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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 397



388 MATTHEW 0 Ï WEBTMTffBTEB. Α.Ό. 802. ali who came to him, and promised that he would not only be ready to conquer the enemies of the cross on earth, but also on the sea, if necessity required it. For he understood that states were happy if either those who studied wisdom governed them, or if then* governors were willing to apply themselves to the study of wisdom. Then he went to the city of Ravenna, and carefully deliberated with his nobles on the subjects that have been already mentioned. A.D. 802. Brithric, king of the West Saxons, died by poison in this manner. This king had, as has been related above, a queen named Eadburga, daughter of Offa, king of Mercia, who being elated by her many honours, gave herself up to strange thoughts of ambition. For being excited by maternal tyranny, she was in the habit of accusing all the men of noble birth in the kingdom who had been ordained, and all the men of any religious orders, to the king, and to curse them, on which account she became hated by the princes and dukes, and nobles, and the whole nation. And in this way that wicked woman so won over the king by her blandishments, that he either put to death or banished every one whom she accused. And if she could not prevail on the king to do this, she was accustomed to kill them secretly by poison. Now there was at this time a young man of illustrious family, very intimate with the king, and wholly devoted to him, against whom the wicked queen brought her accusations in vain, on which account she took him off by poison. And as the king, without knowing it, tasted the same poison, he died immediately, though she had not designed to administer poison to the king, but only to the young man. However, they both drank of it, and both died of the fatal draught. When, therefore, the king had been killed in this manner, that wicked woman was greatly alarmed, and fled with incalculable treasures and crossed the sea, and went to the court of Charlemagne, king of France, and made him many presents. And when this wickedest of all women, although one of most exquisite beauty, stood before the king, the monarch addressed her thus : " Choose, Eadburga, whichever you prefer to marry, me or my son, who is my comfort." But she, without taking time for deliberation, discarding all restraint of modesty, answered and said, " If an option or liberty of choice were given to me, I should choose your son rather than you, because he is younger." Then the lung, perceiving that she was influenced


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