Polydore Vergil.

Polydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum online

. (page 5 of 30)
Online LibraryPolydore VergilPolydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum → online text (page 5 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Julius CsBsar; whereas indeade it is evident that Julius Caesar
came not so farre as this place. The bathes are there as yet ex-
tant, whereas warme waters doe springe foorthe and boyle, wherin,
for wantonnes, childeme moste of all others washe them selves ;
and there have I seene boyes swimminge and bringing up monnie
in there teethe, which bathe for pastime benne throwne in to the
bathes of the standers bie. At the lengthe this Badude, trusting And trust-
to his magicall artes which hee towght everie wheare, and being mfgiaOl'
sterred upp throughe the delusion and enchauntmentes of devels, *rt?i ^7
waded soe farr in madnes that he made himme winges to flie, and hymwjnges
indeade being lifted upp on highe he soddainelie fell downe, with ^^^
the which fall hee died, and of likeUehoode discended into hell; dyed,
thus his wicked sciens bccamme an evell mishappe unto himme.
Then ensewed his son Leir after him, whoe reygned manie years Leir
noe lesse wortheUe then wiselie. Hee erected Leicester, a towne i^oMter.
in the inner partes of the Ilonde, and hadd noe issue besides three
daughters, the which hee, being verie aged, appointed to bee maried
to three of his noble menne, and his gooddes to bee equallie dis-
tributed beetweene them, which notwithstandinge hee assigned to
the elder twaine bie cause thei seemed more deerlie to loove him,
whereas afterward he founde as well them as theire husbondes

Digitized by



unkinde^ crewell^ and unreverent; but the yongest, whose name
was Cordill, having noe dowrie besides her goodd demainor and
beautie^ was geeven in marriage to a certaine French prince. Shee
(whome nature hadd endowed with a ripe and sharpe witte) beinge
demaunded whether she didde exceedinglie loove her fiather^ made
this aunswer^ ' That shee didd allwayse carrie her father in her ies,
and showlde doe while she livedo albeit afterward it mighte chaunce
her to loove an other more ardentlie^' meaninge therin her hous.
bond ; with the which aunswere (albeit it was sharpe and wittee)
Leir was soe angree that, as I have sayd^ with owte dowrie he
maried her to a certaine prince of Fraunce then entangeled with
the bewtie of the virgin ; but within shorte space hee was beereeved
and dispossessed of his kingdom bie his sonnes in lawe, thincking it
to longe a season to tarrie untyll his deathe, and consequentlie was
driven to flie unto Cordill, of whome (after she hadde distroed his
monstruus sonns in lawe) hee was restored into his kingdom and
princelie diademe, and reigned three years. In this season Cordill,
havinge loste her howsebonde, retomed into the realme, and bie
the assente of the people enjoyed her father's kingdom. In the
meane while Morgan and Conedag, the sonnes of her sisters, didd
with great greefe yealde homage and feaultie to a woman, and weare
ashamed enie longer to susteine soe unseemeUe a yoke of slaverie.
In consideracion wherof thei^ gatheringe a bonde of soldiers, began
feirslie to destroe with slaughters^ buminges, and roberis, the easlier
to provoke this woman to battayle, whome ftot longe after thei
tooke with a small hoste and committed her to prison. This noble
woman (who wanted nothinge but the kinde and nature of a manne
to surmownt the whole renowne of our former kinges), attainted
with extreme sorowe for her kingdom, which shee had loste in the
fifth yeare after she beganne her dominion, with unvanquished
corage vanquished and slewe her selfe. The conquerors at the
first departed the Ilond betweene them, but in showrte season
there entred into them soe fervent a desire of rule bearinge, that
finallie, Morgann being overthrowne and killed, Conedag becamme

