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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 336



A.D. 1066.] BATTL E OF HASTINGS. 331 affirmed that all his army looked like priests, inasmuch as they had the whole of the face and both lips shaven, which was not an English custom. Smiling at their simplicity, the king assured them that those were not priests, but soldiers of stout hearts and invincible in battle. On this, the king's brother Gurth, a man of great wisdom and virtue beyond his years, interrupted him and said, " A s you say the Normans are so brave, I think it unadvisable that you should fight with them, to whom you are inferior in forces and in the justice of your cause ; for you cannot deny that, whether voluntarily or against your will, you took an oath to duke William ; wherefore you will act more advisedly, if, in the present necessity, you withdraw ; lest, fighting as a perjured man, you incur defeat or death. But we, who have taken no such oath, shall engage in battle with a clear conscience, fighting for our country ; so shall your cause prosper better if we fight alone ; while you can give us aid if we flee, or avenge us if we die." But Harold's rashness would not allow him to lend a favourable ear to this advice, thinking it inglorious and a reproach to his past life, to turn his back to an enemy. Λ monk, sent by duke William, makes three proposals to Harold. While the brothers were thus conversing, a monk arrived from duke William, with three proposals on his behalf to Harold, either that he should give up the kingdom according to his oath, or hold the kingdom as William's vassal, or lastly, that they should decide the matter by single combat in the presence of both armies. On hearing this, Harold would neither give William's messenger a benignant look nor a courteous speech, but indignantly dismissed him with the single ejaculation that the Lord might judge between him and William. On this, the monk boldly replied, that, if he denied William's right, the latter was prepared to prove it, either by the judgment of the apostolic see, or, if he preferred, by battle. Harold would add nothing to his former reply, which served to kindle the spirit of the Normans for the battle. Battle of Hastings, and victory of duke William. The adverse sides then drew up their forces ; the English, who had spent all the night in singing and feasting, in the


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