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Roger De Hoveden The Annals vol.1., From A.D. 732 To A.D. 1180.

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Roger De Hoveden
The Annals vol.1., From A.D. 732 To A.D. 1180.
page 45



34 ANNALS OF HOG Eli DE IIOVEDEN. A.D. 8-12. narchies of England, and to the frightful plague •which afflicted us in the descents of the Danes, the book may be made appropriately devoted to a new subject. At the beginning11 of my history, I have mentioned that Britain was afflicted with five plagues ; the fourth of which, namely, that caused by the Danes, I shall treat of in the present book, and the more so, as this was far more dreadful and caused far more bloodshed than the others. For the Romans kept Britain under their subjection during only a short period, and ruled it gloriously by the laws of the conquerors. Again, the Piets and the Scots made frequent irruptions into Britain on the northern side, but, still, they did not attack it in every quarter, and on being sometimes repulsed with loss, they not unfrequently paused in their invasions. Again, the Saxons, using all their endeavours, gradually gained the land by warfare : when gained, they kept possession of it ; when in their possession, they built upon it ; when built upon, they ruled it with their laws. The Normans also, who speedily and in a very short time subdued this country, granted to the conquered their lives, their liberty, and the ancient laws of the realm, upon which matters I shall enlarge at the proper time. On the other hand, the Danes continually and perseveringly harassed the land, and in their incursions shewed a desire not to keep possession of it, but rather to lay it waste, and to destroy everything, not to obtain rule. If at any time they were overcome, no benefit resulted therefrom, for on a sudden a fleet and a still greater army would make its appearance in another quarter ; and it was a matter for astonishment how, when the kings of the English would march to fight with them on the eastern side, before they approached the troops of the enemy, a messenger would come in haste and say, " Ο king, whither are you going ? An innumerable fleet of the pagans on the southern side has taken possession of the coasts of England, and, depopulating cities and towns, has ravaged every place with fire and sword ;" on the same day another would come running and saying, " Ο king, whither are you flying? A terrible army has landed on the western side of England ; if you do not quickly turn and make head against them, they will think that you have taken to flight, and will 41 He has not previously made any such remark : this and some other passages would lead us to infer that some portion of the work is lost.


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