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THE SIXTH BOOK. - John Milton, The Prose Works of John Milton, vol. 2 
The Prose Works of John Milton, With a Biographical Introduction by Rufus Wilmot Griswold. In Two Volumes (Philadelphia: John W. Moore, 1847). Vol. 2.
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THE SIXTH BOOK.
EDWARD THE YOUNGER.
Edward, the eldest son of Edgar by Egelfleda his first wife, the daughter of duke Ordmer, was according to right and his father’s will placed in the throne; Elfrida, his second wife, and her faction only repining, who laboured to have had her son Ethelred, a child of seven years, preferred before him; that she under that pretence might have ruled all. Meanwhile comets were seen in heaven, portending not famine only, which followed the next year, but the troubled state of the whole realm not long after to ensue. The troubles begun in Edwin’s days, between monks and secular priests, now revived and drew on either side many of the nobles into parties. For Elfere duke of the Mercians, with many other peers corrupted, as is said, with gifts,* drove the monks out of those monasteries where Edgar had placed them, and in their stead put secular priests with their wives. But Ethelwin duke of East-Angles, with his brother Elfwold, and earl Britnorth, opposed them, and gathering an army defended the abbeys of East-Angles from such intruders. To appease these tumults, a synod was called at Winchester; and, nothing there concluded, a general council both of nobles and prelates was held at Caln in Wiltshire, where while the dispute was hot, but chiefly against Dunstan, the room wherein they sat fell upon their heads, killing some, maiming others, Dunstan only escaping upon a beam that fell not, and the king absent by reason of his tender age. This accident quieted the controversy, and brought both parts to hold with Dunstan and the monks. Meanwhile the king addicted to a religious life, and of a mild spirit, simply permitted all things to the ambitious will of his step-mother and her son Ethelred: to whom she, displeased that the name only of king was wanting, practised thenceforth to remove King Edward out of the way; which in this manner she brought about.
Edward on a day wearied with hunting, thirsty and alone, while his attendants followed the dogs, hearing that Ethelred and his mother lodged at Corvesgate, (Corfe castle, saith Camden, in the isle of Purbeck,) innocently went thither. She with all show of kindness welcoming him, commanded drink to be brought forth, for it seems he lighted not from his horse; and while he was drinking, caused one of her servants privately before instructed, to stab him with a poniard. The poor youth, who little expected such unkindness there, turning speedily the reins, fled, bleeding, till through loss of blood falling from his horse, and expiring, yet held with one foot in the stirrup, he was dragged along the way, traced by his blood, and buried without honour at Werham, having reigned about three years: but the place of his burial not long after grew famous for miracles. After which by duke Elfere, (who, as Malmsbury saith,* had a hand in his death) he was royally interred at Skepton or Shaftesbury. The murderess Elfrida, at length repenting, spent the residue of her days in sorrow and great penance.
Ethelred, second son of Edgar by Elfrida, (for Edmund died a child,) his brother Edward wickedly removed, was now next in right to succeed,† and accordingly crowned at Kingston: reported by some, fair of visage, comely of person, elegant of behaviour;‡ but the event will show, that with many sluggish and ignoble vices he quickly shamed his outside; born and prolonged a fatal mischief of the people, and the ruin of his country; whereof he gave early signs from his first infancy, bewraying the font and water while the bishop was baptizing him. Whereat Dunstan much troubled, for he stood by and saw it, to them next him broke into these words, “By God and God’s mother, this boy will prove a sluggard.” Another thing is written of him in his childhood; which argued no bad nature, that hearing of his brother Edward’s cruel death, he made loud lamentation; but his furious mother, offended therewith, and having no rod at hand, beat him so with great wax candles, that he hated the sight of them ever after. Dunstan though unwilling set the crown upon his head; but at the same time foretold openly, as is reported, the great evils that were to come upon him and the land, in avengement of his brother’s innocent blood.§ And about the same time, one midnight, a cloud sometimes bloody, sometimes fiery, was seen over all England; and within three years∥ the Danish tempest, which had long surceased, revolved again upon this island. To the more ample relating whereof, the Danish history, at least their latest and diligentest historian, as neither from the first landing of Danes, in the reign of West-Saxon Brithric, so now again from first to last, contributes nothing; busied more than enough to make out the bare names and successions of their uncertain kings, and their small actions, at home: unless out of him I should transcribe what he takes, and I better may from our own annals; the surer and the sadder witnesses of their doings here, not glorious, as they vainly boast, but most inhumanly barbarous.¶ For the Danes well understanding that England had now a slothful king to their wish, first landing at Southampton from seven great ships, took the town, spoiled the country, and carried away with them great pillage; nor was Devonshire and Cornwall uninfested on the shore;** pirates of Norway also harried the coast of West-chester:†† and to add a worse calamity, the city of London was burnt, casually or not, is not written. It chanced four years after,‡‡ that Ethelred besieged Rochester; some way or other offended by the bishop thereof. Dunstan, not approving the cause, sent to warn him that he provoke not St. Andrew the patron of that city, nor waste his lands; an old craft of the clergy to secure their church-lands, by entailing them on some saint: the king not hearkening, Dunstan, on this condition that the siege might be raised, sent him a hundred pounds, the money was accepted and the siege dissolved. Dunstan reprehending his avarice, sent him again this word, “because thou hast respected money more than religion, the evils which I foretold shall the sooner come upon thee; but not in my days, for so God hath spoken.” The next year was calamitous,* bringing strange fluxes upon men, and murrain upon cattle. Dunstan the year† following died, a strenuous bishop, zealous without dread of person, and for aught appears, the best of many ages, if he busied not himself too much in secular affairs. He was chaplain at first to King Athelstan, and Edmund who succeeded, much employed in court affairs, till envied by some who laid many things to his charge, he was by Edmund forbidden the court; but by the earnest mediation, saith Ingulf, of Turketul the chancellor, received at length to favour, and made abbot of Glaston; lastly by Edgar and the general vote, archbishop of Canterbury. Not long after his death, the Danes arriving in Devonshire were met by Goda, lieutenant of that country, and Strenwold a valiant leader, who put back the Danes, but with loss of their own lives. The third year following,‡ under the conduct of Justin and Guthmund the son of Steytan, they landed and spoiled Ipswich, fought with Britnoth duke of the East-Angles about Maldon, where they slew him; the slaughter else had been equal on both sides. These and the like depredations on every side the English not able to resist, by council of Siric then archbishop of Canterbury, and two dukes, Ethelward and Alfric, it was thought best for the present to buy that with silver, which they could not gain with their iron; and ten thousand pounds was paid to the Danes for peace. Which for a while contented; but taught them the ready way how easiest to come by more. The next year but one,§ they took by storm and rifled Bebbanburg, and ancient city near Durham: sailing thence to the mouth of Humber, they wasted both sides thereof, Yorkshire and Lindsey, burning and destroying all before them. Against these went out three noblemen, Frana, Frithegist, and Godwin; but being all Danes by the father’s side, willingly began flight, and forsook their own forces betrayed to the enemy. No less treachery was at sea;∥ for Alfric, the son of Elfer duke of Mercia, whom the king for some offence had banished, but now recalled, sent from London with a fleet to surprise the Danes, in some place of disadvantage, gave them over night intelligence thereof, then fled to them himself; which his fleet, saith Florent, perceiving, pursued, took the ship, but missed of his person; the Londoners by chance grappling with the East-Angles made them fewer, saith my author, by many thousands. Others say,¶ that by this notice of Alfric the Danes not only escaped, but with a greater fleet set upon the English, took many of their ships, and in triumph brought them up the Thames, intending to besiege London: for Anlaf king of Norway, and Swane of Denmark, at the head of these, came with ninety-four galleys. The king for this treason of Alfric, put out his son’s eyes; but the Londoners both by land and water so valiantly resisted their besiegers, that they were forced in one day, with great loss, to give over. But what they could not on the city, they wreaked themselves on the countries round about, wasting with sword and fire all Essex, Kent, and Sussex. Thence horsing their foot, diffused far wider their outrageous incursions, without mercy either to sex or age. The slothful king, instead of warlike opposition in the field, sends embassadors to treat about another payment;* the sum promised was now sixteen thousand pounds; till which paid, the Danes wintered at Southampton; Ethelred inviting Anlaf to come and visit him at Andover,† where he was royally entertained, some say baptized, or confirmed, adopted son by the king, and dismissed with great presents, promising by oath to depart and molest the kingdom no more;‡ which he performed. But the calamity ended not so; for after some intermission of their rage for three years,§ the other navy of Danes sailing about to the west, entered Severn, and wasted one while South Wales, then Cornwall and Devonshire, till at length they wintered about Tavistock. For it were an endless work to relate how they wandered up and down to every particular place, and to repeat as oft what devastations they wrought, what desolations left behind them, easy to be imagined. In sum, the next year∥ they afflicted Dorsetshire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight; by the English many resolutions were taken, many armies raised, but either betrayed by the falsehood, or discouraged by the weakness, of their leaders, they were put to the rout or disbanded themselves. For soldiers most commonly are as their commanders, without much odds of valour in one nation or other, only as they are more or less wisely disciplined and conducted.
The following year¶ brought them back upon Kent, where they entered Medway, and besieged Rochester; but the Kentish men assembling gave them a sharp encounter, yet that sufficed not to hinder them from doing as they had done in other places. Against these depopulations the king levied an army; but the unskilful leaders not knowing what to do with it when they had it, did but drive out time, burdening and impoverishing the people, consuming the public treasure, and more emboldening the enemy, than if they had sat quietly at home. What cause moved the Danes next year** to pass into Normandy, is not recorded; but that they returned thence more outrageous than before. Meanwhile the king, to make some diversion, undertakes an expedition both by land and sea into Cumberland, where the Danes were most planted; there and in the Isle of Man, or, as Camden saith, Angelsey, imitating his enemies in spoiling and unpeopling. The Danes from Normandy, arriving in the river Ex, laid siege to Exeter;†† but the citizens, as those of London, valorously defending themselves, they wrecked their anger, as before, on the villages round about. The country people of Somerset and Devonshire assembling themselves at Penho, shewed their readiness, but wanted a head; and besides being then but few in number, were easily put to flight; the enemy plundering all at will, with loaded spoils passed into the Isle of Wright; from whence all Dorsetshire and Hampshire felt again their fury. The Saxon annals write, that before their coming to Exeter, the Hampshire men had a bickering with them,‡‡ wherein Ethelward the king’s general was slain, adding other things hardly to be understood, and in one ancient copy; so end. Ethelred, whom no adversity could awake from his soft and sluggish life, still coming by the worse at fighing, by the advice of his peers not unlike himself, sends one of his gay courtiers, though looking loftily, to stoop basely, and propose a third tribute to the Danes: they willingly hearken, but the sum is enhanced now to twenty-four thousand pounds, and paid; the Danes thereupon abstaining from hostility. But the king, to strengthen his house by some potent affinity, marries Emma,* whom the Saxons call Elgiva, daughter of Richard duke of Normandy. With him Ethelred formerly had war, or no good correspondence, as appears by a letter of pope John the fifteenth,† who made peace between them about eleven years before; puffed up now with his supposed access of strength by this affinity, he caused the Danes all over England, though now living peaceably,‡ in one day perfidiously to be massacred, both men, women, and children; sending private letters to every town and city, whereby they might be ready all at the same hour; which till the appointed time (being the ninth of July) was concealed with great silence,§ and performed with much unanimity; so generally hated were the Danes. Mat. West. writes, that this execution upon the Danes was ten years after; that Huna, one of Ethelred’s chief captains, complaining of the Danish insolences in time of peace, their pride, their ravishing of matrons and virgins, incited the king to this massacre, which in the madness of rage made no difference of innocent or nocent. Among these, Gunhildis the sister of Swane was not spared, though much deserving not pity only, but all protection: she, with her husband Earl Palingus coming to live in England, and receiving Christianity, had her husband and young son slain before her face, herself then beheaded, foretelling and denouncing that her blood would cost England dear. Some say∥ this was done by the traitor Edric, to whose custody she was committed; but the massacre was some years before Edric’s advancement; and if it were done by him afterwards, it seems to contradict the private correspondence which he was thought to hold with the Danes. For Swane, breathing revenge, hasted the next year into England,¶ and by the treason or negligence of Count Hugh, whom Emma had recommended to the government of Devonshire, sacked the city of Exeter, her wall from east to west-gate broken down: after this wasting Wiltshire, the people of that county, and of Hampshire, came together in great numbers with resolution stoutly to oppose him; but Alfric their general, whose son’s eyes the king had lately put out, madly thinking to revenge himself on the king, by ruining his own country, when he should have ordered his battle, the enemy being at hand, feigned himself taken with a vomiting; whereby his army in great discontent, destitute of a commander, turned from the enemy: who straight took Wilton and Salisbury, carrying the pillage thereof to the ships. Thence the next year** landing on the coast of Norfolk, he wasted the country, and set Norwich on fire; Ulfketel duke of the East-Angles, a man of great valour, not having space to gather his forces, after consultation had, thought it best to make peace with the Dane, which he breaking within three weeks, issued silently out of his ships, came to Thetford, staid there a night, and in the morning left it flaming. Ulfketel, hearing this, commanded some to go and break or burn his ships; but they not daring or neglecting, he in the mean while with what secresy and speed was possible, drawing together his forces, went out against the enemy, and gave them a fierce onset retreating to their ships: but much inferiour in number, many of the chief East-Angles there lost their lives. Nor did the Danes come off without great slaughter of their own; confessing that they never met in England with so rough a charge. The next year,†† whom war could not, a great famine drove Swane out of the land. But the summer following,* another great fleet of Danes entered the port of Sandwich, thence poured out over all Kent and Sussex, made prey of what they found. The king levying an army out of Mercia, and the West-Saxons, took on him for once the manhood to go out and face them; but they, who held it safer to live by rapine, than to hazard a battle, shifting lightly from place to place, frustrated the slow motions of a heavy camp, following their wonted course of robbery, then running to their ships. Thus all autumn they wearied out the king’s army, which gone home to winter, they carried all their pillage to the Isle of Wight, and there staid till Christmas; at which time the king being in Shropshire, and but ill employed, (for by the procurement of Edric, he caused, as is thought, Alfhelm, a noble duke, treacherously to be slain,† and the eyes of his two sons to be put out,) they came forth again, overrunning Hampshire and Berkshire, as far as Reading and Wallingford: thence to Ashdune, and other places thereabout, neither known nor of tolerable pronunciation; and returning by another way, found many of the people in arms by the river Kenet; but making their way through, they got safe with vast booty to their ships. The king and his courtiers‡ wearied out with their last summer’s jaunt after the nimble Danes to no purpose, which by proof they found too toilsome for their soft bones, more used to beds and couches, had recourse to their last and only remedy, their coffers; and send now the fourth time to buy a dishonourable peace, every time still dearer, not to be had now under thirty-six thousand pound (for the Danes knew how to milk such easy kine) in name of tribute and expenses: which out of the people over all England, already half beggared, was extorted and paid. About the same time Ethelred advanced Edric, surnamed Streon, from obscure condition to be duke of Mercia, and marry Edgitha the king’s daughter. The cause of his advancement, Florent of Worcester, and Mat. West. attribute to his great wealth, gotten by fine polices and a plausible tongue: he proved a main accessory to the ruin of England, as his actions will soon declare. Ethelred the next year,§ somewhat rousing himself, ordained that every three hundred and ten hides (a hide is so much land as one plow can sufficiently till) should set out a ship or galley, and every nine hides find a corslet and headpiece: new ships in every port were built, victualled, fraught with stout mariners and soldiers, and appointed to meet all at Sandwich. A man might now think that all would go well; when suddenly a new mischief had sprung up, dissension among the great ones; which brought all this diligence to as little success as at other times before. Birthric, the brother of Edric, falsely accused Wulnoth, a great officer set over the South-Saxons, who, fearing the potency of his enemies, with twenty ships got to sea, and practiced piracy on the coast. Against whom, reported to be in a place where he might be easily surprised, Birthric sets forth with eighty ships; all which, driven back by a tempest and wrecked upon the shore, were burnt soon after by Wulnoth. Disheartened with this misfortune, the king returns to London, the rest of his navy after him; and all this great preparation to nothing. Whereupon Turkill, a Danish earl, came with a navy to the isle of Tanet,∥ and in August a far greater, led by Heming and Ilaf, joined with him. Thence coasting to Sandwich, and landed, they went onward and began to assault Canterbury; but the citizens and East-Kentish men, coming to composition with them for three thousand pounds, they departed thence to the Isle of Wight, robbing and burning by the way. Against these the king levies an army through all the land, and in several quarters places them nigh the sea, but so unskilfully or unsuccessfully, that the Danes were not thereby hindered from exercising their wonted robberies.
