Capitulum vicesimum octavum.
KYNGE Edwarde syttynge in Ester day at dyner at West|mynstre, and oþer men eitynge avarousely, lauȝhede after that he hade ben as in a study. The kynge inquirede after dyner the cause of laȝhynge, ansuerede and seide, "that the vij. sle|pers in the mownte Selius, nye to the cite of Ephesus in the lesse Asia, whiche rested by vij.c. yere by the ryȝhte side, Page 221, vol.7 turnede theim unto the lifte side in the tyme of my lauȝh|ynge; and it is to comme that thei schalle lye in the lifte side by lxxiiijti. yere, in which tyme that harde chaunce that Criste rehersethe in his Gospelle schalle comme to mortalle men, Peple schalle aryse ageyne peple; for Saracenes schalle ryse ageyne Cristen peple, and Cristen men ageyne theyme." Also the kynge adiecte the habitudes of theire bodies, whiche thynge noon oþer wrytynge expressethe, wherefore ministres of the kynge sende diverse messyngers to Nicent, emperoure [folio 332b] of Constantinopole, to knowe the trawthe of this mater and pro|cesse, whiche admittynge theyme mekely, sende theyme to the bischop Ephesyne, desirenge hym that the vij. slepers myȝhte be schewed to the messangers of Ynglonde; and the messangers provede the wordes of kynge Edwarde to be tru. And after that the Saraceyns and Turkes arysynge occupiede the lesse Asia and also Ierusalem; and the emperour Henre the thridde diede soone after; and Henre, kynge of Fraunce was poysonede. Also a blasynge sterre appered the viijthe kalendes of Maii, as thro alle þe worlde by vij. daies contynually, whom Page 223, vol.7 Olyver monke of Malmesbury salutede in this: "Thou haste comme nowe to be sorowede of the moders of mony peple; hit is longe sithe y see the, but y beholde now anoþer sterre moore terrible then the, manassynge the destruccion of the cuntre." This Oliver, instructe in mony science and olde in age, usede grete boldenesse in his yowthe, in so moche that he wolde take fethers in his hondes and feete, y wotte not of that crafte, and wolde flye by the space of a forlonge lyke to Dedalus. But at the laste he hade a falle, in so moche that his legges were moore feble afterwarde alle the tyme of his lyfe. Kynge Edwarde began to be seke at Westemynstre in this yere, in whiche extreme infirmite he see a vision, expressynge hit to men abowte hym, seyenge, "ij. religious come to me, whom y knewe somme tyme in Normandy, seyenge theyme to be sende from God to schewe these thynges to me; that dukes or gover|noures Page 225, vol.7 of Ynglonde afore tyme, bischoppes, and abbottes, be not the ministres of God, but of the develle. Wherefore God hathe ȝiffen this realme after thy dethe to the powre of the develle oon yere and oon day, and the develles schalle go thro this londe. And when y prayede that at my denuncia|cion that thei myȝhte be penitent, and delyverede after the exemple of men of Niniven, thei seide neiþer thynge scholde be, for neiþer the peple scholde be penitent, nor God scholde schewe mercy." Then the kynge inquirede of theym when remission scholde be hade, thei seide, "When that the hie parte of a grete grene tre, kytte from hit, and beynge from hit by a grete space, begynnethe to bere frute." Stigandus arche|bischop stondynge by, seide to the people stondynge by, that the communicacion of this mater was but a iape; but Eng|londe perceyvid this prophecy to be tru when hit was as de|stroyede by straunge peple. Kynge Edwarde was dedde and Page 227, vol.7 beriede at Westemynstre, in the vigille of the Epiphany, after that he hade reignede xxiij. yere and vij. monethes. ℞. The lyfe of whom Aluredus Rivallense did write nobly, whom he directe to Laurence abbot of Westemynstre, and the seide abbot sende that life soe wryten to Henre the secunde. Willelmus de Regibus, ubi supra. And Harolde occupiede the realme anoon as by ix. monethes. And somme men wolde have made Edgarus, sonne of Edmunde Irenside, to have been kynge; but for cause he was a childe, and not apte to that charge, Harolde was suffrede to reioyce the realme. ℞. Neverthelesse Maria|nus rehersethe that kynge Edward afore his dethe made Harolde his successoure, whom the gentillmen of the londe made kynge after the dethe of kynge Edward. This Harold consecrate into the kynge by Aldredus, archebischop off Yorke, began to destroye wickede lawes, to defende the churche, to have religious men in reverence, to punysche transgressors, and to defende the cuntre. Tostius, his broþer, herynge that Page 229, vol.7 he was kynge, toke with hym lx. schippes, and come to Yng|londe, robbynge the costes off Kente, whiche dredynge Harold his broþer, fledde to Lindesey, where he brente mony townes, and did sle moche peple, untille that he was expulsede by Ed|winus and Morkarus, dukes of þe Marches and off Northum|brelonde; and so he wente to Malcolinus kynge of Scottes, with whom he taryede by alle a somer. Kynge Harolde, dredynge moche the commynge of William duke of Normandy, causede a grete flete of schippes to kepe the see, and settynge an hoste of men to kepe the grownde of the costes of the sowthe nye to the see by alle a somer and herveste; but money and vitells faylenge, men returnede into theire cuntrees. After that Harold Harefagus, broþer of seynte Olavus, londed in the water of Tyne with ccc. schippes, whom Tostius mette with his schippes, as he promisede afore. Harolde kynge herynge that, made grete haste to ȝiffe batelle to hym; but the seide ij. breþer german, Edwinus and Morkarus, ȝiffenge soore batelle to theym, were devicte at the laste. But in the vthe day folowynge kynge Harolde ȝafe batelle to þeim at Stemesford|brigge, Page 231, vol.7 where he did slee in soore fiȝhte the kynge of Norway, and Tostius his awne brother, suffrenge Olavus sonne of the seide kynge, and Paulus duke of Orcades, havynge suertes and fidelite made to hym, to departe to theire cuntre. Oon man of Norway was worthy to have lawde perpetualle, whiche stond|ynge on Stemesforde brygge, did sle xlti men of Ynglonde with a batelle ax, and taryenge alle the hoste of Ynglische men, that thei cowthe not entre on the brigge from morowe unto xij. of the clokke, with owte eny wounde, untille that a man of Ynglonde goynge with a bootte under the brigge, pereschede hym thro the body with a spere. Harolde the kynge, gladde of that victory, hade indignacioun to divide the grete rychesse geten in that felde with his peple, wherefore mony noblemen of his hoste departede from hym, goynge to ȝife a newe batelle ageyne William the noble duke of Normandy [folio 333b] and Conqueroure. Willelmus de Regibus, libro secundo.