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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 570



A.D. }066. BATTLE OE HASTINGS. ner in company with his brother, that, as they all shared one common danger, no one. might think of flight. On the other hand, the Normans, who had spent the whole of the preceding night either in sleep or in the confession of their sins, or in preparing their arms, and who the first thing in the morning had occupied themselves in receiving that most excellent preparation for a march, namely, the body of our Lord, were full of courage, raising their souls to heaven and their bodies to oppose the enemy, and in this state they boldly awaited the enemy's attack. William strengthened his first line with infantry, armed with bows and arrows, clubs, and battle-axes. The cavalry, in accordance with the usual practice of military discipline, he divided among the two wings, placing them in good order a little in the rear. Then, with erect gait, calm countenance, and affable language, the brave duke animated his own men, and unhesitatingly promised them that God, the Lord of Hosts, would be present to them as the more righteous side. They all shout out "T o arms!" and immediately the duke, with an unnerved spirit, calls for his arms. And lo! his armour-bearer, whose mind was all in confusion from the tumult, gave him his breast-plate upside down, and put it on him in that condition. The duke burst out laughing, and pleasantly exclaimed, " Some things that are in our power are changed, and my valiant dukedom is changed into a kingdom." Then, beginning the song of Roland, the standard was raised and waved, the trumpets and bugles sounded, and, invoking the aid of the heavenly powers, they began the battle on both sides. Both armies fought with great vigour, and the battle was a long time in doubt, as neither would retreat, and the victory was in suspense for a long time. But, when William perceived this, seeing the valiant constancy that existed on the opposite side of his invincible enemies, and that, although they were few in number, they were in very , close and compact order, he betakes himself to a device of skill, as the vehemence of sheer courage could not succeed. Therefore, as I mentioned before, the warlike duke William cunningly made a signal to his troops to feign to flee, after the fashion of the Parthians, and to retire from the field. By which device the English army was at once dissolved like sand without Urne, and, as if they had nothing to do but to slaughter the flying enemy, they incautiously hastened their own destruction. For the Normans, turning their battalions back VOL . ι. ο ο


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