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Horsa was there slain, and after that Hengist | possession of the place of carnage. And this obtained the kingdom, and Ese his son.
Anno 565. This year Ethelbert succeeded to the kingdom of the Kentish-men, and held it fifty-three years. In his days the holy pope Gregory sent us baptism, that was in the two and thirtieth year of his reign: and Columba, a mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them to the faith of Christ: they are dwellers by the northern mountains. And their king gave him the island which is called Iis: therein are five hidest of land, as men say. There Columba built a monastery, and he was abbot there thirty-seven years, and there he died when he was seventy-two years old. His successors still have the place. The Southern Picts had been baptized long before: Bishop Ninia, who had been instructed at Rome, had preached baptism to them, whose church and his monastery is at Whitherne, consecrated in the name of St. Martin: there he resteth, with many holy men. Now in Ii there must ever be an abbot, and not a bishop; and all the Scottish bishops ought to be subject to him because Columba was an abbot and not a bishop.
Anno. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain, with a great many monks, who preached the word of God to the nation of the Angles.
And about fourteen
days after this, King Ethelred and Alfred his brother fought against the army at Basing, and there the Danes obtained the victory. And about two months after this, King Ethelred and Alfred his brother fought against the army at Marden; and they were in two bodies. and they put both to flight, and during a great part of the day were victorious; and there was great slaughter on either hand; but the Danes had possession of the place of carnage: and there Bishop Heahmund was slain, and many good men: and after this battle there came a great army in the summer to Reading. And after this, over Easter, king Ethelred died; and he reigned five years and his body lies at Winburn-minster.
Then Alfred the son of Ethelwulf, his brother, succeeded to the kingdom of the WestSaxons. And about one month after this, king Alfred with a small band fought against the whole army at Wilton, and put them to flight for a good part of the day; but the Danes had
3 Iona 4 the Danes 5 Ethelred and Alfred Variously estimated at from 60 to 120 acres.
year nine general battles were fought against the army in the kingdom south of the Thames, besides which Alfred the king's brother, and single caldormen, and king's thanes, often times made incursions on them, which were not counted: and within the year nine earls and one king were slain. And that year the WestSaxons made peace with the army.-(From the translation edited by J. A. Giles.)
THE BATTLE OF BRUNANBURH Anno 937. Here Athelstan the King, ruler of carls,
ring-giver to chieftains, and his brother eke, Edmund Atheling, lifelong honor struck out with the edges of swords in battle at Brunanburh: they cleft the shield-wall,2 hewed the war-lindenss with the leavings of hammers,4
these heirs of Edward; for fitting it was to their noble descent that oft in the battle 'gainst foes one and all the land they should fend,
the hoards and the homes. The enemy fell, Scot-folk and seamen,5
death-doomed they fell; slippery the field with the blood of men, from sunrise when at dawn the great star stole o'er the earth, the bright candle of God the Eternal Lord, till the noble creation sank to its seat. There lay many a one shot o'er his shield, many a Scotsman slain by a spear, many a Norseman weary and sated with strife.
The men of 20
five young kings lay killed,
put to sleep by swords; and seven too of the earls of Anlaf, and countless warriors of the seamen and the Scotch: routed was the Norsemen 's king, forced by need with a little band to the boat's bow.
ALFRED THE GREAT (849-901)
Ohthere told his lord King Alfred, that he dwelt northmost of all the Northmen. He said that he dwelt in the land to the northward,
The galley glided on the waves; the king fled along the West-Sea; he said, however, that that
a dreary leaving of dartss on the dashing sea. O'er the deep water Dublin they sought, Ireland again, abashed.
