Thursday, April 24, 2008

The English Irish Soludier, 1642

Typical anti-Irish invective in this broadside, but the picture is too hilarious to pass up. The poem shows us how the Irish soldier would "rather eat than fight," and if he does fight in England's wars it's only so that he can pillage. He got some pretty sweet stuff though: a pot that doubles as a cool helmet, two fowls, a "bandaleer" of canary bottles (wine), sausages, and an artichoke. The final stanza suggests that if it weren't for all the stealing and booze, you'd never get the Irish to commit to anything. I know I couldn't pass up a good artichoke if I saw one just lying around after a battle.

Really, the more I think about it, the more I realize that pillaging is one of the only reasons I'd enter into military service. To be fair, the whole idea of stealing post-battle was one of the main recruitment tools for potential Medieval and Renaissance soldiers. Our military men are really getting a raw deal when compared to mercenaries of yore...what happened to all the perks of fighting foreign wars? Anyone remember all of those Crusades? All those wars with the Turks? Now that was the time to be battling Saracens! Those guys got all kinds of good stuff. I think this poster could reopen that particular recruitment tool. Say goodbye to boring, accusatory Uncle Sam and hello to Uncle Paddy McDrukenthief! Where do I sign up?


Doug said...

Didn't we at least steal that sweet Saddam statue? What happened to that thing?
Personally, I think they should have broken it up and sold pieces of it. Remember when you could but pieces of the Berlin wall at Wal-Mart? It would have been a lot like that, only with fewer pieces (and more Wal-Marts)

Also, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with this poster: Everyone knows the Irish love to fight! I mean, I know they specialize in bare-knuckles combat, but still...

Sarah Redmond said...

I know what you mean about the "Fightin' Irish," but that seems like a 19th century / Irish immigrant identity. In the 16th-17th centuries, the English seemed to view the Irish as barely human. And always hungry. But they never seem to make the connection between their own theft of Irish lands and the barely subsisting local population. Same difference, right?

And what DID happen to that Saddam statue? What a missed opportunity.

M Foster-Campbell said...

The composition of this print reminds me of one by Anton Woensam, called "The Wise Woman" (one that you could probably have loads of fun with on LOL MSS!)

I love your blog!