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2 AND NOW I HAVE FOLLOWED UP
MY PLAN, DEAR COUSIN MATILDA, AND WILL BEGIN TO CONSOLIDATE MY SUBJECT; AND LIKE A SHIP WHICH, HAVING SAILED A LONG WAY OVER THE WAVES, ALREADY OCCUPIES THE PORT, TO WHICH IN HER PATIENT VOYAGE SHE HAD BEEN TENDING : SO WE, LIKE SAILORS, ARE ALREADY ENTERING, AND AS I BRIEFLY INTIMATED TO YOU IN MY FORMER EPISTLE, SO ALSO IN THE PREFACES TO THIS PRESENT BOOK, AND WITHOUT ANY IMPROPRIETY I AGAIN REMIND YOU, AND THOUGH I CUT SHORT THE COURSE OF THAT WHICH IS VISIONARY, NOT IMPELLED BY NECESSITY, BUT THROUGH LOVE OF YOUR AFFECTION, I NOW SEND YOU AGAIN MORE FULLY TO BE MEDITATED UPON CONCE RNING THE ORIGIN OF OUR FAMILY, AND SUFFICIENTLY EMBRACE THE
STUDY OF YOUR SINCERITY.
3 Thus far then.
4 I will now leave obscurity and begin to speak concerning the sons of Athulf. They were five in number: the first was Ethelstan, who also shared the kingdom with his father : the second was Ethelbald, who also was king of the Western English : the third was Ethelbyrht, king of Kent: the fourth was Ethered, wbo after the death of Edelbyrht succeeded to the kingdom, and was also my grandfather's grandfather : the fifth was Elfred, who succeeded after all the others to the whole sovereignty, and was your grandfather's grand
father. 5 Wherefore I make known to you, my beloved cousin Matilda, that I receive these things from ancient tradition, and have taken care in most brief style to write the history of our race down to these two kings, from whom we have taken our origin. To you therefore, most beloved, I devote this work, compelled by the love of our relationship: if others receive them with haughtiness, they will be judged unworthy of the feast; if otherwise, we advise all in charity to gather
what is set before them. 6 Let us return then to the story that we broke off, and to the
death of the above-named Ethered. Then Ælfred the son of The same year, the aforesaid 7 His reign lasted 5 years, Æthelwulf, his brother, suc- Ælfred, who had been up to and he is buried in the monaceeded to the kingdom of that time only of secondary stery which goes by the name the West-Saxons. rank, whilst his brothers were
9 After these things, Ælfred tions of all the people, and his brothers were dead,—he
obtained the kingdom when
provinces of Britain.
in all his wars. And about one month after And when he bad reigned But the army of the Angles this, king Alfred with a small one month, almost against at that time was small on band fought against the whole his will—for he did not think account of the king's absence, army at Wiltun, and put he could alone sustain the who at the same time had them to flight for a good part multitude and ferocity of the performed his brother's obseof the day ; but the Danes pagans, though even during quies, and although their had possession of the place his brothers' lives, he had ranks were not full, yet their carnage. borne the woes of many,-
hearts were firm in their he fought a battle with a few men, and on every unequal terms, against all the army of the pagans, at a hill called Wilton, on the south bank of the river Guilou, from which
8 CHAP. III. OF THE REIGN OF
The same year, the aforesaid Then Alfred his brother, son The aforesaid king Ælfred, who had been up to of Adelwlf, reigned over being thus removed from that time only of secondary
this world, Elfred is chosen rank, whilst his brothers were
by the dukes and prelates of alive, now, by God's per
the whole nation, and not mission, undertook the
only by them but by all the government of the whole
people he is entreated to rule kingdom, amid the acclama
over them to do vengeance tions of all the people.*
* Here Florence gives the account on the nations, and rebuke of Alfred's youthful years, transfer
When he had red to page 31,
thus gained the rule of the whole nation, he always was a brilliant warrior, and victor in all his battles by the smiles of fortune and the
Christ. And when he had reigned And about one month after,
The aforesaid army one month, almost against
rebelled against him most his will,--for he did not think he fought with few men at he could alone sustain the for a long time drove them strength of the English, and
Wilton against the army, and fiercely, butseeing the multitude and ferocity of the back; and after that, the knowing their own weakness
, pagans, though even during his brothers' lives, he had
Danes gained the victory. they turned their backs in borne the woes of many
† BROMPTON says Walton in he fought a battle with a few Sussex : but MATT. WEST, says men, and on very unequal river Guilo
, from which that pro
" Wilton on the south bank of the terms, against all the army vince is called Guiltoscira [Wiltof the pagans, at a hill called
SHIRE)." Wilton, on the south bank of
Ethelwerd 871 river the whole of that dis- breasts, they rejoice in the
trict is named. fight, and repel the enemy; And after a long and fierce but at length oppressed with engagement, the
pagans, fatigue, they cease from the seeing the danger they were
fight. in, and no longer able to
The barbarians hold possessbear the ' attack of their ion of a sterile field of battle: enemies, turned their backs Afterwards also they spread and fled.
