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The aforesaid army divided into two parts. One body of them went into East France, and the other coming to Britain entered Kent, where they besieged a city called in Saxon Hrofceastre and situated on the eastern bank of the river Medway. Before the gate of the town the pagans suddenly erected a strong fortress, but yet they were unable to take the city, because the citizens defended themselves bravely, until king Alfred came up to help them with a large army. Then the pagans abandoned their fortress, and all their horses which they had brought with them out of France, and leaving behind them in the fortress the greater part of their prisoners, on the arrival of the king, fled immediately to their ships, and the Saxons immediately seized on the prisoners and horses left by the pagans; and so the pagans, compelled by stern necessity, returned the same summer to France. In the same year Alfred,

Huntingdon

1 In the 14th year of king Alfred, part of the army which was in Gaul, came to Rochester: and besieging the city, began to make there another fortress: but at the king's approach, they fled to their ships and crossed the

sea.

CHARTERS IN 885. ALFRED king of Wessex, II, 112. It is withyear between 880 and 885.

out a date, and is referred to some

armament from Kent to

East-Anglia:

3 Who,when they had come to Stour-mouth, meeting 16 ships of the Wickings, de

feated them in battle.

king of the Anglo-Saxons, led 2 But king Alfred sent a naval his fleet, full of fighting men, out of Kent to the country of the East Angles, for the sake of plunder; and when they had arrived at the mouth of the river Stour, immediately sixteen ships of the pagans met them prepared for battle; a fierce fight ensued, and all the pagans, after a brave resistance, were slain; and all the ships, with all their money, were taken. After this while the royal fleet was returning, the pagans, who lived in the

eastern part of England,

assembled their ships, met the same royal fleet at sea in the mouth of the same river, and after a naval battle, the pagans gained the victory.

4 But, as they returned victorious and laden with spoils, they met a great host of the Wickings, and engaging in battle with them were defeated.

Carloman, king of the West- 5 The same year a boar slew ern Franks, whilst hunting Charles king of France, son Essays

11

Simeon

2 That unworthy army divided itself into two bodies. One of them went into EastFrance, the other coming into Britain went into Kent [to a city] which is called Rofecester.

3 Before its gate the pagans made a castle, and yet could not reduce the city; for its citizens defended themselves manfully, until king Elfred. the defender of all the kingdom came up with a great army. On the arrival of the king, the Danes at once flee to their ships smitten with fear, leaving their fortress and the horses which they had brought with them from France, and the captives which they had taken from France of the same nation.

4 At the same time and in the same year, that same armipotent king directed his fleet full of warriors from Kent to the East-Angies. And when he was come to the mouth of the river Sture, immediately 13 ships of the pagans, prepared for battle, met them, and fighting bravely on both sides, all the pagans were slain, and all the ships and money taken.

5 But those of the Danes who were able to flee, collected their ships from all sides into one, and having joined in a sea-fight with the English, whilst they were sleeping in a lazy slumber, they [i. e. THE ENGLISH] were slain, an unarmed multitude: to whom may well be applied that which we read: "Many shut their eyes, when they ought to be seeing."

Saron Chronicle

by a wild boar; and one year before this, his brother died: he too had the western kingdom and they were both sons of Louis, who likewise had the western kingdom, and died that year when the sun was eclipsed: he was son of Charles whose daughter Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, had for his

queen.

14 And that same year a large fleet drew together against the Old-Saxons; and there was a great battle twice in that year, and the Saxons had the victory, and the Frisians were there with them.

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year.

the wild boar, was miserably before the revolution of one killed by a large animal of that species, which inflicted a dreadful wound on him with

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15 That same year Charles succeeded to the western kingdom, and to all the kingdom on this side the Wendel sea, and beyond this sea, in like manner as his greatgrand-father had it, with the exception of the Lid-wiccas. Charles was Louis's son; Louis was Charles's brother, who was father of Judith, whom king Ethelwulf had; and they were sons of Louis, Louis was son of the elder Charles, Charles was Pippin's

son.

The words in brackets are supplied from the Annals.

And that same year the army in the East-Anglia broke the peace with king Ælfred.

9 In the same year also, Charles, king of the Almains, received, with universal consent, all the territories which lie between the Tyrrhenian sea and that gulf which runs between the old Saxons and the Gauls, except the king

dom of Armorica. This Charles was the son of king Louis, who was brother of Charles, king of the Franks, father of the aforesaid queen Judith; these two brothers were sons of Louis, but Louis was the son of [the great, the ancient, and wise Charlemagne, who was

the son of] Pepin.¶

In the same year also the army of pagans, which dwelt among the East-Angles, disgracefully broke the peace which they had concluded

with king Alfred.

13 The same year Charles the Younger succeeded to the sovereignty of all the western parts of Gaul as far as the Tyrrhenian sea, and, if I may so speak, of the dominions of his grandfather, except the province of the Lidwiccas

ARMORICA OF BRETAGNE]. 14 His father was Lodvicus, brother of the middle Charles whose daughter was married to Ethelwulf king of the English.

15 Both of these were sons of Lodwicus, namely, Lodwicus was son of Charlemagne who was the son of Pepin.

In the course of that year, the above-named pestilential crew broke their engagements, and marched in arms

against king Alfred.

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the wild boar, was miserably killed by a large animal of that species, whieh inflicted a dreadful wound on him with its tusk.

