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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 523



514 MATTHEW OF WE8TMIK8TEB. A.D . 1016. silently, and, marching towards London and arriving at his fleet, he a second time laid siege to that city. Bnt when the morning dawned, and king Edmund ascertained that the Danes had ned into Wessex, he returned with the intention of assembling a more numerous army. But the wicked duke Eadric, hearing of his activity, by the suggestion of Canute, came treacherously to him in order to betray him, and, peace having been made between them, he promised fidelity to the king. Therefore king Edmund collected an army a third time, and relieved the citizens of London from their blockade, and drove the Danes to their ships, and, crossing the river Thames at Brentford, fought a fourth battle with the Danes, and, having driven them from the field in a shameful manner, he gained the victory by his spear and sword, and obtained great military glory, to his exceeding joy ; but Canute, fleeing to his ships, retreated, and went to ravage Kent. And king Edmund led an army against him, and fought a battle with the enemy near Octanford ; and they, not being able to withstand his attack, fled, and took refuge in the Isle of Sheppey. The king Edmund, marching into Wessex, vigorously pur-\ sued Canute, but he, marching into Mercia, to ravage it, ordered his army to commit greater atrocities than they had committed before. And king Edmund, encountering the enemy courageously at Assendune,1 and having arrayed his army in three lines, went round his battalions, admonishing them to be mindful of their former valour and of their previous victory, and to defend themselves, and his and their kingdom, from the rapacity of the barbarians ; for he assured them that they would have but a slight struggle with those whom they had already repeatedly conquered. In the meantime, Canute led his men into a level plain, and Edmund, giving the signal to his men, suddenly attacked the enemy. The two armies fought with all their energy, many were slain on each aide, but at length, by the fortune of war, the English prevailed. And there the valour of king Edmund was conspicuous, who, seeing the Danes fighting with more than usual vigour, left his royal station, which was, according to custom, between the Dragon8 and the Standard, and hastened into the first Une, brandishing his sword in a terrible manner, and cleaving the 1 Assington, in Essex. * The " Dragon " was a standard like the Roman eagle. The " Standard " a flag, with the royal arms emblazoned on it.


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