So the brethren both together, King and Atheling, sought their kinsfolk and West-Saxon land, from war exultant; left behind to share the slain the dusky-coated, the dark raven horny-beaked, and the eagle white behind, gray-coated, the carrion to consume, the greedy war-hawk, and that gray beast, the wolf in the weald.9 Nor had greater slaughter
ever yet upon this island
e'er before a folk befallen
those old wise ones,10 since from Eastward hither
Angles and Saxons on advanced,
7 clashing of swords
8 The few left alive.
10 In apposition with "books."
11 Referring to the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain in the fifth century.
land is very long north from thence, but it is all waste except in a few places where the Finns here and there dwell, for hunting in the winter, and in the summer for fishing in that sea. He said that he was desirous to try, once on a time, how far that country extended due north, or whether any one lived to the north of the waste. He then went due north along the country, leaving all the way the waste land on the right, and the wide sea on the left, for three days: he was as far north as the whale-hunters go at the farthest. Then he proceeded in his course due north as far as he could sail in another three days; then the land there inclined due east, or the sea into the land, he knew not which, but he knew that he there waited for a west wind, or a little north, and sailed thence eastward along that land as far as he could sail in four days; then he had to wait for a due north wind, because the land there inclined due south, or the sea in on that land, he knew not which; he then sailed along the coast due south, as far as he could sail in five days. There lay a great river1 up in that land; they then turned up in that river, because they durst not sail on by that river, on account of hostility, because all that country was inhabited on the other side of that river; he had not before met with any land that was inhabited since he came from his own home; but all the way he had waste land on his right, except for fishermen, fowlers, and hunters, all of whom were Finns, and he had constantly a wide sea to the left. The Beormas2 had well cultivated their country, but they did not dare to enter it; and the Terfinna lands was all waste, except where hunters, fishers, or fowlers had taken up their quarters.
The Beormas told him many particulars both of their own land, and of the other lands lying about them; but he knew not what was true, because he did not see it himself; it seemed
to him that the Finns and the Beormas spoke nearly one language. He went thither chiefly, in addition to seeing the country, on account of the walruses, because they have very noble bones in their teeth; some of those teeth they brought to the king; and their hides are good for ship-ropes. This whale is much less than other whales, it being not longer than seven ells; but in his own country is the best whalehunting, there they are eight and forty ells long, and the biggest of them fifty ells long; of these he said that he and five others had killed sixty in two days. He was a very wealthy man in those possessions in which their wealth consists, that is in wild deer. He had at the time he came to the king, six hundred unsold tame deer. These deer, they call rein-deer, of which there were six decoy rein-deer, which are very valuable among the Finns, because they catch the wild rein-deer with them.
He was one of the foremost men in that country, yet he had not more than twenty horned cattle, and twenty sheep, and twenty swine, and the little that he ploughed he ploughed with horses.* But their wealth consists for the most part in the rent paid them by the Finns. That rent is in skins of animals, and birds' feathers, and whalebone, and in ship-ropes made of whales' hides, and of seals'. Everyone pays according to his birth; the bestborn, it is said, pay the skins of fifteen martens, and five rein-deer's, and one bear's skin, ten ambers of feathers, a bear's or otter's skin kirtle, and two ship-ropes, each sixty ells long, made either of whale-hide or of seal's.
He said that the Northmen's land was very | long and narrow; all that his man could either pasture or plough lies by the sea, though that is in some parts very rocky; and to the east are wild mountains, parallel to the cultivated land. The Finns inhabit these mountains, and the cultivated land is broadest to the eastward, and continually narrower the more north. To the east it may be sixty miles broad, or a little broader, and towards the middle thirty, or broader; and northward, he said, where it is narrowest, that it might be three miles broad to
the mountain, and the mountain then is in some parts so broad that a man may pass over in two weeks, and in some parts so broad that a man may pass over in six days. Then along this land southwards, on the other side of the mountain, is Sweden; to that land northwards, and along that land northwards, Cwenland.s The Cwenas sometimes make depredations on the Northmen over the mountain, and sometimes the Northmen on them; there are very large fresh meres amongst the mountains, and the Cwenas carry their ships over land into the meres, and thence make depredations on the Northmen; they have very little ships, and very light.
