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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 564



A.D. 1066. DISAGREEMENT AS TO APPODTTING A KING. 555 secular clergy, and an abbot sent a monk with royal presents and letters sanctioned with the king's seal, to Michael, emperor of Constantinople, entreating him to command the seven sleepers to be shown to the ambassadors of Edward, king of England. And the emperor received the ambassadors of England, who came from such a distant country, with all kindness, and caused the before-mentioned seven sleepers to be shown to them, who found all the signs about the holy sleepers which king Edward had while in England predicted would be found ; and so, offering gifts and giving thanks to God, they returned to their country.1 Especially we must not omit to mention in our account of this most holy king, that he never violated either the purity of his own person, or the chastity of any woman. Nevertheless, he had, as I have already stated, a queen, the daughter of count Godwin, by name Edith, in whose breast there was deposited a perfect mastery over all the Uberai sciences. But in secular matters, she exercised and displayed only a moderate genius. And the king treated her, being his wife, in such a manner, that he neither removed her from his bed, and yet never knew her after the fashion of a husband. But whether he did so out of hatred to her father, who had been convicted of being a traitor, and to his family, which hatred he prudently dissembled for a time, or out of a love for chastity, is a point in dispute among some writers, who interpret all doubtful matters in the worst way. But those who are his well-wishers, and who, as it seems, are most in accordance with the truth, undertake to say, that the truth was, that he, being a pious king, was unwilling to corrupt the royal family, and to propagate heirs to succeed to himself from the family of a traitor. When Edward, the pious king of England, was dead, in whom the line of the kings of England terminated, the nobles of the kingdom were in doubt as to whom they should appoint as their king and governor. For some favoured William, duke of Normandy, and others count Harold, son of Godwin, and others, Edgar,3 son of Edward. And Edward 1 Our chronicler's story is not reconcilable with the date usually assigned to this fable. The seven sleepers are supposed to have been blockaded in their cave by the emperor Decius.who reigned A.D. 249—251, and to have awakened after a sleep of a hundred and eighty-seven years, in the reign of Theodosius.—See Gibbon, c. xxxiiL vol. vi. p. 32. 2 Called Edgar Atheling.


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