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FTER Eugenius was slain by the Romans, as hath been related before, and all the Scots banished from the country, the King’s brother, named Echadius or Ethodius, for fear of the treachery of the Picts and also diffident of his own affairs, hired shipping and committed himself to the winds and to fortune, and so sailed into Scandia together with his son Erthus and his nephew Fergusius. As soon as he arrived there and came to Court, the King of the country, being informed who he was, from whence he came, and what adverse fortune he had met withal, his language and also his habit and beauty soon procuring credit to his allegation, he was admitted into near familiarity with him. Fergusius lived there till he grew up to be a man (his father and grandfather being dead); he addicted himself wholly to military studies, at which time many expeditions were made by the united forces of the North against the Roman Empire. Some of the forces fell upon Hungary, some upon Gallia, and Fergusius, both out of his love to arms and his hatred to the Romans, followed the Francs in their war against the Gauls. But that expedition proved not very prosperous, so that he returned into Scandia with greater glory than success. And when his name began to be famous, not only there but also amongst the neighbour-nations, his fame also reaching to the Scots and Picts, both gave the former hope to recover their country again, and also the later to obtain their ancient liberty if, laying aside their old grudges, they should chuse him General and try their fortune against the Romans.
2. And indeed at that time the affairs of the Romans were brought to so low an ebb, by reason of the successes of the neighbouring nations against them, that the opportunity it self was bait enough to excite old enemies to revenge the former injuries they had received from them. For their Emperors, besides their being weakned by civil wars, were so vexed on every side by the Gauls, Vandals, Franks and Africans who did severally make in-rodes upon them, each from his own coast, that, omitting the care of foreign affairs, they called back their armies into Italy to defend Rome it self, the seat of their Empire. In the midst of these commotions, they who commanded the British legions, esteeming the Roman affairs as desperate, did each study their own advantage, and severally to establish their distinct tyrannies. Neither were they content to vex the islanders with all kind of cruelty and avarice, but they also harassed one another by mutual incursions. So the number of the legionary soldiers did decrease and the hatred of the provincials against them did increase, so that all Britanny would have rebelled against them if they had forces answerable to their desires. But above all their miseries, that was most prejudicial to the Britians, which the Emperor Constantine, the last General of the Roman army, caused them to endure. For when he was made Emperor he withdrew not only the Roman army but even the British soldiers too, and so left the whole island disarmed and exposed to all violence, if they had had any foreign enemy to invade them. This was the chief occasion which did mightily hasten the combination of the Scots. When affairs stood in this posture, secret messengers were sent betwixt the Scots and the Picts and a peace struck up between them. Whereupon they both sent ambassadors to call home Fergusius to undertake the kingly government, as descending to him from his ancestors. Fergusius, being a military man, desirous of honour, and, besides, not so well pleased with his present estate, but encouraged with hopes of a better, easily accepted the terms. When his return was noised abroad, many of the exiled Scots, yea several of the Danes also, his acquaintance and fellow-soldiers, being encouraged by the same hopes, accompanied him also home. They all landed in Argyl. Thither all those exiles which were in Ireland and the circumjacent islands, having notice given them before of his coming, resorted speedily to him, and they also drew along with them a considerable number of their clans and relations, and also several young soldiers who were desirous of innovation.


Fergusius, having got these forces together, was created the 40th King of Scotland, being inaugurated according to the manner of the country. The Black Book of Pasley casts his return in the 6th year of Honorius and Arcadius; others upon the 8th of that reign, that is, according to the account of Marianus Scotus, 403, according to Funccius, 404 years after the incarnation of Christ, and about 27 years after the the death of his grand-father Eugenius. They who contend out of Bede that this was the first coming of the Scots into Britain may be convinced of a manifest untruth by his very History. When the assembly of the Estates was dissolved, Fergusius, being born and bred to feats of war and arms, judging it convenient to make use of the favourableness of fortune and the forwardness of his men, and with all designing to prevent [anticipate] the report of his coming, demolished all the neighbor-garisons, having not soldiers enough to keep them; and after having recovered his own kingdom, as soon as the season of the year would permit he prepared for an expedition against his enemies. In the mean time, the Brittons were divided into two factions, some of them, desirous of liberty and weary of a foreign yoke, were glad of their arrival; others preferred their present ease, tho attended with so many and great inconveniencies, before an uncertain liberty and a certain war. And therefore, out of fear of the danger hanging over their heads and withal being conscious of their own weakness, they agreed upon a double embassy, one to the Picts, another to the Romans. That to the Picts was to advise them not to desert their old allies the Romans and Brittons, nor to take part with their ancient enemies, who were a company of poor, hopeless and despicable creatures. They farther gave them grave admonitions and made them many promises, and added many threats from the Romans, whom (said they) they cold never equal in number or overcome, though the whole strength of both nations did jointly make head against them, much less could they not cope with them, seeing one of them was exhausted by draughts and detachments of souldiers, and the other worn out with all manner of miseries. The minutes of their instructions to their ambassadors sent to the Romans were these, that they should send aid to them in time, whilst there was any thing left to defend against the rage of a cruel enemy; which if they would do, then Britain would still remain firm under their obedience; if not, it were better for them to leave their country than to endure a servitude worse than death under savage nations. Hereupon the Romans, though pressed upon by war on every side, yet sent one legion out of Gaul to defend their province, giving them command to return assoon as they had settled matters in Britanny. The Britons, having received such aid, did suddainly assault the plundring troops of their enemies, who were carelessly straggling up and down, and repelled them with great slaughter.
4. The confederate Kings, having an army well-appointed, came to the Wall of Severus, and meeting their enemies by the River Carron, a bloody battel was fought between them. Great slaughter was made on both sides, but the victory fell to the Romans who, being in a little time to return into Gaul, were content only to have driven back their enemies and to repair the Wall of Severus, which in many places was demolished; which when they had done, and had garisoned it with Brittons, they departed. The confederate Kings, though they were superior to their enemies in swift marchings and enduring of hardships, yet, being inferiour in number and force, resolved not to fight pitched battels any more, but rather to weary their enemies by frequent inrodes, and not to put all at a venture in one fight, seeing they were not, as yet, of force sufficient so to do. But when they heard that the Romans were returned out of Britain, they altered their resolutions and, gathering all their forces together, they demolished the Wall of Severus, which was slightly repaired only by the hands of souldiers, and but negligently guarded neither by the Brittons, so that by this means, having a larger scope to forage in, they made the country beyond the Wall (which they were not able to keep, for want of men) useless to the Brittons for many miles. It is reported that one Graham was the principal man in demolishing that fortification; who, transporting his soldiers in ships, landed beyond the wall and slew the guards unawares and unprovided, and so made a passage to his men. ’Tis not certain amongst writers whether this Graham was a Scot or a Britton, but most think that he was a Britton descended of the Fulgentian sept, a prime and noble family and that nation, as also that he was the father in law of King Fergusius. I am most inclined to be of this last opinion.
5. The Wall then being thus razed, the Scots and Picts did rage with most inhuman cruelties over the Brittons, without distinction of age or sex. For (as matters then stood) the Brittons were weak and unaccustomed to war, so that they sent a lamentable embassy to Rome, complaining of the unspeakable calamities they endured, and with great humility and earnestness supplicating for aid, farther alleging that if they were not moved at the destruction of the Brittons and the loss of a province (lately so splendid a one), yet it became the Romans to maintain their own dignity lest their names should grow contemptible amongst those barbarous nations. Hereupon another legion was again sent for their relief, who coming (as Bede says) in autumn, an unexpected season of the year, made great slaughter of their enemies. The confederate Kings gathered what force they could together to beat them back, and being encouraged by their success in former times, and also by the friendship and alliance of Dionethus, a Britton, they drew forth towards the enemy. This Dionethus was well descended in his own country, but always an adviser of his countrymen to shake off the Roman yoke, and then especially when so fair an opportunity was offered and the whole strength of the Empire was engaged in other wars, whereupon he was suspected by his own men as an affector of novelty and was hated of the Romans, but was a friend to the Scots and Picts, who, understanding that the design of the Romans was first to destroy Dionethus as an enemy near at hand and in their very bowels, to obviate that purpose made great marches towards them, and joyning their forces with those of Dionethus’s, began a sharp encounter with the Romans, who, over-powered by numbers both in front and reer, were put to flight. When the ranks of the legionary soldiers were thus broken and gave ground, the confederate Kings being too eager in pursuit fell amongst the reserves of the Romans and the rest of their army, who stood in good order, and were repulsed by them with great slaughter, so that if the Romans, being conscious of the smallness of their number, had not forbore any farther pursuit, they had doubtless received a mighty overthrow that day. But because the loss of some soldiers in but a small army was most sensible, therefore they were less joyous at the victory.
6. Maximianus (so our writers call him who commanded the Roman legion), being dismayed at this check, retired into the midst of his province, and the opposite Kings returned each to his own dominion. Hereupon Dionethus took the supreme authority upon him, and, being clothed in purple after the manner of the Romans, carries himself as King of the Brittons. When the Romans understood that their enemies were dispersed, they gathered what force they could together and encreased them with British auxiliaries, and so marched against Dionethus, who invested the provinces adjoyning to him, for they thought to subdue him from whom their danger was nearest, before his allies could come to his relief. But the three Kings united their forces sooner than he imagined and, joyning all their forces together, they encouraged their soldiers as well as they could and, without delay, drew forth their armies to the onset. The Roman General placed the Brittons in the front and the Romans in the reserves. The fight was fierce, and the front giving ground, Maximianus brought on his legion and stopt the Brittons in their flight; and then, sending about some troops to fall on the rear, some brigades of Scots, being incompassed by them, drew themselves into a ring, where they bravely defended themselves till, the greatest part of their enemies army falling upon them, they were every man slain. Yet their loss gave opportunity to the rest to escape. There fell in that fight Fergusius King of the Scots and Durstus King of the Picts. Dionethus, being wounded, was great difficulty carried off to the sea, and in a skiff returned home. This victory struck such a terrour to all that it recalled the memory of ancient times, in so much that many consulted whither to betake themselves for their place of exile. Fergusius died when he had reigned sixteen years, a man of an heroick spirit and who may deservedly be called the second founder of the Scotish kingdom; yea (perhaps) he may be said to exceed the former Fergusius in this, that he came into a void country, and that by the concession of the Picts; neither had he the unconquered forces of the Romans to deal with, but with the Brittons, who, though somewhat (yet not much) superiour to them in accoutrements and provisions for war, were yet their inferiours in enduring the hardships of the field. But this later Fergusius, when almost all weres lain who were able to bear arms, being also brought up in a foreign country, and after the 27th year of his banishment from his own, being sent for as an unknown King by those subjects who were as unknown to him, marched with a mixed army packed up of several nations against the Brittons, who were sometimes also assisted by the forces of the Romans, so that, if God had not manifestly favoured his designs, he might seem to have undertaken a very temerarious [rash] attempt, and bordering upon madness it self. When he was slain he left three sons behind him, very young, Eugenius, Dougardus and Constantius. Graham, their uncle by the mother’s side, was by universal consent appointed guardian over them, and in the mean time, till they came to be of an age, he was to manage the government as Regent. He was a person of that virtuous temper, that, even in the most turbulent times and amidst a most fierce nation who were not always obedient, no not to Kings of their own nation, yet there hapned no home-bred sedition in his time, though he himself were a foreigner.


