History of the Kings of Britain: Historia Regum Britanniae By Geoffrey of Monmouth Book XII

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Thereafter all the princes of the Britons did come together in the city of Leicester, and took common counsel that they would make Cadvan their King, and that under his command they would pursue Ethelfrid beyond the Humber. When they had set the crown of the kingdom upon his head, they all assembled together from all parts and crossed the Humber. And when message of this was brought unto Ethelfrid he allied all the Kings of the Saxons unto himself and marched to meet Cadvan. But when they had marshalled their companies on both sides their friends came and made peace betwixt then on these conditions, that they should possess Britain, Ethelfrid on the further side Humber, and Cadvan on the hither side. And after that they had confirmed this covenant by oath and giving of hostages, such a friendship sprang up betwixt them as that they had all things in common. In the meanwhile it so fell out that Ethelfrid did drive forth his own wife and took unto himself another, and in such hatred did he hold her that he had driven forth that he banished her from the kingdom of Northumbria. Whereupon, for that Ethelfrid was father of her child as yet unborn, she went unto King Cadvan, beseeching his intervention that she might be restored unto her husband. And when he might in no wise persuade Ethelfrid to grant her petition she abode in Cadvan’s household until such time as she was delivered of a son. Now, a little later, a son was born unto King Cadvan of the Queen his wife, and thereafter were the two boys, whereof the one was called Cadwallo and the other Edwin, nurtured together as became princes of the blood royal. And when in course of time their boyhood had grown into youth, their parents sent them unto Solomon, King of the Armorican Britons, that in his household they might learn the lessons of knighthood and the customs of courtly manners. They accordingly were received of him kindly and diligently cared for, soon beginning to be admitted to his familiarity, in such sort that none other was there of their age in his court that could be more private with the King or speak unto him more merrily withal. At last they did often do battle before him in encounter with his enemies, and did win much fame of their valour in many exploits of prowess.




In later days, after the death of their parents, they returned into Britain, and, taking over the helm of the kingdom, renewed the friendship that had been betwixt their fathers. After two years had passed away, Edwin besought Cadwallo that he might have a crown of his own, and fulfil the constituted ceremonies of sovereignty in the parts of Northumbria in such wise as he himself fulfilled them according to ancient wont upon the hither side of the Humber. And when a conference was being held upon the matter nigh the river Duglas, and the wiser sort were taking counsel together what were best to be done, Cadwallo chanced to be lying on the other bank of the river with his head resting on the bosom of a certain nephew of his whom they called Brian. And whilst the messengers brought him word what was being said upon both sides at the conference, Brian wept, and the tears flowing from his eyes did so fall as that they bedewed the King’s face and his beard. The King, weening that it was a shower of rain, lifted up his head, and seeing that the youth was all melted in tears, asked him the cause of this sudden sorrow. Unto whom he made answer:


‘Good cause have I to weep continually and the British people no less, for that ever since the country was visited by the invasion of these barbarians in the days of Malgo never hath she known a prince that might avail to restore her unto her ancient dignity. And now even the petty residue of her honour is being minished by thy sufferance, seeing that these Saxon adventurers, who have ever proved traitors unto her, must now begin to share with her the honours of the kingly crown. For, once let them be exalted by having a king of their own, they will be held of so much higher renown in the country from whence they came as that ready enow will their fellow-barbarians be to come at their call, when they bid them to our shores to assist them in the extermination of our race. For ever hath it been their wont to deal treacherously, nor never keep firm faith with none. Wherefore, say I, by us ought they ever more to be not exalted but cast down. When King Vortigern first took them into his service as retainers, they abode here as under a shadowy show of peace, as though they were ready to fight for our country, but as soon as ever they were strong enough openly to manifest their wickedness and to return evil for good they did betray him and wrought grievous slaughter upon the people of his kingdom. Next they did betray Aurelius Ambrosius, unto whom, after vowing the most awful sacraments of allegiance, they gave poison as he sat at meat with them at a banquet. Next, they betrayed Arthur, when, .casting aside the allegiance they owed him, they fought against him with his nephew Mordred. Last of all, belying their fealty unto King Careticus, they brought in upon him Gormund, ‘King of the Africans, by whose invasion hath the country been reft from the people and the King himself driven forth with shame.’