It happened that the Danes were one day going up into the country far from their ships; the king having notice thereof, thought to intercept them in their return; his men were resolute to overcome or die, time and place advantageous; but where courage and fortune was not wanting, there wanted loyalty among them. Edric with subtile arguments, that had a show of deep policy, disputed and persuaded the simplicity of his fellow counsellors, that it would be best consulted at that time to let the Danes pass without ambush or interception. The Danes where they expected danger finding none, passed on with great joy and booty to their ships. After this, sailing about Kent, they lay that winter in the Thames, forcing Kent and Essex to contribution, ofttimes attempting the city of London, but repulsed as oft to their great loss. Spring begun, leaving their ships, they passed through Chiltern wood into Oxfordshire,* burnt the city, and thence returning with divided forces, wasted on both sides the Thames; but hearing that an army from London was marched out against them, they on the north side passing the river at Stanes, joined with them on the south into one body, and enriched with great spoils, came back through Surrey to their ships; which all the Lent-time they repaired. After Easter sailing to the East-Angles they arrived at Ipswich, and came to a place called Ringmere, where they heard that Ulfketel with his forces lay, who with a sharp encounter soon entertained them; but his men at length giving back, through the subtlety of a Danish servant among them who began the fight, lost the field; though the men of Cambridgeshire stood to it valiantly.
In this battle Ethelstan, the king’s son-in-law, with many other noblemen, were slain; whereby the Danes, without more resistance, three months together had the spoiling of those countries and all the fens, burnt Thetford and Grantbrig, or Cambridge; thence to a hilly place not far off, called by Huntingdon, Baleshan, by Camden, Gogmagog hills, and the villages thereabout, they turned their fury, slaying all they met save one man, who getting up into a steeple, is said to have defended himself against the whole Danish army. They therefore so leaving him, their foot by sea, their horse by land through Essex, returned back laden to their ships left in the Thames. But many days passed not between, when sallying again out of their ships as out of savage dens, they plundered over again all Oxfordshire, and added to their prey Buckingham, Bedford, and Hertfordshire;† then like wild beasts glutted returning to their caves. A third excursion they made into Northamptonshire, burnt Northampton, ransacking the country round: then as to fresh pasture betook them to the West-Saxons, and in like sort harassing all Wiltshire, returned, as I said before, like wild beasts or rather sea monsters to their water-stables, accomplishing by Christmas the circuit of their whole year’s good deeds; an unjust and inhuman nation, who, receiving or not receiving tribute where none was owing them made such destruction of mankind, and rapine of their livelihood, as in misery to read. Yet here they ceased not; for the next year‡ repeating the same cruelties on both sides the Thames, one way as far as Huntingdon the other as far Wiltshire and Southampton, solicited again by the king for peace, and receiving their demands both of tribute and contribution, they slighted their faith; and in the beginning of September laid siege to Canterbury. On the twentieth day, by the treachery of Almere the archdeacon, they took part of it and burnt it, committing all sorts of massacre as a sport; some they threw over the wall, others into the fire, hung some by the privy members; infants, pulled from their mother’s breasts, were either tossed on spears, or carts drawn over them; matrons and virgins by the hair dragged and ravished. Alfage* the grave archbishop above others hated of the Danes, as in all counsels and actions to his might their known opposer, taken, wounded, imprisoned in a noisome ship; the multitude are tithed, and every tenth only spared. Early the next year† before Easter, while Ethelred and his peers were assembled at London, to raise now the fifth tribute amounting to forty-eight thousand pound, the Danes at Canterbury propose to the archbishop,‡ who had now been seven months their prisoner, life and liberty, if he paid them three thousand pound: which he refusing as not able of himself, and not willing to extort it from his tenants, is permitted till the next Sunday to consider; then hauled before the counsel, of whom Turkill was chief, and still refusing, they rise, most of them being drunk, and beat him with the blunt side of their axes, then thrust forth deliver him to be pelted with stones; till one Thrun a converted Dane, pitying him half dead, to put him out of pain, with a pious impiety, at one stroke of his axe on the head dispatched him. His body was carried to London and there buried, thence afterward removed to Canterbury. By this time the tribute paid, and peace so often violated sworn again by the Danes, they dispersed their fleet; forty-five of them, and Turkill their chief, staid at London with the king, swore him allegiance to defend his land against all strangers, on condition only to be fed and clothed by him. But this voluntary friendship of Turkill was thought to be deceitful, that staying under this pretence he gave intelligence to Swane, when most it would be seasonable to come. In July§ therefore of the next year, King Swane arriving at Sandwich, made no stay there, but sailing first to Humber, thence into Trent, landed and encamped at Gainsburrow; whither without delay repaired to him the Northumbrians, with Uthred their earl; those of Lindsey also, then those of Fisburg, and lastly all on the north of Watlingstreet (which is a highway from east to west-sea) gave oath and hostages to obey him. From whom he commanded horses and provision for his army, taking with him besides bands and companies of their choicest men; and committing to his son Canute the care of his fleet and hostages, he marches towards the South-Mercians, commanding his soldiers to exercise all acts of hostility; with the terror whereof fully executed, he took in few days the city of Oxford, then Winchester; thence tending to London, in his hasty passage over the Thames, without seeking bridge or ford, lost many of his men. Nor was his expedition against London prosperous; for assaying all means by force or wile to take the city, wherein the king then was, and Turkill with his Danes, he was stoutly beaten off as at other times. Thence back to Wallingford and Bath, directing his course, after usual havoc made, he sat a while and refreshed his army. There Ethelm, an earl of Devonshire, and other great officers in the west, yielded him subjection. These things flowing to his wish, he betook him to his navy, from that time styled and accounted king of England; if a tyrant, saith Simeon, may be called a king. The Londoners also sent him hostages, and made their peace, for they feared his fury. Ethelred, thus reduced to narrow compass, sent Emma his queen, with his two sons had by her, and all his treasure, to Richard II., her brother, duke of Normandy; himself with his Danish fleet abode somewhile at Greenwich, then sailing to the Isle of Wight, passed after Christmas into Normandy; where he was honourably received at Roan by the duke, though known to have born himself churlishly and proudly towards Emma his sister, besides his dissolute company with other women. Meanwhile Swane* ceased not to exact almost insupportable tribute of the people, spoiling them when he listed; besides, the like did Turkill at Greenwich. The next year beginning,† Swane sickens and dies; some say terrified and smitten by an appearing shape of St. Edmund armed, whose church at Bury he had threatened to demolish; but the authority hereof relies only upon the legend of St. Edmund. After his death the Danish army and fleet made his son Canute their king; but the nobility and states of England sent messengers to Ethelred, declaring that they preferred none before their native sovereign, if he would promise to govern them better than he had done, and with more clemency. Whereat the king rejoicing sends over his son Edward with embassadors, to court both high and low, and win their love, promising largely to be their mild and devoted lord, to consent in all things to their will, follow their counsel, and whatever had been done or spoken by any man against him, freely to pardon, if they would loyally restore him to be their king. To this the people cheerfully answered, and amity was both promised and confirmed on both sides. An embassy of lords is sent to bring back the king honourably; he returns in Lent, and is joyfully received of the people, marches with a strong army against Canute; who having got horses and joined with the men of Lindsey, was preparing to make spoil in the countries adjoining; but by Ethelred unexpectedly coming upon him, was soon driven to his ships, and his confederates of Lindsey, left to the anger of their countrymen, executed without mercy both by fire and sword. Canute in all haste sailing back to Sandwich, took the hostages given to his father from all parts of England, and with slit noses, ears cropped, and hands chopped off, setting them ashore, departed into Denmark. Yet the people were not disburdened, for the king raised out of them thirty thousand pound to pay his fleet of Danes at Greenwich. To these evils the sea in October passed his bounds, overwhelming many towns in England, and of their inhabitants many thousands. The year following,‡ an assembly being at Oxford, Edric of Streon having invited two noblemen, Sigeferth and Morcar, the sons of Earngrun of Seavenburg, to his lodging, secretly murdered them; the king, for what cause is unknown, seized their estates, and caused Algith the wife of Sigeferth to be kept at Maidulfsburg, now Malmsbury; whom Edmund the prince there married against his father’s mind, then went and possessed their lands, making the people there subject to him. Mat. Westm. saith, that these two were of the Danes who had seated themselves in Northumberland, slain by Edric under colour of treason laid to their charge. They who attended them without, tumulting at the death of their masters,§ were beaten back; and driven into a church, defending themselves were burnt there in the steeple. Meanwhile Canute returning from Denmark with a great navy,∥ two hundred ships richly gilded and adorned, well fraught with arms and all provision; and, which Encomium Emmæ mentions not, two other kings, Lachman of Sweden, Olav of Norway, arrived at Sandwich: and, as the same author then living writes, sent out spies to discover what resistance on land was to be expected; who returned with certain report, that a great army of English was in readiness to oppose them. Turkill, who upon the arrival of these Danish powers kept faith no longer with the English, but joining now with Canute,* as it were now to reingratiate himself after his revolt, whether real or complotted, counselled him (being yet young) not to land, but to leave to him the management of this first battle: the king assented, and he with the forces which he had brought, and part of those which arrived with Canute, landing to their wish, encountered the English, though double in number, at a place called Scorastan, and was at first beaten back with much loss. But at length animating his men with rage only and despair, obtained a clear victory, which won him great reward and possessions from Canute. But of this action no other writer makes mention. From Sandwich therefore sailing about to the river Frome, and there landing, over all Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire he spread wasteful hostility.† The king lay then sick at Cosham in this county; though it may seem strange how he could lie sick there in the midst of his enemies. Howbeit Edmund in one part, and Edric of Streon in another, raised forces by themselves; but so soon as both armies were united, the traitor Edric being found to practise against the life of Edmund, he removed with his army from him; whereof the enemy took great advantage. Edric easily enticing the forty ships of Danes to side with him, revolted to Canute: the West-Saxons also gave pledges, and furnished him with horses. By which means the year ensuing,‡ he with Edric the traitor passing the Thames at Creclad, about twelfthtide, entered into Mercia, and especially Warwickshire, depopulating all places in their way. Against these prince Edmund, for his hardiness called Ironside, gathered an army; but the Mercians refused to fight unless Ethelred with the Londoners came to aid them; and so every man returned home. After the festival, Edmund, gathering another army, besought his father to come with the Londoners, and what force besides he was able; they came with great strength gotten together, but being come, and in a hopeful way of good success, it was told the king, that unless he took the better heed, some of his own forces would fall off and betray him. The king daunted with this perhaps cunning whisper of the enemy, disbanding his army, returns to London. Edmund betook him into Northumberland, as some thought to raise fresh forces; but he with earl Uthred on the one side, and Canute with Edric on the other, did little else but waste the provinces; Canute to conquer them, Edmund to punish them who stood neuter: for which cause Stafford, Shropshire, and Leicestershire, felt heavily his hand; while Canute, who was ruining the more southern shires, at length marched into Northumberland; which Edmund hearing dismissed his forces, and came to London. Uthred the earl hasted back to Northumberland, and finding no other remedy, submitted himself with all the Northumbrians, giving hostages to Canute. Nevertheless by his command or connivance, and the hand of one Turebrand a Danish lord, Uthred was slain, and Iric another Dane made earl in his stead.
