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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part II. History of Thomond
Chapter 28

The Journal of Thomas Dineley, 1681



Percivall Armor; Nature of Horses

A mile distant from Six mile Bridg [7], on the other side the river from hence, is an Estate lately purchased from Mr. Tiege O’Brien [8], by a very worthy Gentleman, Mr. Hugh Percivall [9], who beareth for Coat Armor this. [Here in the MS. is a drawing of the shield described.]

Sable, a Horse passant Argent, Spanceled on both leggs of the neerer side Gules, by the name of Percivall. Yet the vulgar and most usuall way of spanceling, not onely of Horses, but black Cattle, viz., Cows, &c., in this Countrey, is by joining ther fore leggs together by Gads or Withs twisted. And by this ye horse cannot move or gain ever so little ground but by a galloping step, jump, or stretch. Now, an Horse by his nature is rather won to this by tractable usage than forced, for such is the horses brisk and sprightly nature, and of all other noble spirited animals, that to bring them to conformity must be rather by gentell handling than severity, according to the true saying of ‘Seneca, Generosus animus facilius ducitur quam trahitur.’ For it is with the irrational animals as with the rational, who are rather drawn by the Ears than by the Cloak. That is, they are sooner won by perswasion, than forced by compulsion, wch being taken in this sence, the imposition of this artificial note of restraint doth no way derogate from ye worth of the bearer. It is observed of the Horse (as also of other whole footed beasts), that their leggs are at the first as long as ever the will be, and therefore yong foales scratch their Ears with their hinder foot, which after they cannot do, because their legs do grow onely in bigness but not in length. Plin. lib. ii., cap. 48. the Horse is a beast naturally stubborn, fierce, HAUTY, proud, and insolent; and of all beasts there is none that vaunteth more after Victory, or dejected if overcome; none more prone in battell or desirous of revenge.

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