Ohthere said that the shire in which he dwelt is called Halgoland. He said that no one dwelt to the north of him; there is like vise a port to the south of that land, which is called Sciringes-heal; thither, he said, no one could sail in a month, if he landed at night, and every day had a fair wind; and all the while he would sail along the land, and on the starboard will first be Iraland, and then the islands which are between Iraland and this land.s Then it is this land until he come to Sciringes-heal, and all the way on the larboard, Norway. To the south of Sciringes-heal, a very great sea runs up into the land, which is broader than any one can see over; and Jutland is opposite on the other side, and then Zealand. This sea runs many miles up in that land. And from Sciringes-heal, he said that he sailed in five days to that port which is called Et-Hathum,9 which is between the Wends, and Saxons, and Angles, and belongs to Denmark.
When he sailed thitherward from Seiringesheal, Denmark was on his left, and on the right a wide sea for three days, and two days before he came to Hathum he had on the right Jutland, Zealand, and many islands. In these lands the Angles dwelt before they came hither to this land. And then for two days he had on his left the islands which belong to Denmark.
5 Between the Gulf of Bothnia and the White Sca. 6 In the Gulf of Christiania.
7 Ireland (meaning Scotland; or possibly an error for Iceland).
GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH (c. 1100-1154)
THE STORY OF KING LEIR *
In my opinion, whoever pretends to it, must disguise her real sentiments under the veil of flattery. I have always loved you as a father, nor do I yet depart from my purposed duty; and if you insist to have something more extorted from me, hear now the greatness of my affection, which I always bear you, and take this for a short answer to all your questions; look how much you have, so much is your value, and so much do I love you." The father, supposing that she spoke this out of the abundance of her heart, was highly provoked, and immediately replied, "Since you have so far despised my old age as not to think me worthy the love that your sisters express for me, you shall have from me the like regard, and shall be excluded from any share with your sisters in my kingdom. Notwithstanding, I do not say but that since you are my daughter, I will marry you to some foreigner, if fortune offers you any such husband; but will never, I do assure you, make it my business to procure so honourable a match for you as for your sisters; because, though I have hitherto loved you more than them, you have in requital thought me less worthy of your affection than they." And, without further delay, after consultation with his nobility, he bestowed his two other daughters upon the dukes of Cornwall and Albania, with half the island at present, but after his death, the inheritance of the whole monarchy of Britain.
After this unhappy fate of Bladud, Leir, his son, was advanced to the throne, and nobly governed his country sixty years. He built upon the river Sore a city, called in the British tongue, Kaerleir, in the Saxon, Leircestre. He was without male issue, but had three daughters, whose names were Gonorilla, Regau, and Cordeilla, of whom he was dotingly fond, but especially of his youngest, Cordeilla. When he began to grow old, he had thoughts of dividing his kingdom among them, and of bestowing them on such husbands as were fit to be advanced to the government with them. But to make trial who was worthy to have the best part of his kingdom, he went to each of them to ask which of them loved him most. question being proposed, Gonorilla, the eldest, made answer, "That she called heaven to witness, she loved him more than her own soul.'' The father replied, "Since you have preferred my declining age before your own life, I will marry you, my dearest daughter, to whomsoever you shall make choice of, and give with you the third part of my kingdom." Then Regau, the second daughter, willing, after the example of her sister, to prevail upon her father's good nature, answered with an oath, "That she could not otherwise express her It happened after this, that Aganippus, king thoughts, but that she loved him above all of the Franks, having heard of the fame of creatures." The credulous father upon this Cordeilla's beauty, forthwith sent his ambassamade her the same promise that he did to her dors to the king to demand her in marriage. cldest sister, that is, the choice of a husband, The father, retaining yet his anger towards her, with the third part of his kingdom. But Cor-made answer, "That he was very willing to bedeilla, the youngest, understanding how easily he was satisfied with the flattering expressions of her sisters, was desirous to make trial of his affection after a different manner. "My father," said she, "is there any daughter that can love her father more than duty requires?
stow his daughter, but without either money or territories; because he had already given away his kingdom with all his treasure to his eldest daughters, Gonorilla and Regau. " When this was told Aganippus, he, being very much in love with the lady, sent again to king Leir, to tell him, "That he had money and territories enough, as he possessed the third part of Gaul, and desired no more than his daughter only, that he might have heirs by her." At
last the match was concluded; Cordeilla was sent to Gaul, and married to Aganippus.
