THE BATTLE OF AUGHRIM
“That was a great slaughter at Aughrim. St. Ruth wanted to do all himself, he being a foreigner. He gave no plan of the battle to Sarsfield, but a written command to stop where he was, and Sarsfield knew no more than yourself or myself in the evening before it happened. It was Colonel Merell’s wife bade him not go to the battle, where she knew it would go bad with him through a dream. But he said that meant that he would be crowned, and he went out and was killed. That is what the poem says:
If Caesar listened to Calpurnia’s
He had not been by Pompey’s statue slain.
All great men gave attention to dreams, though the Church is against them now. It is written in Scripture that Joseph gave attention to his dream. But Colonel Merell did not, and so he went to his death. Aughrim would have been won if it wasn’t for the drink. There was too much of it given to the Irish soldiers that day—drink and spies and traitors. The English never won a battle in Ireland in fair fight, but getting spies and setting the people against one another. I saw where Aughrim was fought, and I turned aside from the road to see the tree where St Ruth was killed. The half of it is gone like snuff. That was spies too, a Colonel’s daughter that told the English in what place St. Ruth would be washing himself at six o’clock in the morning. And it was there he was shot by one O’Donnell, an Englishman. He shot him from six miles off. The Danes were dancing in the raths around Aughrim the night after the battle. Their ancestors were driven out of Ireland before; and they were glad when they saw those that had put them out put out themselves, and every one of them skivered.”
[Illustration: William III]
“As to the Stuarts, there are no songs about them and no praises in the West, whatever there may be in the South. Why would there, and they running away and leaving the country the way they did? And what good did they ever do it? James the Second was a coward. Why didn’t he go into the thick of the battle like the Prince of Orange? He stopped on a hill three miles away, and rode off to Dublin, bringing the best of his troops with him. There was a lady walking in the street at Dublin when he got there, and he told her the battle was lost, and she said ’Faith you made good haste; you made no delay on the road.’ So he said no more after that. The people liked James well enough before he ran; they didn’t like him after that.”
“Seumus Salach, Dirty James, it is he brought all down. At the time of the battle there was one of his men said, ’I have my eye cocked, and all the nations will be done away with,’ and he pointing his cannon. ‘Oh!’ said James, ‘Don’t make a widow of my daughter.’ If he didn’t say that, the English would have been beat. It was a very poor thing for him to do.”