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Geoffrey of Monmouth History of the Kings of Britain

 
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Geoffrey of Monmouth
History of the Kings of Britain
page 4



with me for the weight of his fetters, I have a little while ago caused him to lie hid among the shrubs at the end of the wood, till I could meet with some one whom I might conduct to his assistance.” While they were in suspense about the truth of this story, there came one who knew him, and after he had saluted him, told them who he was; so that now, without any hesitation, they quickly called their absent companions, and followed him to the wood where he had told them Antigonus lay hid. But at length, as they were going among the shrubs, Brutus with his armed bands springs forth, and falls upon them, while under the greatest astonishment, with a most cruel slaughter. From thence he marches directly to the siege, and divides his men into three bands, assigning to each of them a different part of the camp, and telling them to advance discreetly, and without noise, and when entered, not to kill any body till he with his company should be possessed of the king’s tent, and should cause the trumpet to sound for a signal.

Chapter 9. The taking of Pandrasus. When he had given them these instructions, they forthwith softly entered the camp in silence, and taking their appointed stations, awaited the promised signal, which Brutus delayed not to give as soon as he had got before the tent of Pandrasus, to assault which was the thing he most desired. At hearing the signal, they forthwith draw their swords, enter in among the men in their sleep, make quick destruction of them, and allowing no quarter, in this manner traverse the whole camp. The rest, awaked at the groans of the dying, and seeing their assailants, were like sheep seized with a sudden fear; for they despaired of life, since they had neither time to take arms, nor to escape by flight. They run up and down without arms among the armed, whithersoever the fury of the assault hurries them, but are on all sides cut down by the enemy rushing in. Some that might have escaped, were in the eagerness of flight dashed against rocks, trees, or shrubs, and increased the misery of their death. Others, that had only a shield, or some such covering for their defence, in venturing upon the same rocks to avoid death, fell down in the hurry and darkness of the night, and broke either legs or arms. Others, that escaped both these disasters, but did not know whither to fly, were drowned in the adjacent rivers; and scarcely one got away without some unhappy accident befalling him. Besides, the garrison in the town, upon notice of the coming of their fellow soldiers, sallied forth, and redoubled the slaughter.

Chapter 10. Consultation about what is to be asked of the captive king.

But Brutus, as I said before, having possessed himself of the king’s tent, made it his business to keep him a safe prisoner; for he knew he could more easily attain his ends by preserving his life than by killing him; but the party that was with him, allowing no quarter, made an utter destruction in that part which they had gained. The night being spent in this manner, when the next morning discovered to their view so great an overthrow of the enemy, Brutus, in transports of joy, gave full liberty to his men to do what they pleased with the plunder, and then entered the town with the king, to stay there till they had shared it among them; which done, he again fortified the castle, gave orders for burying the slain, and retired with his forces to the woods in great joy for the victory. After the rejoicings of his people on this occasion, their renowned general summoned the oldest of them and asked their advice, what he had best desire of Pandrasus, who, being now in their power, would readily grant whatever they would request of him, in order to regain his liberty. They, according to their different fancies, desired different things; some urged him to request that a certain part of the kingdom might be assigned them for their habitation; others that he would demand leave to depart, and to be supplied with necessaries for their voyage. After they had been a long time in suspense what to do, one of them, named Mempricius, rose up, and having made silence, spoke to them thus:— “What can be the occasion of your suspense, fathers, in a matter which I think so much concerns your safety? The only thing you can request, with any prospect of a firm peace and security to yourselves and your posterity, is liberty to depart. For if you make no better terms with Pandrasus for his life than only to have some part of the country assigned you to live among the Greeks, you will never enjoy a lasting peace while the brothers, sons, or grandsons of those whom you killed yesterday shall continue to be your neighbours. So long as the memory of their fathers’ deaths shall remain, they will be your mortal enemies, and upon the least trifling provocation will endeavour to revenge themselves. Nor will you be sufficiently numerous to withstand so great a multitude of people. And if you shall happen to fall out among yourselves, their number will daily increase, yours diminish. I propose, therefore, that you request of him his eldest daughter, Ignoge, for a wife for our general, and with her, gold, silver, corn, and whatever else shall be necessary for our voyage. If we obtain this, we may with his leave remove to some other country.”


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