Eugenius (or Evenus), the eldest son of Fergusius, had the name of a King, but the power was in the hands of Graham. He caused a muster to be made of the soldiers all over the land, and when he found that his militia was weakned by former fights beyond what he thought, he saw that nothing then was to be done, and so ceased from making any levies. But the Roman legion, having relieved their allies and, as they were commanded, being about to return into the Continent, spoiled all their enemies country within the Wall of Severus and slew the inhabitants; ’tis true they restored the lands to the Brittons, but they kept the prey for themselves, so that the remainders of the Scots and Picts, who supervived [survived] their late loss were again shut up between the two Firths of the sea. Matters being reduced to this pass, the Romans declared to the Brittons with how great and strong armies they were beset, who had conspired to destroy the Roman name and Empire, so that they were not able to take so much pains, nor to be at so great expence to maintain places so far off, and therefore they advised the Brittons not to expect any more aid of them for the future. But they advised rather that they themselves should take arms and inure themselves to undergo military pains and hazards. And, if they had offended before through slothfulness, that now by industry and hardiness they would make an amends and not permit themselves to grow contemptible to their enemies (to whom they were superior in number and forces) as to suffer them to drive away yearly booties from their country, as if they had gone forth only as hunters for their prey. And the Romans themselves, that they might do them good for future times, did undertake a great and memorable work or them. For they gathered together an huge company of workmen out of the whole province (the Romans and Brittons both vying who should be forwardest) and where the trench or graft was drawn by Severus, thirty mile long, there they built a wall of stone eight foot broad and twelve high. They distinguished it by castles, some of which represented small towns. It was finished and bounded on the west by a place now called Kirk Patrick, and on the east it began from the monastery of Aberkernick, as Bede affirms; in which country, about one hundred and twenty years since, there was a strong castle of the Douglasses called Abercorn, but no sign of any monastery at all. Moreover, lest their enemies should make a descent by ships into places beyond the Wall (as, in their memory, they had formerly done), they set up many beacons or watch towers on the higher grounds along the shore, from whence there was a large prospect into the sea. And, where it was convenient, they appointed garisons, but consisting of such cowardly and effeminate fellows that they could not endure for so much as to see the face of an armed enemy.
8. The Roman legion did this beneficial and obliging work for their provincials before their departure, withal vehemently exhorting them to defend their own country with their own arms, for they must never more hope for assistance from the Romans, whose affairs were now brought to that exigence that they could help their allies, especially so remote, no more. When the Scots and Picts understood for certain by their spies that the Romans were departed and would return no more, they assaulted the Wall with all their might and much more eagerly than before, and did not only cast down their opposers by hurling darts at them, but also drew them off the wall with cramp-irons, as Bede calls them, which were, as I understand, crooked iron instruments or hooks fastened on the tops of long poles, to that, the upper fortification being thus made destitute of its defenders, they applied their engines and overthrew the foundations also, and thus an entrance and passage being made, they enforced their affrightned enemies to leave their habitations and dwellings and to fly away for safety wherever they could find it. For the Scots and Picts were so eagerly bent on revenge that all their former calamities seemed tolerable to their enemies in respect of those they were now forced to endure. Afterwards the assailants, rather wearied than satisfied with the miseries of their enemies, returned home and began at last to bethink themselves that they had not so much taken away the goods of their enemies as withal they had despoiled themselves of the rewards of their victory. And therefore, convening an assembly of the estates, it was disputed amongst them how so great a victory might be improved, and their first result was to replenish those lands which they had taken from the enemy with new colonies for the procreation of a new progeny. This counsel seemed the more wholesome and adviseable because of the abundance of valiant but indigent officers and soldiers who had not room enough to live in their ancient habitations. This turn of prosperity being signified to the neighbouring nations encouraged not only the Scotish exiles, but a great company of strangers too, who lived but poorly at home, to flock in as to a prey: for they supposed that a man of that spirit and conduct as Graham was would never lay down arms till he had brought the whole island of Britain under his subjection.
9. But herein they were mistaken, for he, having run so many hazards, was more inclineable to peace with honour and glory than to hazard his present certain felicity by casting himself into an uncertain danger. And therefore he made peace with the Brittons, who were not only willing to, but also very earnestly desirous of the same. The terms were that each people should be contented with their own bounds and abstain from wrong and violence towards one another: the mound [border] to both was Adrian’s Wall. After this peace was made, Graham divided the lands, not only to the Scots, but to those outlandish men also who had followed his ensigns. By this means almost all the provinces were called by new names, because many of them were peopled with strange and new inhabitants, and the rest, for the most part, were born in exile. Galway, a county next to Ireland, falling by lot to the Hibernians, is thought to have got its name, so famed in their own country, from them. Caithness was so called because it was mountainous, Ross because it was a peninsula, Buchanan because it paid great tribute out of oxen. Strath-Bogy, Narn, Strathnavern, Loch-Spey, Strath-earn and Monteath took their respective names from several rivers of the same appellation. Loch-Abyr was so called from a louch, or rather bay of the sea. Many of the provinces situate on this side of the Forth, as Lennox, Clydsdale, Twedale, Tevidale, Liddisdale, Eskdale, Evdale, Nithisdal, Annandale, and Dowglas-dal, had their sirnames from rivers. Many places retained their ancient names, and some had theirs only a little changed. Afterwards, to the end that he might by just laws bridle the licentiousness which had grown to such a height by the long continuance of wars, he first called home the monks and teachers of the Christian religion from their exile, and, lest they might be burdensom to an indigent people, he ordained that they should have an yearly income out of the fruits of the earth, which, tho it was small (as those times were), yet by reason of the modesty and temperance of the men it seemed great enough for them. He placed garisons in the most convenient places against the sudden incursions of the enemies, he repaired places that were demolished and erected new.
10. The fury of war being thus extinguished thro the whole island, tho the Brittons, being saved, as it were, out of a dangerous tempest, did enjoy the sweets of publick peace, yet it was doubtful whether the war or the peace did them most mischief. For when their cities were razed, their villages burnt, their cattel driven away, and all their instruments of husbandry lost, they who survived this cruelty of their enemies were enforced to maintain their needy lives by hunting, or else to turn their course of plunder from their enemies upon their own countrymen, so that an intestine war was almost like to ensue upon an external peace. Neither were they only the perpetual enemies of foreiners. For tho they abstained from open wars, yet ever and anon they spoiled the countries contiguous to them. Also a party of the Hibernians, being encouraged by hope of booty, did vex the poor people, who were already miserably enough distressed, with their marine invasions. Their last calamity, and the worst of all, was famine, which did so cow the hearts of that warlike people that many of them voluntarily surrendered up themselves into their enemies hands. At last, those few of them that remained, lurking in caves and dens, were necessitated to peep abroad and so to scatter the wandering troops of those plunderers; they also drove the Irish back to sea and forced them to depart from Albium.
11. That mischief was no sooner removed but a calamity near hand began to press upon them. The Scots and Picts, their perpetual enemies, were not contented to drive preys from them by stealth, but watched and opportunity to attempt higher matters. For Eugenius, the son of Fergusius, who till that time had lain still under the tutelage of another, his strength being increased by a long peace and much augmented by a young fry of soldiers flocking in to him, desired to shew himself, and besides the weakness of the Brittons, there happened likewise a private cause of war. Graham being his grandfather by the mothers side and nobly descended (as I spake before) in his own country, was yet of that faction which were desirous to free themselves from the bondage of the Romans. For which cause he was banished by the contrary faction, who were then more powerful, and so he fled to the Scots, his old allies, between whom many civilities had formerly passed. After his death, Eugenius by his ambassadors demanded a restitution of those fruitful lands which were his ancestors, situate within the Wall of Adrian, intimating plainly to them that unless they did restore them he would make open war upon them. When the ambassadors had declared their message in an assembly of the Brittons, there were such heats amongst them that they came almost to blows. They that were the fiercest of them cryed out that the Scots did not seek for lands so much (of which they had enough) as for war, and that they did not only insult over their new calamities, but also were resolved to try their patience. If the lands were denied, then a war would presently follow; if they were restored, then a cruel enemy was to be received into their bowels, and yet they should not have peace even then, unless they imagined that their covetousness would be satisfied with the concession of a few lands, who were not contented with large provinces with were parted with in the last war. And that therefore it was good to obviate their immoderate and unsatiable desires in the very beginning and to repress their licentiousness by arms, lest by the grant of small things their desired might be enlarged and their boldness encreased to ask more.
12. There was in that assembly one Conanus, a British nobleman and eminent amongst his countrymen on the account of his prudence, who discoursed many things gravely concerning the cruelty of their enemies and of the present state of the Brittons, and that all their soldiers were almost drawn out for foreign service, adding withal that war abroad, seditions at home, and famine proceeding from poverty or want would consume or else weaken the miserable remainders of his countrymen. As for the Roman legions, they were gone home to quell their own civil wars without any hopes of return, and therefore he gave his advice that they should make peace with their formidable enemies, if not an advantageous one, yet the best they could procure. This counsel he gave, as he alleged, not out of any respect to his private interest, but merely for the necessities of the publick, which appears (said he) by this, that as long as there was any probability to defend ourselves against the cruelty of our enemies, he never made any mention of peace at all; he added that he was not ignorant this peace which he now persuaded to would not be a lasting one, but only prove a small respite from war till the force of the Brittons, weakned by so many losses and almost ruined, might be refreshed and gather strength by a little intermission. Whilst he was thus speaking, a noise arose in the whole assembly, which made him afraid. For the seditious cryed out that he did not respect the publick good but only endeavoured to obtain the kingdom for himself by means of foreign aid. Whereupon he, departing from the council, called God to witness that he had no private end of his own in persuading peace. But a tumult arising amongst them multitude he was thereof slain. His loss caused the wiser sort to refrain giving their votes freely, tho they evidently saw that the destruction of their country was at hand, the ambassadors, returning home without their errand. The Scots and Picts left off all other business and prepared wholly for war. The Brittons, forseeing the same after their fit of passion was somewhat over, send ambassadors to Scotland, who upon pretence of making peace were to put some stop to the war and to offer them money, giving the Scots hopes that they might get more from them by way of an amicable treaty than they pretended to seek for by war; that the chances of war were doubtful, and the issue uncertain; that it was not the part of wise men to neglect the benefit which was in their view and, upon uncertain hopes, to cast themselves upon most certain and assured dangers.
13. Nothing was obtained by this ambassy, for Eugenius was informed by his spies that the Brittons did but dissemble the obtaining of a peace abroad whilst they were intent upon high warlike preparations at home, so that, for that reason the Scots and Picts being inflamed with their old hatred and invited by the calamities of the Brittons, or else lifted up with success, would give them no conditions but to yield up all, so that both armies prepared for the last encounter. The confederate Kings, having been conquerors for some years, were now erected to the hope of a greater victory, and the Brittons, on the other side, set before their eyes all the miseries that a fierce and conquering enemy could inflict upon them. In this posture of affairs and temper of spirit, when both parties came in sight of one another, such a sharp fight commenced between them as the inhabitants of Britanny had never seen before. It was so obstinately maintained that after very long and hot service the right wing of the Scots was, tho with difficulty, enforced to give ground. Which Eugenius perceiving, having before brought all his other reserves into service, he drew on also the squadrons left to guard the baggage into the fight. They, being intire, routed the Brittons which stood against them, so that the victory began on that side whence the fear of a total overthrow did proceed. The rest of the Brittons, following the fortune of the other brigade, ran away too, and flying into the woods and marishes near to the place where the battel was fought, as they were thus straggling, dispersed and unarmed, their enemies baggage-men and attendants slew abundance of them. There fell of the Brittons in this fight 14000, of their enemies 4000. After this fight the Brittons, having lost almost all their infantry, sent ambassadors to the Scots and Picts, commissioning them to refuse no conditions of peace whatsoever. The confederate Kings, seeing they had all in their power, were somewhat inclined to mercy, and therefore terms of peace were offered which were hard indeed but not the severest which (in such their afflicted state) they might have propounded. The conditions were that the Brittons should not send for any Roman or other forein army to assist them; that they should not admit them if they came of their own accord, nor give them liberty to march thro their country; that the enemies of the Scots and Picts should be theirs also, and vice versa, and that without their permission they should not make peace or war, nor send aid to any who desired it; that the limits of their kingdom should be the River Humber; that they should also make present payment of a certain sum of money by way of mulct, to be divided amongst the soldiers, which also was to be paid yearly by them; that they should give an hundred hostages, such as the confederate Kings should approve of. These conditions were entertained by the Brittons, grudgingly by some, but necessarily by all, and the same necessity which procured it made them keep the peace for some years.
14. The Brittons, being left weak and forsaken of foreigners, that they might have an head to resort to for publick advice, made Constantine their countryman, a nobleman of high descent and of great repute (whom they had sent out for out of Gallick Britanny) King. He, perceiving that the forces of the Brittons were broken both abroad by wars and at home by fewds, robberies and discords, thought fit to attempt nothing by arms, but during the ten years he reigned he maintained peace with his neighbours; at last he was slain by the treachery of Vortigern, a potent and ambitious man. He left three sons behind him, of which two were under age; the third and eldest, as unfit for government, was thrust into a monastery, yet he was made King, principally by the assistance of Vortigern, who sought to obtain wealth and power to himself under the envy of another mans name. The fields, which were now tilled in time of peace after a most grievous famine, yielded such a plentiful crop of grain that the like was never heard of in Britain before. And from hence those vices did arise which usually accompany peace, as luxury, cruelty, whoredom, drunkenness, which are more pernicious than all the mischiefs of war. There was no truth or sincerity to be found, and that not only amongst the vulgar, but even the monks and the professors of an holier life made a mock at equity, faithfulness and constant piety of life, of which Bede the Anglo-Saxon and Gildas the Britton do make an heavy complaint. In the mean time, the ambassadors who returned from Aetius brought word that no relief could be expected of him. For the Brittons had sent letters to Aetius, some clauses whereof, as they are mentioned by Bede, I shall here recite, both because they are a succinct history of the miseries of that nation, and also because they demonstrate how much many writers are mistaken in their memoirs. The words are these: “To Aetius, the third time Consul, the complaints of the Brittons.” And a little after, “The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea beats us back again upon the barbarians. Between these two kinds of death we are either killed or drowned.” Now Aetius was joyned in his third Consulship with Symmachus in the 450th year after Christ. Neither could there any aid be obtained from him, who was then principally intent upon observing the motions of Attila.
15. The rest of the Brittons being driven to this desperate point, only Vortigern was glad of the publick calamity, and in such a general hurly-burly he thought he might with greater impunity perpetrate that wickedness which he had long before designed in his mind, which was to cause the King to be slain by those guards which he had appointed about him; and afterwards, to avert the suspition of so foul a parricide from himself, in a pretended fit of anger, as if he were impatient of delay in executing revenge, he caused the guards also to be put to death without suffering them to plead for themselves. Thus having obtained the kingdom by the highest degree of villainy, he managed it with as little sanctity. for suspecting the faithfulness of the people towards him, and not confiding in his own strength, which was but small, he engaged the Saxons to take his part, who then exercised pyracy at sea and infested all the shores far and near. He procured their captain Hengist with a strong band of soldiers to come him with three galleys, and he assigned lands to him in Britain, so that now he was to fight, not as for a strange country, but as for his own demeasne and estate, and therefore was likely to do it with greater alacrity. When this was noised abroad, such large numbers of three nations, the Jutes, the Saxons and the Angles, are reported to have flocked out of Germany into Britain that they became formidable even to the inhabitants of the isle. First of all, about the year of our Lord 449, Vortigern, being strengthened by those auxiliaries, joyned battel with the Scots and Picts, whom he conquered and drove beyond the Wall of Adrian. As touching Eugenius, the King of the Scots, there goes a double report of him. Some say he was slain in fight beyond the River Humber; others that he died a natural death. However he came by his end, this is certain, he governed the Scots with such equity that he may deservedly be reckoned amongst the best of their Kings. For tho’ he spent the first part of his life, almost from his childhood, in war, yet he so profited under the discipline of his grandfather, and his mind was so established thereby, that neither military freedom (as it usually doth) did draw him to vice, neither did it make him more negligent in conforming his manners to the rule of piety, nor did his prosperous success make him more arrogant. And on the other side, the peace and calm he enjoyed did not abate the sharpness of his understanding, nor break his martial spirit, but he managed his life with such an equal and poised temper that by the advantage of his natural disposition he did equal, or rather exceed, those princes who are instructed in the Liberal Arts and from thence come to the helm of government.