When he spake thus, Cadwallo repented him of having harboured the thought of such a covenant, and sent word unto Edwin that he could in no wise persuade his counsellors to agree upon his granting Edwin’s petition, for that they said it was against right, and against the ancient traditions of the island that the single sovereignty of the crown should be divided betwixt two crowned heads. Thereat Edwin waxed wroth, and dismissing the conference, he retired into Northumbria, saying that he would wear Cadwallo’s crown maugre his head, which, when Cadwallo understood, he sent back word that he would smite off his head under the crown if he durst presume to be crowned within the kingdom of Britain.




Discord having thus arisen betwixt them, and the men of both having harried the lands of the other in a number of armed forays, both at last met on the further side of Humber, and in the battle that was fought Cadwallo lost many thousands of his men and was put to flight, making his way in such haste as he might through Albany unto the island of Hibernia. But Edwin, after he had won the victory, led his army through the provinces of Britain, and burning the cities, did grievously torment the citizens and husbandmen. But whilst that he was thus giving a loose unto his cruelty, Cadwallo was ever endeavouring to return unto his country by ships, but could never make shift to do so, for that unto whatsoever haven he steered his course there was Edwin with his host to meet him and forbid his landing. Now there was come unto him a certain right cunning wizard out of Spain, by name Pellitus, who was learned in the flight of birds and the courses of the stars, and did foretell unto him all disaster that might befall, and along of him it was that Edwin had witting of Cadwallo’s return so as thus he was able to meet him, shatter his ships and drown their crews, and close every port against him. Cadwallo, therefore, not knowing what to do, and well-nigh falling into utter despair of ever returning, at last bethought him or going unto Solomon, King of the Armorican Britons, to ask for help and counsel, so that he might be able to return unto his country. And as he was making sail for Armorica a wild gale arose of a sudden and the ships of his companions were so scattered thereby, as that in a short space no one of them remained by another. The pilot of the King’s ship was smitten with such terror that he let go the rudder and committed the ship to the guidance of hazard, so that all that night they lay in peril of death while she tossed hither and thither upon the heaving of the billows. At dawn upon the morrow they made a certain island that is called Garnarey, where with sore travail they made shift to come ashore. Howbeit, Cadwallo was seized of so sore grief for the loss of his shipmates that for three days and nights he loathed all food and lay sick abed. But upon the fourth day early he was taken with a mighty longing for venison meat, and calling Brian unto him told him what it was that he did most desire. Brian thereupon took his bow and quiver, and went throughout the island, so that if good luck should bring any deer in his way he might take back meat thereof unto Cadwallo. And when he had searched it from end to end without finding that whereof he was in quest, he was in grievous straits for that he might not fulfil his lord’s desire, and sore adread lest his sickness should end in his death were he unable to satisfy his longing. He fell therefore upon practising a new art. He cut open his own thigh and took therefrom a slice of the flesh, and making a spit ready did toast the same thereon and bore it unto the King for venison. Presently, he, weening it to be flesh of deer, began to eat thereof, and was mightily refreshed, much marvelling that never aforetime had he tasted meat so sweet in flavour. At last, when he had eaten his fill, he was of merrier and lighter cheer, insomuch as that after three days he was all sound and whole again. Then, for the wind stood fair, they make ready the ship’s outfit, and hoisting sail embark on their deep-sea voyage and make for the city of Kidalet. Then, coming unto King Solomon, they are of him received right kindly as was beseeming men so worshipful, and when he learnt the reason of their coming thither he promised them his help in these words:




