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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 574



565 Λ.υ. 10G6. CHABACTEE OF HAS OLD. On the fourth or fifth night after the battle, while duke William was lying asleep in his bed, weary after all the varied anxiety he had gone through, and buried in deep sleep, he heard a voice saying to him, "William, you have conquered, and likewise you have taken possession. Therefore you shall reign, and your children after you, in all freedom, for a hundre'd and fifty years." And the duke committed these words to memory, and recommended himself and all that he had to the divine protection. And there was founded a house for a religious brotherhood on the very spot where the greatest slaughter and bloodshed had taken place, that the brethren might for ever offer prayers to God for the souls who were there slain ; and the duke, and other devout nobles, endowed it with ample possessions, and fortified it with the sanctions of religion. And the abbey, in memory of the conflict that took place, is called Battle to this day. But the lord the pope, and likewise the whole brotherhood of the cardinals, and all the Roman court, who had always hated king Harold, because he had assumed the crown of the kingdom without any agreement being entered into with them, and without any ecclesiastical solemnities, or any consent of the prelates being asked, dissembled at the time their sense of the injury ; but seeing now that this audacious presumption had come to an end, as they had yielded to adverse fortune, now, after the common custom of covetous men, or rather like reeds shaken by a blast of wind, they at once returned to the side which had proved the more powerful and the victorious one. But king Harold, who in many respects was an imitator of his father, was a rash and indiscreet prince, with headlong presumption, trusting too much in his own invincible courage, eager for praise and for money, and, when prosperity smiled upon him, forgetful of his former promises. On which account he was disliked by the English whom he governed, even by those who were his own kinsmen ; and when the Lord of Hosts and God of Vengeance had given him the victory, he ascribed it not to God but to himself, and to his own courage and activity ; and this was proved by recent experience, when, being elated at the victory he had obtained over the Norwegians, he retained for himself all the spoils which he had promised to others, and hastened, with precipitation and folly, to the battle with the Normans. On which account, the name of duke William, as of a prince who was magnanimous in the


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