The same year that Eugenius died, which was in the 452 year of our Lord, his brother Dongardus was made King in his place. He was of a disposition like his brother, for as he was willing to embrace peace upon good conditions, so, when occasion required, he was not afraid of war. And therefore in reference both to Peace and War he not only prepared all things necessary to resist the invasion of an enemy, but also he trained up the youth and soldiery of his country in pains and parsimony, that so they might be restrained from vice, and their minds not grow feeble and languid by long quiet and too much prosperity. But the seditions at home raised by the Brittons were the cause that his arms were not much famed abroad. But being freed from that encumbrance, he gave himself wholly up to the reformation of religion. For the reliques of the Pelagian heresy did as yet trouble the churches. To confute them, Pope Celestine sent Palladius over (in the life of his father Eugenius), who instructed many that grew afterwards famous for learning and sanctity of life, and especially Patricius, Servanus, Ninianus, Kentigernus. The same Palladius is reported to have appointed bishops first in Scotland, whereas till then the churches were govern’d only by monks without bishops, with less pomp and external ceremony but with greater integrity and sanctimony of life. The Scots, being thus intent about purging and settling religion and divine worship, escaped free from that tempest of war which did shatter almost the whole world. In the second year of the reign of Eugenius, Vortigern was deposed and his son Vortimer chosen King of the Brittons. He renewed the ancient league with the Scots and Picts (that so he might more easily break the power of the Saxons), which was also made tripartite of three nations against the Romans in the days of Carausus. Dongardus did not long survive this league, for he died after he had reigned five years.


Constantinus his youngest brother succeeded him in the government; who in his private condition lived temperately enough, but as soon as he mounted the throne he let loose the reins to all debauchery. He was avaricious and cruel towards the Nobility, but familiar with men of an inferiour rank. He gave himself wholly to the constupration [debauching] of virgins and matrons and to excessive feastings, having always musicians and stage-players about him, and all other ministers of lasciviousness and pleasures. The Scotch Nobility, being offended at these miscarriages, came often to him to put him in mind of his duty. He received their admonitions very haughtily, bidding them to look after their own affairs, saying that he had better advice from others. He also told them that they were much mistaken if they thought to limit their King on pretence of advising him. And as he was thus arrogant towards his subjects, so he was as abject and submissive to his enemies. For he granted them peace at first asking, and forgave them the injuries they had committed; withal, he demolished some castles and deliver’d up others to them. This carriage of his did so far incense the Scots and Picts that the Scots were ready to revel and the Picts, who before had secretly dealt with the Saxons, set up for themselves and at last made publick league with them. But amongst the Scots there was one Dugal of Galway, of great authority amongst the Commons; he for the present restrained the multitude by an insinuating oration, wherein he acknowledged that many of those things which they complained of were true, and what they desired was just. But yet, if war should come, as an accession to their other miseries the kingdom would be endangered, yea, hardly retrievable from destruction, especially seeing the Picts were alienated from them; the Britons, since Vortimer’s death, but their uncertain friends; and the Saxons (who were very strong and potent, and in whose commerce their was no faithfulness) were always intent upon the destruction of all their neighbours. Thus by the prudence of the ancienter [elder], the tumult of the common people was appeased, but the King continuing to reign, tho’ with the hatred and contempt of all, was at length slain by a Nobleman of the Aebudae for vitiating his daughter by force, in the fifteenth year of his reign.
18. This is the common report concerning is death, but I rather incline to the opinion of Johannes Fordonus, who says in his Scotochronicon, that he reigned 22 years and at last died of a wasting disease. In his reign, Aurelius Ambrosius came into this Britain out of the lesser beyond sea [the lesser Britain beyond the sea, i. e. Brittany]; he was the son of Constantine, who held the kingdom some years before, but, he being treacherously slain and his brother, who reigned after his father, being also slain by Vortigern by like treachery, the two other remaining sons of Constantine were conveyed by their fathers friends into Gallick Bretagne. I think this original of Aurelius Ambrosius is truer than that which others deliver (among whom is Bede), for they say that he was the last of the Roman stock who reigned in Brittany. These to brothers, when Vortimer was slain by the fraud of his stepmother and Vortigern had made himself King without authority or power, being now grown up and fit to govern, returned, with the great favour and expectation of all men, into the island to recover their fathers kingdom; and withal, they brought no inconsiderable number of Britains out of Gaul along with them. After their arrival, before they would alarm the strangers, they subdued Vortigern in Wales, and then sent messengers to the Scots and Picts, desiring their allyance and craving their conjunction in arms against the Saxons, the most bitter enemies of the Christian name. Their embassy was kindly received by the Scots, and the league before made with Constantine was again renewed, which from that day remained almost inviolate till the Kingdom of Britanny was oppressed by the Angles and the kingdom of the Picts by the Scots. But the Picts answered the British ambassadors that they had already made a league with the Saxons, and that they saw no cause to break it, but were resolved to run all hazards with them for the future as partakers of their good or bad success. Thus the whole island was divided into two factions, the Scots and Brittons waging continual war against the Picts and Saxons.