Digitized by



lord of all. In processe of time successivelie reigned all these : —
Rivallo^ Gurgustius or Gurguntius^ Silius, Jagus, Chinemarchus,
and Gorbodion. After the deathe of Gorbodion, his sonnes Ferrex
and Porrex beganne to fight for the kingedom, in the which con-
tention Ferrex was slaine, whose death strake soe greate doloure
into his mother (who looved him entirelie) that, being incended
with sodaine rage, bie the helpe of her waytinge jentilwoomen didd
most owtragiouslie murder the other while hee slepte ; a thinge
surelie within the memorie of manne moste straunge and seldom
to be harde. There ensued after this a time moste feerce in bat-
tayle, more seditius then dissention it selfe, verie crewel in the
middest of truce and peace. For when as eche manne as hee was
moste stronge so did he moste vehementlie affect the kingdom,
thei foughte soe longe to gether, till the whole rule of the riolme
was divided betweene v kinges. Necessitee urgethe in this
place a littel to streye from mie purpose, waminge the reader of
an error, which is noe small blemmishe to the bewtie of the new
Historic if there bee enie in it ; for after those v kinges, or rather
tyrantes, which are not counted in the nomber of kings, is placed
Dunwallo Molmicius, the father of Bellinus and Brennus; who
beinge deade, wee reade that these sonnes divided the kingedom
betweene them, and, apeasing the sedition which rose bie the par-
tition of the realme, and joynenge there powers to gether, did first
over comme Fraunce, then tooke and set on fire Rome ; and that
Brennus still continued in Italic after his conquest. Here cann
bee fownde noe such agreement in the time of the comming of
Brutus in to the Ilond, and the invasion of Rome bie Brennus,
that streight next unto those v tyrants Dunwallo Molmicius,
the father of Brennus, showlde be placed in suche order of the
kinges ; for Brutus is thought to have entred the Ilond the xth
yeare after the deathe of his father Silvius, the fower thowsand
and hundreth yeare from the beginninge of the worlde. But the
Dccx. yeare after the arrivall of Brutus, the citte of Rome (as it
appeareth as well bie the breviarie of Eusebius as in the Latin and

Digitized by



Oreeke histories) was taken of the Frenche menn of the contrie of
Lions, under the conduite of Brennus.

This Brennus (if wee beleeve the newe Historie and make the
computation of years according to it, wherein thei have skarslie a
goode beginninge), hee flourished in chivalrie abowte the cccc.
yeare after the entrie of Brute into this londe. Wherefore, it is
moste evident that that Brennus, whom the historie maketh men-
tion to have invaded the cittie, lived ccc. and x. yeares beefore the
battayle was taken in honde. Wherfore, leste this error doe cause
moe errors to ensewe, wee will necessarilie chaunge the order, dis-
posing the other kinges in this place untill wee comm to that time
wherin reason itselfe shall minister to us occasion to have in re-
membrance Bellinus and Brennus. But let us retome home
againe. These v. tyrants, being emestlie pricked with the desier of
dominion, and burning in extreeme hatred, rushed hedlonge in
battayle : the rage of sedition dothe noe lesse enter the hartes of
the cittizens then grevuslie torment them. But soe it camme to
passe, that the tyrants, beinge wasted in theire owne broyles, and,
as it weare, wownded with theire proper swierdes, the common
welthe was restored againe, and the estate thereof reduced into
the jurisdiction of one manne; wherefore, at the instance and
Gintoline. assente of the people, Gintoline was proclaimed kinge, whoe, as he
was himselfe verie sage and wise, soe hadd he one Martia to wife,
a wooman aboove all others moste fayre and wittye. Men surelie
supposed that bie the verie providence of Ood it camme to passe
that Gintolin should aspire to this kinglie estate, and that, wheareas
the reallme was raced and weakened with civill dissention, he
showld againe restore the same to the former condition ; which
thinge, with grete Industrie, he perfourmed, for as sone as he was
seased in the same, with lawes, ordinances, and custommes, he
endevored to make new and fumishe the Brittishe common
wealthe, which of others beefore hadd reoeaved som forme and
furniture. But aboove all things he repressed and extinguished
civill dissention, which as yet remayned as the reliques of the old