‘Sore grief is it unto us, most noble youths, that the land of your grandsires should be thus oppressed of a barbarous folk, and that ye have been ignominiously driven forth from thence. Yet, natheless, seeing that others be able to defend their realms, a marvel is it, meseemeth, that your people should have lost an island so fruitful, and are unable to make stand against this nation of the Angles, whom our own men here do count as nought. For whilst the folk of this my Britain did dwell along with your own folk in your own Britain they did hold dominion over all kingdoms of the provinces, nor was there a people anywhere, save only the Roman people, strong enow to subjugate them. Nor were the Romans themselves able to do this that I have said of their own might, but through the strife that had arisen amongst the nobles of the island. But the Romans, albeit that they held it subject for a time, yet after their rulers were either lost to the island or slain, did either themselves retire therefrom, or else were driven out with shame. But after the Britons came into the province under their Dukes Maximian and Conan, the residue that remained behind have never thereafter enjoyed such privilege as to hold possession of the crown of the kingdom in unbroken succession. For albeit that many of their princes have maintained the ancient dignity of their forefathers, yet a still greater number of feebler heirs have succeeded them who have lost it utterly when their enemies did invade them. Hence do I grieve over the weakness of your country, for that ye be come of the same blood as ourselves, and are therefore called Britons no less than are our own folk, who, as ye see, do hold our own against all our neighbours in arms.’




When he had made an end of speaking thus, with more to like purpose, Cadwallo, some little shamed, made answer on this wise:


‘Manifold thanks do I render unto thee, O King, “sprung of grandsires whose great grandsires were kings,” for that thou hast promised to help me to recover my kingdom. Howbeit, this which thou saidst, that it is marvellous my people have not maintained their ancestral dignity sithence the Britons did come into those provinces meseemeth is in no wise a marvel. For the more noble of the whole realm did follow the Dukes thou hast named, and only the ignoble did remain behind and did possess them of their lands and honours. These, thus suddenly raised to noble rank, were puffed up by their new dignities far beyond their predecessors. They were purse-proud by reason of the abundance of their riches; they waxed wanton for that no sense of honour did restrain their lust. Amongst them, moreover, did prevail that which is the overthrow of all that is good, the hatred of truth and of them that assert the truth—the love of a lie and of them that do forge lies, the acceptance of the evil for the good, the reverence of iniquity rather than of charity, the acknowledgment of Satan as an angel of light. Kings were anointed not for God’s sake, but for that they were more cruel than others; and were murdered but a brief while thereafter by them that did anoint them, not by examination of the truth of any charge against them, but for that they had chosen others yet more cruel in their stead. If any of them were more merciful or did seem, even were it but a little, to show favour unto truth, against him as the subverter of Britain were hurled all the weapons of their hatred. Lastly, all things whatsoever that were pleasing or displeasing unto God they weighed as of equal account in the balance, if indeed the things that were hateful did not turn the scale. Therefore did they all things that were contrary to the safety of the people, as though the True Physician of all men were unwilling to bestow healing upon them. And all this was done not only by worldly laymen, but even by the Lord’s own flock and the shepherds thereof without distinction. No cause for marvel, therefore, is it that such degenerate ones, hated of God for sins so grievous, should have lost the country they had on this wise polluted. For God was minded to take vengeance upon them when He suffered a nation of strangers to overrun them and drive us out of the fields that our fathers did possess. Natheless, a worthy deed it were, so God allow, to restore our people unto their ancient dignity, but it should be a lasting reproach unto our race, that we were feeble rulers, who in this our time laboured nought to maintain our rights. Moreover, I do with the more confidence beseech thy help for that we had both one great-grandfather’s grandfather. For Malgo, that mighty King of Britain who reigned fourth after Arthur, begat two sons, whereof the one was called Ennian and the other Runo. Ennian was father of Jago, Jago of Cadvan, my father. But Runo, who after his brother’s death was driven forth by the invasion of the Saxons, did come hither into this province, and gave his daughter unto Duke Hoel, the son of Hoel the Great, who conquered so many kingdoms with Arthur. Unto him was born Alan, the father of thine own father Hoel, who, so long as he lived, was no small terror unto the Gauls.