Congallus succeeded Constantine, the son of Dongardus Constantine’s brother. He was inclinable to arms, but durst not then attempt any thing in regard the people were effeminated and weakned by sloth and luxury during the reign of his uncle. And tho’ many, in compliance with his disposition (as usually Kings have many such parasites), did often persuade him to take up arms, yet he never would be induced thereunto. First, then, he applied himself to correct the publick manners, neither did he attempt to reduce [bring back] the ancient discipline till he had created new magistrates, and by their means had abridged suits and controversies, and restrained thefts and robberies. Peace being setled at home, he endeavoured to reclaim others to a civiller course of life, first of all by his own example, and, if any took no copy from him but persisted obstinately in their evil courses, such he either gently chastised and punished, or else sleighted them as despicable and worthless persons, and thus he quickly reduced all things to their former state. Seeing (as I said before) at the beginning of his reign he gave up himself wholly to the study of peace, the Brittons began to persuade Aurelius Ambrosius to recover Westmorland fro the Scots, which they had possessed many years. Hereupon, several embassays being sent to and fro betwixt them, the matter was like to be decided by the sword, if fear of the common enemy had not put an end to the dispute so that the league made by Constantine was renewed and no alteration made in reference to Westmorland. Congallus had war with the Saxons all the time of his reign, but it was a slow and intermittent one, as parties fortuitously met in driving off their respective preys, in which kind of fighting the Scots, being nimble, light, and most horsemen, accounted themselves superior to their enemies, but they never came to a pitch’d battel. For Congallus was of opinion that it was best to commit as few things as he could to the arbitrement of fortune, and therefore he sent part of his forces to help Aurelius Ambrosius, and with the rest he wearied his enemy and never suffered him to rest night nor day. Merlin and Gildas lived in these of these and the next Kings. They were both Brittons, and obtained great fame amongst posterity for the opinion conceived of them concerning prophecies and divinations. Merlin was a littler the ancienter of the two, a cheat and impostor rather than a prophet. His vaticinations are scattered up and down, but they are obscure and contain no certainty at all to encourage any ones hopes before their fulfilling, or to satisfy them when they are, so that upon neither account can you affirm them to be true. And beside, they are so framed that you may accommodate or apply them to different or contrary events, as you will your self. Yet tho’ they are dayly furbished up and also augmented by new additions, such is the folly of credulous men that what they understand not they are yet bold to affirm to be as true as Gospel, and tho’ they be taken in a notorious lye, yet they will not suffer themselves to be convinced thereof. Gildas was later than he, a learned and good man, and one who was had in great veneration, both alive and dead, for his excellent learning accompanied with sanctity of life. The prophecies which go under his name are such ridiculous sentences, and so course and ill-framed in wording and also in the whole series of their composure, that no wise man can esteem them to be his. Yet each prophet (as you call them) had a patron suitable to his own disposition. Merlin had Vortigern for his patron and after him Uter, to whom he was a pander for his lust. Gildas had Aurelius Ambrosius, a person no less admirable for the probity of his life than for his victories in war, after whose death, Gildas retired unto Glastonbury in Sommerset-shire, where he lived and died very devoutly. Our books of the life of Aurelius Ambrosius do make mention of him. After his death, Uter, the youngest of Constantines three sons, succeeded him, in the year of our Lord five hundred. And the next year after, Congallus, King of Scotland, departed this natural life, in the twenty second year of his reign.