This Uthred, son of Walteof, as Simeon writes, in his treatise of the siege of Durham, in his youth obtained a great victory against Malcolm, son of Kened king of Scots, who with the whole power of his kingdom was fallen into Northumberland, and laid siege to Durham. Walteof the old earl, unable to resist, had secured himself in Bebbanburg, a strong town; but Uthred gathering an army raised the siege, slew most of the Scots, their king narrowly escaping, and with the heads of their slain fixed upon poles beset round the walls of Durham. The year of this exploit Simeon clears not, for in 969, and in the reign of Ethelred, as he affirms, it could not be. Canute by another way returning southward, joyful of his success, before Easter came back with all the army to his fleet. About the end of April ensuing, Ethelred, after a long, troublesome, and ill governed reign, ended his days at London, and was buried in the church of St. Paul.
After the decease of Ethelred, they of the nobility who were then at London, together with the citizens, chose Edmund* his son (not by Emma, but a former wife the daughter of Earl Thored) in his father’s room; but the archbishops, abbots, and many of the nobles assembled together, elected Canute; and coming to Southampton where he then remained, renounced before him all the race of Ethelred, and swore him fidelity: he also swore to them in matters both religious and secular, to be their faithful lord. But Edmund,† with all speed going to the West-Saxons, was joyfully received of them as their king, and of many other provinces by their example.—Meanwhile Canute about mid May came with his whole fleet up the river to London; then causing a great dike to be made on the Surrey side, turned the stream, and drew his ships thither west of the bridge; then begirting the city with a broad and deep trench, assailed it on every side; but repulsed as before by the valorous defendants, and in despair of success at that time, leaving part of his army for the defence of his ships, with the rest sped him to the West-Saxons, ere Edmund could have time to assemble all his powers; who yet with such as were at hand, invoking divine aid, encountered the Danes at Pen by Gillingham in Dorsetshire, and put him to flight. After midsummer, increased with new forces, he met with him again at a place called Sherastan, now Sharstan; but Edric, Almar, and Algar, with the Hampshire and Wiltshire men, then siding with the Danes, he only maintained the fight, obstinately fought on both sides, till night and weariness parted them. Daylight returning renewed the conflict, wherein the Danes appearing inferior, Edric to dishearten the English cuts off the head of one Osmer, in countenance and hair somewhat resembling the king, and holding it up, cries aloud to the English, that Edmund being slain, and this his head, it was time for them to fly; which fallacy Edmund perceiving, and openly showing himself to his soldiers, by a spear thrown at Edric, that missing him yet slew one next him,‡ and through him another behind, they recovered heart, and lay sore upon the Danes till night parted them as before: for ere the third morn, Canute, sensible of his loss, marched away by stealth to his ships at London, renewing there his leaguer. Some would have this battle at Sherastan the same with that at Scorastan before mentioned, but the circumstance of time permits not, that having been before the landing of Canute, this a good while after, as by the process of things appears. From Sherastan or Sharstan Edmund returned to the West-Saxons, whose valour Edric fearing lest it might prevail against the Danes, sought pardon of his revolt, and obtaining it swore loyalty to the king, who now the third time coming with an army from the West-Saxons to London, raised the siege, chasing Canute and his Danes to their ships. Then after two days passing the Thames at Brentford, and so coming on their backs, kept them so turned, and obtained the victory; then returns again to his West-Saxons, and Canute to his siege, but still in vain: rising therefore thence, he entered with his ships a river then called Arenne; and from the banks thereof wasted Mercia; thence their horse by land, their foot by ship came to Medway. Edmund in the mean while with multiplied forces out of many shires crossing again at Brentford, came into Kent, seeking Canute; encountered him at Otford, and so defeated, that of his horse they who escaped fled to the isle of Sheppey; and a full victory he had gained, had not Edric still the traitor by some wile or other detained his pursuit: and Edmund, who never wanted courage, here wanted prudence to be so misled, ever after forsaken of his wonted fortune. Canute crossing with his army into Essex, thence wasted Mercia worse than before, and with heavy prey returned to his ships: them Edmund with a collected army pursuing overtook at a place called Assandune or Asseshill,* now Ashdown in Essex; the battle on either side was fought with great vehemence; but perfidious Edric perceiving the victory to incline towards Edmund, with that part of the army which was under him fled, as he had promised Canute, and left the king overmatched with numbers: by which desertion the English were overthrown, duke Alfric, duke Godwin, and Ulfketel the valiant duke of East-Angles, with a great part of the nobility slain, so as the English of a long time had not received a greater blow. Yet after a while Edmund, not absurdly called Ironside, preparing again to try his fortune in another field, was hindered by Edric and others of his faction, advising him to make peace and divide the kingdom with Canute. To which Edmund overruled, a treaty appointed, and pledges mutually given, both kings met together at a place called Deorhirst in Gloucestershire;† Edmund on the west side of Severn, Canute on the east, with their armies, then both in person wafted into an island, at that time called Olanege,‡ now Alney, in the midst of the river; swearing amity and brotherhood, they parted the kingdom between them. Then interchanging arms and the habit they wore, assessing also what pay should be allotted to the navy, they departed each his way. Concerning this interview and the cause thereof others write otherwise; Malmsbury, that Edmund grieving at the loss of so much blood spilt for the ambition only of two men striving who should reign, of his own accord sent to Canute, offering him single combat, to prevent in their own cause the effusion of more blood than their own; that Canute, though of courage enough, yet not unwisely doubting to adventure his body of small timber, against a man of iron sides, refused the combat, offering to divide the kingdom. This offer pleasing both armies, Edmund was not difficult to consent; and the decision was, that he as his hereditary kingdom should rule the West-Saxons and all the South, Canute the Mercians and the North. Huntingdon followed by Mat. Westm. relates, that the peers on every side wearied out with continual warfare, and not refraining to affirm openly that they two who expected to reign singly, had most reason to fight singly, the kings were content; the island was their lists, the combat knightly; till Knute, finding himself too weak, began to parley, which ended as is said before. After which the Londoners bought their peace of the Danes, and permitted them to winter in the city. But King Edmund about the feast of St. Andrew unexpectedly deceased at London, and was buried near to Edgar his grandfather at Glaston. The cause of his so sudden death is uncertain; common fame, saith Malmsbury, lays the guilt thereof upon Edric, who to please Canute, allured with promise of reward two of the king’s privy chamber, though at first abhorring the fact, to assassinate him at the stool, by thrusting a sharp iron into his hinder parts. Huntingdon and Mat. Westm. relate it done at Oxford by the son of Edric, and something vary in the manner, not worth recital. Edmund dead, Canute meaning to reign sole king of England, calls to him all the dukes, barons, and bishops of the land, cunningly demanding of them who were witnesses what agreement was made between him and Edmund dividing the kingdom, whether the sons and brothers of Edmund were to govern the West-Saxons after him, Canute living? They who understood his meaning, and feared to undergo his anger, timorously answered, that Edmund they knew had left no part thereof to his sons or brethren, living or dying; but that he intended Canute should be their guardian, till they came to age of reigning. Simeon affirms, that for fear or hope of reward they attested what was not true: notwithstanding which he put many of them to death not long after.
CANUTE, OR KNUTE.
Canute having thus sounded the nobility,* and by them understood, received their oath of fealty, they the pledge of his bare hand, and oath from the Danish nobles; whereupon the house of Edmund was renounced, and Canute crowned. Then they enacted, that Edwi brother of Edmund, a prince of great hope, should be banished the realm. But Canute, not thinking himself secure while Edwi lived, consulted with Edric how to make him away; who told him of one Ethelward a decayed nobleman, likeliest to do the work. Ethelward sent for, and tempted by the king in private with largest rewards, but abhorring in his mind the deed, promised to do it when he saw his opportunity; and so still deferred it. But Edwi afterwards received into favour, as a snare, was by him, or some other of his false friends, Canute contriving it, the same year slain. Edric also counselled him to dispatch Edward and Edmund, the sons of Ironside; but the king doubting that the fact would seem too foul done in England, sent them to the king of Sweden, with like intent; but he, disdaining the office, sent them for better safety to Solomon king of Hungary; where Edmund at length died, but Edward married Agatha daughter to Henry the German emperor. A digression in the laws of Edward Confessor under the title of Lex Noricorum saith, that this Edward, for fear of Canute, fled of his own accord to Malesclot king of the Rugians, who received him honourably, and of that country gave him a wife. Canute, settled in his throne, divided the government of his kingdom into four parts; the West-Saxons to himself, the East-Angles to earl Turkill, the Mercians to Edric, the Northumbrians to Iric; then made peace with all princes round about him, and, his former wife being dead, in July married Emma, the widow of king Ethelred. The Christmas following was an ill feast to Edric, of whose treason the king having now made use as much as served his turn, and fearing himself to be the next betrayed, caused him to be slain at London in the palace, thrown over the city wall, and there to lie unburied; the head of Edric fixed on a pole, he commanded to be set on the highest tower of London, as in a double sense he had promised him for the murder of King Edmund to exalt him above all the peers of England. Huntingdon, Malmsbury, and Mat. Westm. write, that suspecting the king’s intention to degrade him from his Mercian dukedom, and upbraiding him with his merits, the king enraged caused him to be strangled in the room, and out at a window thrown into the Thames. Another writes,* that Eric at the king’s command struck off his head. Other great men, though without fault, as duke Norman the son of Leofwin, Ethelward son of duke Agelmar, he put to death at the same time, jealous of their power or familiarity with Edric: and notwithstanding peace, kept still his army; to maintain which, the next year† he squeezed out of the English, though now his subjects, not his enemies, seventy-two, some say, eighty-two thousand pound, besides fifteen thousand out of London. Meanwhile great war arose at Carr, between Uthred son of Waldef, earl of Northumberland, and Malcolm son of Kened king of Scots, with whom held Eugenius king of Lothian. But here Simeon the relater seems to have committed some mistake, having slain Uthred by Canute two years before, and set Iric in his place: Iric therefore it must needs be, not Uthred, who managed this war against the Scots. About which time at a convention of Danes at Oxford, it was agreed on both parties to keep the laws of Edgar; Mat. Westm. saith of Edward the elder.
The next year‡ Canute sailed into Denmark, and there abode all winter. Huntingdon and Mat. Westm. say, he went thither to repress the Swedes; and that the night before a battle was fought with them, Godwin, stealing out of the camp with his English, assaulted the Swedes, and had got the victory ere Canute in the morning knew of any fight. For which bold enterprise, though against discipline, he had the English in more esteem ever after. In the spring, at his return into England,§ he held in the time of Easter a great assembly at Chichester, and the same year was with Turkill the Dane at the dedication of a church by them built at Assendune, in the place of that great victory which won him the crown. But suspecting his greatness, the year following banished him the realm, and found occasion to do the like by Iric the Northumbrian earl upon the same jealousy. Nor yet content with his conquest of England,∥ though now above ten years enjoyed, he passed with fifty ships into Norway, dispossessed Olave their king, and subdued the land,¶ first with great sums of money sent the year before to gain him a party, then coming with an army to compel the rest. Thence returning king of England, Denmark, and Norway, yet not secure in his mind,** under colour of an embassy sent into banishment Hacun a powerful Dane, who had married the daughter of his sister Gunildis, having conceived some suspicion of his practices against him: but such course was taken, that he never came back; either perishing at sea, or slain by contrivance the next year†† in Orkney. Canute therefore having thus established himself by bloodshed and oppression, to wash away, as he thought the guilt thereof, sailing‡‡ again into Denmark, went thence to Rome, and offered there to St. Peter great gifts of gold and silver, and other precious things; besides the usual tribute of Romscot, giving great alms by the way,§§ both thither and back again, freeing many places of custom and toll with great expense, where strangers were wont to pay, having vowed great amendment of life at the sepulchre of Peter and Paul, and to his whole people in a large letter written from Rome yet extant. At his return therefore he built and dedicated a church to St. Edmund at Bury, whom his ancestors had slain,∥∥ threw out the secular priests, who had intruded there, and placed monks in their stead; then going into Scotland, subdued and received homage of Malcolm, and two other kings there, Melbeath and Jermare.* Three years† after, having made Swane, his supposed son by Algiva of Northampton, duke Alfhelm’s daughter, (for others say the son of a priest, whom Algiva barren‡ had got ready at the time of her feigned labour,) king of Norway, and Hardecnute, his son by Emma, king of Denmark; and designed Harold, his son by Algiva of Northampton, king of England; died§ at Shaftsbury, and was buried at Winchester in the old monastery. This king, as appears, ended better than he began; for though he seems to have had no hand in the death of Ironside, but detested the fact, and bringing the murderers, who came to him in hope of great reward, forth among his courtiers, as it were to receive thanks, after they had openly related the manner of their killing him, delivered them to deserved punishment, yet he spared Edric, whom he knew to be the prime author of that detestable fact; till willing to be rid of him, grown importune upon the confidence of his merits, and upbraided by him that he had first relinquished, then extinguished, Edmund for his sake; angry to be so upbraided, therefore said he with a changed countenance, “traitor to God and me, thou shalt die; thine own mouth accuses thee, to have slain thy master my confederate brother, and the Lord’s anointed.” Whereupon although present∥ and private execution was in rage done upon Edric, yet he himself in cool blood scrupled not to make away the brother and children of Edmund, who had better right to be the Lord’s anointed here than himself. When he had obtained in England what he desired, no wonder if he sought the love of his conquered subjects for the love of his own quiet, the maintainers of his wealth and state for his own profit. For the like reason he is thought to have married Emma, and that Richard duke of Normandy her brother might the less care what became of Alfred and Edward, her sons by King Ethelred. He commanded to be observed the ancient Saxon laws, called afterwards the laws of Edward the Confessor, not that he made them, but strictly observed them. His letter from Rome professes, if he had done aught amiss in his youth, through negligence or want of due temper, full resolution with the help of God to make amends, by governing justly and piously for the future; charges and adjures all his officers and viscounts, that neither for fear of him, or favour of any person, or to enrich the king, they suffer injustice to be done in the land; commands his treasurers to pay all his debts ere his return home, which was by Denmark, to compose matters there; and what his letter professed, he performed all his life after. But it is a fond conceit in many great ones, and pernicious in the end, to cease from no violence till they have attained the utmost of their ambitions and desires; then to think God appeased by their seeking to bribe him with a share, however large, of their ill-gotten spoils; and then lastly to grow zealous of doing right, when they have no longer need to do wrong. Howbeit Canute was famous through Europe, and much honoured of Conrade the emperor, then at Rome, with rich gifts and many grants of what he there demanded for the freeing of passages from toll and custom. I must not omit one remarkable action done by him, as Huntingdon reports it, with great scene of circumstance, and emphatical expression, to show the small power of kings in respect of God; which, unless to court-parasites, needed no such laborious demonstration. He caused his royal seat to be set on the shore, while the tide was coming in; and with all the state that royalty could put into his countenance, said thus to the sea; “Thou sea belongest to me, and the land whereon I sit is mine; nor hath any one unpunished resisted my commands: I charge thee come no further upon my land, neither presume to wet the feet of thy sovereign lord.” But the sea, as before, came rolling on, and without reverence both wet and dashed him. Whereat the king quickly rising, wished all about him to behold and consider the weak and frivolous power of a king, and that none indeed deserved the name of a king, but he whose eternal laws both heaven, earth, and sea obey. A truth so evident of itself, as I said before, that unless to shame his court-flatterers, who would not else be convinced, Canute needed not to have gone wetshod home; the best is, from that time forth he never would wear a crown, esteeming earthly royalty contemptible and vain.