Digitized by



factions ; yet the envie of Deathe, whose stuige sparethe no
manne, preventid his finall purpose^ being vehementlie busied
in these affairs. Of his wife Martia he hadd ingendered onlie one
Sonne named Sicilius, whoe, yet in that he was not ripe for imperie,
Martia, having good experience in manie things, tooke in handde
the charge and care of the kingedom, and thincking that all things
was fittinge to her conceminge the availe of the common wealthe,
she promulged lawes which of the posteritee were called Martian
Lawes. After Sicilius, whose life endeured not longe, reigned
Chimarius, Danius, and Morvidius, whoe^ beinge of haute corage,
yet of suche notable creweltie that wheras he was never satisfied
with the torture of menne, whome partUe with his own hands he
strake^ partlie he committed to dredfull torments ; at the lengthe,
having conflicte with wilde beastes, made a beastlie ende, and thus
(as the old saieng is) to miche stoutenes beecamme his owne con-
fusion. His Sonne Oorbonian, a mann muche unlike his father,
succeeded in kingdom, a mann of ezceading gooddnes and great
parsimonie, allwayse preferring peace beefore battayle. After
himme his brother Archigallo was crowned king, whoe, being mali-
cious towards the nobilitee, minded to putt the cheefe of them to
execution, and, having in feare their mighte and power, didd prepos-
teruslie exalte and honor the moste obscure and servile persons ;
for the which causes the piers and lordes, impacient in soe great
crueltie^ dispossessed himm of his rioll anthoritee. Into whose
rome was exalted his brother EUiodorus, a mann of great justice Eiiodoms.
and sinceritee, whoe, thinckinge it as a greate treason towards
himme selfe if he hadd not especiall regard of all suche thinggs as
mighte benefitt his broother, it is not credible to be towlde how
emestlie he entreated with his princes that Archigallo might bee Ann
restored to his kingdomm ; which thing in processe tooke effect ^^^^ ^'
when he hadde assuaged theire mindes with continuall entreatie ; Eliodonis.
noe doubte a rare example of pietee, if a mann shall deeplie way
with himme selfe howe great desier of rule-bearinge is incident
to mankind. Eliodorus, for this exceadinge pietee towards his

Digitized by



brother, was sumamed afterward Pius, that is to say, godlie,
pitens, or naturall. This Archigallo being towghte bie troubles
and daungers that hee coulde not enjoye his kingdome without
som ezchaunge of demainor, passed som parte of his years voyde
of all vice, and Uved x. years after the second receipte of his
reigne and crowne.

Thus calamitee sometimes dothe not onlie noe harme, but is

rather a feate instrument to prays and commendation. Eliodorus

was againe created kinge, whome his younger brothers Peridorus

and Vigenius, throughe disceyte, toke prisoner at London, com-

Tbe Toure mittinge him to prison in that place which is now called the Towre,

^^^''' as yeat there remaininge; the which being well embateled with

tyme, and manie turrets, whereof it hathe the name, the vulgars surmise to

hTif^uM^ have been erected by Julius Ceesar, whoe, indeed, made noe men-

Caetar, who tion of London, bie cause he cam not thither. Yigenius and Peri-

ther. dorus forthewith departed the riolme betweene them $ yet, within

a UtteU while, being bie sickenes browght to their laste daye, Elio*

dorus (haying binne sufficientlie tossed with the firailtee of fortune,

continuallie deludinge the minde of manne,) was yet once againe

made kinge, a manne surlie woorthie eteniall prayse, whoe, howe

moche the more studiouslie he eschewed rule and imperie, soe muche

the more was he acdted and required for the vertewes at the which

all menn wondered in himme. Hee reigned after this iiij. years.