In the meantime, while he was spending the winter with Solomon, they made resolve that Brian should cross over into Britain and by some means or other make away with King Edwin’s wizard lest by his wonted craft he should forewarn him of Cadwallo’s coming. Accordingly, after he had landed at Hamo’s port, he did upon him the garments of a certain poor man, feigning him to be the poor man himself. He wrought him a staff of iron sharp at the end wherewith to slay the wizard in case he should chance to fall in with him, and then made his way to York, in the which city Edwin was at that time sojourning. And when he was come thither he joined him with a company of poor men that waited for alms before the King’s door. And whilst that he was pacing to and fro, behold, his sister came forth of the great hall, with an ewer in her hand wherein she was carrying water unto the Queen. She had been carried off by Edwin from the city of Worcester what time he was wreaking havoc in the provinces of the Britons after the flight of Cadwallo. When, therefore, she passed in front of Brian, he knew her at once, and with eyes overflowing with tears called unto her in a low voice. The damsel, turning her head at his voice, was at first in doubt who it might be, but when she drew nigher and recognised her brother, she was like to have fallen in a swoon for dread lest by any mishap he should be known and taken by his enemies. Wherefore, deferring kisses and familiar greetings for the time, she spake with him as though she were talking of some other indifferent matter, and told him briefly how the buildings of the court lay, pointing them out, and pointing out also the wizard of whom he was in search, who chanced to be walking up and down amongst the poor men whilst the alms was being distributed unto them. Brian, therefore, when he had taken knowledge of the man, bade his sister steal privily forth of her chamber the next night and come unto him without the city hard by a certain old church where he would await her coming among the dark arches of the place. He then joined him in amongst the throng of poor folk in that part where Pellitus was setting them in place, and the moment there was an opening to smite him, he lifted up the pilgrim’s staff I have already spoken of and thrust it in under the wizard’s chest, and slew him with that same blow. Instantly he dropped the staff amongst the throng, and passed on unnoticed, so that none suspected him, and by God’s grace made shift to reach the hiding-place I have mentioned. But when night came on, his sister, who tried every endeavour to get forth and join him, found that get forth she could not, for that Edwin, affrighted at the murder of Pellitus, had set watchers round the court, who, spying into every hidden corner, denied all means of issue. When Brian made discovery of this, he betook him away from that place and went unto Exeter, where he called the Britons together and made known unto them what he had done. Then, sending messengers unto Cadwallo, he garrisoned that city and sent word unto all the barons of the Britons to see to the defences of their castles and cities, and await in gladness the coming of Cadwallo, who, having secured the succour of Solomon, was shortly about to undertake their defence. These tidings being bruited throughout the whole island, Peanda, King of the Mercians, with a mighty multitude of Saxons, came to Exeter and beleaguered Brian therein.




Meanwhile Cadwallo landed in Britain with ten thousand men whom King Solomon had placed under his command, and soon made his way towards Exeter where King Peanda was holding the leaguer; and when he drew anigh, he divided his men into four companies and lost no time before he fell upon the enemy. And when he joined battle, Peanda was forthwith taken prisoner and his army utterly put to the rout. And when he saw that none other way of safety was open to him he made his submission unto Cadwallo, and gave hostages, pledging him to do battle along with hint against the Saxons. Having thus won the victory over him, Cadwallo called his barons together, who for a long time past had slipped out of his hands, and made for Northumbria against Edwin, never ceasing to lay waste the country on his march. When this was reported unto Edwin, he summoned all the petty Kings of the Angles to join him, and, meeting Cadwallo in the field that is called Hevenfeld, did battle with the Britons. The fighting was quickly over. Edwin was slain and well-nigh all the folk he had with him, as also was his son Offrid, and Godbold, King of the Orkneys, who had come to help him.




Having obtained this victory, Cadwallo marched through all the provinces of the Angles, and wrought such havoc upon the Saxons as that scarce would he spare the womankind or the tender years of their little ones, putting all that he found to most grievous torture, forasmuch as he was minded utterly to sweep the English race out of the bounds of Britain. Then next he fought a battle with Osric, who had succeeded Edwin, and slew him with his two nephews who ought of right to have reigned after him, as also slew he Adan, King of the Scots, who had come to their assistance.




