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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 296



A.D. 1016.] SINGLE COMBAT OF EADMUND AND CNTJTE. armour, crossed over and commenced a single combat in the presence of the people. Parrying the thrust of the spear as well by their own skill as by the interposition of their strong shields, they drew their swords and fought long and fiercely hand to hand, his valour protecting Eadmund, and his good fortune Cnute. The swords rung on their helmets, and sparks of fire flew from their collision. The stout heart of Eadmund was kindled by the act of fighting, and as his blood grew warm his strength augmented ; he raised his right hand, brandished his sword, and redoubled his blows on the head of his antagonist with such vehemence that he seemed rather to fulminate than strike. Feeling his strength failing him, and unable long to endure such an onset, Cnute meditated peace ; but as he was crafty, and afraid lest if the youth perceived his weakness he would not listen to his words of peace, drawing in all his breath he rushed on Eadmund with wonderful valour, and immediately drawing back a little, he asked him to pause awhile and give him audience. The latter was of a courteous soul, and, resting his shield on the ground, he listened to the words of Cnute, who thus proceeded : " Hitherto I have coveted thy kingdom, bravest of men ; but now I prefer thyself not only to the kingdom of England, but to all the world. Denmark serves me, Norway yields me subjection, the king of Sweden has struck hands with me ,· so that, although fortune promises me victory everywhere, yet thy wonderful manliness hath so won my favour, that I long beyond measure to have thee as a friend and partner of my kingdom. I would that thou, in like manner, wert desirous of me, that I might reign with thee in England, and thou with me in Denmark." Why should I add more ? King Eadmund most graciously assented and yielded to his words, though he could not be forced by arms. The kingdom was therefore by Eadmund's direction divided between the two, the crown of the whole kingdom reverting to king Eadmund. The whole of England therefore, to the south of the river Thames, was ceded to him, with Essex and East-Anglia, and the city of London the capital of the kingdom ; Cnute retaining the northern parts of the kingdom. Laying aside, therefore, their splendid armour, the kings embraced each other amidst the rejoicings of both the armies. They then exchanged their garments U 2


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