Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

in England, having sailed round Wessex, entered the mouth of the river Severn, and at one time laid waste South Britain;" at another, Cornwall; at another, "Wesedport, in Devonshire; and, burning a vast number of towns, put multitudes of people to the sword; and after this, again going round Penwithsteort13 up to the mouth of the river Tamar, their ships having coasted along Devonshire and Cornwall, they disembarked from their ships, leaving them behind, and, there being no one to prevent them, continued their conflagrations and slaughter as far as Lideford.13 In addition to this, they burned the monastery of the primate, Ordulf, which is called Taustokt,14 and, laden with great booty, made their way back to their ships, and wintered at that place.

In the year 998, the above-named army of the pagans, leaving the mouth of the river which is called Frome, repaired again to Dorsetshire, and, after their usual manner, betook themselves to plundering; and, as often as they took up their quarters in the Isle of Wight,15 levied supplies upon Sussex and the province of Southampton. Against such an outburst as this, forces were often gathered together; but, as often as the English were about to engage in battle, either through treachery or some misfortune, they turned their backs and left the victory in the hands of the enemy.

In the year 999, the army of the pagans so often mentioned, entering the mouth of the river Thames, passed up the river Meodewege,16 as far as Rochester, and for a few days laid strict siege to it, upon which, the people of Kent, uniting together to repel them, had a severe engagement with them; but, after many had been slain on both sides, the Danes remained masters of the river. After this, taking horse, the Danes laid waste almost the whole of the western coast of Kent. On hearing of this, Egelred, the king of the English, by the advice of his

11 South Wales.

12 Of this place Lambarde says: "The country that lieth next the' point of Cornwall is to this day called Penwith; and, therefore, the Saxons adding 'steort,' which signifyeth a last of a region or promontory that runneth narrow into the sea, called that cape Penwithsteort."

is A town in Devonshire, on the river Tamar. 14 Tavistock.

16 As a sample of the state of the text, this passage is thus printed: "Et quotiescunque invecta jacuit de Suthsaxonia, et Suthamtunensi provincia sibi victum accepit."

16 Medway.

principal men, collected together both a fleet and a land force. But, in the end, neither the land nor the naval force effected anything for the public good, beyond harassing the people, wasting money, and arousing the vengeance of the enemy.

In the year 1000, the above-mentioned fleet of the Danes invaded Normandy. Egelred, king of the English, laid waste the lands of the Cumbrians. He gave orders to his fleet, that, sailing round the north of Britain, it should meet him at a place named; but, being prevented by the violence of the winds, it was unable to do so. However, it laid waste the island which is called Monege.17

In the year 1001, the above-mentioned army of the pagans, returning from Normandy into England, entered the mouth of the river Exe, and shortly after commenced the siege of the city of Exaneester; but, while attempting to destroy the walls, they were repulsed by the citizens, who manfully defended the city. Upon this, being greatly incensed, after their usual manner, they wandered through Devonshire, burning towns, ravaging the fields, and slaughtering the people; and, in consequence, the men of Devonshire and Somerset uniting together, gave them battle at a place which is called Penhou.18 But the English, by reason of the small number of their soldiers, were not able to cope with the multitude of the Danes, and took to flight; whereon, the enemy having made a great slaughter, gained the day. After this, taking horse, throughout almost the whole of Devonshire they committed worse excesses than before, and, having collected much booty, returned to their ships. After this, they turned their course to the Isle of Wight; and, for a long time, there being no one to resist them, occupied themselves in plundering as usual, and raged to such a degree against the people with the sword, and against the houses with fire, that no fleet would dare to engage with them at sea, and no army by land. In consequence, the sadness of the king was far from slight, while the people were afflicted with incredible sorrow.

In the year 1002, Egelred, king of the English, having held a council with his chief men, thought proper to make peace with the Danes, and to give them provisions and tribute to appease them, in order that they might cease from their

17 Mona, or Man.

18 Penhoe; a place either in Somersetshire or Dorsetshire.

evil-doings, For this purpose duke Leofsy was sent to them, who, on coming, asked them to receive the supplies and the tribute; whereupon they willingly received his embassy, and acceding to his request, fixed the amount of tribute that should be paid them for keeping the peace. And, not long after this, the sum of twenty-four pounds was paid them.

In the meantime, the same duke Leofsy slew Easig, a nobleman, the king's high steward, for which reason, the king, being inflamed with anger, banished him from the country. In the same year king Egelred took to wife Emma, called in Saxon Elgiva, the daughter of Richard, the first duke of the Normans. In this, the twenty-fifth year of the reign of king Egelred, and the fifteenth of the indiction, on the seventeenth day before the calends of May, being the fourth day of the week, Ardulph, archbishop of York, the abbats, priests, monks, and religious men being there assembled, raised the bones of Saint Oswald, the archbishop, from the tomb, and placed them, with due honor, in a shrine which he had prepared; and not long after this, that is to say, on the day before the nones of May, he himself died, and was buried in the church of Saint Mary, at Worcester, being succeeded by the abbat Wulstan.

