Page images
PDF
EPUB

:

Saron Chronicle

Asser

Ethelwerd 885 by a wild boar; and one the wild boar, was miserably before the revolution of one year before this, his brother killed by a large animal of

year. died: he too had the western that species, which inflicted a kingdom: and they were dreadful wound on him with both sons of Louis, who like

its tusk. wise had the western king- 6 His brother Louis [III], 10 After him came his uterine dom, and died that year when who had also been king of brother who ruled over the the sun was eclipsed: he the Franks, died the year western coasts of Gaul. They was son of Charles whose before. These two brothers both were sons of Louis, who daughter Æthelwulf, king of were sons of Louis, king of had formerly possessed the the West-Saxons, had for his the Franks, who had died in sole sovereignty : his life had queen.

the year above mentioned, in reached its termination durwhich the eclipse of the sun ing the eclipse of the sun took place ; and it was he aforesaid. He was

son of whose daughter Judith was the great king Charles, whose given by her father's wish daughter Ethelwulf king of in marriage to Ethelwulf, the English had taken to king of the West Saxons.

wife. 14 And that same year a large 7 In the same year also a 11 In the course of that year, a fleet drew together against great army of the pagans great number of barbarians the Old-Saxons; and there from Germany into landed and filled the coasts was a great battle twice in the country of the ancient of the Old Saxons. that year, and the Saxons Saxons, which is called in

12 had the victory, and the Fri

Saxon Ealdseaxum. Two battles were fought soon sians were there with them. 8 To oppose them the said after: the Saxons were the

Saxons and Frisons joined victors, and the Frisons also
their forces, and fought were present in the contest.
bravely twice in that same
year. In both those battles
the Christians, with the mer-
ciful aid of the Lord, obtain-

ed the victory.

came

15 That same year Charles 9. In the same year also, 13 The same year Charles the succeeded to the western

Charles, king of the Almains, Younger succeeded to the kingdom, and to all the king- received, with universal con- sovereignty of all the western dom on this side the Wendel sent, all the territories which parts of Gaul as far as the sea, and beyond this sea, in lie between the Tyrrhenian Tyrrhenian sea, and, if I may like manner as his great- sea and that gulf which runs so speak, of the dominions of grand-father had it, with the between the old Saxons and his grandfather, except the exception of the Lid-wiccas. the Gauls, except the king- province of the Lidwiccas Charles was Louis's son;

dom of Armorica. (ARMORICA or BRETAGNE]. Louis was Charles's brother,

This Charles was

14 His father was Lodvicus, who was father of Judith, the son of king Louis

, who brother of the middle Charles whom king Æthelwulf had; was brother of Charles, king whose daughter was married and they were sons of Louis, of the Franks, father of the to Ethelwulf king of the Louis was son of the elder aforesaid queen Judith; these

English. Charles, Charles was Pippin's two brothers were sons of 15 Both of these were sons

Louis, but Louis was the son of Lodwicus, namely, Lod

of the great, the ancient, and wicus was son of CharleThe words in brackets are supplied

wise Charlemagne, who was magne who was the son of from the Annals. the son of] Pepin. I

Pepin. And that same year the army In the same year also the In the course of that year, in the East-Anglia broke the army of pagans, which dwelt the above-named pestilential peace with king Ælfred. among the East-Angles, dis

crew broke their engagegracefully broke the peace ments, and marched in arms which they had concluded against king Alfred.

with king Alfred.

son.

Simeon

885 Florence

Huntingdon the wild boar, was miserably of Louis, son of Charles the killed by a large animal of Bald, whose daughter Juhet that species, whieh inflicted a [Judith) king Edelwulf had dreadful wound on him with

married. 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, obtain

men

6 In that same year a great army of pagans came from Germany into the country of the Old Saxons ; against whom warlike 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,

ed the victory.

were

had 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 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.

* Florence, copying Asser, omits the

words in brackets.

[blocks in formation]

Saron Chronicle

Asser
Wherefore, to return to that

from which I digressed, that
I 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 cha-'
racter 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 un

usual 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 Ĝuerir, and now also St Neot rests there, for king Ælfred 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 supplica

tions 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 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

to

885

Simeon

Florence

Huntingdon

This paragraph, together with those which follow, marked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, are given by Florence in 871, immediately following the words XINGDOM OF THE WEST-SAXONS, P.

33.

$ 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
dialady 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

Ethelwerd 885

W

W

Saron Chronicle

Asser
worldly duties; and when he

had often prayed with much devotion to this effect, after an interval of some time, Providence vouchsafed to afflict him with the above-named disease which he bore long and painfully for many years, and even despaired of life, until he entirely got rid of it by his prayers ; but, sad to say ! it was replaced, as we have said, at his marriage by another which incessantly tormented him, night and day, from the twentieth to the forty-fourth year of his life. But if ever, by God's mercy, he was relieved from this infirmity for a single day or night, yet the fear and dread of that dreadful malady never left him, but rendered hlm almost useless, as he thought, for every duty, whether human or

The word Edmund is supplied from Rudborne's Chronicle, a late

work.

divine. The sons and daughters, which he had by his wife above mentioned were Æthelflod the eldest, after whom came Eadwerd, then Æthelgeofu, then Ælfthryth, and Æthelweard, besides those who died in their infancy, one of whom was Edmund. Æthelfled, when she arrived at a marriageable age, was united to Eadred, earl of Mercia ; Æthelgeofu also was dedicated to God, and submitted to the rules of a monastic life. Æthelweard the youngest, by the divine counsels and the admirable prudence of the king, was consigned to the schools of learning, where, with the children of almost all the nobility of the country, and many also who were not noble, he prospered under the diligent care of his teachers. Books in both languages, namely, Latin and Saxon, were both read in the school. They also learned to write ; so that before they were of an age to practice manly arts, namely, hunting and such pursuits as befit noblemen, they became studious and clever in the liberal arts. Eadwerd and Ælfthryth were bred up in the king's court and received great attention from their attendants and nurses; nay, they continue to this day, with the love of all about them, and showing affability, and even gentleness towards all, both natives and foreigners, and in complete subjection to their father; nor, among their other studies which appertain to this life and are fit for noble youths, are they suffered to pass their time idly and unprofitably without learning the liberal arts; for they have carefully learned the Psalıns and Saxon books, especially the Saxon poems, and are continually in the habit of making use of

books. In the meantime, the king, during the frequent wars and other trammels of this present life, the invasions of the pagans, and his own daily infirmities of body, continued to carry on the government, and to exercise hunting in all its branches; to teach his workers in gold and artificers of all kinds, his falconers, hawkers and dog-keepers; to build houses majestic and good, beyond all the precedents of bis ancestors, by his new mechanical inventions; to recite the Saxon books, and especially to learn by heart the Saxon poems, and to make others learn them; and he alone never desisted from studying, most diligently, to the best of his ability; he attended the mass and other daily services of religion ; he was frequent in psalm-singing and prayer, at the hours both of the day and the night. He also went to the churches, as we have already said, in the night-time to pray, secretly, and unknown to his courtiers; he bestowed alms and largesses on both natives and foreigners of all countries; he was affable and pleasant to all, and curiously eager to investigate things

unknown. Many Franks, Frisons, Gauls, pagans, Britons, Scots, and

« PreviousContinue »