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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 295



290 ROGER OF WENDOVER [A.D. 1016. than their usual spirit, quitting his royal station, which according to custom was between a dragon and a standard, he penetrated the opposing forces, opening a way with his sword, and like a thunderbolt cleaving their ranks, which he left to his followers to demolish. Then hastening against Cnute's division, he roused the horrid din of battle. Terrible was the conflict in that quarter. But earl Eadric the traitor, seeing the forces of the Danes beginning to turn, deserted to Cnute with the division he commanded, as had been before arranged between them, and the Danes thus reinforced made a lamentable slaughter of the English ; for there fell of them the noble dukes Alfric and Godwin, Usketel and his son Ethelwold, Ethelwin beloved of God, Eadnoth bishop of Dorchester, abbat Wulsy, and almost all the nobility of the English, who had never before in one battle sustained so terrible a slaughter. Cnute, on his side, sustained an irreparable loss of leaders and nobles. This deadly battle was fought on St. Luke the evangelist's day. Single combat between Eadmund and Cnute. A few days after this lamentable battle in which so many nobles fell, king Eadmund pursued Cnute, who was now committing ravages in Gloucestershire. The said kings therefore came together to fight at a place called Deerhurst, Eadmund with his men being on the west side of the river Severn, and Canute with his men on the east, both preparing themselves manfully for battle. When both armies were now on the point of engaging, the wicked earl Eadric called together the chiefs and addressed them as follows : " Nobles and warriors, why do we foolishly so often hazard our lives in battle for our kings, when not even our deaths secure to them the kingdom, or put an end to their covetousness ? My counsel then is, that they alone should fight who alone are contending for the kingdom ; for what must be the lust of dominion, when England, which formerly sufficed for eight kings, is not now enough for two ? Let them therefore either come to terms, or fight alone for the kingdom." This speech pleased them all ; and the determination of the chiefs being communicated to the kings, received their approbation. There is a small island called Oseney in the mouth of that river. Thither the kings, clad in splendid


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