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Ethelwerd 876 And that year In the same year, Halfdene, 2 And in the course of the Healfdene apportioned the king of those parts, divided
same year, lands of North-humbria : and out the whole country of
1 The tyrant they thenceforth continued Northumberland between Healfdene obtained the kingploughing and tilling them. himself and his men, and dom of the Northumbrians, settled there with his army.
all of whom he reduced to This year Rolla overran Nor- In the same year, Rollo, with
revealing to him the future.
Annals. A. 877.
In the year 877, the pagans, Here the army came
on the approach of autumn, Exeter from Wareham. partly settled in Exeter, and
partly marched for plunder
pointed them to watch the 2 And king Ælfred with his Meanwhile he went himself forces rode after the army
to Exeter, where the
pagans which was mounted, as far were wintering, and having as Exeter; and they were shut them up within the unable to overtake them walls, laid siege to the town. before they were within the He also gave order to his fortress, where they could sailors to prevent them from not be come at. obtaining any supplies by
sea; and his sailors were
hundred and twenty ships 1 And the fleet sailed round full of armed soldiers, who Lastly their fleets put to sea westwards: and then a great
to help their
and spread their sails to the storm overtook them at sea,
wind : but a lamentable storm and there one hundred and
As soon as the king's men came on, and the greatest twenty ships were wrecked knew that they were filled part of them, namely a hunat Swanawic.
with pagan soldiers, they dred of their chief ships, were leaped to their arms, and sunk near the rock which is bravely attacked those bar
called Swanwich. baric tribes : but the pagans, who had now for almost a month been tossed and al
wrecked among the
waves of the sea, fought
place called Suanewic. In the same year the army of pagans, leaving Wareham, partly on horseback and partly by water, arrived at Suanewic, where one hundred and twenty of their ships were lost; and king Alfred pursued their land-army as far as Exeter; there he made a covenant with them, and took hostages that they much confused and apparently in would depart.] ↑
The same year, in the month
All that is included in brackets from [THIS SAME ROLLO (p. 62) is not found in the earliest MS. of Asser. The narrative is here very
The barbarians renew their fraud and offer peace : hostages were given, more than were demanded, to the effect that they would withdraw out of the territories of king Alfred; and they did so.
They devastata the kingdom of the Mercians and drive out all the free men.
They erect their huts in the town of Gloucester.
At the end of that year therefore,
Here during midwinter, after
In the year of our Lord's in-
this foul mob broke the compact which they had before solemnly made with the Western Angles, and they take up their winter-quarters at Chippenham.
That wicked army left Exeter.
On the approach of autumn, some Then the army went into of the pagans settled at Mercia, and kept part of Exeter, some went to Mercia that kingdom, giving the Part of which country they rest to Ceolwlf. gave to Ceoluulf, to whose charge they had committed it, as has been stated : part they divided among them
In the 7th year of king Al-
remain to him.
men who had lately come
the earth like locusts, since no Essays
And going to the royal vill of Chippenham, there
878 situated in the west of Wiltshire, and on the eastern bank of the river, which is
called in British, the Avon. And many of the people they There they wintered, and The people were everywhere drove beyond sea, and of the drove many of the inhabitants unable to resist : some of remainder the greater part of that country beyond the them were driven by the imthey subdued and forced to sea by the force of their arms, pious wretches over the sea obey them, except king and by want of the neces
saries of life. They reduced
all the people of that country. And he, with a small band, At the same time the above- King Ælfred was at this time with difficulty retreated to named king Alfred,
straitened more than was bethe woods and to the fastnes
with a few of
day, that the countrywoman, 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.
* This is in the Somerset dialect. 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.