After all these were slain, Oswald succeeded to the kingdom of Northumberland, whom, with the rest of them that had fought against him, Cadwallo drove fleeing before him as far as the wall in that province which Severus the Emperor had builded of old betwixt England and Scotland. Then, afterward, he sent Peanda, King of the Mercians, and the more part of his army unto that place to do battle with him. But Oswald, one night when he was beleaguered by the aforesaid Peanda in the place called Hevenfeld, that is the Field of Heaven, did there set up a Cross of the Lord, and gave orders unto his fellow-soldiers that they should cry aloud at the very topmost of their voices in these words: ‘Let us all bend our knees before the living and true God Almighty, beseeching Him with one accord that He deliver us from the proud army of the British King and of his accursed commander Peanda, for He Himself knoweth that we have undertaken these just wars for the salvation of our country.’ All did according as they had been commanded, and, marching forth against the enemy at early dawn, they did achieve the victory which the merit of their faith had deserved. When word of this was brought unto Cadwallo, he, blazing out into fiery wrath, collected his army and followed in pursuit of the holy King Oswald, and in the midst of a battle that was fought at the place called Bourne, Peanda did fall upon him and slay him.




Oswald being thus slain along with many thousands of his men, his brother Oswi succeeded him in the kingdom of Northumbria, and by dint of heavy bribes of gold and silver given to Cadwallo, who now possessed the empire of all Britain, did obtain his peace and became his vassal. Thereupon his brother Alfrid, and Ethelwald, his brother’s son, raised an insurrection against him. But when they found that they could in no wise stand against him, they fled away unto Peanda, King of the Mercians, imploring him that he would collect an army and go with them to the further side Humber to reave Oswi of his kingdom. But Peanda, for that he was adread of breaking the peace which King Cadwallo had established throughout the realm of Britain, deferred starting any disturbance without his leave until such time as he could in some way or another work upon him either to march against King Oswi himself, or at least grant him licence to do battle with him. When, therefore, King Cadwallo held high court one Whitsuntide and celebrated the festival by wearing the crown of Britain in London, and all of the Kings of the Angles save Oswi alone, and all the Dukes of the Britons were present, Peanda went unto the King and asked hint wherefore Oswi alone was absent when all the rest of the princes of the Saxons were there? And when Cadwallo made answer that it was by reason of a sickness that lay upon him, Peanda went on to tell him that Oswi had sent for Saxons into Germany that he might revenge the death of his brother Oswald upon them both. He added, moreover, that he had broken the King’s peace, seeing that he alone had begun the war and contention betwixt them when he had driven Ethelfrid, King of Northumbria, and Ethelwald, his brother’s son, forth of their kingdom by levying war against them. He did therefore further beseech leave to be allowed either to slay him or to drive him forth of his kingdom.




The King, therefore, whose own thoughts were somewhat divided betwixt the divers aspects of the matter, called his familiars apart and bade them declare their opinions upon a case of the kind. And after much counsel had been given, Margadud, King of the South Welsh, spake amongst the rest:


‘My Lord, seeing that it hath ever been thy purpose to drive the race of the Angles forth of the frontiers of Britain, wherefore shouldst thou now turn aside from thy resolve and suffer them to live in peace in our midst? Go to, now! Give them leave at least to fall out amongst themselves and slaughter one another at will until they shall have exterminated themselves from our land! No faith is to be kept with one that is ever hatching of treason and laying of snares to catch him unto whom of right he oweth fealty. These Saxons, in sooth, ever since they did first set foot in our country, have never done naught but lurk in ambush to betray our folk. What faith ought we to keep with them? Give Peanda leave to make war upon Oswi the swiftest he may, that thus they may kill one another in civil discord to their hearts’ content and our island be rid of the whole pack of them!’