Goranus his brother succeeded him, who after his example governed Scotland with great piety and justice, as much as foreign wars would suffer him to do. For he not only travelled all over the kingdom (as the good Kings of old were wont to do) to punish offenders, but also to prevent the injuries which great men did offer to the poor, who in such cases dared not to complain. And to curb their oppressive domination over them he appointed informers, who were to find out such miscarriages, write them down, and bring them to him; a remedy necessary, perhaps, for those times, but in our days a very hazardous one. He was the chief means and occasion that the Picts, deserting the Saxons, made a joint league with the Scots and Britains. At that time, Lothus was King of the Picts, a person who excelled the princes of his time in all accomplishments both of body and mind. Goranus dealt earnestly with him to break his alliance with those barbarous nations, alleging that he ought to remember his own country, in which they were all born, and especially their common religion; that he was much deceived if he imagined that the peace betwixt him and the Saxons would be faithfully kept when once the Brittons and Scots were overthrown, seeing he had to do with men of inhuman cruelty and insatiable avarice; that they had given sufficient proofs how little they esteemed leagues or any other thing, when they wickedly slew the Nobility of the Brittons, who had so well deserved of them, upon pretence of calling them out to a conference; that the son in law was saved alive by the father in law, not for any releif of this calamity, but for upbraiding of the enemy. He added that the sacredness of leagues, which amongst other nations are accounted the firmest bonds of union, was amongst them as a snare or bait to catch the simple and unwary in. To what purpose was it to run so many hazards, to free themselves from the tyranny of the Romans, if they must spontaneously give themselves up to the much harder and baser servitude of the Saxons? This were not to make a change of their condition, but of their masters only; yea, it was to prefer a truculent and barbarous one before one that was mild and gentle. What a foolish and wild a thing was it to take way lands from the Scots and Brittons and to deliver them to the Germans! And so to despoil those who were but lately their friends, and endeared to them by many ancient courtesies and respects, that they might enrich pirates, the common enemies of mankind, even to their own destruction! That it ought to be esteemed the most grievous thing of all by one who was a true Christian, to consent to that league whereby Christian religion must be extinguished, profane rites renewed, and wicked tyrants, enemies of piety and humanity, armed with power against God and law.
21. Lothus knew all this to be true which he had spoken, and therefore he committed the whole affair to Goranus his management. He easily persuades Uter not only to make an alliance, but to contract an affinity too with the Picts, giving him Anna, who was either his sister or else his daughter, begotten in lawful wedlock, to wife: I am rather of their opinion who think she was his sister, as judging that the mistake arose from hence, that Uter had another natural daughter called Anna, by a concubine. After this league betwixt these three Kings, many victories were obtained over the Saxons, so that the name of Uter began to be great and formidable all over Britain. After all the commanders of the Saxons were slain and the power of those that remain’d broken, and so things made almost hopeless and desperate among them, Uter might have been accounted one of the greatest Kings of his age, unless by one foul and impious fact he had blurred all his other great virtues. There was one Gorlois, a noble Britton of great valour and power. When Uter as yet was but a private man, he fell in love with his wife, named Igerne, a very beautiful woman. But her chastity being a long time a guard against his lust, at last her continency was conquered by Merlin, an audaciously wicked man, and in this adulterous course he begat as son on her named Arthur. Uter, his own lawful wife being dead, being now freed from nuptial bonds and made King, and so (as he thought) free from law too, not being able to bear the absence of Igerne out of love to her, attempted a very temerarious project. He framed an accusation against Gorlois, besieged his castle, took it, slew him, married Igerne, and owned Arthur for his own son, educating him nobly in hopes of the kingdom. And seeing the infamy reflected on him by reason of his wife could not be concealed, that he might somewhat extenuate it they broached a tale, not much unlike that which had been often acted in theaters about Jupiter and Alcmena, viz., that Uter, by the art of Merlin, was changed into the shape of Gorlois, and so had his first nights lodging with Igerne. And indeed this Merlin was a man of that kidney that he had rather be famous for a wicked deed than none at all.
22. Arthur, thus begot by a stoln copulation, assoon as he grew up, appeared so amiable in the lineaments of his body and in the inclinations of his mind that the eyes of his parents, and of all his subjects too, were fixed upon him, and he gave many omens of his future greatness, that after his fathers death all designed him to be their King. And his father was so much pleased with this humour of the people that he cherished it by all the arts he could, so that now it was the common opinion that none but Arthur should be heir to the crown. Uter died when he had reigned 17 years, and presently Arthur was set up in his stead, though Lothus, King of the Picts, did much oppose it, grievously complaining that his children (for he had two, begotten on Anna, Arthur’s aunt, who were now of years) were deprived of their kingdom, and that a bastard, begotten in adultery, was preferred before them. On the other side, all the Brittons stood for Arthur and denied that he was to be counted spurious, because Uter married his mother at last, though it were after his birth, and by that marriage had treated him as his legitimate son and had always accounted him so to be. But although they pretended this colour of right, yet that which stood Arthur in most stead was his great ingenuity and those specimens of his virtue which he often shewed; yea, there was a tacite impression (as it were) on the minds of all men presaging his future greatness, so that all ran in thick and threefold (as we say) to his party, in so much that Lothus, being born down not only by that pretence of right (which after that time was always observed in Britanny), but by the affections of the people running another way, desisted from his enterprize in demanding the kingdom, which he did so much the rather do because he was loth to trust his children, for whom that kingdom was desired, to the Brittons who had shewed themselves so averse to them. Besides, the intreaties of his friends did prevail with him, who alledged that no kingdom ought to be so dear to him as that for the sake thereof he should joyn in affinity with infidels to the the overthrow of the Christian religion, who would no more inviolably keep their league and alliance with him than they had done before with the Brittons. Moreover, the liberal and promising disposition of Arthur and the greatness of his mind, even above his age, did much affect him, insomuch that the league made by former Kings betwixt the Scots, Picts and Brittons was again renewed, and thereupon so great a familiarity ensued that Lothus promised to send Galvinus, the youngest of his two sons, unto the British Court as soon as he was old enough to endure travel. Arthur entred upon the regal government before he was full eighteen years of age. But as his courage was above his age, so success was not wanting to his daring spirit. For, whereas his father had divided the kingdom by certain boundaries with the Saxons, and had made peace with them on conditions, the fair opportunity offered them by reason of the youthful age of the King more prevailed with them to break the peace, than the sanctity of the league, to observe it.
23. Arthur, that he might quench the fire in the beginning, gathered an army together sooner than any man could imagine, and being assisted with auxiliaries from the Scots and Picts, he overthrew the enemy in two great battels, compelling them to pay tribute and to receive laws from him. With the same eagerness and speed he took London, the metropolis of the Saxons kingdom, and having setled things there he marched his army directly towards York. But the report of auxiliary forces coming out of Germany and the approach of winter compelled him to raise his siege from thence. But the next summer after, as soon as every he came before York he had it immediately surrendred to him, his unexpected success the year before had struck such a terrour into the minds of men. He took up his winter-quarters there, whither there restored to him the prime persons of the neighbourhood and of his subjects, where they spent the later end of December in mirth, jollity, drinking and the vices which proceed therefrom, so that the representations of the old heathenish feasts dedicated to Saturn were here again revived, but the number of the days they lasted were doubled and, among the wealthier sort, trebled, during which time they count it almost a sin to treat of any serious matter. Gifts are sent mutually from and to one another, frequent invitations and feastings pass between friends, and domestick offenders are not punished. Our countrymen call this feast Juletide [Yuletide], substituting the name of Julius Caesar for that of Saturn. The vulgar are yet persuaded that the nativity of Christ is then celebrated, but mistakingly, for ’tis plain that they imitate the lasciviousness of the Bacchanalia rather than the memory of Christ, then, as they say, born. In the mean time, the Saxons were reported to have pitched their tents by the River Humber, and, whether it were so or no, Arthur marched towards them. But in regard the Brittons were enfeebled by pleasures, by that means they were less fit for military services, in so much that they did not seem the same men who had overthrown the Saxons in so many battels heretofore; for by their luxurious idleness they had added so much to their rashness as they had lost of their ancient severity of discipline. Hereupon advice was given by the wiser sort to send for aid from the Scots and Picts. Whereupon ambassadors were sent and aid easily obtained, so that those whom ambition had almost disjoined yet the mutual care of religion, and emulation too, did so piece together that forces were sent from either King sooner than could well have been imagined. Lothus also, that he might give a publick testimony of his reconcilement, brought his sons Modredus and Galvinus with into the camp. Galvinus he gave to Arthur as his companion, whom he received with so great courtesie that from that day forward they lived and died together.
24. The army of the three Kings being thus ready and their camps joyned, it was unanimously agreed between them that as the danger was common to them all, and the cause thereof was also the same, so they would drive out the Saxons and restore the Christian rites and religion which were profaned by them. The armies drawing near the one to the other, Occa, son of a former Occa, who was then General of the Saxons, made haste to joyn battel. In the confederate army, the two wings were allotted to the Scots and Picts, the main battel to Arthur. The Scots at the first onset wounded Childerick, commander of that wing of the enemy which fought against them; he falling by reason of his wounds so terrified the rest that the whole wing was broken. In the other wing, Colgerns the Saxon, after great complaints made of the perfidiousness of the Picts, made an assault upon Lothus with great violence, who was easily known by his habit and his arms. He dismounted him, but he himself, being environed [surrounded] in the midst of this enemies, was run through by two Picts with spears on both sides of his body. The main battel, where there was the sharpest fight, having lost both wings, did at length give ground. Occa, being wounded, was carried to the sea-side with as many as could get on shipboard with him, and transported into Germany. Of the rest of the Saxons, those who were most obstinate in their errour were put to death. The rest, pretending to turn to the Christian religion, were saved. There were great forces of the Saxons yet remaining in the eastern part of England ad in Kent. The summer after, Arthur marched against them, having 10000 Scots and Picts for his assistance. Congallus, son of Eugenius, commanded the Scots, and Modredus, the son of Lothus, the Picts, both young men of great hope and who had often given good testimonies of their valour and conduct. This army of three Kings, being about five miles from the enemy and their camps being distant one from another, the Saxons, being inform’d by their spies that the Picts (who were farthest distant from the other forces) were very careless and secure, they made a suddain and unexpected assault on them in the night. Modredus made a gallant resistance for a time; at last, when things were almost desperate on his side, he mounted on an horse with Gallanus his father-in-law, and so fled to King Arthur. Arthur was nothing dismayed at the loss of the Picts, but spent that day in setling things which were discomposed; after that, his army being commanded to march in the third watch, he came upon the enemy with a treble army, and was at the Saxons camp before they knew what the matter was. The Saxons, being dismayed, ran up and down, having no time to take counsel or to arm themselves. Thus, their camp being entred, they were slain by the Brittons, and especially the angry Picts were cruel to all without distinction.
25. Some writers of English antiquities say that Arthur fought twelve pitched battels with the Saxons. But because they give us only the names of the places where they were fought and nothing else, I shall mention them no otherwise. To speak briefly of his famous actions, this is manifest, that he wholly subdued the forces of the Saxons and restored peace to Britain. And when he went over to settle things in Lesser Britain in France he trusted the kingdom to Modredus his kinsman, who was to manage the government as King till his return. I have no certainty of the exploits he performed in Gaul. As to what Geofry of Monmouth attributes to him there, it hath no shadow, much less likelyhood, of truth in it, so that I pass them by as impudently forged, and as causelessly believed. But to return to the matter. Whilst Arthur was absent and intent on setling the Gallick affairs, there were sown the seeds of a war most pernicious to Britain. There was a certain man in Arthurs retinue named Constantine, the son of Cadoris, who for the excellent endowments both of his body and mind was highly in all mens favour. He did secretly aim at the kingdom and to make the people his own. Whereupon the Nobles, at a convenient time when the King was free from business, cast in words concerning his successor, beseeching him to add this also to the other innumerable blessings he had procured for his country, that, if he died childless, he would not leave Britain destitute of a King, especially when so great wars were likely to be waged against them. Hereupon when some named Modredus as nearest of kin and already accustomed to the government both in peace and war, and one too who had given good proof of himself in his Viceroy-ship, who also was likely to make no small accession to the British affairs. These things being spoken, the multitude who favoured Constantine cryed out that they would not have a stranger to be their King and that Britain was not so devoid of men but that it would afford a King within its own territories. They added also that it was a foolish thing to seek for that abroad which they might have at home.
26. Arthur knew before the love of the people to Constantine, and therefore, though being a man otherwise ambitious, yet he easily took part with the people and from that day shewed him openly and cherished in him the hopes of the kingdom. Modredus his friends took this ill and looked upon it as a great wrong to him; they alleged that by the league made by Arthur with Lothus it was expressly cautioned that none should be preferred to the succession of the kingdom before the sons of Lothus. To which the contrary party answered that that league was extorted by the necessity of the times, against the common good of the whole nation, and that they were not obliged to keep it now Lothus, with whom it was made, was dead; and that therefore the Picts would do well to be contented with their own bounds and not to invade other mens; that the kingdom of Britain, by Gods blessing, was now in that state that could not only defend it self against new injuries, but also revenge the old. These things being brought to Modredus his ear did quite alienate his mind from Arthur, and inclined him to set up for himself by maintaining his own dignity. Only he a little suspended the war till he had tryed the minds of the Scots. When they were brought over to his party, an army was listed consisting of many Picts, Scots, and Brittons being induced to side with Modredus, either for the equity of his cause, the love of his person, or their private hatred of Arthur. Yea, Vannera, the wife of Arthur, was thought not to be ignorant of these new cabals, as having been too familiar with Modredus. Both armies pitched their tents by Humber, and being ready to fight, proposals were made by the bishops on both sides in order to a peace, but in vain. For Constantine’s friends obstructed all, affirming that the felicity of Arthurs fortune would bear down all opposition. Hereupon a most fierce fight began on both sides, but two things did especially advantage Modredus and his confederates. One was a marsh in the midst between them which the Brittons could not easily pass, and another, in the heat of the fight, there was one suborned to spread a report among the Brittons that Arthur was slain and therefore, all being lost, every one should shift for himself. At which bruit [report] they all fled, yet there was great slaughter on both sides. Neither was the victory joyous to either party, for on the one side Modredus was slain, and on the other his brother Galvinus, Arthur himself mortally wounded, and a great prey taken. I know well what fabulous matters are reported by many concerning the life and death of Arthur, but they are not fit to be related, lest they cause a mist to be cast over his other famous actions. For when men confidently affirm lies they cause the truth it self many times to be questioned. This is certain, he was a great man and very valorous, bearing an intire love to his country in freeing them from servitude, in restoring the true worship of God, and in reforming it when it was corrupted. I have spoken these things concerning his lineage, life and death, more prolixly than the nature of my design required, for I never meant to record all the exploits of the Brittons, but to free and preserve the affairs of our own nation from the oblivion of time and the fabulous takes of some lewd and ill-disposed writers. I have insisted longer on the exploits of Arthur, partly because some do curtail them through envy, and others do heighten them by their verbosities. He died in the year of our Lord five hundred and fifty two, after he had reigned 24 years.
27. But to return to the affairs of Scotland, Goranus the King, now grown old, departed this life after he had governed Scotland thirty four years; ’tis thought he was treacherously slain by his subjects. There was one Toncetus, Chief Justice in criminal matters, a man no less cruel than covetous. He, having played many foul pranks against the richer sort, thought he might easily get pardon of all from the King because by this means he had augmented his revenue. The people could not easily obtain admittance to the King, now enfeebled by age and disease, to make their complaints; and, if they had access, they judged their allegations would not have been believed against such a principal officer and high favourite, so that they set upon Toncetus and slew him. But after the heat of their anger was over, when they began to think with themselves how foul a fact they had committed, and that there was no pardon to be expected by them, they turned their wrath and fury upon the King himself, and, by the instigation of Donald of Athol, they entred into his palace and slew him also.


Eugenius, the son of Congallus, succeeded him. When he was advised by some of the Nobility to revenge the death of his uncle Goranus, he entertained the motion so coldly that he himself was not without suspicion in the case. And the suspicion was increased because he took Donald of Athol into his grace and favour, so that the wife of Goranus for fear fled with her small children into Ireland. But Eugenius, to purge his life and manners from so foul an imputation, so managed the kingdom that none of the former Kings could be justly preferred before him. He assisted Modredus, and also Arthur, against the Saxons. He sent several captains to make daily incursions into the English Borders, but he never fought with them in a pitched battel. He died in the year of Christ five hundred and fifty eight, having reigned twenty three years.


His brother Congallus was set up in his room, who governed his kingdom ten years in great peace, a man for his excellent virtues worthy of perpetual memory. For besides his equity in matter of law, and the aversion of his mind from all covetousness, he vyed with the very monks themselves in point of sobriety of life, though they at that time used a most severe discipline. He enriched priests with lands and other revenues, more out of a pious intention than with any good success. He retrained thee souldiers who were declining to effeminateness and luxury (and abused the blessing of peace) rather by the examples and authority of his life than by the severity of laws. He called home the sons of Goranus, who for fear of Eugenius had fled into Ireland, but before their return he died in the year five hundred and sixty eight. He never fought battel himself, but only assisted the Brittons with auxiliary forces against the Saxons, with whom they often fought with various success.


When he was dead and his brother Kinnatellus designed King, Aidanus the son of Goranus came into Scotland by the persuasions of Columba, who two years before had come out of Ireland. By him he was brought to the King, who beyond his own and the expectation of all other men, received him courteously and wished him to be of good cheer, for he should shortly be King. for Kinnatellus, being worn out by age and sickness and not able to administer the government himself, made Aidanus his deputy, and so died, having reigned (some say fifteen) months. Some writers leave him out and do place Aidanus immediately after Congallus, but there are more who insert Kinnatellus betwixt them.