Harold for his swiftness surnamed Harefoot,* the son of Canute by Algiva of Northampton, (though some speak doubtfully as if she bore him not, but had him of a shoemaker’s wife as Swane before of a priest; others of a maidservant, to conceal her barrenness,) in a great assembly at Oxford was by duke Leofric and the Mercians, with the Londoners, according to his father’s testament, elected king;† but without the regal habiliments, which Ælnot, the archbishop, having in his custody, refused to deliver up, but to the sons of Emma, for which Harold ever after hated the clergy; and (as the clergy are wont thence to infer) all religion. Godwin earl of Kent, and the West-Saxons with him, stood for Hardecnute. Malmsbury saith, that the contest was between Dane and English; that the Danes and Londoners grown now in a manner Danish, were all for Hardecnute: but he being then in Denmark, Harold prevailed, yet so as that the kingdom should be divided between them; the west and south part reserved by Emma for Hardecnute till his return. But Harold, once advanced into the throne, banished Emma his mother-in-law, seized on his father’s treasure at Winchester, and there remained. Emma,‡ not holding it safe to abide in Normandy while duke William the bastard was yet under age, retired to Baldwin earl of Flanders. In the mean while Elfred and Edward sons of Ethelred, accompanied with a small number of Norman soldiers in a few ships, coming to visit their mother Emma not yet departed the land, and perhaps to see how the people were inclined to restore them their right, Elfred was sent for by the king then at London; but in his way met at Guilford by earl Godwin, who with all seeming friendship entertained him, was in the night surprised and made prisoner, most of his company put to various sorts of cruel death, decimated twice over; then brought to London, was by the king sent bound to Ely, had his eyes put out by the way, and delivered to the monks there, died soon after in their custody. Malmsbury gives little credit to this story of Elfred, as not chronicled in his time, but rumoured only. Which Emma however hearing sent away her son Edward, who by good hap accompanied not his brother, with all speed into Normandy. But the author of “Encomium Emmæ,” who seems plainly (though nameless) to have been some monk, yet lived, and perhaps wrote within the same year when these things were done; by his relation, diffaring from all others, much aggravates the cruelty of Harold, that he, not content to have practised in secret (for openly he durst not) against the life of Emma, sought many treacherous ways to get her son within his power; and resolved at length to forge a letter in the name of their mother, inviting them into England, the copy of which letter he produces written to this purpose.
“Emma in name only queen, to her sons Edward and Elfred, imparts motherly salutation. While we severally bewail the death of our lord the king, most dear sons! and while daily you are deprived more and more of the kingdom your inheritance; I admire what counsel ye take, knowing that your intermitted delay is a daily strengthening to the reign of your usurper, who incessantly goes about from town to city, gaining the chief nobles to his party, either by gifts, prayers, or threats. But they had much rather one of you should reign over them, than to be held under the power of him who now overrules them. I entreat therefore that one of you come to me speedily, and privately, to receive from me wholesome counsel, and to know how the business which I intend shall be accomplished. By this messenger present, send back what you determine. Farewell, as dear both as my own heart.”
These letters were sent to the princes then in Normandy, by express messengers, with presents also as from their mother; which they joyfully receiving, returned word by the same messengers, that one of them will be with her shortly; naming both the time and place. Elfrid therefore, the younger (for so it was thought best) at the appointed time, with a few ships and small numbers about him appearing on the coast, no sooner came ashore but fell into the snare of earl Godwin, sent on purpose to betray him; as above was related. Emma greatly sorrowing for the loss of her son, thus cruelly made away, fled immediately with some of the nobles her faithfullest adherents into Flanders, had her dwelling assigned at Bruges by the earl; where having remained about two years,* she was visited out of Denmark by Hardecnute her son; and he not long had remained with her there, when Harold in England, having done nothing the while worth memory, save the taxing of every port at eight marks of silver to sixteen ships, died at London, some say at Oxford, and was buried at Winchester. After which,† most of the nobility, both Danes and English now agreeing, send embassadors to Hardecnute still at Bruges with his mother, entreating him to come and receive as his right, the sceptre; who before midsummer came with sixty ships, and many soldiers out of Denmark.
Hardecnute received with acclamation, and seated in the throne, first called to mind the injuries done to him or his mother Emma in the time of Harold; sent Alfric archbishop of York, Godwin, and others, with Troud his executioner, to London, commanding them to dig up the body of King Harold, and throw it into a ditch; but by a second order, into the Thames. Whence taken up by a fisherman, and conveyed to a churchyard in London belonging to the Danes, it was interred again with honour. This done, he levied a sore tax, that eight marks to every rower, and twelve to every officer in his fleet should be paid throughout England: by which time they who were so forward to call him over had enough of him; for he as they thought, had too much of theirs. After this he called to account Godwin earl of Kent, and Leving bishop of Worcester, about the death of Elfred his half brother, which Alfric the archbishop laid to their charge; the king deprived Leving of his bishopric, and gave it to his accuser: but the year following, pacified with a round sum, restored it to Leving. Godwin* made his peace by a sumptuous present, a galley with a gilded stem bravely rigged, and eighty soldiers in her, every one with bracelets of gold on each arm, weighing sixteen ounces, helmet, corslet, and hilts of his sword gilded; a Danish curtaxe, listed with gold or silver, hung on his left shoulder, a shield with boss and nails gilded in his left hand, in his right a lance; besides this, he took his oath before the king, that neither of his own counsel or will, but by the command of Harold, he had done what he did, to the putting out Elfred’s eyes. The like oath took most of the nobility for themselves, or in his behalf. The next year† Hardecnute sending his house-carles, so they called his officers, to gather the tribute imposed; two of them, rigorous in their office, were slain at Worcester by the people; whereat the king enraged sent Leofric duke of Mercia, and Seward of Northumberland, with great forces and commission to slay the citizens, rifle and burn the city, and waste the whole province. Affrighted with such news, all the people fled: the countrymen whither they could, the citizens to a small island in Severn, called Beverege, which they fortified and defended stoutly till peace was granted them, and freely to return home. But their city they found sacked and burnt; wherewith the king was appeased. This was commendable in him, however cruel to others, that towards his half-brethren, though rivals of his crown, he shewed himself always tenderly affectioned; as now towards Edward, who without fear came to him out of Normandy, and with unfeigned kindness received, remained safely and honourably in his court. But Hardecnute‡ the year following, at a feast wherein Osgod a great Danish lord gave his daughter in marriage at Lambeth to Prudon another potent Dane, in the midst of his mirth, sound and healthful to sight, while he was drinking fell down speechless, and so dying, was buried at Winchester beside his father. He was it seems, a great lover of good cheer; sitting at table four times a day, with great variety of dishes and superfluity to all comers. Whereas, saith Huntingdon, in our time princes in their houses made but one meal a day. He gave his sister Gunildis, a virgin of rare beauty, in marriage to Henry the Alman emperor; and to send her forth pompously, all the nobility contributed their jewels and richest ornaments. But it may seem a wonder, that our historians, if they deserve that name, should in a matter so remarkable, and so near their own time, so much differ. Huntingdon relates, against the credit of all other records, that Hardecnute thus dead, the English rejoicing at this unexpected riddance of the Danish yoke, sent over to Elfred, the elder son of Emma by King Ethelred, of whom we heard but now that he died a prisoner at Ely, sent thither by Harold six years before; that he came now out of Normandy, with a great number of men, to receive the crown; that earl Godwin, aiming to have his daughter queen of England, by marrying her to Edward a simple youth, for he thought Elfred of a higher spirit than to accept her, persuaded the nobles, that Elfred had brought over too many Normans, had promised them land here, that it was not safe to suffer a warlike and subtle nation to take root in the land, that these were to be so handled as none of them might dare for the future to flock hither, upon pretence of relation to the king: thereupon by common consent of the nobles, both Elfred and his company were dealt with as was above related; that they then sent for Edward out of Normandy, with hostages to be left there of their faithful intentions to make him king, and their desires not to bring over with him many Normans; that Edward at their call came then first out of Normandy; whereas all others agree, that he came voluntarily over to visit Hardecnute, as is before said, and was remaining then in court at the time of his death. For Hardecnute dead, saith Malmsbury, Edward, doubting greatly his own safety, determined to rely wholly on the advice and favour of earl Godwin; desiring therefore by messengers to have private speech with him, the earl a while deliberated; at last assenting, prince Edward came, and would have fallen at his feet; but that not permitted, told him the danger wherein he thought himself at present, and in great perplexity besought his help, to convey him some whither out of the land. Godwin soon apprehending the fair occasion that now as it were prompted him how to advance himself and his family, cheerfully exhorted him to remember himself the son of Ethelred, the grandchild of Edgar, right heir to the crown at full age; not to think of flying, but of reigning, which might easily be brought about, if he would follow his counsel; then setting forth the power and authority which he had in England, promised it should be all his to set him on the throne, if he on his part would promise and swear to be for ever his friend, to preserve the honour of his house, and to marry his daughter. Edward, as his necessity then was, consented easily, and swore to whatever Godwin required. An assembly of states thereupon met at Gillingham, where Edward pleaded his right; and by the powerful influence of Godwin was accepted. Others, as Brompton, with no probability write, that Godwin at this time was fled into Denmark, for what he had done to Elfred, returned and submitted himself to Edward then king, was by him charged openly with the death of Elfred, and not without much ado, by the intercession of Leofric and other peers, received at length into favour.
EDWARD THE CONFESSOR.
Glad were the English delivered so unexpectedly from their Danish masters, and little thought how near another conquest was hanging over them. Edward, the Easter following,* crowned at Winchester, the same year accompanied with earl Godwin, Leofric, and Siward, came again thither on a sudden, and by their counsel seized on the treasure of his mother Emma. The cause alleged is, that she was hard to him in the time of his banishment; and indeed she is said not much to have loved Ethelred her former husband, and thereafter the children by him; she was moreover noted to be very covetous, hard to the poor, and profuse to monasteries. About this time† also King Edward, according to promise, took to wife Edith or Egith earl Godwin’s daughter, commended much for beauty, modesty, and beyond what is requisite in a woman, learning. Ingulf, then a youth lodging in the court with his father, saw her oft, and coming from the school was sometimes met by her and posed, not in grammar only, but in logic. Edward the next year but one‡ made ready a strong navy at Sandwich against Magnus king of Norway, who threatened an invasion, had not Swane king of Denmark diverted him by a war at home to defend his own land;§ not out of good will to Edward, as may be supposed, who at the same time expressed none to the Danes, banishing Gunildis the neice of Canute with her two sons, and Osgod by surname Clapa, out of the realm. Swane, overpowered by Magnus,∥ sent the next year to entreat aid of King Edward; Godwin gave counsel to send him fifty ships fraught with soldiers; but Leofric and the general voice gainsaying, none were sent. The next year* Harold Harvager, king of Norway, sending embassadors, made peace with King Edward; but an earthquake at Worcester and Derby, pestilence and famine in many places, much lessened the enjoyment thereof. The next year† Henry the emperor, displeased with Baldwin earl of Flanders, had straitened him with a great army by land; and sending to king Edward, desired him with his ships to hinder what he might his escape by sea. The king therefore, with a great navy, coming to Sandwich, there staid till the emperor came to an agreement with earl Baldwin. Meanwhile Swane son of earl Godwin, who, not permitted to marry Edgiva the abbess of Chester by him deflowered, had left the land, came out of Denmark with eight ships, feigning a desire to return into the king’s favour; and Beorn his cousin german, who commanded part of the king’s navy, promised to intercede, that his earldom might be restored him. Godwin therefore and Beorn with a few ships, the rest of the fleet gone home, coming to Pevensey, (but Godwin soon departed thence in pursuit of twenty-nine Danish ships, who had got much booty on the coast of Essex, and perished by tempest in their return,) Swane with his ships comes to Beorn at Pevensey, guilefully requests him to sail with him to Sandwich, and reconcile him to the king, as he had promised. Beorn mistrusting no evil where he intended good, went with him in his ship attended by three only of his servants: but Swane, set upon barbarous cruelty, not reconciliation with the king, took Beorn now in his power, and bound him; then coming to Dartmouth, slew and buried him in a deep ditch. After which the men of Hastings took six of his ships, and brought them to the king at Sandwich; with the other two he escaped into Flanders, there remaining till Aldred bishop of Worcester by earnest mediation wrought his peace with the king. About this time King Edward sent to pope Leo, desiring absolution from a vow which he had made in his younger years, to take a journey to Rome, if God vouchsafed him to reign in England; the pope dispensed with his vow, but not without the expense of his journey given to the poor, and a monastery built or re-dified to St. Peter; who in vision to a monk, as is said, chose Westminster, which King Edward thereupon rebuilding endowed with large privileges and revenues.‡ The same year, saith Florent of Worcester, certain Irish pirates with thirty-six ships entered the mouth of Severn, and with the aid of Griffin prince of South Wales, did some hurt in those parts: then passing the river Wye, burnt Dunedham, and slew all the inhabitants they found. Against whom Aldred bishop of Worcester, with a few out of Gloucester and Herefordshire, went out in haste: but Griffin, to whom the Welsh and Irish had privily sent messengers, came down upon the English with his whole power by night, and early in the morning suddenly assaulting them, slew many, and put the rest to flight. The next year§ but one, King Edward remitted the Danish tax which had continued thirty-eight years heavy upon the land since Ethelred first paid it to the Danes, and what remained thereof in his treasury he sent back to the owners: but through imprudence laid the foundation of a far worse mischief to the English; while studying gratitude to those Normans, who to him in exile had been helpful, he called them over to public offices here, whom better he might have repaid out of his private purse; by this means exasperating either nation one against the other, and making way by degrees to the Norman conquest. Robert a monk of that country, who had been serviceable to him there in time of need, he made bishop, first of London, then of Canterbury; William his chaplain, bishop of Dorchester. Then began the English to lay aside their own ancient customs, and in many things to imitate French manners, the great peers to speak French in their houses, in French to write their bills and letters, as a great piece of gentility, ashamed of their own: a presage of their subjection shortly to that people, whose fashions and language they affected so slavishly. But that which gave beginning to many troubles ensuing happened this year, and upon this occasion.
