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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 525



516 MATTHEW OF WE8TMESETEB. A.D. 1016. was formerly called Oleneige, to which the kings were conveyed, clad in splendid armour, and where they began their single combat in the sight of the people of each nation. But when, by the might of the kings striking at one another, and by the shock of their strong shields, their spears had been broken, they drew their swords, and fought hand to hand, continuing the encounter vigorously and long, his valour defending Edmund, and fortune preserving Canute, their swords rung upon their helmeted heads, and sparks flashed from the heavy blows. At length, the mighty breast of Edmund kindled with fury as the combat proceeded, and, becoming stronger as his blood warmed within him, he raised his right hand, brandished his sword, and redoubled his blows on the head of his enemy with such vehemence, that he appeared to thunder rather than to strike. Canute, therefore, feeling his strength fail, and himself unequal any longer to withstand these terrible attacks, bethought himself of coming to terms of peace with the young king. But, as he was a cunning man, he feared that if his weakness were perceived by the young king he would not listen to bis proposals of peace, he collected all his courage, and rushed upon Edmund with marvellous valour. And presently, retiring a little, he begged the young king to pause for a moment, and to give Inni a hearing. But he, being of a sweet disposition, dropped his shield on the ground, and listened to the words of Canute. " Hitherto," said Canute, " Ο bravest of men, I have been desirous of your kingdom ; but now, considering you of more value not only of the kingdom of England but also than the whole world, I am more desirous of your love than of the kingdom. Denmark is obedient to me, Norway is subject to me, the king of the Suevi has yielded to me. Wherefore, although fortune has promised me that I shall be victorious everywhere, still your wonderful prowess has inspired me with so much love, that I desire above all things to have you for my friend and my partner in the kingdom. Would that you may be as well inclined to me, so that I may reign with you in England, and you with me in Denmark." To make the story short, the most gracious king Edmund consented, and he who could not be subdued by arms, yielded to words. Therefore they both of them laid aside their splendid armour, and kissed one another, to the great delight of both armies. Then they exchanged garments and arms in


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