There succeded a time cleane voyde of warlike valiaunce, but
not of other vertewse, in the which these weare kings : Reginus,
Moiganus, Ennanus, Idwallo, Ryno, Geruntius, Catellus, Coillus,
Porrex of that name the seconde, Cherinus, Fulgentius, Eldalus^
Donwallo Androgens, Yrianus, and Eliud ; after whome followed Dunwallo
Molmicius (for this is his place if keapinge the order of their acts,
wee have allso a respecte to the time), whome aboove wee declared^
throughe negligence, to be nombered owte of order. This manne,
even firom the beginnings beeganne to take care for those thinges
which hee thowghte to conceme the utilitee of the commonwelthe,
renewing with the auncient usage the sdens of warfare sore

Digitized by



decaied with discontinuance: hee sacred newe lawes^ and those verie
profitable, which afterwarde deservid to bee called Molmician ^oiin!<^un
Lawes. Hee appointed that the temples of the Godds showld bee
a sanctuarie to all that would flie tiiereuntoe ; hee was the first
that wore a crowne of gowlde ; hee releeved, as well with riches as
favor, all those which applied themselves to laudable artes, to the
end that bothe the cheefe of the reolme might doe the same hie his
j^esidenty and yowthe mighte the better bee animated to the em-
bracinge of vertewse ; he ordeined measures and weights for the
bieng and sale of things ; hee punished theeves and noisom or
harmefuU creatures with severitee ; he founded manie highe wayes,
prescribing their bredthe, apointing terrible penalties as wel to the
breaker of their immunities and rightes as to those which com-
mitted enie haynus offence in them. Furthermore, leaste the
grownde showlde lie waste and the people bee ether oppressed or
diminished for the wante of graine, if ownlie cattayle showlde feed
in the fieldes which showlde bee tilled bie menn, hee appointed
how manie plowse everie cowntie showlde have, enjoyning a
punishement to those bie whome the nomber showlde bee made
lesse, and forbiddinge that suche steares as showlde searve for
tilthe to bee caried awaye bie enie magistrate, or otherwise to bee
surrendrid to creditors for the debte of monnie, if otherwise the
goodds of the debtor wowld suffise. This was thus ordered leaste
the grasiers for advauntage showlde cause the fieldes of the hous-
bondmenn to be untilled, the which lawe groweth owte of ure in
theise our dayse, to noe small hinderance of the whole commo-
naltee. But finallie (that I male retome to mi matter), this Dun-
wallo lefte the kingdom in commune to his sonnes BeUinus and BeUimis.
Brennus. Thei bie and bie beganne to contende for the superioritee ^'«"^'***
and pre-eminence, but afterward, being reconciled bie the exhor-
tations of their friendes, thei divided the kingdom betweene them.
The woorse parte of the realme chaunced to Brennus, as to the
yonger brother, whoe, having haute corage throughe the gre .t con-
fidence in his vertewse, did not take in good parte that his brother
CAIID. soc. o

Digitized by



Bellinus showlde have the better portion ; and^ mistrusting that the
matter was compassed bie deceite^ entended to acquite him selfe
of this injurie bie weapon and armes.

Wherfore, assembling an armie^ as well of Britons as alients^ he
raysed battayle against his brother. Bellinus with like celeride^
being furnished of armoure and fightingemenn, mette with his
brother ; butt soe the chaunee when thei showld even presentlie
joyne in fighte^ their mother camm betweene them, bie whose
praiers and instance they, being overcommed, were enforced
sodainlie to departe from theire armowre, ether of them detestinge
'Brennns. SO fowle and unseemelie a contention. Brennus^ after that time,
havinge nothinge at home wherin he mighte take reste and delec-
tation, settinge first all things in order at home, leste he showld
waxe dulle throwghe laysie sluggishnes, passed the seas into
France, mindinge emonge fighting people to passe the time in
waiTes, and was had in great honor and estimation emonge the
Frenchemenn of Lions (as I finde more trulie then emonge the
people of Savoy, called Allobroges). At which time the people of
Lions, whether it weare to unburden the companie of the noysom
multitude, or that they weare sente for of the Italiens to make
battaile, thei passed over into Italic, Brennus being theire capi-
taine, with a great multitude of men ; and after thei hadd over-
comme the Alpes passing into Tuscanie, and sodainlie setting
on the cittie called Clusium, they destroyd the territories rownd
abowt. The Clusians, astonied at the sodaine daunger, sent
«mbassadours to Rome, requiering that thei wowlde send aide
against this straunge nation. The Romaines, albeit at that pre-
sence thei were not confedered in societee with the Clusians,
yet ponderinge that daungers might more nearlie a^^roche them
if the other hadde the oveithrowe, did at the first time send
likewise three ambassadoures, the sonnes of M. Fabius Ambustus;
whoe, in the beehoufe of the senators and people of Rome^ pleated
with the Frenchemen that they shoulde not assaulte the frindes
and fiers of the Romaines ; whereunto Brennus aunswered that

