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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 329



324 ROGER OP AVENDO VER. [A.D . 106C. commencing with' Cerdic, the first English king of Wessex, had continued -unbroken for five hundred and seventy-one years, except by a few Danish sovereigns, who, for the sins of the English nation, reigned a short time. Having now said enough of the secular cares and warlike occupations of this most blessed king and confessor, it seems not amiss to add a few words touching his sanctity and virtues. For while yet in this mortal body, he was a most diligent inquirer into heavenly secrets ; and the King of kings vouchsafed to reveal to him, by the spirit of prophecy, some mysteries worthy of relation. Once on a time, when holding his court at Westminster with royal state, on Easter-day, as he sat at table, he suddenly raised his voice to a laugh with less restraint than usual, and thereby drew on himself the eyes of all the guests, who wondered exceedingly at the king's laughing in that manner, without any cause as they supposed. When they had retired from dinner, and the king was sitting among the bishops and nobles, earl Harold said to him, " My lord, Ο king, we have had an unusual spectacle to-day, which has caused us much wonder ; for wë never before saw you laugh so freely." The king answered, " I saw a wonderful sight, and so had reason to laugh." On which the nobles who were present, well knowing that it was not a silly matter which had drawn a laugh from a man of his dignity, earnestly besought him to vouchsafe to disclose to them the cause of his extraordinary joy. Overcome by their entreaties, " It is now," said he, " upwards of two hundred years that the seven sleepers have been resting on their right side in the cave of Mount Coelius at Rome ; but to-day, after we had taken our seats at table, they turned on their left side, and will so' remain for seventy years." On hearing this, all the audience inquired what was signified by this change ; to which he replied, " This change doubtless portends some terrible calamities to mankind, who will suffer severely from wars and other plagues ; and, by Christ's power, the pagans will be vanquished by the Christians." After hearing this and much besides to the like effect, the aforesaid nobles retired from the king in astonishment, and sent messengers to search out the truth of the matter. Earl Harold sent a knight, a bishop who was present sent a clerk, and an abbat a monk, with presents from the king


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