Eustace earl of Boloign,* father of the famous Godfrey who won Jerusalem from the Saracens, and husband to Goda the king’s sister, having been to visit King Edward, and returning by Canterbury to take ship at Dover, one of his harbingers insolently seeking to lodge by force in a house there, provoked so the master thereof, as by chance or heat of anger to kill him. The count with his whole train going to the house where his servant had been killed, slew both the slayer and eighteen more who defended him. But the townsmen running to arms, requited him with the slaughter of twenty more of his servants, wounded most of the rest; he himself with one or two hardly escaping, ran back with clamour to the king; whom, seconded by other Norman courtiers, he stirred up to great anger against the citizens of Canterbury. Earl Godwin in haste is sent for, the cause related and much aggravated by the king against that city, the earl commanded to raise forces, and use the citizens thereof as enemies. Godwin, sorry to see strangers more favoured of the king than his native people, answered, that “it were better to summon first the chief men of the town into the king’s court, to charge them with sedition, where both parties might be heard, that not found in fault they might be acquitted; if otherwise, by fine or loss of life might satisfy the king, whose peace they had broken, and the count whom they had injured: till this were done refusing to prosecute with hostile punishment them of his own country unheard, whom his office was rather to defend.” The king, displeased with his refusal, and not knowing how to compel him, appointed an assembly of all the peers to be held at Gloucester, where the matter might be fully tried; the assembly was full and frequent according to summons: but Godwin, mistrusting his own cause, or the violence of his adversaries, with his two sons, Swane and Harold, and a great power gathered out of his own and his sons’ earldoms, which contained most of the south-east and west parts of England, came no farther than Beverstan, giving out that their forces were to go against the Welsh, who intended an irruption into Herefordshire; and Swane under that pretence lay with part of his army thereabout. The Welsh understanding this device, and with all diligence clearing themselves before the king, left Godwin detected of false accusation in great hatred to all the assembly. Leofric therefore and Siward, dukes of great power, the former in Mercia, the other in all parts beyond Humber, both ever faithful to the king, send privily with speed to raise the forces of their provinces. Which Godwin not knowing, sent bold to King Edward, demanding count Eustace and his followers, together with those Boloignians, who, as Simeon writes, held a castle in the jurisdiction of Canterbury. The king, as then having but little force at hand, entertained him a while with treaties and delays, till his summoned army drew nigh, then rejected his demands. Godwin, thus matched, commanded his sons not to begin fight against the king; begun with, not to give ground. The king’s forces were the flower of those counties whence they came, and eager to fall on: but Leofric and the wiser sort, detesting civil war,* brought the matter to this accord; that hostages given on either side, the cause should be again debated at London. Thither the king and lords coming with their army, sent to Godwin and his sons (who with their powers were come as far as Southwark) commanding their appearance unarmed with only twelve attendants, and that the rest of their soldiers they should deliver over to the king. They to appear without pledges before an adverse faction denied; but to dismiss their soldiers refused not, nor in aught else to obey the king as far as might stand with honour and the just regard of their safety.
This answer not pleasing the king, an edict was presently issued forth, that Godwin and his sons within five days depart the land. He, who perceived now his numbers to diminish, readily obeyed, and with his wife and three sons, Tosti, Swane, and Gyrtha, with as much treasure as their ship could carry, embarked at Thorney, sailed into Flanders to earl Baldwin, whose daughter Judith Tosti had married: for Wulnod his fourth son was then a hostage to the king in Normandy; his other two, Harold and Leofwin, taking ship at Bristow, in a vessel that lay ready there belonging to Swane, passed into Ireland. King Edward, pursuing his displeasure, divorced his wife Edith, earl Godwin’s daughter, sending her despoiled of all her ornaments to Warewel with one waiting-maid; to be kept in custody by his sister the abbess there. His reason† of so doing was as harsh as his act, that she only, while her nearest relations were in banishment, might not, though innocent, enjoy ease at home. After this, William duke of Normandy, with a great number of followers, coming into England, was by King Edward honourably entertained, and led about the cities and castles, as it were to show him what ere long was to be his own, (though at that time, saith Ingulf, no mention thereof passed between them,) then, after some time of his abode here, presented richly and dismissed, he returned home.
The next year‡ Queen Emma died, and was buried at Winchester. The chronicle attributed to John Brompton, a Yorkshire abbot, but rather of some nameless author living under Edward III., or later, reports that the year before, by Robert the archbishop she was accused both of consenting to the death of her son Elfred, and of preparing poison for Edward also: lastly, of too much familiarity with Alwin bishop of Winchester; that to approve her innocence, praying overnight to St. Swithune, she offered to pass blindfold between certain ploughshares red-hot, according to the ordalian law, which without harm she performed; that the king thereupon received her to honour, and from her and the bishop, penance for his credulity; that the archbishop, ashamed of his accusation, fled out of England: which, besides the silence of ancienter authors, (for the bishop fled not till a year after,) brings the whole story into suspicion, in this more probable, if it can be proved, that in memory of this deliverance from the nine burning ploughshares, Queen Emma gave to the abbey of St. Swithune nine manors, and bishop Alwin other nine.
About this time Griffin prince of South Wales wasted Herefordshire; to oppose whom the people of that country, with many Normans, garrisoned in the castle of Hereford, went out in arms, but were put to the worse, many slain, and much booty driven away by the Welsh. Soon after which Harold and Leofwin, sons of Godwin, coming into Severn with many ships, in the confines of Somerset and Dorsetshire, spoiled many villages, and resisted by those of Somerset and Devonshire, slew in a fight more than thirty of their principal men, many of the common sort, and returned with much booty to their fleet. King Edward on the other side* made ready above sixty ships at Sandwich, well stored with men and provision, under the conduct of Odo and Radulf, two of his Norman kindred, enjoining them to find out Godwin, whom he heard to be at sea. To quicken them, he himself lay on shipboard, ofttimes watched and sailed up and down in search of those pirates. But Godwin, whether in a mist, or by other accident, passing by them, arrived in another part of Kent, and dispersing several messengers abroad, by fair words allured the chief men of Kent, Surrey, and Essex, to his party; which news coming to the king’s fleet at Sandwich, they hasted to find him out; but missing of him again, came up without effect to London. Godwin, advertised of this, forthwith sailed to the Isle of Wight; where at length his two sons Harold and Leofwin finding him, with their united navy lay on the coast, forbearing other hostility than to furnish themselves with fresh victuals from land as they needed. Thence as one fleet they set forward to Sandwich, using all fair means by the way to increase their numbers both of mariners and soldiers. The king then at London, startled at these tidings, gave speedy orders to raise forces in all parts that had not revolted from him; but now too late, for Godwin within a few days after with his ships or galleys came up the river Thames to Southwark, and till the tide returned had conference with the Londoners; whom by fair speeches (for he was held a good speaker in those times) he brought to his bent. The tide returned, and none upon the bridge hindering, he rowed up in his galleys along the south bank; where his land-army, now come to him, in array of battle now stood on the shore; then turning toward the north side of the river, where the king’s galleys lay in some readiness, and land forces also not far off, he made show as offering to fight; but they understood one another, and the soldiers on either side soon declared their resolution not to fight English against English. Thence coming to treaty, the king and the earl reconciled, both armies were dissolved, Godwin and his sons restored to their former dignities, except Swane, who, touched in conscience for the slaughter of Beorne his kinsman, was gone barefoot to Jerusalem, and, returning home, died by sickness or Saracens in Lycia; his wife Edith, Godwin’s daughter, King Edward took to him again, dignified as before. Then were the Normans, who had done many unjust things under the king’s authority, and given him ill counsel against his people, banished the realm; some of them, not blameable, permitted to stay. Robert archbishop of Canterbury, William of London, Ulf of Lincoln, all Normans, hardly escaping with their followers, got to sea. The archbishop went with his complaint to Rome; but returning, died in Normandy at the same monastery from whence he came. Osbern and Hugh surrendered their castles, and by permission of Leofric passed through his countries with their Normans to Macbeth king of Scotland. The year following,† Rhese, brother to Griffin, prince of South Wales, who by inroads had done much damage to the English, taken at Bulendun, was put to death by the king’s appointment, and his head brought to him at Gloucester. The same year at Winchester on the second holy day of Easter, earl Godwin, sitting with the king at table, sunk down suddenly in his seat as dead: his three sons, Harold, Tosti, and Girtha, forthwith carried him into the king’s chamber, hoping he might revive: but the malady had so seized him, that the fifth day after he expired. The Normans who hated Godwin give out, saith Malmsbury, that mention happening to be made of Elfred, and the king thereat looking sourly upon Godwin, he, to vindicate himself, uttered these words: “Thou, O king, at every mention made of thy brother Elfred, lookest frowningly upon me; but let God not suffer me to swallow this morsel, if I be guilty of aught done against his life or thy advantage;” that after these words, choked with the morsel taken, he sunk down and recovered not. His first wife was the sister of Canute, a woman of much infamy for the trade she drove of buying up English youths and maids to sell in Denmark, whereof she made great gain; but ere long was struck with thunder and died. The year ensuing,* Siward earl of Northumberland, with a great number of horse and foot, attended also by a strong fleet at the king’s appointment, made an expedition into Scotland, vanquished the tyrant Macbeth, slaying many thousands of Scots with those Normans that went thither, and placed Malcolm son of the Cambrian king in his stead; yet not without loss of his own son, and many other both English and Danes. Told of his son’s death,† he asked whether he received his death’s wound before or behind. When it was answered, before; “I am glad,” saith he, “and should not else have thought him, though my son, worthy of burial.” In the mean while King Edward being without issue to succeed him, sent Aldred bishop of Winchester with great presents to the emperor, entreating him to prevail with the king of Hungary, that Edward, the remaining son of his brother Edmund Ironside, might be sent into England. Siward but one year surviving his great victory, died at York;‡ reported by Huntingdon a man of giant-like stature; and by his own demeanor at point of death manifested, of a rough and mere soldierly mind. For much disdaining to die in bed by a disease, not in the field fighting with his enemies, he caused himself completely armed, and weaponed with battleaxe and shield, to be set in a chair, whether to fight with death, if he could be so vain, or to meet him (when far other weapons and preparations were needful) in a martial bravery; but true fortitude glories not in the feats of war, as they are such, but as they serve to end war soonest by a victorious peace.