With these and many other words, Cadwallo was prevailed upon to grant Peanda leave to do battle with Oswi. Peanda accordingly got together a huge army, marched to the Humber, and laying waste that province of the country, began to harass that King in bitter earnest. Oswi, thereby reduced to his last shift, promised him numberless right royal treasures and bribes beyond all belief to put an end to the havoc he was wreaking, abandon the invasion he had begun and go quietly home. And when he found that he could in no wise prevail upon him to grant his entreaties, the King, relying on divine succour, albeit that his army were the smaller, gave him battle nigh the river Winned, and won a victory wherein Peanda, together with thirty Dukes, was slain. Peanda being thus killed, Wulfred his son, by grant of Cadwallo, succeeded him in the kingdom. He, leaguing himself with Ebba and Edbert, Dukes of the Mercians, rebelled against Oswi, but at the command of Cadwallo made peace with him. At last, at the end of eight-and-forty years, Cadwallo, that most noble and puissant King of the Britons, borne down by old age and sickness, departed this life upon the fifteenth of the Kalends of December. The Britons embalmed his body with balsams and sweet-scented condiments, and set it with marvellous art within a brazen image cast to the measure of his stature. This image, moreover, in armour of wondrous beauty and craftsmanship, they set upon a brazen horse above the West Gate of London in token of the victory I have spoken of, and as a terror unto the Saxons. They did likewise build beneath it a church in honour of St. Martin, wherein are divine services celebrated for him and the faithful departed.




Cadwallader his son succeeded him in the government of the kingdom, a youth whom Bede calleth Elidwald. In the beginning he maintained him stoutly and made good peace, but after he had worn the crown twelve years he fell into feeble health and civil dissension brake out amongst the Britons. His mother was the sister of Peanda but only on her father’s side, Peanda being born of a different mother; she was sprung from a noble family of the Gewissi. It was after King Cadwallo had entered into the covenant of amity with her brother Peanda that he took her to wife and that she bare him Cadwallader.




He, therefore, as I began to tell ye, falling sick, the Britons begin to quarrel, and by their accursed discords destroy the wealth of the country. A second calamity, moreover, followeth on the first, for a deadly and memorable famine fell upon the foolish folk, insomuch as that every province was empty of all sustenance of food, save only such partial provision as the huntsman’s art could supply. And upon the heels of this famine followed a pestilence of death so grievous as that in a brief space so great was the multitude of people laid low, the living were not enough to bury the dead. By reason whereof, the miserable remnant of the people forsaking their own country in flocks did make their way unto lands oversea, with mighty lamentation chanting under the folds of the sails: ‘Thou hast given us, O God, even as sheep unto the slaughter, and amongst the nations hast Thou scattered us.’ Yea, even King Cadwallader himself, voyaging with his wretched fleet for Armorica, did make addition unto the lamentation on this wise: ‘Woe unto us, miserable sinners, for our grievous iniquities wherewith we have never ceased to offend against God so long as space was granted unto us for repentance! Wherefore the vengeance of His might lieth thus heavy upon us, and doth uproot us from our native soil, albeit that never were the Romans of old nor after them the Scots nor the Picts nor even the crafty treasons of the Saxons able to exterminate our people. In vain have we so oft recovered our country from them, seeing that it was not God’s will we should reign therein for ever. He, the true Judge, when He saw that in no wise were we minded to cease from our iniquities and that no man could drive us forth of the kingdom, willed Himself to chastise our folly, and hath now directed against us this visitation of His wrath whereby we are compelled to forsake our own country by multitudes at a time. Now, therefore, return ye Romans; ye Scots and Picts return; return, ye Ambrons and Saxons! Behold, Britain lieth open unto ye! She that never might ye avail to dispeople, hath by the wrath of God been now left desolate! Not your valour driveth us forth, but the might of Him that is over all, the God whom never hath our people been slow to offend.’




