Excerpt: The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft

When they are at sea, they soon change their minds,
Say that they will not cease, for truce nor hostages,
From destroying Arthur, and all his people.
They return, and take land, town, and wood,
From Totness to the great shore
Of Severn towards the sea; at Bath they make a halt,
And slay the labourers who are following agriculture.
When Arthur heard tell of it, he causes their hostages to be hanged;
And said, “Those misbelievers are of very false lineage,
They break their covenants with me, and do me much damage.
Now, Britons, fight, and let us undertake the battle;
The Saxons are ours, they will leave their heads for pledges.”

Then said St. Dubricius, bishop of Caerleon.
“You who are Christians, listen to my discourse;
God died for you, fight in his name,
Defend your land from confusion,
That a pagan may not win it.” Arthur and the barons
Receive from the bishop absolution
Of sins, and go forth with his benediction.

Arthur takes the shield, the image of Mary
Was pourtrayed within it, that Arthur might not forget her.
He girds himself with Caliburn, the best sword
That ever was forged or furbished in Britain.
He attacks the Saxons, who do not fly at all,
They combat till night, when the combatants are separated.
The pagans are all gone asleep on a hill;
Arthur falls upon them at daybreak with great craft,
Devoutly he worships the mother of God, and prays
In all his battles her counsel and aid.
He alone with Caliburn has put to death and shame
Seventy men of the infidel army.
Colgrim and Baldulf are slain, and flies
The duke Cerdic with his company.

Well gained the victory have Arthur and his people.
Cador of Cornwall, by command,
Proceeds towards Albany, where Hoel, privately,
Nephew of king Arthur, was in great sickness;
Cerdic in his flight assailed hard
Alclud, where Hoel was, but Cador with his people
Takes their ships with their goods, and shuts the sea against them,
And with his forces attacks Cerdic so furiously,
That Cerdic is taken, and put to death by judgment,
And the rest all slain entirely.

The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft  1866, Pierre Langtoft (Author)


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