His earldom the king bestowed on Tosti the son of earl Godwin: and soon after, in a convention held at London, banished without visible cause, Huntingdon saith for treason, Algar the son of Leofric; who, passing into Ireland, soon returned with eighteen ships to Griffin prince of South Wales, requesting his aid against King Edward. He, assembling his powers, entered with him into Herefordshire; whom Radulf a timorous captain, son to the king’s sister, not by Eustace, but a former husband, met two miles distant from Hereford; and having horsed the English, who knew better to fight on foot, without stroke he with his French and Normans beginning to fly, taught the English by his example. Griffin and Algar, following the chase, slew many, wounded more, entered Hereford, slew seven canons defending the minster, burnt the monastery and reliques, then the city; killing some, leading captive others of the citizens, returned with great spoils; whereof King Edward having notice gathered a great army at Gloucester under the conduct of Harold, now earl of Kent, who strenuously pursuing Griffin entered Wales, and encamped beyond Straddale. But the enemy flying before him farther into the country, leaving there the greater part of his army with such as had charge to fight, if occasion were offered, with the rest he returned, and fortified Hereford with a wall and gates. Meanwhile Griffin and Algar, dreading the diligence of Harold, after many messages to and fro, concluded a peace with him. Algar, discharging his fleet with pay at West-Chester, came to the king, and was restored to his earldom. But Griffin with breach of faith, the next year* set upon Leofgar the bishop of Hereford and his clerks then at a place called Glastbrig, with Agelnorth viscount of the shire, and slew them; but Leofric, Harold, and King Edward, by force as is likeliest, though it be not said how, reduced him to peace. The next year,† Edward son of Edmund Ironside, for whom his uncle King Edward had sent to the emperor, came out of Hungary, designed successor to the crown; but within a few days after his coming died at London, leaving behind him Edgar Atheling his son, Margaret and Christiana his daughters. About the same time also died earl Leofric in a good old age, a man of no less virtue than power in his time, religious, prudent, and faithful to his country, happily wedded to Godiva, a woman of great praise. His son Algar found less favour with King Edward, again banished the year after his father’s death,‡ but he again by the aid of Griffin and a fleet from Norway, maugre the king, soon recovered his earldom. The next year§ Malcolm king of Scots, coming to visit King Edward, was brought on his way by Tosti the Northumbrian, to whom he swore brotherhood: yet the next year but one,∥ while Tosti was gone to Rome with Aldred archbishop of York for his pall, this sworn brother, taking advantage of his absence, roughly harassed Northumberland. The year passing to an end without other matter of moment, save the frequent inroads and robberies of Griffin, whom no bounds of faith could restrain, King Edward sent against him after Christmas Harold now Duke of West-Saxons,¶ with no great body of horse, from Gloucester, where he then kept his court; whose coming heard of Griffin not daring to abide, nor in any part of his land holding himself secure, escaped hardly by sea, ere Harold, coming to Rudeland, burnt his palace and ships there, returning to Gloucester the same day. But by the middle of May** setting out with a fleet from Bristow, he sailed about the most part of Wales, and met by his brother Tosti with many troops of horse, as the king had appointed, began to waste the country; but the Welsh giving pledges, yielded themselves, promised to become tributary, and banish Griffin their prince; who lurking somewhere was the next year†† taken and slain by Griffin prince of North Wales; his head with the head and tackle of his ship sent to Harold, by him to the king, who of his gentleness made Blechgent and Rithwallon, or Rivallon, his two brothers, princes in his stead; they to Harold in behalf of the king swore fealty and tribute. Yet the next year‡‡ Harold having built a fair house at a place called Portascith in Monmouthshire, and stored it with provision, that the king might lodge there in time of hunting, Caradoc, the son of Griffin slain the year before,§§ came with a number of men, slew all he found there, and took away the provision. Soon after which the Northumbrians in a tumult at York beset the palace of Tosti their earl, slew more than two hundred of his soldiers and servants, pillaged his treasure, and put him to fly for his life. The cause of this insurrection they alledged to be, for that the queen Edith had commanded, in her brother Tosti’s behalf, Gospatric a nobleman of that country to be treacherously slain in the king’s court; and that Tosti himself the year before with like treachery had caused to be slain in his chamber Gamel and Ulf, two other of their noblemen, besides his intolerable exactions and oppressions. Then in a manner the whole country, coming up to complain of their grievances, met with Harold at Northampton, whom the king at Tosti’s request had sent to pacify the Northumbrians; but they laying open the cruelty of his government, and their own birthright of freedom not to endure the tyranny of any governor whatsoever, with absolute refusal to admit him again, and Harold hearing reason, all the accomplices of Tosti were expelled the earldom. He himself, banished the realm, went into Flanders; Morcar the son of Algar made earl in his stead. Huntingdon tells another cause of Tosti’s banishment, that one day at Windsor, while Harold reached the cup to King Edward, Tosti envying to see his younger brother in greater favour than himself, could not forbear to run furiously upon him, catching hold of his hair; the scuffle was soon parted by other attendants rushing between, and Tosti forbidden the court. He with continued fury riding to Hereford, where Harold had many servants, preparing an entertainment for the king, came to the house and set upon them with his followers; then lopping off hands, arms, legs of some, heads of others, threw them into buts of wine, meath or ale, which were laid in for the king’s drinking: and at his going away charged them to send him this word, that of other fresh meats he might bring with him to his farm what he pleased, but of souse he should find plenty provided ready for him: that for this barbarous act the king pronounced him banished; that the Northumbrians, taking advantage at the king’s displeasure and sentence against him, rose also to be revenged of his cruelties done to themselves. But this no way agrees; for why then should Harold or the king so much labour with the Northumbrians to readmit him, if he were a banished man for his crimes done before? About this time it happened, that Harold putting to sea one day for his pleasure,* in a fisherboat, from his manor at Boseham in Sussex, caught with a tempest too far off land was carried into Normandy; and by the earl of Pontiew, on whose coast he was driven, at his own request brought to duke William; who, entertaining him with great courtesy, so far won him, as to promise the duke by oath of his own accord, not only the castle of Dover then in his tenure, but the kingdom also after King Edward’s death to his utmost endeavour, thereupon betrothing the duke’s daughter then too young for marriage, and departing richly presented. Others say, that King Edward himself, after the death of Edward his nephew, sent Harold thither on purpose to acquaint duke William with his intention to bequeath him his kingdom:† but Malmsbury accounts the former story to be the truer. Ingulf writes, that King Edward now grown old, and perceiving Edgar his nephew both in body and in mind unfit to govern, especially against the pride and insolence of Godwin’s sons, who would never obey him; duke William on the other side of high merit, and his kinsman by the mother, had sent Robert archbishop of Canterbury, to acquaint the duke with his purpose, not long before Harold came thither. The former part may be true, that King Edward upon such considerations had sent one or other; but archbishop Robert was fled the land, and dead many years before. Eadmer and Simeon write, that Harold went of his own accord into Normandy, by the king’s permission or connivance, to get free his brother Wulnod and nephew Hacun the son of Swane, whom the king had taken hostages of Godwin, and sent into Normandy; that King Edward foretold Harold, his journey thither would be to the detriment of all England, and his own reproach; that duke William then acquainted Harold, how Edward ere his coming to the crown had promised, if ever he attained it, to leave duke William successor after him. Last of these Matthew Paris writes, that Harold, to get free of duke William, affirmed his coming thither not to have been by accident or force of tempest, but on set purpose, in that private manner to enter with him into secret confederacy: so variously are these things reported. After this King Edward grew sickly,* yet as he was able kept his Christmas at London, and was at the dedication of St. Peter’s church in Westminster, which he had rebuilt; but on the eve of Epiphany, or Twelfthtide, deceased much lamented, and in the church was entomed. That he was harmless and simple, is conjectured by his words in anger to a peasant, who had crossed his game, (for with hunting and hawking he was much delighted,) “by God and God’s mother,” said he, “I shall do you as shrewd a turn if I can;” observing that law maxim, the best of all his successors, “that the king of England can do no wrong.” The softness of his nature gave growth to factions of those about him, Normans especially and English; these complaining, that Robert the archbishop was a sower of dissension between the king and his people, a traducer of the English; the other side, that Godwin and his sons bore themselves arrogantly and proudly towards the king, usurping to themselves equal share in the government, ofttimes making sport with his simplicity;† that through their power in the land, they made no scruple to kill men of whose inheritance they took a liking, and so to take possession. The truth is, that Godwin and his sons did many things boisterously and violently, much against the king’s mind; which not able to resist, he had, as some say, his wife Edith Godwin’s daughter in such aversation, as in bed never to have touched her; whether for this cause, or mistaken chastity, not commendable; to inquire further, is not material. His laws held good and just, and long after desired by the English of their Norman kings, are yet extant. He is said to be at table not excessive, at festivals nothing puffed up with the costly robes he wore, which his queen with curious art had woven for him in gold. He was full of almsdeeds, and exhorted the monks to like charity. He is said to be the first English king that cured the disease thence called the king’s evil; yet Malmsbury blames them who attribute that cure to his royalty, not to his sanctity; said also to have cured certain blind men with the water wherein he hath washed his hands. A little before his death, lying speechless two days, the third day, after a deep sleep, he was heard to pray, that if it were a true vision, not an illusion which he had seen, God would give him strength to utter it, otherwise not. Then he related how he had seen two devout monks, whom he knew in Normandy to have lived and died well, who appearing told him they were sent messengers from God to foretel, that because the great ones of England, dukes, lords, bishops, and abbots, were not ministers of God but of the devil, God had delivered the land to their enemies; and when he desired, that he might reveal this vision, to the end they might repent, it was answered, they neither will repent, neither will God pardon them: at this relation others trembling, Stigand the simonious archbishop, whom Edward much to blame had suffered many years to sit primate in the church, is said to have laughed, as at the feverish dream of a doting old man; but the event proved true.
HAROLD, son of Earl Godwin.
Harold, whether by King Edward a little before his death ordained successor to the crown, as Simeon of Durham and others affirm;* or by the prevalence of his faction, excluding Edgar the right heir, grandchild to Edmund Ironside, as Malmsbury and Huntingdon agree; no sooner was the funeral of King Edward ended, but on the same day was elected and crowned king: and no sooner placed in the throne, but began to frame himself by all manner of compliances to gain affection, endeavoured to make good laws, repealed bad, became a great patron to church and churchmen, courteous and affable to all reputed good, a hater of evil doers, charged all his officers to punish thieves, robbers, and all disturbers of the peace, while he himself by sea and land laboured in the defence of his country: so good an actor is ambition. In the mean while a blazing star, seven mornings together, about the end of April was seen to stream terribly, not only over England, but other parts of the world; foretelling here, as was thought, the great changes approaching: plainliest prognosticated by Elmer, a monk of Malmsbury, who could not foresee, when time was, the breaking of his own legs for soaring too high. He in his youth strangely aspiring, had made and fitted wings to his hands and feet; with these on the top of a tower, spread out to gather air, he flew more than a furlong; but the wind being too high, came fluttering down, to the maiming of all his limbs; yet so conceited of his art, that he attributed the cause of his fall to the want of a tail, as birds have, which he forgot to make to his hinder parts. This story, though seeming otherwise too light in the midst of a sad narration, yet for the strangeness thereof, I thought worthy enough the placing, as I found it placed in my author. But to digress no father: Tosti the king’s brother coming from Flanders, full of envy at his younger brother’s advancement to the crown, resolved what he might to trouble his reign; forcing therefore them of Wight Isle to contribution, he sailed thence to Sandwich, committing piracies on the coast between. Harold, then residing at London, with a great number of ships drawn together, and of horse troops by land, prepares in person for Sandwich: whereof Tosti having notice directs his course with sixty ships towards Lindsey,† taking with him all the seamen he found, willing or unwilling; where he burnt many villages, and slew many of the inhabitants; but Edwin the Mercian duke, and Morcar his brother, the Northumbrian earl, with their forces on either side, soon drove him out of the country. Who thence betook him to Malcolm the Scottish king, and with him abode the whole summer.—About the same time duke William sending embassadors to admonish Harold of his promise and oath, to assist him in his plea to the kingdom, he made answer, that by the death of his daughter betrothed to him on that condition, he was absolved of his oath;‡ or not dead, he could not take her now an outlandish woman, without consent of the realm; that it was presumptuously done, and not to be persisted in, if without consent or knowledge of the states, he had sworn away the right of the kingdom; that what he swore was to gain his liberty, being in a manner then his prisoner; that it was unreasonable in the duke, to require or expect of him the foregoing of a kingdom, conferred upon him with universal favour and acclamation of the people. To this flat denial he added contempt, sending the messengers back, saith Matthew Paris, on maimed horses. The duke, thus contemptuously put off, addresses himself to the pope, setting forth the justice of his cause; which Harold, whether through haughtiness of mind, or distrust, or that the ways to Rome were stopped, sought not to do. Duke William, besides the promise and oath of Harold, alleged that King Edward, by the advice of Seward, Godwin himself, and Stigand the archbishop, had given him the right of succession, and had sent him the son and nephew of Godwin, pledges of the gift: the pope sent to duke William, after this demonstration of his right, a consecrated banner. Whereupon he having with great care and choice got an army of tall and stout soldiers, under captains of great skill and mature age, came in August to the port of St. Valerie. Meanwhile Harold from London comes to Sandwich, there expecting his navy; which also coming, he sails to the Isle of Wight; and having heard of duke William’s preparations and readiness to invade him, kept good watch on the coast, and foot forces every where in fit places to guard the shore. But ere the middle of September, provision failing when it was most needed, both fleet and army return home. When on a sudden, Harold Harvager king of Norway, with a navy of more than five hundred great ships,* (others lessen them by two hundred, others augment them to a thousand,) appears at the mouth of the Tine; to whom earl Tosti with his ships came as was agreed between them; whence both uniting set sail with all speed, and entered the river Humber. Thence turning into Ouse, as far as Rical, landed, and won York by assault. At these tidings Harold with all his power hastes thitherward; but ere his coming, Edwin and Morcar at Fulford by York, on the north side of Ouse, about the feast of St. Matthew had given them battle; successfully at first, but overborn at length with numbers; and forced to turn their backs, more of them perished in the river than in the fight.
The Norwegians taking with them five hundred hostages out of York, and leaving there one hundred and fifty of their own, retired to their ships. But the fifth day after, King Harold with a great and well-appointed army coming to York, and at Stamford bridge, or Battle bridge on Darwent, assailing the Norwegians, after much bloodshed on both sides, cut off the greatest part of them, with Harvager their king, and Tosti his own brother.† But Olave the king’s son, and Paul earl of Orkney, left with many soldiers to guard the ships, surrendering themselves with hostages, and oath given never to return as enemies, he suffered freely to depart with twenty ships, and the small remnant of their army. One man‡ of the Norwegians is not to be forgotten, who with incredible valor keeping the bridge a long hour against the whole English army, with his single resistance delayed their victory; and scorning offered life, till in the end no man daring to grapple with him, either dreaded as too strong, or contemned as one desperate, he was at length shot dead with an arrow; and by his fall opened the passage of pursuit to a complete victory. Wherewith Harold lifted up in mind, and forgetting now his former shows of popularity, defrauded his soldiers their due and well-deserved share of the spoils.