In this year, also, king Egelred ordered all the Danes who lived in England, both great and small, and of either sex, to be slain, because they had endeavoured to deprive him and his chief men of kingdom and life, and to reduce the whole of England under their dominion.

In the year 1003, by reason of the carelessness and treachery of Hugh, the Norman earl, whom queen Emma had appointed over Devonshire, Sweyn, king of the Danes, entered the city of Exeter by storm and sacked it, destroying the walls from the eastern as far as the western gate, and filling19 his ships with much spoil. After this, while he was laying waste the province of Wiltshire, a stout army manfully assembled from the provinces of Southampton and Wiltshire, and went up with fixed determination to fight against the enemy; but when the armies were so near that the one could see the other, Alfric, the above-named earl, who was at the time in command of the English, forthwith had recourse to his old

19 " Reperiit" is evidently a mistake for " replevit."

devices,20 and, pretending illness, began to vomit, saying that a severe fit of illness had come upon him, and that in consequence he was unable to fight with the enemy.

When the army saw his inertness and timidity, in sorrow they turned away from the enemy without fighting, making good the ancient adage—" When the leader trembles in battle, all the other soldiers become still more fearful." Sweyn, on observing the irresoluteness of the English, led his army to Wilton, and spoiled and burned it; in like manner, he also ravaged Salisbury, and then returned to his ships.

In the year 1004, Sweyn, king of the Danes, coming with his fleet to Norwich, laid it waste and burned it. Upon this, Ulfketel, duke of East Anglia, a man of great activity, as Sweyn had come unawares, and he had had no time for collecting an army against him, after taking counsel with the chief men of East Anglia, made peace with him; but he, breaking the treaty the third week after, secretly stole forth from the ships with his forces, and attacking Theodford,21 laid it waste, and after staying in it one night, burned it at daybreak. On learning this, duke TJlfketel gave orders to some men of the province to break up the ships of the enemy; but they were either afraid to do so, or neglected to obey his commands. He himself, however, as soon as he possibly could, having secretly collected an army together, boldly advanced against the enemy; and, on their return to the ships with an unequal number of soldiers, he met them, and had a most severe engagement with them; and many on both sides being slain, the most noble men of East Anglia fell, and the Danes escaped with difficulty. But if the full forces of the East Anglians had been present, the Danes could have never regained their ships; as, indeed, they themselves bore witness that they had never experienced in England a more severe and hard-fought battle than that in which duke Ulfketel had engaged with them.

In the year ,1005, a severe and dreadful famine afflicted England. For this reason Sweyn, king of the Danes, returned to Denmark, with the intention of returning before long.

In the year 1006, Alfric, archbishop of Canterbury, departed this life, and was succeeded by Elphege, bishop of Winchester, who was succeeded in his bishopric by Kenulph. In the

20 "Arces," a mistake for " artes." 51 Thetford.

month of July an innumerable fleet of Danes arrived in England, and entered the port of Sandwich, and ravaging all places with fire and sword, first in Kent and then in Sussex, collected a very large quantity of spoil. On this, king

solved to fight manfully with them; but they would under no circumstances engage with him openly, but frequently committed their ravages, now in one place, and now in another, immediately, after their usual manner, retreating to their ships; and in this way, throughout the autumn, they harassed the army of the English.

At length, on the approach of winter, as they were returning homeward with enormous booty, they repaired to the Isle of Wight, and remained there until the Nativity of our Lord ;a on the approach of which, as the king was at that period staying in the province of Shrewsbury, they made way through the province of Southampton to Berkshire, and burned Reading, and Wallingford, and Ceolesy,23 with a great number of men. Moving thence, they passed Easterdune" and came to Cwichelmelow ;M returning from there by another road, the pirates provoked the natives of the place to battle, and at once engaging with them, put them to flight, and then retreated to the ships with the booty they had taken.

In the year 1007, by the advice of his chief men, Egelred, king of the English, sent ambassadors to the Danes, and told them that he was willing to give them sustenance and tribute, on condition that they should desist from their ravages, and keep a lasting peace with him; to this request they consented, and from that time, provisions, and a tribute of thirty-six thousand pounds, were given to them from the whole of England. In this year, also, king Egelred made a certain Edric, whuse surname was Streone, duke of the Mercians; who, although he had Edgitha the king's daughter in marriage, was still frequently found, by his shifting craftiness, to be a perfidious traitor to his country, and a public enemy, as will appear in the sequel; at last, in the reign of king Canute, he received a worthy reward for his treachery.

In the year 1008, Egelred, king of the English, ordered for » Christmas Day. 23 Cholsey.

21 Ashdown, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

25 The same place that is also called Ceolesy; it is four miles from Wallingford, in Berkshire.

Egelred

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »