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boolies, grow thereby the more barbarous, and live more licentiously than they could in towns; using what manners they list, and practising what mischiefs and villainies they will, either against the government there by their combinations, or against private men, whom they malign by stealing their goods or murthering themselves: for there they think themselves half-exempted from law and obedience, and having once tasted freedom, do, like a steer that hath been long out of his yoke, grudge and repine ever after to come under rule again.
They have another custom from the Scythians, that is, the wearing of mantles, and long glibbs, which is a thick curled bush of hair hanging down over their eyes, and monstrously disguising them; which are both very bad and hurtful.
• The next [custom] I have to treat of, is the manner of raising the cry in their conflicts, and at other troublesome times of uproar: the which is very natural Scythian, as you may read in Diodorus Siculus, and in Herodotus, describing the manner of the Scythians and Parthians coming to give the charge at battles; at which it is said, that they came running with a terrible yell, as if heaven and earth would have gone together; which is the very image of the Irish Hubbub,' which their kern use at their first encounter. Besides, the same Herodotus writeth, that they used in battles to call upon the names of their captains or generals, and sometimes upon their greatest kings deceased, as in that battle of Tomyris and Cyrus which custom to this day manifestly appeareth amongst the Irish. For, at their joining of battle, they likewise call upon their captain's name, or the word of his ancestors. As they under Oneal
cry, Laundarg-abo, that is, the Bloody Hand,' which is Oneal's badge: they under Obrien call Launlaider, that is, 'the Strong Hand.' And to their ensample the old English also, which there remaineth, have gotten up their cries Scythian-like, as Cromabo, and Butler-abo. And here also lieth open another manifest proof, that the Irish be Scythes or Scots; for in all their encounters, they use one very common word, crying, Ferragh, Ferragh; which is a Scottish word, to wit, the name of one of the first kings of Scotland, called Fergaus, or Fergus, which fought against the Picts (as you may read in Buchanan, De Rebus Scoticis) but as others write, it was long before that, the name of their chief captain, under whom they fought against the Africans; the which was then so fortunate unto them, that ever sithence they have used to call upon his name in their battles.
They use (even to this day) some of the same ceremonies, which the Scythians anciently used. As, for example, you may read in Lucian (in that sweet Dialogue, which is entitled Toraris, or 'Of Friendship') that the common oath of the Scythians was by the Sword and by Fire; for that they accounted those two especial divine powers, which should work vengeance on the perjurers. So do the Irish at this day, when they go to battle, say certain prayers or charms to their swords; making a cross therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the ground, thinking thereby to have the better success in fight. Also, they use commonly to swear by their swords. Also, the Scythians used, when they would bind any solemn vow or combination amongst them, to drink a bowl of blood together, vow
ing thereby to spend their last blood in that quarrel: and even so do the wild Scots, as you may read in Buchanan; and some of the northern Irish. Likewise at the kindling of the fire, and lighting of candles, they say certain prayers, and use some other superstitious rites, which show that they honour the fire and the light: for all those northern nations, having been used to be annoyed with much cold and darkness, are wont therefore to have the fire and the sun in great veneration: like as, contrariwise, the Moors and Egyptians, which are much offended and grieved with extreme heat of the sun, fall to cursing and banning of him as their plague. You may, also, read in the same book (in the tale of Arsacomas) that it was the manner of the Scythians, when any one of them was heavily wronged, and would assemble unto him any forces of people to join with him in his revenge, to sit in some public place on certain days upon an ox-hide; to which there would resort all such persons as, being disposed to take arms, would enter into his pay, or join with him in his quarrel. And the same you may, likewise, read to have been the ancient manner of the wild Scots, which are indeed the very natural Irish. Moreover, the Scythians used to swear by their King's Hand, as Olaus showeth. And so do the Irish use now to swear by their Lord's Hand, and to forswear it, hold more criminal than to swear by God. Also the Scythians said, that they were once a year turned into wolves, and so is it written of the Irish: though Master Camden in a better sense doth suppose it was a disease, called 'Lycanthropia,' so named of the wolf. And yet some of the Irish do use to make the wolf their gossip. The Scythians used also to seeth the flesh in the hide;
and so do the northern Irish. The Scythians used to draw the blood of the beast living, and to make meat thereof, and so do the Irish in the north still. Many such customs I could recount unto you, as of their old manner of marrying, of burying, of dancing, of singing, of feasting, of cursing (though Christians have wiped out the most part of them) by resemblance whereof, it might plainly appear to you, that the nations are the same; but that by the reckoning of these few, which I have told unto you, I find my speech drawn out to a greater length than I purposed. Thus much only for this time, I hope, shall suffice you, to think that the Irish are anciently deduced from the Scythians.
Eudor. But have you (I pray you) observed any such customs amongst them, brought likewise from the Spaniards or Gauls, as those from the Scythians? That may, sure, be very material to your first purpose.
• Iren. Some perhaps I have, and who that will by this occasion more diligently mark and compare their customs, shall find many more. But there are fewer remaining of the Gauls or Spaniards, than of the Scythians; by reason that the parts which they then possessed, lying upon the coast of the western and southern sea, were sithence visited with strangers and foreign people, repairing thither for traffic, and for fishing, which is very plentiful upon those coasts: for the trade and inter-deal of sea-coast nations one with another worketh more civility and good fashions (all seamen being naturally desirous of new fashions) than among the inland folk, which are seldom seen of foreigners; yet some of such as I have noted, I will recount unto you.
And first I will, for the better credit of the rest, show
you one out of their statutes, among which it is enacted, that no man shall wear his beard, only on his upper lip, shaving all his chin. And this was the ancient manner of the Spaniards, as yet it is of all the Mahometans, to cut off all their beards close, save only their muschachois, which they wear long. And the cause of this use was, for that they being bred in a hot country, found much hair on their faces and other parts to be noyous unto them; for which cause they did cut it most away: like as, contrarily, all other nations brought up in cold countries do use to nourish their hair, to keep them the warmer; which was the cause that the Scythians and Scots wore glibbs (as I showed you) to keep their heads warm, and long beards to defend their faces from cold. From them also (I think) came saffron shirts and smocks, which were devised by them in those hot countries, where saffron is very common and rife, for avoiding that evil which cometh by much sweating and long wearing of linen. Also the women amongst the old Spaniards had the charge of all household affairs, both at home and abroad (as Boëmus writeth), though now the Spaniards use it quite otherwise: and so have the Irish women the trust and care of all things, both at home and in the field. Likewise, round leather targets is the Spanish fashion, who used it (for the most part) painted, which in Ireland they use also, in many places, coloured after their rude fashion. Moreover, the manner of their women's riding on the wrong side of the horse, I mean with their faces toward the right side, as the Irish use, is (as they say) old Spanish, and some say African; for, among them, the women (they say) used so to ride. Also the deep