In the midst of these and other lamentations was Cadwallader borne forth unto the Armorican shore, and upon his landing, came with all his multitude unto King Alan, nephew of Solomon, and by hint was worthily received. Britain, therefore, deserted of all her people save some few whom death had spared in the parts of Wales for a space of eleven years together, became a place abhorred even of the Britons themselves; nor, in sooth, did the Saxons find it a home to be desired at that same time, for they, too, died therein without intermission. But when the deadly plague had ceased, the remnant of them, true unto their ancient wont, sent word unto their fellow-countrymen in Germany, telling them that now the island of Britain was deserted of her own people they might lightly take possession thereof, so only they would come together and dwell therein. So, when they understood these tidings, that accursed folk, collecting a countless host of men and women, landed in the parts of Northumbria and inhabited the desolated provinces from Albany even unto Cornwall. For none indweller was there to say them nay, save only the few and needy little remnants of the Britons that had survived and herded together in the forest fastnesses of Wales. From that time the power of the Britons ceased in the island, and the English began to reign.




Then, after some brief space of time had elapsed and the Saxon people had thus been reinforced, Cadwallader, bethinking him that his kingdom was now purged from the contagion of the plague, besought help of Alan that he might be restored unto his former kingdom. But when the King had granted his petition, behold, even as he was fitting out his fleet, the Voice of an Angel spake unto him in thunder, forbidding him to emprise the adventure, for that God had willed the Britons should no longer reign in Britain before that time should come whereof Merlin had prophesied unto Arthur. The Voice bade him, moreover, that he should go unto Pope Sergius at Rome, where, after due penance done, he should be numbered amongst the blessed. Yet, further, the Voice told him that the people of the Britons should again possess the island by merit of their faith when the appointed time should come, but that this time should not be until the Britons had obtained his relics and had translated them from Rome into Britain. Then, when the relics had likewise been revealed of the other saints, which had been hidden away by reason of the invasion of the Paynims, they should recover the kingdom they had lost. And when this message had been spoken in the ears of the holy man, he went straightway unto King Alan and made known unto him that which had been revealed unto himself.




Then Alan took divers books, as that of the prophecies of the Eagle that did prophesy at Shaftesbury, and of the songs of Sibyl and Merlin, and began to search all things that were therein to see whether Cadwallader’s revelation did agree with the written oracles. And when he found no discrepancy therein, he did counsel Cadwallader to be obedient unto the divine dispensation, and foregoing all thought of recovering Britain, to perform that which the angelic monition had bidden him. He counselled him, moreover, to send his son Ivor and his nephew Ini to rule over the remnant of the Britons in the island, lest the people born of their ancient race should lose their freedom by the invasion of the barbarians. Then Cadwallader, renouncing worldly things for the sake of God and His kingdom everlasting, came unto Rome, and was confirmed by Pope Sergius, and no long time after, being smitten of a sudden lethargy, upon the twelfth day of the Kalends of May in the year of Our Lord’s incarnation, six hundred and eighty-nine, was released from the contagion of the flesh and did enter into the hall of the kingdom of Heaven.




When Ivor and Ini had got ships together, they raised all the men they could, and made for the island, where for nine-and-forty years they harassed the English people, and did most cruelly raid their lands, but all to little avail. For the said pestilence and famine and customary dissensions had so caused this proud people to degenerate that they could no longer keep their foes at a distance. And, as barbarism crept in, they were no longer called Britons but Welsh, a word derived either from Gualo, one of their Dukes, or from Guales, their Queen, or else from their being barbarians. But the Saxons did wiselier, kept peace and concord amongst themselves, tilled their fields and builded anew their cities and castles, and thus throwing off the sovereignty of the Britons, held the empire of all Loegria under their Duke Athelstan, who was the first to wear a crown amongst them. But the Welsh, degenerating from the nobility of the Britons, never afterwards recovered the sovereignty of the island, but on the contrary, quarrelling at one time amongst themselves, and at another with the Saxons, never ceased to have bloodshed on hand either in public or private feud.




Howbeit, their Kings who from that time have succeeded in Wales I hand over in the matter of writing unto Karadoc of Lancarvan, my contemporary, as do I those of the Saxons unto William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon, whom I bid be silent as to the Kings of the Britons, seeing that they have not that book in the British speech which Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, did convey hither out of Brittany, the which being truly issued in honour of the aforesaid princes, I have on this wise been at the pains of translating into the Latin speech.

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