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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.2

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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.2
page 285



294 nOGKH OF Wh.M'DVLiï. [Λ.il, 1-213. tiic enemies of the faith, not devoutly attending to the commands of the holy father, contumaciously began to kirk ri^ainst the apostolic mandate. For as soon as he returned home, lie joined the heretics in that very country which had of the messengers, replh-d : "The king is illustriously and nobly descended from treat king*, mid his territori* is rich, and abounds with all kinds of wealth, in agriculture, pastures, ami woods; and from it also every kind or" metal may be obtained by smelting. Our people are handsome and ingenious, And are skilled in three lanimaqes, the Latin, Krench, and Knglish, as well as in every liberal and mechanical pursuit. Our country, however, iloes not of itself produce any quantity of vineyards or olive trees, nor lìr trees, but of these it procures an abundance from adjoining countries by way of trade. The climate is salubrious and temperate; it is situated between '.he west and the north; and. receiving heat from the west, and cold from the north, it enjoys a most agreeable temperature. It Ls surrounded entirely by the sea, whence it is called the queen of islands. The kingdom lias, from times of old, been governed by an anointed king, and our people are free and manly, and acknowledge the domination of no one except, (!od. Our church and the services of our religion arc more venerated there than in any part of the world, and it is peacefully governed by the laws of the pope and of the king." The king at the conclusion of this speech drew a dee]» sigh and replied: *' I never read or heard that any king possessing Mich a prosperous kingdom subject and obedient to him, would thus voluntarily ruin lus sovereignty by making tributary a country that is free, by giving to a stranger tliat which is his own, by turning happiness to misery, and thus giving himself up to the will of another, conquered as it were without a wound. 1 have rather read and heard from many that many would procure liberty for themselves at the expense of streams of their blood, which is a praiseworthy action ; but now 1 hear that your wretched lord, a sloth and a coward, who is even worse than nothing, wishes, from a free man to become a slave, who is the most wretched of all human beings." After this he asked, although contemptuously, what was bis age, size, and strength; in reply lie was told that he was titty, entirely hoary, strong in body, not tall, but rather compact and of a form suited for strength. The king on hearing this,said : His youthful and manly valour has fermented, and now begins to grow cool ; within ten years, if he live* so long, his valour will fail him before he accomplishes any arduous enterprise; if he should begin nonne would fall to decay, and would be good for nothing; for a man of ti itV sinks imperceptibly, but one of sixty gives evident signs of decaying, het him again obtain peace for himself and enjoy rest." The emir, then, after reading over all the questions and answers of the messengers, after a short Fl'lence burst into a laugh, as a sign of indignation, and refused king John's offer in these words: "That king is of no consideration, but is a petty king, senseless anil growing old, and 1 care nothing about bini ; be is unworthy of any alliance with me ;" and, regarding Thomas and llalph with a grim look, he said : *' Never come into my presence again, and may your eyes never again behold my face; the fame, or rather the infamy of that foolish apostate, your master, breathes forth a most foul stench to my nostrils." The messengers were then going away with chaîne, when the


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