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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 563



MATTHEW OF WESTMΓΝ8ΤΕΒ. A.D. 1066. preceding pages of this book, of the secular cares and warlike deeds of that most blessed and peaceful king and confessor, Edward, it, nevertheless, appears proper to say a little on the subject of his sanctity and virtues. For, while he was yet in his mortal body, he was a most learned and active inquirer into the heavenly mysteries ; and the King of kings, by the spirit of prophecy, revealed to him some secret things, which deserve to be handed down to the recollection of posterity. For, once upon a time, when the king, being at Westminster, on Easter-day, had been holding a court in kingly fashion, and was sitting at table, he suddenly raised his voice and laughed very loudly, and so turned the eyes of all the guests upon himself. And when they all marvelled at his having laughed thus without any reason as they fancied, when, after dinner, the king had turned into the withdrawing room, and had taken his seat among his bishops and nobles, duke Harold said to the king : " Ο lord king, we saw an unusual circumstance today, at which we all marvelled, because we never beheld you laugh so openly before, nor was there, as we imagine, any cause which excited your laughter." The king answered him : " I saw a strange thing, and therefore it was not without cause that I burst out laughing." Then the nobles who were sitting around, not at all supposing that so great a man had laughed without any reason, began humbly to beg of him to condescend to explain to them the cause of his excessive mirth. And when he had been wrought upon by. their frequent entreaties, he said : " More than two hundred years are elapsed since the seven sleepers in the cave of Mount Coelius, near Ephesus, have been resting on their right sides ; but now, since we first sat down at table, they have turned on their left sides, and there will lie seventy years more." But when those who were present heard this, they asked him what this turning of the men portended ? And he said : " Of a truth, that turning is full of an omen of dire import to mankind. For wars and oppressions of nations will torment the human race in an intolerable degree, and there will be changes of many kingdoms, and through the virtue of Christ the pagans will be crushed by the Christians." When they heard this, and a good deal more, the nobles before mentioned departed from the king in great astonishment, and determined to send ambassadors to examine into the truth of this circumstance. But duke Harold sent a soldier, and a certain affluent bishop sent one of his


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