Aidanus, being nominated King by Kinnatellus and confirmed by the people, received the royal habiliments from Columba. For the authority of that man was so great in those days that neither prince nor people would undertake any thing without his advice. And at that time, after he had in a long speech persuaded the King to rule equitably over the people, and the people to be loyal to their King, he earnestly pressed them both to persist in the pure worship of God, for then both of them would prosper; but if they forsook it, they must expect destruction as the reward of their offences. Having perform’d this service, he returned into his own country. The first expedition of Aidanus was against the robbers who infested Galway. Coming thither, he put their commanders to death, and fear restrain’d the rest. But a greater storm encountred him at his return. For after he had had three conventions of the Estates in Galway, Abria or Loch-abyr, and Caithness, and thought all things were settled there, there was a tumult arose amongst them in hunting, so that much blood was spilt and the Kings officers who came to punish the offenders were repulsed and beaten. The authors for fear of punishment fled into Lothian to Brudeus King of the Picts. When ambassadors were sent to him to deliver them up according to the league betwixt them they were refused, whereupon a fierce war commenced between the Scots and Picts, but it was quickly ended by the means of Columba, who was, according to his merit, highly esteemed by both nations. In the mean time, England was again divided into seven kingdoms and the Brittons were driven into the peninsula of Wales. But the Saxons, not contented with such large dominions, stirred up a new war betwixt the Scots and Picts. The author and kindler thereof was Ethelfrid, King of Northumberland, a covetous man and who was weary of peace out of the desire he had to enlarge his dominions. He persuaded the Picts, but with difficulty, Brudeus hardly consenting thereto, that they should drive away preys out of the Scots territories and so give occasion to a war. Aidanus understanding the treachery of the Saxons, that he might also strengthen himself with foreign aid, renewed the ancient league with Milgo the Britton. He sent his son Grifinus and his sisters son Brendinus, King of Eubonia, now called Man, a military man, with forces; who joyning with the Brittons entred Northumberland and after three days march came to the enemy, but the English refused to engage them because they expected new succors, which were reported to be neer at hand. For indeed Ceulinus, King of the East Saxons, a very warlike man, was coming to them with great forces. The Scots and Brittons fell upon him in his march and wholly destroyed the front of his army, which was a long way before the rest, together with his son Cutha, but they were afraid to engage the rest lest they should be circumvented by Ethelfrid, who was not far distant. The two Kings of the Saxons, being joined together, again renewed the fight with much slaughter on both sides, wherein the Scots and Brittons were put to flight. There were slain of the Scots Nobles Grifinus and Brendinus; in the opposite army Ethelfrid lost one of his eyes and Brudeus was carried wounded out of the field, to the great astonishment of his party.
32. The next summer after, Ethelfridus, uniting his forces with the Picts, marched into Gallway, supposing he should find all things there in great consternation by reason of their ill success the last year. But Aidanus, coming with his forces thither sooner than his enemies thought, set upon the straggling plunderers and drave them with great trepidation to their camp. Thus having chastised their temerity, supposing now they would be more quiet, the night after he passed by their camp and joyned himself with the Brittons. Both armies, having thus united their forces, pitch’d their tents in a narrow valley of Annendale, and their enemies, as now cock-sure of their destruction, beset the passages entring into it. But they, having fortify’d their camp as if they intended there to abide, in the night, when the tide was out marched thro’ the ford (which was known to them) amidst the quavering sands, into Cumberland and afterward into Northumberland, making great havock whithersoever they came. The enemie followed them at their heels, and when the came in sight of one another both armies prepare themselves for the fight. The Scots and Britains added four commanders to those they had before, who were noble persons of great experience in warlike affairs, that so the rash-headed common soldiers might be commanded by a greater number of the captains: of the Brittons there were added Constantine and Mencrinus, of the Scots, Calenus and Murdacus. By their conduct and incouragement, the soldiers fell upon the enemy with so great violence that he was presently broken and put to flight. There goes a report that Columba, being then in the isle Icolumbkil, told his companions of this victory the very same hour in which it was obtained. Of the Saxon Nobles there were slain in this fight Cialinus and Vitellius, both great warriors and highly descended.
33. Eleven years after this victory, the Saxons and Picts infested the adjacent country, whereupon a day was appointed wherein the Brittons and Scots should meet, and with their united forces set upon the Saxons. Aidanus, tho’ very old, came to the place at the appointed time and staid for the Brittons, but in vain, for they came not. Yet he drove preys out of his enemies country. Ethelfrid, having now gotten a fair opportunity to act something in, set upon the dispersed Scots and made a great slaughter amongst them. Aidanus, having lost many of his men, fled for his life, yet the victory was not unbloody to the Saxons, for they lost Theobald, Ethelfrid’s brother, and some of those squadrons that followed him were almost wholly cut off. Aidanus, having received this overthrow and also being informed of the death of Columba, that holy man whom he so highly honoured, foreseeing to what cruelty the remainder of the Christians were likely to be exposed, being worn out with age and grief, did not long survive. He reigned 34 years and died in the year of our Lord 604. In his reign it was that a certain monk named Austin came into Britain, being sent by Gregory Pope of Rome, who by his ambition in preaching a new religion mightily disturbed the old, for he did not so much preach the Christian religion as the ceremonies of the Roman Church. Yea, the Brittons before his coming were converted to and taught the principles of John the Evangelist and were instituted in the same by the monks who were learned and pious in that age. As for Austin, he laboured to reduce all things to the dominion of the Bishop of Rome only, and gave himself out to be the only Arch-bishop of the isle of Britain; and withal introduced a dispute, neither necessary nor advantageous, concerning the day on which Easter was to be kept; and did by this means mightily trouble the churches; yea, he so loaded the Christian discipline, which was then inclining towards superstition, with such new ceremonies and feigned miracles that he scarce left any mark or footstep of true piety behind him.


After Aidanus, Kennethus was elected King. He did no thing memorable in his time. He died in the 4th, or, as some say, the 12th month after he began to reign.


After him Eugenius, the son of Aidanus, was made King in the year of our Lord 504. He was brought up (as the Black of Pasley hath it) piously and carefully under Columba, being very well educated in human learning. Yet in this he swerved from the institution of his master, that he was more addicted to war than peace. For he exercised the Saxons and Picts with daily incursions. His government was very severe and rough. Those who were proud and contumacious sooner felt the point of his sword than they received from him any conditions of peace. But those who asked pardon for their offences and voluntarily surrendred themselves he was very merciful and easy to forgive, and not at all violent in his victories. This is what that book reports concerning Eugenius. But Boethius says, on the contrary, that he lived in great peace, which happened not so much from his foreign leagues as from the discords of his enemies, who maintain’d civil wars amongst themselves. For the English inhabiting the south parts making profession of Christianity, whilst they endeavoured to revenge the injuries offered to them, deprived Ethelfrid the potent King of Northumberland both of his life and kingdom together. Eduinus succeeded him and the kindred of Ethelfrid fled into Scotland, amongst whom were seaven of his sons and one daughter. This was done in the tenth year of the reign of Eugenius. He entertain’d these Saxons flying to him for refuge (tho’ he know them to be enemies both to him and the whole Christian name) with great courtesy and humanity as long as he lived, giving them royal reception and causing them to be carefully educated in the Christian religion. He died in the sixteenth year of his reign, and was much lamented by all men.


His son Ferchardus was substituted in his room in the year of Christ 522 and in the 13th year of Heraclius the Emperour. He, being a cunning and politick man, endeavoured to change the legitimate government of the land into tyranny; in order whereto he nourished factions amongst the Nobility, supposing by that means to effect what wickedly he designed with impunity. But the Nobles, understanding his malicious aim, secretly made up the breach amongst themselves and, calling an assembly of the Estates, summoned him to appear; which he refusing to do, they stormed the castle wherein he was and so drew him per force to judgment. Many and grievous crimes were objected against him, and particularly the Pelagian heresy, the contempt of Baptism and other sacred rites. When he was not able to purge himself from any one of them, he was committed to prison, where, that he might live to be a publick spectacle of disgrace, he put an end to his own life, in the 14th year of his reign.


His brother Donald, or Donevaldus, mounted the throne in his stead. Who, calling to mind the elogy of his father and the miserable end of his brother, made it his business to maintain the true worship of God, and that not only at home, but he sought by all lawful means to propagate it abroad. For when Edwin was dead he furnished the kindred and children of Ethelfrid, who had remained exiles in Scotland for many years, with accommodations to return home; he bestowed upon them gifts, he sent forces to accompany them, and gave them free liberty to pass and repass as occasion required. This Edwin, afore spoken of, was slain by Kedvalla, as Bede calls him, King of the Brittons, and by Penda, King of the Mercians, one of which was his enemy out of ancient hatred to the nation, the other for his new embracing of Christianity, but both for the emulation [envy] of his power. The victory is reported to have been most cruel, for whilst Penda endeavoured to root out the Christians, and Kedvalla the Saxons, their fury was so great that it spared neither age nor sex. After the death of Edwin, Northumberland was divided into two kingdoms. Osricus, cousin-german to Edwin, was made King of the Deiri, and Eanfrid (as Bede calls him, but our writers name him Andefridus), Ethelfrides eldest son, King of the Bernici. They renounced the Christian religion in which they had been diligently educated, one by the Scotish monks, the other by Paulinus the bishop, and revolted to their ancient superstition, but were both shortly after outed out of their kingdoms, and their lives too, by Penda. Oswald, the son of Ethelfrid, succeeded them both, a studious promoter of the Christian religion. He sent ambassadors into Scotland to Donaldus to desire him to send some Christian doctors, which he did, men of great sanctity and learning, and who were accordingly received by him with great curtesy, entertained magnificently, and rewarded amply. Neither did he think it below his kingly dignity to interpret the sentences of their sermons preached to the people (who did not so well understand the Scotish language), whom he gathered together for that purpose, all of which is clearly expressed by Bede. Donaldus died in the 14th year of his reign, leaving the precious memory of his virtues behind him.


Ferchardus, his brother Ferchardus’ son, succeeded him, a most flagitious [criminal] person, unsatiable in his desires of wine and wealth; of inhuman cruelty towards men, and of as great impiety towards God. When his cruelty and rapine had raged against those without, he converted his fury upon his domesticks, killing his wife and vitiating his daughter, for which hainous wickedness he was excommunicated out of the society of Christians. And as the Nobles were about to assemble by way of consultation about his punishment, Coleman,that holy bishop, stopped them, for he openly told him that divine vengeance should speedily overtake him. And the event verified his prediction, for a few days after, as he was hunting he was hurt by a wolf and fell into a feaver, and not being able to abstain from his former intemperance, at last his body was eaten up by the lowsi disease. And then he cryed out that he was deservedly punished because he had not hearkned to the wholsome advice of Coleman. Thus at last, seeing his error, and Coleman comforting him with hopes of pardon in case he truly repented, he caused himself to be carried abroad in a litter, meanly apparrel’d, and there he made a publick confession of his wickedness, and so dyed in the year of our redemption 668. Scotland groaned under this monster 18 years.


