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GILDAS On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain

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GILDAS
On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain
page 2



THE WORKS OF GILDAS, SURNAMEDD "SAPIENS," OR THE WISE. I. THE PREFACE. § 1. WHATEVER in this my epistle I may write in my humble but well-meaning manner, rather by way of lamentation than for display, let no one suppose that it springs from contempt of others, or that I foolishly esteem myself as better than they ;—for, alas ! the subject of my complaint is the general destruction of every thing that is good, and the general growth of evil throughout the land ;—but that I would condole with my country in her distress and rejoice to see her revive therefrom : for it is my present purpose to relate the deeds of an indolent and slothful race, rather than the exploits of those who have been valiant in the field.* I have kept silence, I confess, with much mental anguish, compunction of feeling and contrition of heart, whilst I revolved all these things within myself; and, as God the searcher of the reins is witness, for the space of even ten years or more, [ f my inexperience, as at present also, and my unworthiness preventing me from taking upon myself the character of a censor. But I read how the illustrious • Notwithstanding this remark of Gildas, the Britons must have shown great bravery and resolution in their battles against the Saxons, or they would not have resisted their encroachments so long. When Gildas was writing, a hundred years had elapsed, and the Britons still possessed a large portion of their native country. * All that follows, enclosed within brackets, up to page 298, is omitted in some copies.


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