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From the Image of Irelande

FromThe Image of Irelande

1581

John Derricke

Little is known of John Derricke, who was apparently connected to Sir Henry Sidney, and possibly a friend of his son Philip, to whom this work is dedicated. It lavishes considerable praise on Sir Henry's abilities and may have been intended to win him favor at court. In this poem he describes the Irish woodkern (here "Karne") or soldier, though it probably represents his view of the native, or "wild," Irish.

SEE ALSO English Writing on Ireland before 1800

From Part One.

of feathered foules,
there breeds the cheef of all:
A mightie foule, a goodlie birde,
whom men doe Eagle call.
This builde her nast in highest toppe,
of all the Oken tree:
Or in the craftiest place, whereof
in Irelande many bee.
Not in the bounds of Englishe pale,
whiche is a ciuill place:
But in the Deuills Arse, a Peake,
where Rebells moste imbrace.
For as this foule and all the reste,
are wilde by Natures Kinde:
So do thei kepe in wildest nokes
and there men doe them finde.
For like to like the Proverbe saith,
the Leopard with the Beare:
Doth live in midst of desarts rude
and none doeth other feare.
For as the Irishe Karne be wilde,
in manners and in fashion:
So does these foules enhabite, with
that crooked generation.
Yet when as thei are taken yong,
(though wilde thei be by kinde:)
Entrusted through the fauconers lure,
by triall good I find.
That thei come as twere at becke,
and when as thei doe call:
She scarce will stint on twige or bowe,
till on his fiste she fall.
Thus thei obey their tutors hestes
and doe degenerate:
from wildnesse that belonged to,
their fore possessed state.
But Irishe Karne unlike these foules,
in burthe and high degree:
No chaunglyngs are thei love nowhit,
In civil state to bee.
Thei passe not for ciuilitie,
Nor care for wisdomes lore:
Sinne is their cheef felicitie,
whereof thei have the store.
And if perhappes a little Ape,
be taken from the henne:
And brought from Boggs to champion ground,
such thyngs happe now and then.
Yea though thei were in Courte trained up,
and yeres there lived tenne:
Yet doe thei loke to shaking boggs,
scarce provying honest menne.
And when as thei have wonne the Boggs,
suche vertue hath that grounde:
that they are wurse than wildest Karne,
And more in sinne abounde.

From Part Two.

Though that the royall soyle,
and fertill Irishe grounde:
With thousande sondrie pleasaunt thynges,
moste nobly doe abounde.
Though that the lande be free,
from vipers generation:
As in the former parte I made,
a perfecte declaration.
Though that the yearth I saie,
be bliste with heauenly thyngs:
And though tis like the fragrant flowre,
in pleasante Maie that springs.
Yet when I did beholde,
those whiche possesse the same:
Their manners lothsome to be told,
as yrksome for to name.
I mervuailede in my mynde,
and thereupon did muse:
Too see a Bride it is the Soile,
the Bridegrome is the Karne.

Reprinted in Strangers to That Land: British Perceptions of Ireland from the Reformation to the Famine, edited by Andrew Hadfield and John McVeagh (1994), pp. 41–43.

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