Maldvinus, the son of Donald, succeeded him; who, that he might strengthen those parts of the kingdom which were weakned by the tyranny of the former King, made peace with all his neighbors. Having quieted things without, he was disturbed by a sedition at home arising between the Argyle and Lennox men. Maldvinus drew forth against the authors of this tumult, that so he might punish them without prejudicing the commonalty. They, to avoid the King’s wrath, composed their private jars and fled into the Aebudae isles. The King sent for them to have them punished, and the islanders, not daring to retain them, delivered them up. Their punishment kept the rest in their duties. About this time it was that, when the Scotish monks had spread the doctrine of Christ very far over England and had so instructed the English youth that now they seemed able of themselves to preach the Gospel plainly, even to their own countrymen, together with their institution and learning they also entertained and suck’d in some envy against their teachers, so that by reason of this prejudice the Scots-monks were forced to return into their own country. Which contumely, as it cut off the concord between both kingdoms, so the modesty of those who had received the wrong kept both nations from open hostility: only frequent incursions were made, and skirmishes hapned in divers places. There fell out at this time a terrible plague all over Europe, such as was never recorded by any writer before. Only the Scots and Picts were free therefrom. By reason of the frequent injuries mutually offred, and preys driven away on both sides, both nations were like to break forth into an open war, if the death of Maldvinus had not prevented it. After he had reigned 20 years his wife, suspecting that he had been naught with an harlot, strangled him, and four days after she herself was punished for the fact, by being burnt alive.


After him, Eugenius, the 5th son of King Dongard, undertook the kingdom. Egfrid the King of Northumberland (with whom he principally desired to be at peace) sought to deceive him by fained truces, and the again assaulted Egfrid by the same art. Thus when both made shew of peace in words, they each secretly prepare for war. When the truce was ended Egfrid, tho his friends dissuaded him from it, joyned forces with the Picts and, entring into Scotland, he foraged Galway. But he was overthrown by Eugenius, the Picts giving ground in the fight, and lost almost all his army, so that he hardly escaped, wounded and with a few followers, home. The next year, his friends then also dissuading him, he drew forth his army against the Picts, who, pretending to run away, drew him into an ambush and cut him off with all his men. The Picts, laying hold of this so fair an opportunity, recovered those large territories which had been taken from them in former wars, and the Brittons, who freed themselves from the government of the Angli or English, together with the Scots, entred Northumberland and made such an havock there that it never recovered itself since. Soon after Eugenius dyed in the 4th year of his reign.


Eugenius the VI, the son of Ferchard, succeeded Eugenius the V, as did Alfrid, brother to Egfrid, succeed him in Northumberland. Both Kings were very learned, especially in theology according to the rate of those times, and also friendly one to the other on the account of their common studies, so that the peace was faithfully maintain’d betwixt them. Alfrid made use of this tranquillity to the settle the bounds of his kingdom, tho in narrower limits than before. But the Scots had neither an establish’d peace nor yet a declared war with the Picts. Excursions were frequently made, with different and interchangable successes, to Cuthberectus, an English bishop, and Adamannus, a Scotish bishop, did in vain labour to reconcile them. Yet this they effected, that they never fought a pitched battel. In the mean time, Eugenius, being inflamed with an inexpiable hatred against the perfidiousness of the Picts, was stopped in the midst of his career to revenge, for he dyed, having reigned 10 years. In his reign it is reported that it reigned blood all over Britain for 7 days, and that milk, cheese and butter were also turned into blood.


After him, Amberkelethus, the son of Findalus and nephew of Eugenius the 5th, obtained the kingdom. At the beginning of his reign he counterfeited temperance, but soon returned to his natural disposition and broke forth into all manner of wickedness. Gardard, King of the Picts, laying hold of this opportunity, gathered a great army together and invaded the Scots. Amberkelethus could hardly be excited to take arms without much importunity, but at last he did. As he was going forth in the night to ease himself, with two servants, he was slain with an arrow (it was not known who shot it) when he had not reigned too full years. Some say that when he pressed upon the enemy in a thick wood, that he was hurt with an arrow by them and so dyed 10 days after.


Eugenius the 7th, brother of the former King, was declared King by the sufferage of the soldiers in the field, that so the army might not disband nor be without a head. He, putting little confidence in an army levied by a slothful King, lengthened out the war by truces and at last concluded it by marrying Spondana, daughter of Garnadus. She, not long after, was slain in her bed by two Athol-men who had conspired to destroy the King. The King himself was accused of the murder, but falsly, and before he was brought to judgment the murderers were found out, whereupon he was freed. The offenders were most exquisitely punished. When matters were composed abroad, the king turned himself to the affairs of peace, delighting much in hunting. But his chief care was for religion. It was his design and appointment that the noble acts and enterprizes of Kings should be registered in monasteries. He maintain’d a continued peace 17 years with all his neighbours, and then dyed at Abernethy.


Eugenius, a little before his death, commended Mordacus, the son of Amberkelethus, to the Nobility to be his successor. There was peace all over Britain during his reign, as Bede says about the end of his history. He did imitate Eugenius not only in maintaining peace, but in endowing the monasteries also. He repaired the convent of White-born, which was demolished. He dyed at the entrance into the 16th year of his reign.


In the year our our Lord 730 Etfinus, the son of Eugenius the 7th, entred upon the kingdom. He, being emulous of the Kings before him, kept the kingdom in great peace during the space of 31 years that he managed the government. When he was old and could not perform the kingly office himself, he appointed four Vice-gerents to administer justice to the people. Whilst these presided over the affairs of Scotland, some loose persons, resuming their former luxuriant extravagancies by the magistrates neglect or (as some think) fault, put all things into an hurly burly. But their wicked pranks were the less taken notice of by reason of the excessive cruelty and pride of one Donaldus who, ranging over all Galway, made the country people people pay tribute to him, or else he robbed them and reduced them to great want.


Amidst these tumults Eugenius the 8th the son of Mordacus, was set up in the room of Etfinus, deceased. His first enterprize was to suppress Donaldus, whom he overthrew in many bloody fights, took him prisoner, and publickly executed him, to the joy of the spectators. He put Mordacus to death, Vicegerent of Galway, for siding with Donaldus, and set a pecuniary fine on the rest of the Vicegerents. He made satisfaction to the people who had been robbed out of the offenders estates. The bad being terrified for fear of these punishments, and a great calm ensuing after a most violent tempest, he confirmed the leagues heretofore made with the neighbouring Kings. Yet after all this he who got so much glory in war, when once peace was made, gave himself up to all manner of vice. And seeing he would not be reclaimed, neither by the advices of his friends nor of the priests, all the Nobles conspired to destroy him, which they did in a publick convention in the 3rd year of his reign. The companions and associats of his wicked practices ended their lives on the gallows, all men rejoycing at their executions.


Fergusius the III, the son of Etfinus, succeeded him, who under a like counterfeit pretence of virtue being fouly vitious, dyed also after the like violent manner, having reigned the like number of years, viz., 3. He was poisoned by his wife. Others write that when his wife had often upbraided him with his contempt of matrimony and his flocks of harlots, but without any amendment, that she strangled him at night as he was sleeping in his bed. When enquiry was made into his death and many of his friends were accused and yet, though severely tortured, would confess nothing, the Queen, tho otherwise of a fierce nature, yet pitying the suffering of so many innocents, came forth and from an high place told the assembly that she was the author of the murder. And presently, lest she should be made a living spectacle of reproach, she ran her self through with a knife, which fact of hers was variously spoken of and descanted upon according to the several humours and dispositions of the men of that time.


King Solvathius, the son of Eugenius the 8th, is the next in order, who, if he had not contracted the gout by reason of cold in the 3rd year of his reign, might well be reckoned for his personal valour amongst the best of Kings; yet notwithstanding his disease, he appeased all tumults by his Generals with great wisdom and prudence. first of all Donaldus Banus (i. e., White), being fearless of the King by reason of the lameness of his feet, had the boldness as to seize upon the western islands and to call himself King of the Aebudae. Afterwards, making a descent on the continent and carrying away much prey, he was forced by Cullandus, General of the Argyle-men, and by Ducalus, Captain of the Athol-men, into a wood out of which there was but one passage, so that their endeavours to escape were fruitless, but he and his were slain every man. One Gilcolumbus, excited by the same audacity and hope, assaulted Galway, oppressed before by his father, but he also was overthrown by the same Generals and put to death. In the mean time, there was peace from the English and Picts, occasioned by their combustions at home. Solvathius reigned 20 years and then dyed, being praised of all men, in the year of Christ 787.


Achaius, the son of Etfinus, succeeded him. He, having made peace with the Angles and Picts, understanding that war was threatned from Ireland, composed the seditions that were like to break forth at home, not only by his pains-taking but by his largesses also. The cause of the Irish war was this. In the former Kings reign, who was unfit to make any expedition, the Irish and the islanders, out of hope of prey and impunity, had made a descent upon Cantire, the adjoyning peninsule, with great armies, both at once. But a feud arising between the plunderers, many of the islanders and all the Irish were slain. To revenge this slaughter, the Irish rigged out a great navy to sail into the Aebudae. Achaius sent embassadors to them to acquaint them that they had no just cause for a war in regard that thieves fighting for their prey had slain one another; that the loss was not that so many were slain, but rather that any of them had escaped. They farther alleged that the King and his national councils were so far from offering any injury to the Irish that they had put all the authors of the late slaughter to death. The embassadors, discoursing many things to this purpose, were so coursly and barbarously rejected by the Irish that they set forth their fleet against the Albine Scots, even before their departure. When their fleet was on the main, a tempest arose and destroyed them all. This mischance occasioned some sentiments of remorse and pity in the Irish, so that now they humbly sued for that peace which before they disdainfully refused. But first of all Achaius made peace between the Scots and Franks, chiefly for this reason, because not only the Saxons who inhabited Germany, but even those who had fixed themselves in Britanny did infest Gaul with piratical invasions.
50. And besides, Charles the Great, whose desire was to enoble France not only by arms, but literature, had sent for some learned men out of Scotland to read Greek and Latin at Paris. For yet there were many monks in Scotland eminent for learning and piety, the antient discipline being then not quite extinguished, amongst whom was Johannes, sirnamed Scotum, or, which is all one, Albinus, for the Scots in their own language call themselves Albini. He was the school-master of Charles the Great, and left many monuments of his learning behind him, and in particular some precepts of rhetoric, which I have seen with Johannes Albinus inscribed. There are also some writings of Clement, a Scot, remaining, who was a great professor of learning at the same time too in Paris. There were many other Scotish monks who passed over into Gaul out of their zeal for God and godliness, who preached the doctrine of Christianity to the people inhabiting about the Rhene, and that with so great success that the people thereupon built monasteries in many places. The Germans owe this to their memory, that even to our days Scots are the governors over those monasteries.
51. Though Achaius was desirous of peace, yet the Pictish concerns drew him on to a war. For when Athelstan the English-man had wasted the neighbouring lands of the Picts, Hungus their King obtained the aid of ten thousand Scots from Achaius, who before was disgusted with the English. He placed his son Alpinus, a commander, over them, who was born to him by the sister of Hungus. By the assistance of those auxiliaries he drove a great prey out of Northumberland. Athelstan, a feirce warriour, was almost at his heels and overtook him not far from Hadington. The Picts, being dismayed at the suddain coming of their enemies, run to their arms and keep themselves in their stations till night. Having set their watches for the night, Hungus, being inferiour in other things, desired aid of God and gave up himself wholly to prayer. At last, when his body was wearied with labour and his mind oppressed by care, he seemed to behold Andrew the Apostle standing by him in his sleep, promising him victory. This vision, being declared to the Picts, filled them full of hope, so that they prepared themselves with great alacrity to the combate which otherwise they could not avoid. The next day they came to a pitched battel. Some add that another prodigy was seen in the heavens, a cross like the letter X, which did so terrifie the English that they could hardly bear the first brunt of the Picts. Athelstan was slain there, who have name to the place of battel which is yet called Athelstans Ford. Hungus ascribed the victory to St. Andrew, to whom, besides other gifts, he offered the tithes of his royal demeans. I am of opinion that this was the Athelstan, commander of the Danish nation, to whom the English affirm that Northumberland was granted by Alured. Achaius died the thirty second year of his reign, and in the year of Christ eight hundred and nine.


