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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 405



MATTHEW 07 WISTMTJTSTIB. A.D. 838. tons, of whom the eldest was named Eadbald, the second Ethelbert, the third Ethelred, and the youngest Alfred, all of whom reigned in succession after their father. He also had a fifth son, named Athelstan, who was not born in wedlock, to whom he gave all the kingdoms which his father Egbert had acquired by force of arms, rernaining contented himself with the kingdom of the West Saxons only. A.D. 838. The Danes landed in the port of Southampton with thirty-three ships, with great confidence and pride; but count Ulfward having slain many thousands of them in a pitched battle, compelled them to depart with disgrace. But the same year, not long afterwards, the same pagans landed at Portsmouth, and began to ravage the country. And when the news got abroad, duke Ethclhelm met them with the men of Dorset, and put them to flight ; but using his strength inconsiderately, he advanced with his men without sufficient regularity, and so was slain by the enemy. Now then, since we have come to that great and horrible calamity which, on account of their sins, was inflicted by means of the Danes on the English nation, it may be well to explain briefly to our readers the cause of this disaster, that it may serve as a caution to future ages. In the primitive church of the Angles religion shone most brightly, so that kings and queens, princes and dukes, counts and barons, and rulers of churches, being all inflamed with the desire of life in heaven, vied with one another, as we have already shown, in seeking a monastic life, a spontaneous banishment, a life of solitude, and left all to follow their Lord. But, in process of time, all virtue decayed so much in them, that no nation appeared equal to them in treachery or fraud. Nor was there anything hated by them except piety, and justice, and honour. Nothing was dear to them except wars, worse even than civil wars, and the spilling of innocent blood. Therefore, Almighty God sent against them pagan nations, most cruel people, like swarms of bees, who spared neither the sex of women nor the age of infants, namely, Danes and Norwegians, Goths, Swedes, Vandals, and Frieslanders, who, from the beginning of the reign of king Ethelwold till the arrival of the Romans, for nearly two hundred and thirty years destroyed this sinful land from sea to sea, and from man to beast. Since, though they were constantly invading England


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