Digitized by



peace in noe wise he wold simplie reject, if the Clusians wold be
contente to surrender parte of their grownde (where of they had
more then thei did occupie) to the indigent Frenchemenn ; other
weyse peace nether could nor should bee attained. On the other
side, the legates of Rome, being enchafed with such woords, de-
maunded what the Frenchemenn hadd to do in Hetruria. With
these and such like prowde saiengs, there mindes beinge set on
fire on bothe sides, thei ranne to theire weapons. The legats,
that thei might declare of what valiance and vertew the Romains
were in battaile, contrarie to the lawe of armes, armed them selves
speedelie againste the Frenchemenn. The Frenchemenn, on the
other side, conceaving just ire against the Romaines, and raysinge
theire siege, made an outcrie throughte all there tentes that thei
moste neades hast to Rome with their weapons, which pretended
deadlie hatred. Brennus, neverthelesse, thought good firste to
sende embassadours to Rome, which mighte exacte dewe punishe^
mente for suche breakers of the lawe; which thinge forthewith
toke effect. But whearas woorde was brought againe, that the
three Fabians, woorckers of this injurie, were not onlie not
amerced, but allso assigned Tribunes for the yeare insewinge, thei
all stormed more vehementlie ; and, seing that of theire willfuU
enimie theire was nothing to be looked for besides warre, un-
righteus deaUnge, and treason, thei towmed all the force of that
battayle on the Romaines, and toke their yiage toward Rome,
destroyeng all thinges on eyerie side. There was soe great speede
of ther enemies, that thei could scarslie bee mette with all at
the xjt*» mile. The Tribunes, taking thether there jornie, with an
unadvised armie (conteininge about the number of fortie thowsande
fightinge menu) founde theire enemies abowte the river Allia,
which springeth out of the hills called Crustinium, and a littell
benethe the highe way is receaved of the river Tybris. In this place
the Romaines, encountring with the Frenchemenn, were in verie
shorte space disconfited. Brennus cowld hardeUe beeleeve that
bee hadd soe soone geeven the overthrowe ; wherefore a while he

Digitized by



stoode as suspens with feare ; but, when he perceaved all things to
bee in saftie, first gatheringe the spoiles of suche as weare slaine,
he proceadeth in his jomie towards Rome, wheare (at the firste
discrienge of the enimies which approched) there was great clamor
and no lesse feare on all hands. And, bie cause in soe great dispaire
there was noe hope to preserve the dtee, the senators with a
garison of yowthe entered the capitol and towne, bringinge tiie-
tiier come and armowre, that therebie at the leste the name of
the Romaines might bee defended ; but the elder sorte of senatours
remained with a weake companie in the cittee, mindinge to die
with their contrie if neads it muste perishe.