Congallus, his cousin german, succeeded him, who reigned five years in peace both at home and abroad.


Dongallus, the son of Solvathius, was next King to him. The soldiers, not able to endure the severity of his government, gathered themselves together to Alpinus, the son of Achaius, and because they could not persuade him by fair means to undertake the kingdom, they compelled him by force and menace to be seemingly on their side. He, having gathered together an army and pretending to do so as they would have him, disappointed them and fled to Dongallus. His coming was acceptable to the King but a great dismay to the rebels, and therefore they accuse him to the King as if Alpinus himself had persuaded them to rebel. The King, well perceiving their calumny, suddenly prepared an army and so prevented the rumour of his coming. Those of them which he took he put to death. In the mean time, Hungus died and his eldest son Dorstologus was slain by the fraud of his brother Eganus. Neither did the murtherer long survive his brother, so that the male-stock of Hungus being extinct, his sister’s son Alpinus, as next heir both an ancient law and in right of blood, claimed the kingdom. The Picts disdained him as a foreigner, whereupon Dongallus sent messengers to them to expostulate the matter, but they refused to give them audience, but commanded them to depart in four days. Dongallus intended to make war upon them with all his might, but in the preparation thereof, as he was passing over the Spey, whose current was very violent, the vessel in which he was sunk, and he was drown’d after he had reigned six years, some say seven.


Alpinus, the son of Achaius, led the army raised by Dongallus against Frederethus, who had seized upon and arrogated the kingdom of the Picts to himself. The armies met at Restenot, a village of Angus. The fight was maintained with great obstinacy and cruelty, even until night. The victory was uncertain, tho’ the death of Frederethus made it incline to the Scots. For when he saw his men fly in the fight, with a troop of noble youngsters he brake though the main battel [van] of the Scots, and being thus severed from his men, was there slain with the flower of his Nobility. Brudus was substituted in his place, a slothful person and unfit for military affairs. ln his reign the Scots drove preys out of their enemies country without resistance, and the Picts, raising up a tumult on purpose amongst themselves, slew Brudus before he had reigned one year. They then set up Kennethus, another of Frederethus his sons, in his stead, one neither valianter nor more successful than his brother. For when he had levied an army and came in sight of his enemies, he privily stole away, and so was slain by a country man who upbraided him as a run-away, not knowing who he was. The Picts, having lost their King, before their enemies were sensible of it returned home and made another person named Brudus King, one of high descent and noble atchievements. He, as soon as he entred upon the kingdom, set upon the straggling plunderers and curbed their rashness, making a great slaughter amongst them. After that, that he might strengthen his weak forces by foreign aids, he sent ambassadors with great gifts to the English which were nearest to him. They received their gifts and were large enough in their promises of assistance; but, though the Picts earnestly pressed them, yet they put them off, laying the fault on their own combustions at home. The Picts, being disappointed of their hope there, levied all of their own that were able to bear arms, and resolved to venture their all. With this resolution they marched directly toward the enemy, who were encamped not far from Dundee. As soon as they met, the battel was so much the more sharp by reason of the old hatred, the recent disgust, the many mutual slaughters and the frequent injuries and wrongs committed on both sides. When the conflict was a long time doubtful, at last an hundred horse of the Picts rose out of an ambush; who, that they might seem to be a greater number, did also horse their baggage men and attendants upon the baggage horses, and so, shewing themselves upon the tops of the hills, they wheeled about as if they would have set upon the rear of the army which was a fighting. That apprehension struck such a terrour into the Scots that they presently scattered and fled into the neighbouring woods, by which many of them were saved alive; only some few were slain in the fight, but more in flight, by the the nimble baggagers who were set on horseback. King Alpinus and many of his Nobles were taken prisoners and cruelly slain. The Kings head was fastned to a pole and carried up and down the army, till at last the set it up for a spectacle in the most eminent place of the greatest town they had (which then was Abernethy). The place were he was slain as yet retains his name, being called Bas Alpin, i. e., The Death of Alpin.


Alpin being slain after he had reigned three years, his son Kennethus succeeded him. The next summer the Picts, having some hopes that, if they did but endeavour it, the Scots might easily be driven out of Britain as they had been heretofore, hereupon they hired some troops of the English and joyned them with what forces of their own they could make. But a sudden sedition arose betwixt the commanders, and that so outragious an one that King Brudus himself could not compose it, so that the army disbanded thereupon and Brudus died about three months after, rather heart-broken than of any disease. His brother Driskenus was made King in his stead, who in vain attempted to compose things at home. But in the interim some Scotish youngsters stole away the head of Alpinus from the place where the Picts had set it up, and brought it to Kennethus. He not only commended them for their noble exploit but also rewarded them with lands. Kennethus called together an assembly to consult about war with the Picts, and although the King himself and the forwardest of the soldiers did advise to revenge the treachery of such a perfidious people, yet the major part, and especially the graver sort, thought it more adviseable to stay till their forces, which were weakned in former wars, had recovered themselves; in the mean time they would neither seek peace nor yet make war with the Picts till a better opportunity for either did offer it self. This opinion prevailed, so that there was peace betwixt the two nations for three years, as if it had been by common consent.
56. But in the fourth year Kennethus, desirous to renew the war yet finding few of the Nobles of his mind, invited them to a banquet. The entertainment continued till late at night, so that they were all necessitated to lodge there, which they might more easily do in regard every man, according to the custom of his ancestors, lay on the ground, and so they disposed of them in that large house, having nothing under them but leaves and grass. When they were gone to bed, the King suborned a youth, one of his kinsmen, commanding him to clothe himself with the skins of fishes dried in the wind, and so to enter by night; and to speak through a long tube, that the voice might better reach their ears at a distance, and thus to exhort them to war as if a message had been sent them from heaven to that purpose. The Nobles suddenly awoke at this voice, which at that time seem’d to them to be greater and more august than a mans. Many also were laden with wine, and the sudden flashing of light from the fishes skins, darting about their drowsie eyes and dazling them, drove them into great astonishment. In fine, an un-wonted apparition affect the eyes of them all, and a kind of religious consternation seized upon their minds. And that which increased the admiration was that the messenger, stripping himself of his disguised habit, and by a secret passage conveighing himself away, as if in an instant seemed to have vanished out of sight.
57. When the news hereof was brought to the King in the morning, and many did add to the story, as is usual in such cases, he also affirmed that the like apparition was seen by him in his sleep. Hereupon a war was concluded upon by the general consent of them all, as if they were commanded thereunto by God Himself. When the armies were led forth to battel, as soon as every they came in sight one of another, every one ran upon the enemy which stood next to him, not staying for the command of their Captains. The fight was as fiercely continued as it was eagerly begun. At last the victory inclined to the Scots. Those in whom the Picts put most confidence proved their ruin. For the English troops, seeing that all things were managed without order and by tumultuary force, withdrew themselves into the next hill as if they had only been spectators of other mens dangers. There was a mighty slaughter made of the Picts. For the Scots were highly provoked against them, not only by their ancient hatred, but by the remembrance of their later cruelty against Alpinus and the rest whom they had taken prisoners. But that which chiefly inflamed their minds was a watch-word spread abroad the Scots, that they should remember Alpinus. From that very moment they spared neither age nor rank of men. The hills covered the departure of the English, and the Scots were so pertinaciously intent in revenging themselves on the Picts that they could not follow them.
58. This victory reduced the Picts to so low an ebb, and rendred their condition so deplorable, that, though they endeavoured to make peace, yet all was in vain, for the Scots would hearken to no conditions but the full surrendring up of their kingdom. Then next year, when all places were surrendred up beyond Forth northwards, and garisons placed them, as Kennethus was marching his army against those on this side thereof, word was brought that some of the garisons which he had left behind were taken and the souldiers slain. Hereupon he marched his army back against the rebellious Picts, of whom he spared neither man, woman nor child, but wasted the whole country with fire and sword. Druskenus, seeing the Picts were inraged almost like madmen at the cruelty exercised over them, and knowing now that they must fight, not for their kingdom, but for their very lives and the lives of their wives and children, gathered together all the force that ever he could make; and so, passing the Forth, came to Scone, a town situate on the bank of the River Tay, where he waited for the coming of the Scots. There they again endeavoured to make a pacification, offering to surrender all the country beyond the Forth, but the Scots would have all or none. The fight, as in such circumstances of necessity, was very fierce. At last the pertinacy of the Picts was broken and the River Tay, putting a stop to their flight, was the cause of their destruction. For Druskenus and almost all his Nobility, being not able to pass it, were there slain. And the fortune of the common souldiers was not better, for as they crowded into the river in several places to save themselves, they laboured also under the same incapacity of passing it, and so they every one of them lost their lives. Hence it is (as I judge) that our writers say we fought with the Picts seven times in one day. The force of the Picts was wholly broken by this overthrow, and Kennethus wasted Lothian and the adjacent country together with those beyond the Forth, that they might never be able again to recover themselves. The garisons, for fear, surrendered themselves. Those few Picts who were left alive fled into England, to an indigent and necessitous condition.

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