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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 21



tions round about now not only know, but also continually are casting in their teeth ? III. THE EPISTLE* § 27. BRITAIN has kings, but they are tyrants ; she has judges, but unrighteous ones ; generally engaged in plunder and rapine, but always preying on the innocent ; whenever they exert themselves to avenge or protect, it is sure to be in favour of robbers and criminals ; they have an abundance of wives, yet are they addicted to fornication and adultery ; they are ever ready to take oaths, and as often perjure themselves ; they make a vow and almost immediately act falsely; they make war, but their wars are against their countrymen, and are unjust ones; they rigorously prosecute thieves throughout their country, but those who sit at table with them are robbers, and they not only cherish but reward them ; they give alms plentifully, but in contrast to this is a whole pile of crimes which they have committed ; they sit on the seat of justice, but rarely seek for the rule of right judgment; they despise the innocent and the humble, but seize every occasion of exalting to the utmost the bloody* minded ; the proud, murderers, the combined and adulterers, enemies of God, who ought to be utterly destroyed and their names forgotten. They have many prisoners in their gaols, loaded with chains, but this is done in treachery rather than in just punishment for crimes; and when they have stood before the altar, swearing by the name of GOCÌJ they go away and think no more of the holy altar than if it were a mere heap of dirty stones. § 28. Of this horrid abomination, Constantino,* the tyrannical whelp of the unclean lioness of Damnonia,f is not ignorant. This same year, after taking a dreadful oath (whereby he * Probably Cyetennyn of the Bards. Constantino is a name often occurring in the British royal families. The Constantlne of Gildae is supposed to have been king of Cornwall, who abdicated his throne, and afterwards preached the gospel to the Picte and Scots. Some account oi him will be found in the Aberdeen Breviary, in the Acta Sanctorum, March, voL ii. p. 64, and in Whitaker's Cathedral of Cornwall! i* 825» f The present counties of Devon and Cornwall*


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