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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.
page 21



even the domestic birds of England, the peacocks, and poultry and geese, fled from the houses, and all became wild birds. This year, king William was in France, and ravaged the kingdom of king Philip, and slaughtered many of his subjects. He also burnt a noble castle called Mathaunte, and all the churches which were in that district, and burnt alive a number of the common people, and two holy anchorites ; after which, he departed into Normandy, and sojourned there. But king William, in the latter part of his life, while dwelling in Normandy, rested for awhile, after he had contracted a league of friendship with Philip, king of France. And king Philip, ridiculing his patience, is reported to have said, " William, king of England, is lying at Rouen, keeping his bed like women who have j net been delivered from travail." And king William, being irritated at this sarcasm, replied, " When I go to mass, after my confinement, I will light him up a hundred thousand candles." And not long afterwards, in the month of August, he assembled an immense army, and entered France, subduing everything, and laying waste everything. Last of all, he set fire to the city of Nantes, and burnt it, and, being elated at its destruction, while he was encouraging his men boldly to add fuel to the flame, he came too near the fire, and, owing to the heat of the flames, and the unequal temperature of the autumn, he caught an illness, in consequence of which he withdrew his army, and returned to Rouen. But, on the twenty-seventh of March, when he felt that the day of his death was at hand, king William released his brother Odo, and all those whom he had committed to prison in England or Normandy, and performed a severe penance, for the fact that any one who in his time had caught a wild boar, or a stag, without license, had been deprived of his eyes. He was an inviolable preserver of peace and justice, so that a maiden loaded with gold might have traversed the kingdom of England in security. King William divided his territories in the following strange manner. Against his will, and because he was compelled to do so, he left Normandy to Robert his eldest son, to William, his second son, he bequeathed the monarchy of England, and to Henry he left all his mother's possessions and a large treasure. So king William left both his kingdom and his life on the ninth of September, after he had reigned over the English nation twenty years, ten months, and twenty-eight days. His body was carried to Caen, and buried there.


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