Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  A Word of Ireland

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Word of Ireland

By Nathaniel Ward (1578–1652)

[From The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam. 1647.]

  • Not of the Nation universally, nor of any man in it, that hath so much as one hair of Christianity or Humanity growing on his Head or Beard, but only of the truculent Cutthroats, and such as shall take up Arms in their Defence.

  • THESE Irish anciently called Anthropophagi, man-eaters, have a tradition among them, that when the Devil showed our Saviour all the Kingdoms of the Earth and their glory, that he would not show him Ireland, but reserved it for himself; it is probably true, for he hath kept it ever since for his own peculiar; the old Fox foresaw it would eclipse the glory of all the rest. He thought it wisdom to keep the Land for a Boggards for his unclean spirits employed in this Hemisphere, and the people, to do his son and heir, I mean the Pope, that service for which Louis the Eleventh kept his Barber Oliver, which makes them so blood-thirsty. They are the very Offal of men, dregs of mankind, reproach of Christendom, the Bots that crawl on the Beast’s tail, I wonder Rome itself is not ashamed of them.

    I beg upon my hands and knees that the expedition against them may be undertaken while the hearts and hands of our soldiery are hot, to whom I will be bold to say briefly: Happy is he that shall reward them as they have served us, and cursed be he that shall do that work of the Lord negligently. Cursed be he that holdeth back his sword from blood: yea, cursed be he that maketh not his sword stark drunk with Irish blood, that doth not recompense them double for their hellish treachery to the English, that maketh them not heaps upon heaps, and their country a dwelling place for Dragons, an Astonishment to Nations. Let not that eye look for pity, nor that hand to be spared, that pities or spares them, and let him be accursed, that curseth not them bitterly.