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same year, 1 The tyrant Healfdene obtained the kingdom of the Northumbrians, all of whom he reduced to subjection.

In the same year, Halfdene, 2 And in the course of the
king of those parts, divided
out the whole country of
Northumberland between
himself and his men, and
settled there with his army.
In the same year, Rollo, with
his followers penetrated into

[This same Rollo, duke of the Normans, whilst wintering in Old Britain, or England, at the head of his troops, enjoyed one night a vision revealing to him the future. See more of this Rollo in the Annals.

In the year 877, the
on the approach of autumn,
partly settled in Exeter, and
partly marched for plunder
into Mercia. The number
of that disorderly crew in-
creased every day, so that, if
thirty thousand of them were
slain in one battle, others
took their places to double
the number.

Then king Alfred command-
ed boats and galleys, i. e.
long ships, to be built
throughout the kingdom, in
order to offer battle by sea
to the enemy as they were
coming. On board of these
he placed seamen, and ap-
pointed them to watch the


Meanwhile he went himself
to Exeter, where the pagans
were wintering, and having
shut them up within the
walls, laid siege to the town.
He also gave order to his
sailors to prevent them from
obtaining any supplies by
sea; and his sailors were
encountered by a fleet of a
hundred and twenty ships
full of armed soldiers, who
were come to help their

As soon as the king's men
knew that they were filled
with pagan soldiers, they
leaped to their arms, and
bravely attacked those bar-
baric tribes: but the pagans,
who had now for almost a
month been tossed and al-
most wrecked among the

Lastly their fleets put to sea and spread their sails to the

wind but a lamentable storm part of them, namely a huncame on, and the greatest dred of their chief ships, were sunk near the rock which is

called Swanwich.

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The army above-mentioned left Exeter, and went to Chippenham, a royal villa,

In the 7th year of king Alfred, when now the Danes were in possession of all the kingdom on the northern side of the Thames, and king Haldene was reigning in Northumberland, and the brother of Haldene was in East-Anglia, and the 3 kings aforesaid were with their king Ceolwlf in Mercia and London and Essex, but to king Alfred nothing was left save the land beyond the Thames; it seemed to the Danes to be a disgrace to them that even this should

remain to him. The 3 kings therefore came to Chippenham in Wessex with a wonderful multitude of men who had lately come from Denmark, and covering the earth like locusts, since no

And going to the royal vill of Chippenham, there wintered.

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And he, with a small band, with difficulty retreated to the woods and to the fastnesses of the moors.


situated in the west of Wilt-
shire, and on the eastern
bank of the river, which is
called in British, the Avon.
There they wintered, and
drove many of the inhabitants
of that country beyond the
sea by the force of their arms,
and by want of the neces-
saries of life. They reduced
almost entirely to subjection.
all the people of that country.
At the same time the above-
named king Alfred,

with a few of his nobles,and certain soldiers and vassals, used to lead an unquiet life among the woodlands of the county of Somerset, in great tribulation; for he had none of the necessaries of life, except what he could forage openly or stealthily, by frequent sallies, from the pagans, or even from the Christians who had submitted to the rule of the pagans, and as we read in the Life of St Neot, at the house of one of his cowherds. But it happened on a certain day, that the country woman, wife of the cowherd, was preparing some loaves to bake, and the king, sitting at the hearth, made ready his bow and arrows and other warlike instruments. The unlucky woman espying the cakes burning at the fire, ran up to remove them, and rebuking the brave king, exclaimed :Ca'sn thee mind the ke-aks, man, an' doossen zee 'em burn? I'm boun thee's eat 'em vast enough, az zoon az 'tiz the turn. * The blundering woman little thought that it was king Alfred, who had fought so many battles against the pagans, and gained so many victories over them."

But the Almighty not only granted to the same glorious king victories over his enemies, but also permitted him to be harassed by them, to be sunk down by adversities, and depressed by the low estate of his followers, to the end that he might learn that there is one Lord of all things, to whom every knee doth bow, and in whose hand are the hearts of kings; who puts down the mighty from their seat and exalteth the humble; who suffers his servants when they are elevated at the summit of prosperity to be touched by the rod of adversity, that in their humility they may not despair of God's mercy, and in their prosperity they may not boast of their honours, but may also know, to whom they owe all the things which they possess.

We may believe that the calamity was brought upon the king aforesaid, because, in the beginning of his reign, when he was a youth, and influenced by youthfnl feelings, he would not listen to the petitions which his subjects made to him for help in their necessities, or for relief from those who oppressed them; but he repulsed them from him, and paid no heed to their requests.

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