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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 7



bow in his hand breaks his head. The rest narrowly escaped, and carried the news of this disaster to Goffarius. The Pictavian general was struck with sorrow for it, and immediately raised a vast army, to revenge the death of his ambassador. Brutus, on the other hand, upon hearing the rumour of his coming, sends away the women and children to the ships, which he took care to be well guarded, and commands them to stay there, while he, with the rest that were able to bear arms, should go to meet the army. At last an assault being made, a bloody fight ensued; in which after a great part of the day had been spent, Corineus was ashamed to see the Aquitanians so bravely stand their ground, and the Trojans maintaining the fight without victory. He therefore takes fresh courage, and drawing off his men to the right wing, breaks in upon the very thickest of the enemies, where he made such slaughter on every side, that at last he broke the line and put them all to flight. In this encounter he lost his sword, but by good fortune, met with a battle-axe, with which he clave down to the waist every one that stood in his way. Brutus and every body else, both friends and enemies, were amazed at his courage and strength, for he brandished about his battle-axe among the flying troops, and terrified them not a little with these insulting words, “Whither fly ye, cowards? whither fly ye, base wretches? stand your ground, that ye may encounter Corineus. What! for shame! do so many thousands of you fly one man? However, take this comfort for your flight, that you are pursued by one, before whom the Tyrrhenian giants could not stand their ground, but fell down slain in heaps together.”

Chapter 13. Goffarius routed by Brutus.

At these words one of them, named Subardus, who was a consul, returns with three hundred men to assault him; but Corineus with his shield wards off the blow, and lifting up his battle-axe gave him such a stroke upon the top of his helmet, that at once he clave him down to the waist; and then rushing upon the rest he made terrible slaughter by wheeling about his battle-axe among them, and, running to and fro, seemed more anxious to inflict blows on the enemy than careful to avoid those which they aimed at him. Some had their hands and arms, some their very shoulders, some again their heads, and others their legs cut off by him. All fought with him only, and he alone seemed to fight with all. Brutus seeing him thus beset, out of regard to him, runs with a band of men to his assistance: at which the battle is again renewed with vigour and with loud shouts, and great numbers slain on both sides. But now the Trojans presently gain the victory, and put Goffarius with his Pictavians to flight. The king after a narrow escape went to several parts of Gaul, to procure succours among such princes as were related or known to him. At that time Gaul was subject to twelve princes, who with equal authority possessed the whole country. These receive him courteously, and promise with one consent to expel the foreigners from Aquitaine.

Chapter 14. Brutus, after his victory with Goffarius, ravages Aquitaine with fire and sword.

Brutus, in joy for the victory, enriches his men with the spoils of the slain, and then, dividing them into several bodies, marches into the country with a design to lay it waste, and load his fleet with the spoil. With this view he sets the cities on fire, seizes the riches that were in them, destroys the fields, and makes dreadful slaughter among the citizens and common people, being unwilling to leave so much as one alive of that wretched nation. While he was making this destruction over all Aquitaine, he came to a place where the city of Tours now stands, which he afterwards built, as Homer testifies. As soon as he had looked out a place convenient for the purpose, he pitched his camp there, for a place of safe retreat, when occasion should require. For he was afraid on account of Goffarius’s approach with the kings and princes of Gaul, and a very great army, which was now come near the place, ready to give him battle. Having therefore finished his camp, he expected to engage with Goffarius in two days’ time, placing the utmost confidence in the conduct and courage of the young men under his command.

Chapter 15. Goffarius’s fight with Brutus.

Goffarius, being informed that the Trojans were in those parts, marched day and night, till he came within a close view of Brutus’s camp; and then with a stern look and disdainful smile, broke out into these expressions, “Oh wretched fate! Have these base exiles made a camp also in my kingdom? Arm, arm, soldiers, and march through their thickest ranks: we shall soon take these pitiful fellows like sheep, and disperse them throughout our kingdom for slaves.” At these words they prepared their arms, and advanced in twelve bodies towards the enemy. Brutus, on the other hand, with his forces drawn up in order, went forth boldly to meet them, and gave his men directions for their conduct, where they should assault and where they should be upon the defensive. At the beginning of the attack, the Trojans had the advantage, and made a rapid


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