The Frenchemenn in the meanewhile drewe neare unto the
cittee, and, enteringe at the gate called CoUina porta, tooke the
streight wey into the merkate plaee, musinge not a litell that the
howses of the citizens were shutt, and the mansions of noblemen
wide open. Fearing therefore to bee assaulted by somme treason^
thie proceaded more warelie. But afterwarde, perceavinge suche
aunciente fathers of suche antiquitie sittinge in their chairs, thei
intentivelie beehelde them as the images of Godds. In the meane
season M. Papirius did smite one of the Frenchemen on the hedd
with a sticke, for that unreverentlie he stroked his bearde, where-
with hee was soe moved that he roved the olde man throughe
with his swerde, which slaughter beginninge at this one mann
gave suche occasion that other menu weare semblablie destroied
sittinge in theire seates as triumphant. From thens tbeye sleaing
with owt daunger suche as thei founde in the cittie, som houses
tok"^ de *^®y ^^^^ threw, som they set on fire; and thus was Rome taken
the conduct of the Frenchemen under the conducte of Brennus die cccLx.
of Breimus. ^^^ y y^^^ ^^^ ^j^^ biledinge thereof. After this in the night
time thei privilie entred the capitoll, and beeinge at a verie neare
poincte to have taken it (see the fortune thereof) they were so-
dainlie beeurayed bie the noise and crie of geese, and weare
throune downe hedlong fro the toppe to the bottom of the rocke.
Tlie Remains as it weare for theire extreeme refuge chose one

Digitized by



CamiUoB Dietator, which sojomed at Ardea, heinge theire banished Camfliiu

from Rome, most earnestiie requiering him that hee wolde ude ^w dttie

them and his nnthankful contrie ; who, nothing bearing in minde ^ ^^noe.

the injnrie which he hadd receaved, bat waieng more his dewtie

toward his contrie which privile hee beewailed, tooke mooster

forthwith of a warlike oompanie. In the meane time thei which

fledde into tiie capitoll, beeing neare stenred with famine, did

make covenant with Brennus, that for a thowsand pownde in golde

the people showid be redeemed, and hee and his armie clene de-

parte bothe owte of die dtte and tetitoris of Rome. Neyertheles

it 8oe fell owte that the people of Rome was nott deane distuned

with that ignominie. For the Frendiemen, not being contented

with the dew Bomme of gpwlde, did put one of their swerds into

the weghtes: cm the other side the Romaines denied to adde

more gOulde into onequall balance. And whilest witii this debatinge

and aitercadon the time was prolonged and the gowld as yet not

wayed, Camilltts was present, and commanded the gonld to bee

talren away, sayinge that noe bargaine or covenant should be made

of an inferior magistrate withowte the countermaunde of the die*

tator ; and findlie he commaundeth the Frenchemenn to prepare

themselves to theire laste conflicte. Thus they joyninge in bat-

tayle, the Frenchemen, which looked for gowld'e and not to fight

at that verie instance, weare verie easlie overcommed. Afterward

tiiei departing owt of the cittee throwgfae the way called Gabina

nia, at the viijth nule were overtiirowne with muche more crewd

slatighter; thei were beereeved of their tents, and suche sleaing

thear was on all sides that if wee beeleeve Livie tiiere scarslie

was remaining one messenger in this mortalitee. But Polibius

recordeth that the Frenchemen retired from the beseeging of the

cittee bie reason of domesticall warrs, makinge league with the

Romaines and restoringe hbertie to the cittie. But, howsoever

the case standeth, it is evident tiiat Brennus (the moste valiant

and renowned captun that ever was, for whose sake wee nowe

deflected from our purpose) nev^ returned againe into Britaine,

Digitized by



being either slaine at the overthrow geven at Gabina via, or other-
wise passing the residue of his life in Fraunce. But^ wheresoever
he was^ his deathe muste neades be honorable and famos after
so manie and worthie exploits. An hundred and ten years after,
there was another Brennus borne in Fraunce, under whose
governance another trowpe of Frenchemen entered into Greece.
Here I thowght goodd to speake of this other Brennus and
capitane of the Gaulls^ leste peradventure thei which are unscilful
in the old histories, throwge the similitude of their names, shoulde
thincke that it was all one man which tooke, burned, and sacked

Online LibraryPolydore VergilPolydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum → online text (page 5 of 30)