Eudox. Then when you have thus tythed the communalty, as you say, and set Borsolders over them all, what would you doe when you came to the gentlemen? would you holde the same coarse?
Iren. Yea, many, most especially; for this you must know, that all the Irish almost boast themselves to be gentlemen, no lesse then the Welsh; for if he can derive himselfe from the head of any sept, (as most of them can, they are so expert by their Bardes,) then hee holdeth himselfe a gentleman, and thereupon scorneth to worke, or use any hard labour, which hee saith, is the life of a peasant or churle; but thenceforth becommeth either an horse-boy, or a stocah to some kerne, inuring himself to his weapon, and to the gentlemanly trade of stealing, (as they count it.) So that if a gentleman, or any wealthy man yeoman of them, have any children, the eldest of them perhaps shall be kept in some order, but all the rest shall shift for themselves, and fall to this occupation. And moreover it is a common use amongst some of their gentlemens sonnes, that so soone as they are able to use their weapons, they straight gather to themselves three or foure straglers, or kearne, with whom wandring a while up and downe idely the countrey, taking onely meate, hee at last falleth unto some bad occasion that shall be offered, which being once made known, hee is thenceforth counted a man of worth, in whome there is courage ; whereupon there draw to him many other like loose young men, which, stirring him up with incouragement, provoke him shortly to flat rebellion ; and this happens not onely sometimes in the sonnes of their gentle-men, but also of their noble-men, specially of them who have base sonnes. For they are not onely not ashamed to acknowledge them, but also boaste of them, and use them to such secret services, as they themselves will not be seene in, as to plague their enemyes, to spoyle their neighbours, to oppresse and crush some of their owne too stubburne free-holders, which are not tractable to their wills.
The word stocah, as Dr. Johnson observes is probably from the Erse stochk; but it is hardly used by Spenser in the sense of "one who runs at a horseman's foot, or of a horseboy," as the context clearly proves; it may be in that of "an attendant or walletboy." So before: "The strength of all that nation, is the kerne, galloglasse, stocah, horseman, and horseboy, &c." Where the distinction is again preserved. Todd.