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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.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 569

this present hour of need you retire, and that you may not, by fighting as a perjured man, incur the disgrace of flight or death. But we, who are altogether unshackled by any oath, will undertake a righteous war, inasmuch as we shall be fighting for our country. And if we fight by ourselves your cause will prosper better, as you will be able to restore order among us if we flee, or to avenge us if we are slain." But Harold, in his rashness, would not give a willing ear to his admonitions, thinking it an inglorious thing, and one that would be a disgrace to him for the whole of his life, to flee before any enemy whatever. While the two brothers were thus talking to one another, there arrived a certain monk, who had been sent by duke William, to make three propositions to Harold, on his part. Accordingly, he proposed to mm, either to depart from the kingdom in observance of his oath, or to reign, holding the kingdom under him as a titulary prince, or else, in the sight of both armies, to terminate the dispute by single combat, each fighting alone with his single sword. When Harold heard this, he would not condescend either to look with a favourable countenance on the ambassador of William, nor to receive him with civil words, but drove him away with indignation, praying only for this, that the Lord might judge between himself and William. To this the monk answered boldly, and declared that if he did not choose to admit the right of William, William was*willing to prove his cause*by the decision of the Apostolic See, or by that of battle, if he preferred it. In reply to all these assertions, Harold contented himself with the single answer which I have recorded above, and by this conduct exasperated the minds of the Normans, and excited them to wish for battle. Then the adverse parties arrayed their troops. But the English, who, being fatigued, had passed the whole night without sleep, and who therefore in the morning felt themselves almost fainting, advanced without delay against the enemy, all the infantry being armed with battle-axes, placing before themselves the protection of their shields, which were locked together, and thus they presented an impenetrable phalanx ; and that day would have turned out one of festival and salvation for them, if the Normans, beginning flight, according to their custom, had not by this expedient disordered their compact line. King Harold fought on foot by his ban

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