While these things passed in Northumberland, duke William lay still at St. Valerie; his ships were ready, but the wind served not for many days; which put the soldiery into much discouragement and murmur, taking this for an unlucky sign of their success; at last the wind came favourable, the duke first under sail awaited the rest at anchor, till all coming forth, the whole fleet of nine hundred ships with a prosperous gale arrived at Hastings. At his going out of the boat by a slip falling on his hands, to correct the omen,§ a soldier standing by said aloud, that their duke had taken possession of England. Landed, he restrained his army from waste and spoil, saying that they ought to spare what was their own. But these things are related of Alexander and Cæsar, and I doubt thence borrowed by the monks to inlay their story. The duke for fifteen days after landing kept his men quiet within the camp, having taken the castle of Hastings, or built a fortress there. Harold secure the while, and proud of his new victory, thought all his enemies now under foot: but sitting jollily at dinner, news is brought him that duke William of Normandy with a great multitude of horse and foot, slingers and archers, besides other choice auxiliaries which he had hired in France, was arrived at Pevensey. Harold, who had expected him all the summer, but not so late in the year as now it was, for it was October, with his forces much diminished after two sore conflicts, and the departing of many others from him discontented, in great haste marches to London. Thence not tarrying for supplies, which were on their way towards him, hurries into Sussex, (for he was always in haste since the day of his coronation,) and ere the third part of his army could be well put in order, finds the duke about nine miles from Hastings, and now drawing nigh, sent spies before him to survey the strength and number of his enemies: them discovered, such the duke causing to be led about, and after well filled with meat and drink, sent back. They not otherwise brought word, that the duke’s army were most of them priests; for they saw their faces all over shaven; the English then using to let grow on their upper lip large mustachios, as did anciently the Britons. The king laughing answered, that they were not priests, but valiant and hardy soldiers. Therefore said Girtha his brother, a youth of noble courage and understanding above his age, “Forbear thou thyself to fight, who art obnoxious to duke William by oath, let us unsworn undergo the hazard of battle, who may justly fight in the defence of our country; thou, reserved to fitter time, mayest either reunite us flying, or revenge us dead.” The king not hearkening to this, lest it might seem to argue fear in him or a bad cause, with like resolution rejected the offers of duke William sent to him by a monk before the battle, with this only answer hastily delivered, “Let God judge between us.” The offers were these, that Harold would either lay down the sceptre, or hold it of him, or try his title with him by single combat in sight of both armies, or refer it to the pope. These rejected, both sides prepared to fight the next morning, the English from singing and drinking all night, the Normans from confession of their sins, and communion of the host. The English were in a strait disadvantageous place, so that many, discouraged with their ill ordering, scarce having room where to stand, slipped away before the onset, the rest in close order, with their battleaxes and shields, made an impenetrable squadron: the king himself with his brothers on foot stood by the royal standard, wherein the figure of a man fighting was inwoven with gold and precious stones. The Norman foot, most bowmen, made the foremost front, on either side wings of horse somewhat behind. The duke arming, and his corslet given him on the wrong side, said pleasantly, “The strength of my dukedom will be turned now into a kingdom.” Then the whole army singing the song of Rowland, the remembrance of whose exploits might hearten them, imploring lastly divine help, the battle began; and was fought sorely on either side: but the main body of English foot by no means would be broken, till the duke causing his men to feign flight, drew them out with desire of pursuit into open disorder, then turned suddenly upon them so routed by themselves, which wrought their overthrow, yet so they died not unmanfully, but turning oft upon their enemies, by the advantage of an upper ground, beat them down by heaps, and filled up a great ditch with their carcasses. Thus hung the victory wavering on either side from the third hour of day to evening; when Harold having maintained the fight with unspeakable courage and personal valor, shot into the head with an arrow, fell at length, and left his soldiers without heart longer to withstand the unwearied enemy. With Harold fell also his two brothers, Leofwin and Girtha, with them greatest part of the English nobility. His body lying dead a knight or soldier wounding on the thigh, was by the duke presently turned out of military service. Of Normans and French were slain no small number; the duke himself that day not a little hazarded his person, having had three choice horses killed under him. Victory obtained, and his dead carefully buried, the English also by permission, he sent the body of Harold to his mother without ransom, though she offered very much to redeem it; which having received she buried at Waltham, in a church built there by Harold. In the mean while, Edwin and Morcar, who had withdrawn themselves from Harold, hearing of his death, came to London; sending Aldgith the queen their sister with all speed to West-chester.—Aldred archbishop of York, and many of the nobles, with the Londoners, would have set up Edgar the right heir, and prepared themselves to fight for him; but Morcar and Edwin not liking the choice, who each of them expected to have been chosen before him, withdrew their forces, and returned home. Duke William, contrary to his former resolution, (if Florent of Worcester, and they who follow him,* say true,) wasting, burning, and slaying all in his way; or rather, as saith Malmsbury, not in hostile but in regal manner, came up to London, met at Barcham by Edgar, with the nobles, bishops, citizens, and at length Edwin and Morcar, who all submitted to him, gave hostages and swore fidelity, he to them promised peace and defence; yet permitted his men the while to burn and make prey. Coming to London with all his army, he was on Christmas-day solemnly crowned in the great church at Westminster, by Aldred archbishop of York, having first given his oath at the altar, in presence of all the people, to defend the church, well govern the people, maintain right law, prohibit rapine and unjust judgment. Thus the English, while they agreed not about the choice of their native king, were constrained to take the yoke of an outlandish conqueror. With what minds and by what course of life they had fitted themselves for this servitude, William of Malmsbury spares not to lay open. Not a few years before the Normans came, the clergy, though in Edward the Confessor’s days, had lost all good literature and religion, scarce able to read and understand their Latin service; he was a miracle to others who knew his grammar. The monks went clad in fine stuffs, and made no difference what they eat; which though in itself no fault, yet to their consciences was irreligious. The great men, given to gluttony and dissolute life, made a prey of the common people, abusing their daughters whom they had in service, then turning them off to the stews; the meaner sort tippling together night and day, spent all they had in drunkenness, attended with other vices which effeminate men’s minds. Whence it came to pass, that carried on with fury and rashness more than any true fortitude or skill of war, they gave to William their conqueror so easy a conquest. Not but that some few of all sorts were much better among them; but such was the generality. And as the long-suffering of God permits bad men to enjoy prosperous days with the good, so his severity ofttimes exempts not good men from their share in evil times with the bad.
If these were the causes of such misery and thraldom to those our ancestors, with what better close can be concluded, than here in fit season to remember this age in the midst of her security, to fear from like vices, without amendment, the revolution of like calamities?
OF TRUE RELIGION, HERESY, SCHISM, TOLERATION;
[first published 1673.]
It is unknown to no man, who knows aught of concernment among us, that the increase of popery is at this day no small trouble and offence to greatest part of the nation; and the rejoicing of all good men that it is so: the more their rejoicing, that God hath given a heart to the people, to remember still their great and happy deliverance from popish thraldom, and to esteem so highly the precious benefit of his gospel, so freely and so peaceably enjoyed among them. Since, therefore, some have already in public with many considerable arguments exhorted the people, to beware the growth of this Romish weed; I thought it no less than a common duty, to lend my hand, how unable soever, to so good a purpose. I will not now enter into the labyrinth of councils and fathers, an entangled wood, which the papists love to fight in, not with hope of victory, but to obscure the shame of an open overthrow: which yet in that kind of combat, many heretofore, and one of late, hath eminently given them. And such manner of dispute with them to learned men is useful and very commendable. But I shall insist now on what is plainer to common apprehension, and what I have to say, without longer introduction.
True religion is the true worship and service of God, learnt and believed from the word of God only. No man or angel can know how God would be worshipped and served, unless God reveal it: he hath revealed and taught it us in the Holy Scriptures by inspired ministers, and in the gospel by his own Son and his apostles, with strictest command to reject all other traditions or additions whatsoever. According to that of St. Paul, “Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema, or accursed.” And Deuteronomy iv. 2: “Ye shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish aught from it.” Revelation xxii. 18, 19: “If any man shall add, &c. If any man shall take away from the words,” &c. With good and religious reason therefore all protestant churches with one consent, and particularly the church of England in her thirty-nine articles, art. 6th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and elsewhere, maintain these two points, as the main principles of true religion; that the rule of true religion is the word of God only; and that their faith ought not to be an implicit faith, that is to believe, though as the church believes, against or without express authority of Scripture. And if all protestants, as universally as they hold these two principles, so attentively and religiously would observe them, they would avoid and cut off many debates and contentions, schisms and persecutions, which too oft have been among them, and more firmly unite against the common adversary. For hence it directly follows, that no true protestant can persecute, or not tolerate, his fellow-protestant, though dissenting from him in some opinions, but he must flatly deny and renounce these two his own main principles, whereon true religion is founded; while he compels his brother from that which he believes as the manifest word of God, to an implicit faith (which he himself condemns) to the endangering of his brother’s soul, whether by rash belief, or outward conformity: for “whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.”
I will now as briefly show what is false religion or heresy, which will be done as easily: for of contraries the definitions must needs be contrary.—Heresy therefore is a religion taken up and believed from the traditions of men, and additions to the word of God. Whence also it follows clearly, that of all known sects, or pretended religions, at this day in Christendom, popery is the only or the greatest heresy: and he who is so forward to brand all others for heretics, the obstinate papist, the only heretic. Hence one of their own famous writers found just cause to style the Roman church, “Mother of error, school of heresy.” And whereas the papist boasts himself to be a Roman Catholic, it is a mere contradiction, one of the pope’s bulls, as if he should say, universal particular, a catholic schismatic. For catholic in Greek signifies universal: and the Christian church was so called, as consisting of all nations to whom the gospel was to be preached, in contradistinction to the Jewish church, which consisted for the most part of Jews only.
Sects may be in a true church as well as in a false, when men follow the doctrine too much for the teacher’s sake, whom they think almost infallible; and this becomes through infirmity, implicit faith; and the name sectary pertains to such a disciple.
Schism is a rent or division in the church, when it comes to the separating of congregations; and may also happen to a true church, as well as to a false; yet in the true needs not tend to the breaking of communion, if they can agree in the right administration of that wherein they communicate, keeping their other opinions to themselves, not being destructive to faith. The Pharisees and Sadducees were two sects, yet both met together in their common worship of God at Jerusalem. But here the papists will angrily demand, What! are Lutherans, Calvinists, anabaptists, Socinians, Arminians, no heretics? I answer, all these may have some errors, but are no heretics. Heresy is in the will and choice professedly against Scripture; error is against the will, in misunderstanding the scripture after all sincere endeavours to understand it rightly: hence it was said well by one of the ancients, “Err I may, but a heretic I will not be.” It is a human frailty to err, and no man is infallible here on earth. But so long as all these profess to set the word of God only before them as the rule of faith and obedience; and use all diligence and sincerity of heart, by reading, by learning, by study, by prayer for illumination of the Holy Spirit, to understand the rule and obey it, they have done what man can do: God will assuredly pardon them, as he did the friends of Job; good and pious men, though much mistaken, as there it appears, in some points of doctrine. But some will say, with Christians it is otherwise, whom God hath promised by his Spirit to teach all things. True, all things absolutely necessary to salvation: but the hottest disputes among protestants, calmly and charitably inquired into, will be found less than such. The Lutheran holds consubstantiation; an error indeed, but not mortal. The Calvinist is taxed with predestination, and to make God the author of sin; not with any dishonourable thought of God, but it may be over-zealously asserting his absolute power, not without plea of Scripture. The anabaptists is accused of denying infants their right to baptism; again they say, they deny nothing but what the Scripture denies them. The Arian and Socinian are charged to dispute against the Trinity: they affirm to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to Scripture and the apostolic creed; as for terms of trinity, triniunity, coessentiallity, tripersonality, and the like, they reject them as scholastic notions, not to be found in Scripture, which by a general protestant maxim is plain and perspicuous abundantly to explain its own meaning in the properest words, belonging to so high a matter, and so necessary to be known; a mystery indeed in their sophistic subtilties, but in Scripture a plain doctrine. Their other opinions are of less moment. They dispute the satisfaction of Christ, or rather the word “satisfaction,” as not Scriptural: but they acknowledge him both God and their Saviour. The Arminian lastly is condemned for setting up free will against free grace; but that imputation he disclaims in all his writings, and grounds himself largely upon Scripture only. It cannot be denied, that the authors or late revivers of all these sects or opinions were learned, worthy, zealous, and religious men, as appears by their lives written, and the same of their many eminent and learned followers, perfect and powerful in the Scriptures, holy and unblameable in their lives: and it cannot be imagined, that God would desert such painful and zealous labourers in his church, and ofttimes great sufferers for their conscience, to damnable errors and a reprobate sense, who had so often implored the assistance of his Spirit; but rather, having made no man infallible, that he hath pardoned their errors, and accepts their pious endeavours, sincerely searching all things according to the rule of Scripture, with such guidance and direction as they can obtain of God by prayer. What protestant then, who himself maintains the same principles, and disavows all implicit faith, would persecute, and not rather charitably tolerate, such men as these, unless he mean to abjure the principles of his own religion? If it be asked, how far they should be tolerated: I answer, doubtless equally, as being all protestants; that is, on all occasions to give account of their faith, either by arguing, preaching in their several assemblies, public writing, and the freedom of printing. For if the French and Polonian protestants enjoy all this liberty among papists, much more may a protestant justly expect it among protestants: and yet sometimes here among us, the one persecutes the other upon every slight pretence.