His brother Louis [III], who had also been king of the Franks, died the 3rd year before. These two brothers were sons of Louis, king of the Franks, who had died in the year above mentioned, in which the eclipse of the sun took place; and it was he whose daughter Judith was given by her father's wish in marriage to Ætheluulf, king of the West Saxons. In the same year also a great army of the pagans came from Germany into the country of the ancient Saxons.

To oppose them the said Saxons and Frisons joined their forces, and fought bravely twice in that same year. In both those battles the Christians, with the merciful aid of the Lord, obtained the victory.

In the same year also, Charles, king of the Almains, received, with universal consent, all the territories which lie between the Tyrrhenian sea and that gulf which runs between the old Saxons and the Gauls, except the kingdom of Armorica. This Charles was the son of king Louis, who was brother of Charles, king of the Franks, father of the aforesaid queen Judith: these two brothers were sons of Louis, but Louis was the son of [the great, the ancient, and wise Charlemagne, who was

the son of] Pepin.*

In the same year also the army of pagans, which dwelt among the East-Angles, disgracefully broke the peace which they had concluded with king Alfred.

Huntingdon

of Louis, son of Charles the Bald, whose daughter Juhet [JUDITH] king Edelwulf had married.

Florence, copying Asser, omits the words in brackets.

Simeon

6 In that same year a great army of pagans came from Germany into the country of the Old Saxons; against whom warlike men were gathered from all sides: that is, Frisons and Saxons, and fought manfully and bravely: in which two battles the Christian people, by permission of God's merciful piety, had the victory.

I

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Wherefore, to return to that from which I digressed, that may not be compelled by my long navigation to abandon the port of rest which I was making for, I propose, as far as my knowledge will enable me, to speak of the life and character and just conduct of my lord Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, after he married the above named respected lady of Mercian race, his wife; and, with God's blessing, I will despatch it succinctly and briefly, as I promised, that I may not offend the delicate minds of my readers by prolixity in relating each new event.

His nuptials were honourably celebrated in Mercia, among innumerable multitudes of people of both sexes; and after continual feasts, both by night and by day, he was immediately seized, in presence of all the people, by sudden and overwhelming pain, as yet unknown to all the physicians ; for it was unknown to all who were then present, and even to those who daily see him up to the present time,—which, sad to say! is the worst of all, that he should have protracted it so long from the twentieth to the fortieth year of his life, and even more than that through the space of so many years, from what cause so great a malady arose. For many thought that this was occasioned by the favour and fascination of the people who surrounded him; others, by some spite of the devil, who is ever jealous of the good; others, from an unusual kind of fever.

He had this sort of severe disease from his childhood; but once, divine Providence so ordered it, that when he was on a visit to Cornwall for the sake of hunting, and had turned out of the road to pray in a certain chapel, in which rests the body of Saint Guerir, and now also St Neot rests there,for king Alfred was always from his infancy a frequent visitor of holy places for the sake of prayer and almsgiving,— he prostrated himself for private devotion, and, after some time spent therein, he entreated of God's mercy, that in his boundless clemency he would exchange the torments of the malady which then afflicted him for some other lighter disease; but with this condition, that such disease should not show itself outwardly in his body, lest he should be an object of contempt, and less able to benefit mankind; for he had a great dread of leprosy or blindness, or any such complaint, as makes men useless or contemptible when it afflicts them. When he had finished his prayers, he proceeded on his journey, and not long after he felt within him that by the hand of the Almighty he was healed, according to his request, of his disorder, and that it was entirely eradicated, although he had first had even this complaint in the flower of his youth, by his devout and pious prayers and supplications to Almighty God.

For if I may be allowed to speak briefly, but in a somewhat preposterous order, of his zealous piety to God, in the flower of his youth, before he entered the marriage state, he wished to strengthen his mind in the observance of God's commandments, for he perceived that he could with difficulty abstain from gratifying his carnal desires; and, because he feared the anger of God, if he should do anything contrary to his will, he used often to rise in the morning at the cock-crow, and go to pray in the churches and at the relics of the saints. There he prostrated himself on the ground, and prayed that God in his mercy would strengthen his mind still more in his service by some infirmity such as he might bear, but not such as would render him imbecile and contemptible in his

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§ 2 Once, divine Providence so ordered it, that when he was on

a visit to Cornwall for the sake of hunting, and had turned out of the road to pray in a certain chapel, in which rests the body of Saint Guerir, and now also St Noet rests there, he prostrated himself for private devotion, and, after some time spent therein, he entreated of God's mercy, that in his boundless clemency he would exchange the torments of the malady which then afflicted him for some other lighter disease; but with this condition, that such disease should not show itself outwardly in his body, lest he should be an object of comtempt, and less able to benefit mankind ;

when he had finished his prayers, he proceeded on his journey, and not long after he felt within him that by the hand of the Almighty he was healed, according to his request, of his disorder, and that it was entirely eradicated.

1 In the flower

of his youth, he wished

to strengthen his mind in the observance of God's commandments, but he perceived that he could with difficulty abstain from gratifying his carnal desires and, because he feared the anger of God, if he should do anything contrary to his will, he used often to rise in the morning at the cock-crow, and go to pray in the churches and at the relics of the saints. There he prostrated himself on the ground, and prayed that God in his mercy would strengthen his mind still more in his service by some infirmity such as he might bear, but not such as would render him imbecile and contemptible in his

Simeon

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