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?