said the Earl, 'how is the business? This man is come to me as a trusty friend,' and so told the whole matter, as he told the Earl before. 'Well,' said the Lord of Houth, 'suffer him to pass, and I pray you tell this tale to no more, for it will rather do harm than good.' And with that he arose and incontinent after the day appeared. And so they went and prepared themselves in good order of battle, and did appoint young Gerot, a valiant young gentleman, with a choice company for reliefe; fearing so great a number of enemies would inclose them about, being far less in number than the Irish, as O'Kelly, Mc William, O'Brene, and the rest.
"All that night was watching, and drinking, and playing at cards, who should have this prisoner or that prisoner, and thus they passed the night over; and at morrow they prepared for battle, in such order as their custom was. They sett forward their Gallowglass and footmen in one main battle, and all their horse on their left side, and so came on. The Earl of Kildare, after his battle set, willed that they should stand within that little wall of two foot high, that was made afore by those that dwelt there for safeguard of their horses; and rode upon a black horse, and made this oration:
"'My friends and kinsmen, I say to you that here is against us a great number of people, without weapons; for a great number of them have but one speare and a knife, without wisdom or good order, they march to battle as drunken as swine to a trough, which makes them more rash and foolish men, than wise and valiant. Remember all that wee have done rests upon this day's service; and also the honour of our Prince, and remember how we are in a country unknown to the most number of us, and farr from our townes and castles.' The Earl did not well finish these words, when they heard three great cries that disturbed his oration. A company of tall worthy gentlemen being in the fore part of the English battle, amongst all was
Hollywood Hollywood of Artain, which seldom heard the like. 'What meaneth this cry,' said he, 'do they think that we are crows that we will fly with crying;' and sware by the holy St. Nicholas that blesses Artain, 'they shall find us men ere we depart.' With that, the Irish gallowglass came on, to whom the English archers lent such a shower of arrows, that their weapons and their hands were fastened together. Mc Swine, captain of the Irish gallowglass, came foremost, and asked where was great Darcy? Darcy answered that he was at hand, which he should well understand. With that, Mc Swine struck Darcy such a blow upon the helmet that he put him upon his knees. With that, Nangle, Baron of the Nowan, being a lusty gentleman, that day gave Mc Swine such payment, that he was satisfied ever after. They fought terrible and bould awhile. The Irish fled, among whom there came a horseman running among the English, and asked who had the Earl of Kildare and the rest of the lords of the English Pale prisoners. With that one Skynvors [Squyvors in another copy], a souldier out of Dublin, struck him with a gun, with both his hands, and so let out his brains. The young Gerot this time being left for reliefe, seeing the battle join, could not stand still to wait his time, as he was appointed by the Earl his father, but set on with the foremost, in such sort that no man alive could do better with his own hands, than he did that day, for manhood of a man. But by reason of his hastyness not tarrying in the place appointed, all the English carriage was taken by the Irish horse, and a few of the English gentlemen taken prisoners that was on that side the battle. When the battle was done, and a great number of Irish slain, as it was reported nine thousand, the Lord of Gormanston said to the Earl, 'Wee have done one good work, and if wee do the other wee should do well.' Being asked what he meant, sayed he, 'wee have, for the most number, killed our enemies; and if wee do the like with all the Irishmen that wee have with us, it were a good deed.'
"This battle was fought the 19th day of August, 1504, at Knocktow, which is from Galway 5 miles. The hill is not high but a great plain. The greatest of the Irish was Bichard Burke, father to Ulick ne Kyen. Mc William Eytragh, that is also of the Bourkes, at this time was with the EarL The O'Briens was with Mc William. The Baron of Delvin, a little before the joining of the battle, took his horse with his spurs, and threw a small spear among the Irish, and slew by chance one of the Bourkes, and returned. The Earl said to him that he kept promise well, and well did and worthy, saving that after his throw he retired back. After, they went to Galway, where the Irish gathered again, and said they would give to the Earl another field; but they durst not ever fight a battle with the English Pale. The Earl bestowed 30 tun of wine among the army. There was a sore fight after between Mc William east, and McWilliam of the west. By reason at that field aforesaid, they held not together;
IBISH ARCH. SOC. NO. 15. X but
but he of the east had the worse. The Earl of Kildare was made knight of the garter, after the fight of Knocktow."
The foregoing description of the celebrated "field of Knocktoe," in the old historical romance style, was apparently penned by a friend or retainer of the Howth family (probably some troubadour of the Pale), who flattered his patrons, but perverted the truth. That the narrator was ignorant of many leading facts connected with the subject, or that he has wilfully misrepresented them, appears from contemporaneous evidence of the highest authority. Thus, he has described the Anglo-Norman Clanrickard as a mere Irishman; and has next asserted that "O'Neill" was engaged in the battle, on the side of the lord deputy; but the contrary of this is recorded in the Annals of Ulster, A.D. 1504. Thither (to Knocktow) "went O'Donnel, O'Reilly, Mac Mahon, O'Farrell, O'Connor Faly, and all the Gaedhil of Leath Chuinn, excepting O'Neill, (done,—7 Jueoil leiee Cuinn uile, ace mao O'Neill amain." See the copy of these Annals in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Ware reduces the number of slain at Knocktow, from nine thousand to two thousand.—Annals, A. D. 1504. The speeches attributed to the leaders, and the night scene between Howth and Kildare, are all imaginary, and well adapted for dramatic representation.
The Book of Howth, from which the narrative has been taken, is a miscellaneous compilation of the sixteenth century; supposed to have been made for Christopher, the blind Baron of Howth, who died A. D. 1589; and who was grandson of that "lord of Howth," who is said to have performed so conspicuous a part in the battle. This book, for more than a century past, was supposed to be lost, but it has been recently discovered by Mr. O'Donovan, among the Carew MSS. preserved in the library of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth, London, where it lay catalogued under a wrong title. The recovery of this book may be useful, if only to expose the origin of those fables, which Hanmer, Stanihurst, Cox, Leland, and other writers have advanced as true historical facts. From it, Hanmer published his accounts of Sir John De Courcy, and Sir Armoric St. Lawrence, ancestor of the Howth family. It likewise appears to have been consulted by Ussher and Ware. See the MS. F. 4, 4, Trinity College Library, Dublin. Also F. 4, 30, for "Extracts out of the Book of Howth, penes Thomas Stafford, Esq., very false in many particulars." By those best acquainted with our records and history, it has never been considered of authority, nor held in any other light than as a compilation of Anglo-Irish fables, invented to flatter and amuse the inhabitants of the Pale.
NOTE C. See page 3, note '. "Enachdun." In the sixth century, Aodha, the son of Eochy Tirmcharna, King of Connaught, bestowed Enachdun on God and Breanuinn (St Brendan of Clonfert), "Gooa mac