themselves and ravage the
gained the victory.
three battles And this year nine general by eight battles in one year, fought by the Angles, besides battles were fought against against the pagans, of whom the battles before-mentioned, the army in the kingdom they had slain one king, nine and eleven of their consuls, south of the Thames, besides dukes, and innumerable whom they call "earls,” were which, Alfred the king's troops of soldiers, besides slain, and one of their kings. brother, and single alder- endless skirmishes, both by men, and king's thanes, night and by day, in which oftentimes made incursions the oft-named Alfred, and on them, which were not all his chieftains, with counted : and within the year their men, and several of his nine earls and one king were ministers,
without rest cessation
many thousand pagans fell And that year the West- in these numberless skirSaxons made peace with the mishes God alone knows, army.
over and above those who
Eastern Angles made peace
rian army in Reading and to the death of king Ethelred and the succession of his brother Alfred was the seventyfirst from the time that Egbert had first consolidated the kingdom, and forty seven from the time that the Mercians and Western Angles carried on civil wars at the
place called Ellandune, and king Egbert received the name of victor twenty-six years
from the time that the battle was fought in Pedre
dan (PETHERTON]; and twenty years after the contest which was waged near
the wood called Ockley; andlastly five years from the
Simeon the river Guilou from which
flight. But, oh shame! they river the whole of that dis
turned again by the rashtrict is named.
ness of their pursuers, and And after a long and fierce
were provoked again to batengagement, the pagans,
tle, and, gaining the victory, seeing the danger they were
were masters of the field of in, and no longer able to
death. bear the attack of their enemies, turned their backs
and fled. But, oh, shame to say, they deceived their too audacious pursuers, and again rallying, gained the victory, and were masters of the place of death. Let no one be surprised that the Christians had but a small number of men, for the In this year were nine pitchSaxons had been worn out ed battles against the army by eight battles in one year, in the kingdom on the south against the
of whom they had slain one king, nine the assaults which Alfred his
side of the Thames ; besides dukes, and innumerable
brother and the king's genetroops of soldiers, besides
rals often made. endless skirmishes, both by And this year were slain 1 night and by day, in which the oft-named Alfred, and
king and 9 earls. all his chieftains, with their men, and several of his ministers, engaged without rest cessation against the pagans.
How many thousand pagans fell in these numberless skirmishes God alone knows, over and above those who were slain in the eight battles
above mentioned. In the same year the Saxons made a truce with the army made a treaty of peace with
And the nobles of Wessex In the same year, the Saxons made peace with the pagans, of the pagans. со ition that they
the same pagans, on condishould take their departure,
tion that they should depart
froin them. and they did so.
Ethelwerd 871 arrival of the pagans in the country of the East Angles. And without long delay, they
then went to Reading. In year of our Lord's After a year had elapsed incarnation 872, the twenty- from the time of their coming fourth of king Alfred's life,
Here the army went from the above-named army of
to Reading, they measured Reading to London, and
pagans went to London, and out their camp in the neighthere took up their winter
bourhood of the city of quarters : and then the
London. Mercians made peace with The Mercians made peace But the Mercians ratify a
treaty with them, and pay a
stipend. CHARTERS IN 872. 1. WERFRITH bishop (of Winchester) II, 98.
ETHELRED duke of Mercia, subscribed by * Burhred rex Merciorum," " Æthelswyth regina" and others. II, 99. It is without date, and may belong to either 872, 873, or 874. 3. WERFRITH bishop of
In the year of our Lord's in- After one year the barbarians North-humbria, and took up their winter-quarters at Tork- above-named army, leaving Lindsey in a place called
fifth of king Ælfred, the neighbourhood of the city of sey in Lindsey : and there
Torksey. the Mercians made peace country of the Northum
brians, and there wintered
in the district of Lindsey. The Mercian people renew And the Mercians again made their treaty with them.
treaty with them.
with the army.
CHARTERS IN 873.
In the year of our Lord's in- After the lapse of a year, Here the army went from carnation 874, the twenty- the barbarians at length reLindsey to Repton, and there sixth since the birth of king move to a place called Reptook up their winter-quarters, Ælfred, the army before so ton, and drive king Burhred and drove king Burgræd often mentioned left Lindsey from the kingdom beyond over sea about twenty-two and marched to Mercia, years after he had obtained where they wintered at the kingdom.
Repton. And subdued the whole Also they compelled Burhcountry : and Burgred went red, king of Mercia, against to Rome, and there remained his will, to leave his kingdom Twenty and two years are and his body lies in St and go beyond the sea to enumerated from the time Mary's church at the English Rome in the twenty-second that he first occupied his school. year of his reign.
father's kingdom. He did not long live after his
CHARTERS IN 874.