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the mere Irish, and disaffection in the settlers; ever treacherously inviting Spain to set her hated foot upon her Highness' land of Ireland, to succour England's enemies.
But the old Tory was not so to be taken. Still raking the Earl's flank, occasionally disputing fords and mountain passes, as both forces drew nigh Castle Conan, Desmond, by paths no armed troops could travel, hurried forward. Instead of strengthening or defending this, his ancestral Home and princely Tower, he thoroughly razed it to the ground; and Essex found a reeking pile os ruins, and a solitary Glen, where he had hoped to meet a chivalrous resistance, and gain a glorious victory!
Now was there no farther obstacle. The army passed through Kerry, where the ground seemed all of stones, rocks being their hedges. And the wild men's houses were beyond all instance wretched, having no chimneys, though they burn turfes, and whinnes, or furze bravely. And there the enemy had been brought to great extremities; nay, some said, to as hard straights as those Jews which the Emperor Titus had besieged, inasmuch as they were constrained to eat dead men's carcasses for very hunger.
And little wonder, for the common sort have no indusKerry and Cork. 133
trious habits, never tilling the ground but under pressure; and, provided they have sufficient just from hand to mouth, they take no further care either of themselves or offspring, so that, when by a raid their cattle be driven off, they must needs starve, having naught laid bye.
And beyond this the land was fertile, and there was store of beeves, and pigs, and prime sheep, from the Blasket Isles off that coast; and for five groats, or two shillings, we bought muttons; and for threepence, hens and little pigs. And the soldiers picked up Chrystals, naturally squared like the diamond, and very clear. A goodly country 'tis.
So we moved on to Cork; and there the children ran up and down the streets utterly naked, and those of a greater age had seldom more than a rag mantle to cover their indecency.
And at Kyle one shewed my Lord the Holy Bell of S. Molua, a pretty toy, in the form of a parallelogram, formed of plates of gold and silver, richly ornamented with precious stones, and inlaid with a bluish metal, like an enamel. It was very curious and goodly; but for the working of miracles by it, 'tis not to be endured. Yet they say the very case of it (which is of iron, the sides rivetted and studded with brass) is meritorious and effective in diseases.
Thence he came to Waterford, purporting now to return to Dublin.
Hitherto prosperity had gone hand in hand with the Earl. He had recovered every fortress which had erst acknowledged the English rule. He had fresh garrisoned and repaired cities and castles, that had become timeworn and weak. He had encouraged the well-affected, overawed the rebellious, punished those in revolt. Necessarily brief and imperfect as had been this military progress, he felt his career had been more effective and better worth than the Queen's arms had yet experienced. And, though there had been nothing congenial to the soldier-ardour of nobles and knights, Englishmen, the success had been so certain and unprecedented, that Essex felt elated at the thought that he had done his duty well, and that her Grace would testify her royal satisfaction, not less than her private gratitude.
He felt like a puissant cavalier who, for the honour of his Ladye-love, had run a tilt against all odds, and yet held his plume erect. Truly he had gone ' a FouteranceJ and he Watersord and Wexford. 135
knelt, hoping, trusting for that smile which was the guerison he sought.
And in this spirit my Lord wrote letters to the Queen and to the Privy Council.
There was, however, yet much to be overcome. From Waterford to Dublin there were but two ways. The one through the Glennes, a mountainous district, utterly impassable even for horses: the other along the sea-coast. Even in this latter route were found those woods, bogs, and scrubs, whence the rebels could and did pursue their wont. Perpetual skirmishing night or day, but little rest for the weary troops. Still, that habit of discipline which the English soldier had now acquired and which Essex was imperaative in keeping up, was a sure support: and thus at Arklow ford, where, in prospect of their quarters, some presumed to hasten carelessly from their ranks, their momentary disorder had proved ruinous to them and the whole power, had not the General, riding on an elevation with William and his train, perceived the enemy spread over bog and plain.
Then was his call to instant arms as instantly obeyed. For the troops knew there was no trifling with so punctual a Marshal. And no sooner was my Lord's plan of defence conceived, than were his regiments ready to sustain their part.
On a sandy plain by the seashore lay the mean village of Arklow. On and about the low hillocks beyond which the enemy's force stood in multitudes, prepared to dispute the passage of that pelting river, then by reason of the tide very full and rapidly flowing. Here the Ovoca stream runneth due east into the sea: but about two miles from its mouth it trendeth north through Glendaleure, where the Lord Deputy Grey had been defeated now twenty years agone, by Phea MacHugh and the Viscount of Baltinglass. Here, too, Sir Peter Carew, running in his armour, which he could not put off, was half smothered and enforced to lie down: whom, when the rebels had taken, they disarmed, when one villain with his sword slaughtered and killed him.
This fastness, for such in truth, by reason of the nature of the ground, the Glen might be called, was as strong as might be: the valley being in the middle of a wood, and of great length between the two inaccessible chains of hills, no other way was there to pass through, than either by the bed of the torrent, which is rocky and full of great slippery stones; or on the banks, which are boggy and soft,