But he is wont to say, he enjoins only things indifferent. Let them be so still; who gave him authority to change their nature by enjoining them? if by his own principles, as is proved, he ought to tolerate controverted points of doctrine not slightly grounded on Scripture, much more ought he not impose things indifferent without Scripture. In religion nothing is indifferent, but, if it come once to be imposed, is either a command or a prohibition, and so consequently an addition to the word of God, which he professes to disallow. Besides, how unequal, how uncharitable must it needs be, to impose that which his conscience cannot urge him to impose, upon him whose conscience forbids him to obey! What can it be but love of contention for things not necessary to be done, to molest the conscience of his brother, who holds them necessary to be not done? To conclude, let such a one but call to mind his own principles above mentioned, and he must necessarily grant, that neither he can impose, nor the other believe or obey, aught in religion, but from the word of God only. More amply to understand this, may be read the 14th and 15th chapters to the Romans, and the contents of the 14th, set forth no doubt but with full authority of the church of England: the gloss is this: “Men may not contemn or condemn one the other for things indifferent.” And in the 6th article above mentioned, “Whatsoever is not read in Holy Scripture, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man as an article of faith, or necessary to salvation.” And certainly what is not so, is not to be required at all; as being an addition to the word of God expressly forbidden.
Thus this long and hot contest, whether protestants ought to tolerate one another, if men will be but rational and not partial, may be ended without need of more words to compose it.
Let us now inquire whether popery be tolerable or no. Popery is a double thing to deal with, and claims a twofold power, ecclesiastical and political, both usurped, and the one supporting the other.
But ecclesiastical is ever pretended to political. The pope by this mixed faculty pretends right to kingdoms and states, especially to this of England, thrones and unthrones kings, and absolves the people from their obedience to them; sometimes interdicts to whole nations the public worship of God, shutting up their churches: and was wont to drain away greatest part of the wealth of this then miserable land, as part of his patrimony, to maintain the pride and luxury of his court and prelates: and now, since, through the infinite mercy and favour of God, we have shaken off his Babylonish yoke, hath not ceased by his spies and agents, bulls and emissaries, once to destroy both king and parliament: perpetually to seduce, corrupt, and pervert as many as they can of the people. Whether, therefore, it be fit or reasonable, to tolerate men thus principled in religion towards the state, I submit it to the consideration of all magistrates, who are best able to provide for their own and the public safety. As for tolerating the exercise of their religion, supposing their state-activities not to be dangerous, I answer, that toleration is either public or private; and the exercise of their religion, as far as it is idolatrous, can be tolerated neither way: not publicly, without grievous and unsufferable scandal given to all conscientious beholders; not privately, without great offence to God, declared against all kind of idolatry, though secret. Ezek. viii. 7, 8: “And he brought me to the door of the court, and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged, behold a door; and he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.” And ver. 12; “Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark?” &c. And it appears by the whole chapter, that God was no less offended with these secret idolatries, than with those in public; and no less provoked, than to bring on and hasten his judgments on the whole land for these also.
Having shown thus, that popery, as being idolatrous, is not to be tolerated either in public or private; it must be now thought how to remove it, and hinder the growth thereof, I mean in our natives, and not foreigners, privileged by the law of nations. Are we to punish them by corporal punishment, or fines in their estates, upon account of their religion? I suppose it stands not with the clemency of the gospel, more than what appertains to the security of the state: but first we must remove their idolatry, and all the furniture thereof, whether idols, or the mass wherein they adore their God under bread and wine: for the commandment forbids to adore, not only “any graven image, but the likeness of any thing in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” If they say, that by removing their idols we violate their consciences, we have no warrant to regard conscience which is not grounded on Scripture: and they themselves confess in their late defences, that they hold not their images necessary to salvation, but only as they are enjoined them by tradition.
Shall we condescend to dispute with them? The Scripture is our only principle in religion; and by that only they will not be judged, but will add other principles of their own, which, forbidden by the word of God, we cannot assent to. And [in several places of the gospel] the common maxim also in logic is, “against them who deny principles, we are not to dispute.” Let them bound their disputations on the Scripture only, and an ordinary protestant, well read in the Bible, may turn and wind their doctors. They will not go about to prove their idolatries by the word of God, but turn to shifts and evasions, and frivolous distinctions: idols, they say, are laymen’s books, and a great means to stir up pious thoughts and devotion in the learnedest. I say, they are no means of God’s appointing, but plainly the contrary; let them hear the prophets; Jer. x. 8; “The stock is a doctrine of vanities.” Hab. ii. 18; “What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image and a teacher of lies?” But they allege in their late answers, that the laws of Moses, given only to the Jews, concern not us under the gospel; and remember not that idolatry is forbidden as expressly: but with these wiles and fallacies “compassing sea and land, like the pharisees of old, to make one proselyte,” they lead away privily many simple and ignorant souls, men and women, “and make them twofold more the children of hell than themselves,” Matt. xxiii. 15. But the apostle hath well warned us, I may say, from such deceivers as these, for their mystery was then working. “I beseech you, brethren,” saith he, “mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the heart of the simple,” Rom. xvi. 17, 18.
The next means to hinder the growth of popery will be, to read duly and diligently the Holy Scriptures, which, as St. Paul saith to Timothy, who had known them from a child, “are able to make wise unto salvation.” And to the whole church of Colossi; “Let the word of Christ dwell in you plentifully, with all wisdom,” Col. iii. 16. The papal antichristian church permits not her laity to read the Bible in their own tongue: our church, on the contrary, hath proposed it to all men, and to this end translated it into English, with profitable notes on what is met with obscure, though what is most necessary to be known be still plainest; that all sorts and degrees of men, not understanding the original, may read it in their mother tongue. Neither let the countryman, the tradesman, the lawyer, the physician, the statesman, excuse himself by his much business from the studious reading thereof. Our Saviour saith, Luke x. 41, 42: “Thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful.” If they were asked, they would be loth to set earthly things, wealth or honour, before the wisdom of salvation. Yet most men in the course and practice of their lives are found to do so; and through unwillingness to take the pains of understanding their religion by their own diligent study, would fain be saved by a deputy. Hence comes implicit faith, ever learning and never taught, much hearing and small proficience, till want of fundamental knowledge easily turns to superstition or popery: therefore the apostle admonishes, Eph. iv. 14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Every member of the church, at least of any breeding or capacity, so well ought to be grounded in spiritual knowledge, as, if need be, to examine their teachers themselves, Acts xvii. 11: “They searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Rev. ii. 2: “Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not.” How should any private Christian try his teachers, unless he be well grounded himself in the rule of Scripture, by which he is taught. As therefore among papists, their ignorance in Scripture chiefly upholds popery; so among protestant people, the frequent and serious reading thereof will soonest pull popery down.
Another means to abate popery arises from the constant reading of Scripture, wherein believers, who agree in the main, are every where exhorted to mutual forbearance and charity one towards the other, though dissenting in some opinions. It is written, that the coat of our Saviour was without seam; whence some would infer, that there should be no division in the church of Christ. It should be so indeed; yet seams in the same cloth neither hurt the garment, nor misbecome it; and not only seams, but schisms will be while men are fallible: but if they who dissent in matters not essential to belief, while the common adversary is in the field, shall stand jarring and pelting at one another, they will be soon routed and subdued. The papist with open mouth makes much advantage of our several opinions; not that he is able to confute the worst of them, but that we by our continual jangle among ourselves make them worse than they are indeed. To save ourselves therefore, and resist the common enemy, it concerns us mainly to agree within ourselves, that with joint forces we may not only hold our own, but get ground: and why should we not? The gospel commands us to tolerate one another, though of various opinions, and hath promised a good and happy event thereof; Phil. iii. 15: “Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” And we are bid, I. Thess. v. 21; “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” St. Paul judged, that not only to tolerate, but to examine and prove all things, was no danger to our holding fast that which is good. How shall we prove all things, which includes all opinions at least founded on Scripture, unless we not only tolerate them, but patiently hear them, and seriously read them? If he who thinks himself in the truth professes to have learnt it, not by implicit faith, but by attentive study of the Scriptures, and full persuasion of heart; with what equity can he refuse to hear or read him, who demonstrates to have gained his knowledge by the same way? Is it a fair course to assert truth, by arrogating to himself the only freedom of speech, and stopping the mouths of others equally gifted? This is the direct way to bring in that papistical implicit faith, which we all disclaim. They pretend it would unsettle the weaker sort; the same groundless fear is pretended by the Romish clergy. At least then let them have leave to write in Latin, which the common people understand not; that what they hold may be discussed among the learned only. We suffer the idolatrous books of papists, without this fear, to be sold and read as common as our own: why not much rather of anabaptists, Arians, Arminians, and Socinians? There is no learned man but will confess he hath much profited by reading controversies, his senses awakened, his judgment sharpened, and the truth which he holds more firmly established. If then it be profitable for him to read, why should it not at least be tolerable and free for his adversary to write? In logic they teach, that contraries laid together more evidently appear: it follows then, that all controversy being permitted, falsehood will appear more false, and truth the more true; which must needs conduce much, not only to the confounding of popery, but to the general confirmation of unimplicit truth.
The last means to avoid popery is, to amend our lives: it is a general complaint, that this nation of late years is grown more numerously and excessively vicious than heretofore; pride, luxury, drunkenness, whoredom, cursing, swearing, bold and open atheism every where abounding: where these grow, no wonder if popery also grow apace. There is no man so wicked, but at some times his conscience will wring him with thoughts of another world, and the peril of his soul; the trouble and melancholy, which he conceives of true repentance and amendment, he endures not, but inclines rather to some carnal superstition, which may pacify and lull his conscience with some more pleasing doctrine. None more ready and officious to offer herself than the Romish, and opens wide her office, with all her faculties, to receive him; easy confession, easy absolution, pardons, indulgences, masses for him both quick and dead, Agnus Dei’s, relics, and the like: and he, instead of “working out his salvation with fear and trembling,” straight thinks in his heart, (like another kind of fool than he in the Psalms,) to bribe God as a corrupt judge; and by his proctor, some priest, or friar, to buy out his peace with money, which he cannot with his repentance. For God, when men sin outrageously, and will not be admonished, gives over chastising them, perhaps by pestilence, fire, sword, or famine, which may all turn to their good, and takes up his severest punishments, hardness, besottedness of heart, and idolatry, to their final perdition. Idolatry brought the heathen to heinous transgressions, Rom. ii. And heinous transgressions ofttimes bring the slight professors of true religion to gross idolatry: 1 Thess. ii. 11, 12: “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” And Isaiah xliv. 18, speaking of idolaters, “They have not known nor understood, for he hath shut their eyes that they cannot see, and their hearts that they cannot understand.” Let us, therefore, using this last means, last here spoken of, but first to be done, amend our lives with all speed; lest through impenitency we run into that stupidity which we now seek all means so warily to avoid, the worst of superstitions, and the heaviest of all God’s judgments, popery.”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MOSCOVIA,
GATHERED FROM THE WRITINGS OF SEVERAL EYE-WITNESSES.
[first published 1682.]
[* ]Florent. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 978. Malms.
[† ]Post Christ. 979. Malms.
[‡ ]Florent. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Sim Dun.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 982. Malms.
[¶ ]Eadmer. Florent.
[†† ]Sim. Dun. Hoved.
[‡‡ ]Post Christ. 986. Malms. Ingulf.
[* ]Post Christ. 987. Malms.
[† ]Post Christ. 988. Malms.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 991. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 993. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Florent. Huntingd.
[¶ ]Post Christ. 994. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 997. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 998. Sim. Dun.
[¶ ]Post Christ. 999. Sim. Dun.
[** ]Post Christ. 1000. Sim. Dun.
[†† ]Post Christ. 1001. Sim. Dun.
[‡‡ ]Post Christ. 1002. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Florent. Huntingd.
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[¶ ]Post Christ. 1003. Sim. Dun.
[** ]Post Christ. 1004. Sim. Dun.
[†† ]Post Christ. 1005. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1006. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1007. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1008. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 1009. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1010. Sim. Dun. Florent.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1011 Sim Dun.
[* ]Eadmer. Malms.
[† ]Post Christ. 1012. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1013. Sim. Dun.
[† ]Post Christ. 1014. Sim. Dun. Mat. West.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1015. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Leges Edw. Conf. Tit. deduct. Norm.
[* ]Encom. Em.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1016. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Florent. Aelred in the life of Edw. Conf.
[† ]Florent. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1017. Sim. Dun. Sax. an.
[* ]Encom. Em. Ingulf.
[† ]Post Christ. 1018. Sim. Dun. Huntingd. Mat. West.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1019. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1020. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 1021. Sim. Dun. Malms.
[¶ ]Post Christ. 1028. Sim. Dun.
[** ]Post Christ. 1029. Sim. Dun.
[†† ]Post Christ. 1030. Sim. Dun.
[‡‡ ]Post Christ. 1031. Sim. Dun.
[∥∥ ]Post Christ. 1032. Sim. Dun.
[† ]Post Christ. 1035. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Florent. Brompton. Huntingd. Mat. West.
[† ]Encom. Em.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1036 Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1039. Sim. Dun. Huntingd.
[† ]Post Christ. 1040. Sim Dun. Malma.
[† ]Post Christ. 1041. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1042. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1043. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1045. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1046. Sim. Dun.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 1047. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1048. Sim. Dun.
[† ]Post Christ. 1049. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1051. Sim. Dun. Ingulf.
[* ]Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1052. Sim. Dun.
[† ]Post Christ. 1053. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1054. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1055. Sim Dun.
[* ]Post Christ. 1056. Sim. Dun.
[† ]Post Christ. 1057. Sim. Dun.
[‡ ]Post Christ. 1058. Sim. Dun.
[§ ]Post Christ. 1059.
[∥ ]Post Christ. 1061. Sim. Dun.
[¶ ]Post Christ. 1062. Sim. Dun.
[** ]Post Christ. 1063. Sim. Dun.
[†† ]Post Christ. 1064. Sim. Dun.
[‡‡ ]Post Christ. 1065.
[† ]Legs. Ed. Conf. Tit. Lex. Noricor.
[* ]Post Christ. 1065. Sim. Dun.
[* ]Hoved. Florent.
[* ]Malms. Matt Paris.
[§ ]Sim Dun.
[* ]Sim. Dun.