A long time after this, when Leir came to be infirm through old age, the two dukes, on whom he had bestowed Britain with his two daughters, fostered an insurrection against him, and deprived him of his kingdom, and of all regal au thority, which he had hitherto exercised with great power and glory. At length, by mutual agreement, Maglaunus, duke of Albania, one of his sons-in-law, was to allow him a maintenance at his own house, together with sixty soldiers, who were to be kept for state. After two years' stay with his son-in-law, his daughter Gonorilla grudged the number of his men, who began to upbraid the ministers of the court with their scanty allowance; and, having spoken to her husband about it, she gave orders that the number of her father's followers should be reduced to thirty, and the rest discharged. The father, resenting this treatment, left Maglaunus, and went to Henuinus, duke of Cornwall, to whom he had married his daughter Regau. Here he met with an honourable reception, but before the year was at an end, a quarrel happened between the two families which raised Regau's indignation; so that she commanded her father to discharge all his attendants but five, and to be contented with their service. This second affliction was insupportable to him, and made him return again to his former daughter, with hopes that the misery of his condition might move in her some sentiments of filial piety, and that he, with his family, might find a subsistence with her. But she, not forgetting her resentment, swore by the gods he should not stay with her, unless he would dismiss his retinue, and be contented with the attendance of one man; and with bitter reproaches she told him how ill his desire of vainglorious pomp suited his age and poverty. When he found that she was by no means to be prevailed upon, he was at last forced to comply, and, dismissing the rest, to take up with one man only. But by this time he began to reflect more sensibly with himself upon the grandeur from which he had fallen, and the miserable state to which he was now reduced, and to enter upon thoughts of going beyond sea to his youngest daughter. Yet he doubted whether he should be able to move her commisseration, because (as was related above) he had treated her so unworthily. However, disdaining to bear any longer such base usage, he took ship for Gaul. In his passage he observed he had only the third place given him among the princes that were with him in the ship, at
which, with deep sighs and tears, he burst forth into the following complaint:
"O irreversible decrees of the Fates, that never swerve from your stated course! why did you ever advance me to an unstable felicity, since the punishment of lost happiness is greater than the sense of present misery? The remembrance of the time when vast numbers of men obsequiously attended me in the taking the cities and wasting the enemy's countries, more deeply pierces my heart than the view of my present calamity, which has exposed me to the derision of those who were formerly prostrate at my feet. Oh! the enmity of fortune! Shall I ever again see the day when I may be able to reward those according to their deserts who have forsaken me in my distress? How true was thy answer, Cordeilla, when I asked thee concerning thy love to me, 'As much as you have, so much is your value, and so much do I love you.' While I had anything to give, they valued me, being friends, not to me, but to my gifts: they loved me then, but they loved my gifts much more: when my gifts ceased, my friends vanished. But with what face shall I presume to see you, my dearest laughter, since in my anger I married you upon worse terms than your sisters, who, after all the mighty favours they have received from me, suffer me to be in banishment and poverty?"
As he was lamenting his condition in these and the like expressions, he arrived at Karitia,1 where his daughter was, and waited before the city while he sent a messenger to inform her of the misery he was fallen into, and to desire her relief for a father who suffered both hunger and nakedness. Cordeilla was startled at the news, and wept bitterly, and with tears asked how many men her father had with him. The messenger answered, he had none but one man, who had been his armour-bearer, and was staying with him without the town. Then she took what money she thought might be sufficient, and gave it to the messenger, with orders to carry her father to another city, and there give out that he was sick, and to provide for him bathing, clothes, and all other nourishment. She likewise gave orders that he should take into his service forty men, well clothed and ac coutred, and that when all things were thus prepared he should notify his arrival to king Aganippus and his daughter. The messenger quickly returning, carried Leir to another city, and there kept him concealed, till he had done everything that Cordeilla had commanded.