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written find any thing not delivered according to the truth, he will not impute the same to me, who, as the true rule of history requires, have laboured sincerely to commit to writing such things as I could gather from common report, for the instruction of posterity.
Moreover I beseech all men who shall hear or read this history of our nation, that for my manifold infirmities both of mind and body, they will offer up frequent supplications to the throne of Grace. And I further pray, that in recompense for the labour wherewith I have recorded in the several countries and cities those events which were most worthy of note, and most grateful to the ears of their inhabitants, I may for my reward have the benefit of their pious prayers.
CHAP. I.–OF THE SITUATION OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND,
AND OF THEIR ANCIENT INHABITANTS.
RITAIN, an island in the ocean,
of Europe. It extends 800 miles in length towards the north, and is 200 miles in breadth, except where several promontories extend further in breadth, by which its compass is made to be 3675 miles. To the south, as you pass along the nearest shore of the Its situation. Belgic Gaul, the first place in Britain which opens to the eye, is the city of Rutubi Portus, by the English corrupted into Reptacestir. The distance from hence across the sea to Gessoriacum, the nearest shore of the Morini, is 50 miles, or as some writers say, 450 furlongs. On the back of the island, where it opens upon the boundless ocean, it has the islands called Orcades. Britain excels for grain and trees, and is well adapted
etiam quibusdam in locis germinans; sed et aviuin ferax terra marique generis diversi. Fluviis quoque multum piscosis ac fontibus præclara copiosis, et quidem præcipue issicio abundat et anguilla. Capiuntur autem sæpissime et vituli marini et delphines, necnon et balænæ; exceptis variorum generibus conchyliorum, in quibus sunt et musculæ, quibus inclusam sæpe margaritam omnis quidem coloris optimam inveniunt, id est, et rubicundi, et purpurei, et hyacinthini, et prasini, sed maxime candidi. Sunt et cochleæ satis superque abundantes, quibus tinctura coccinei coloris conficitur, cujus rubor pulcherrimus nullo unquam solis ardore, nulla valet pluviarum injuria pallescere; sed quo vetustior est eo solet esse venustior. Habet fontes salinarum, habet et fontes calidos, et ex eis fluvios balnearum calidarum, omni ætati et sexui per distincta loca juxta suum cuique modum accommodos. Aqua enim, ut sanctus Basilius dicit, fervidam qualitatem recipit, quum per certa quædam metalla transcurrit, et fit non solum calida sed et ardens. Quæ etiam venis metallorum, æris, ferri, et plumbi, et argenti, fecunda, gignit et lapidem gagatem plurimum optimumque; est autem nigrogemmeus et ardens igni admotus, incensus serpentes fugat, attritu calefactus applicita detinet æque ut succinum. Erat et civitatibus quondam viginti et octo nobilissimis insignita præter castella innumera, quæ et ipsa muris, turribus, portis, ac seris erant instructa firmissimis.
Et quia prope sub ipso septentrionali vertice mundi jacet, lucidas æstate noctes habet, ita ut medio sæpe tempore noctis in quæstionem veniat intuentibus, utrum crepusculum adhuc permaneat vespertinum, an jam advenerit matutinum, utpote nocturno sole non longe sub terris ad orientem boreales per plagas redeunte ; unde etiam plurimæ longitudinis habet dies æstate, sicut et noctes contra in bruma, sole nimirum tunc Libycas in partes secedente, id est, horarum decem et octo. Plurimæ item brevitatis noctes æstate et dies habet in bruma, hoc est,
for feeding cattle and beasts of burden. It also pro- Its produc. duces vines in some places, and has plenty of land and water fowls of several sorts; it is remarkable also for rivers abounding in fish, and plentiful springs. It has the greatest plenty of salmon and eels; seals are also frequently taken, and dolphins, as also whales; besides many sorts of shell-fish, such as muscles, in which are often found excellent pearls of all colours, red, purple, violet, and green, but mostly white. There is also a great abundance of cockles, of which the scarlet dye is made; a most beautiful colour, which never fades with the heat of the sun or the washing of the rain ; but the older it is, the more beautiful it becomes. It has both salt and hot springs, and from them flow rivers which furnish hot baths, proper for all ages and sexes, and arranged according. For water, as St. Basil says, receives the heating quality, when it runs along certain metals, and becomes not only hot but scalding. Britain has also many veins of metals, as copper, iron, lead, and silver; it has much and excellent jet, which is black and sparkling, glittering at the fire, and when heated, drives away serpents; being warmed with rubbing, it holds fast whatever is applied to it, like amber. The island was formerly embellished with twenty-eight noble cities, besides innumerable castles, which were all strongly secured with walls, towers, gates, and locks. And, from its lying almost under the North Pole, the nights are light in summer, so that at midnight the beholders are often in doubt whether the evening twilight still
2 continues, or that of the morning is coming on; for the sun, in the night, returns under the earth, through the northern regions at no great distance from them. For this reason the days are of a great length in summer, as on the contrary, the nights are in winter, the sun then withdrawing into the southern parts, so that they are eighteen hours long. Thus the nights are extraordinarily short in summer, and the days in winter, that is,
sex solummodo æquinoctialium horarum ; cum in Armenia, Macedonia, Italia, ceterisque ejusdem lineæ regionibus, longissima dies sive nox quindecim, brevissima novem compleat horas.
Hæc in præsenti, juxta numerum librorum quibus Lex Divini scripta est, quinque gentium linguis unam eandemque summæ veritatis et veræ sublimitatis scientiam scrutatur et confitetur; Anglorum videlicet, Britonum, Scotorum, Pictorum, et Latinorum, quæ meditatione Scripturarum ceteris omnibus est facta communis. In primis autem hæc insula Britones solum, a quibus nomen accepit, incolas habuit; qui de tractu Armoricano, ut fertur, Britanniam advecti, Australes sibi partes illius vindicarunt. Et cum plurimam insulæ partem, incipientes ab Austro, possedissent, contigit gentem Pictorum de Scythia, ut perhibent, longis navibus non multis oceanum ingressam, circumagente flatu ventorum, extra fines omnes Britanniæ Hiberniam pervenisse, ejusque septentrionales oras intrasse, atque, inventa ibi gente Scotorum, sibi quoque in partibus illius sedes petiisse, nec impetrare potuisse. Est autem Hibernia insula omnium post Britanniam maxima, ad occidentem quidem Britanniæ sita ; sed sicut contra aquilonem ea brevior, ita in meridiem se trans illius fines plurimum protendens, usque contra Hispaniæ septentrionalia, quamvis magno æquore interjacente, pervenit.
Ad hanc ergo usque pervenientes navigio Picti, ut diximus, petierunt in ea sibi quoque sedes et habitationem donari ; respondebant Scoti, quia non ambos eos caperet insula,“ sed possumus," inquiunt, “ salubre vobis dare consilium quid agere valeatis. Novimus insulam esse aliam non procul a nostra contra ortum solis, quam sæpe lucidioribus diebus de longe aspicere solemus. Hanc adire si vultis, habitabilem vobis facere valetis ; vel, si qui restiterint, nobis auxiliariis utimini.” Itaque petentes Britanniam Picti habitare per septentrionales insulæ partes copeof only six equinoctial hours. Whereas, in Armenia, Macedonia, Italy, and other countries of the same latitude, the longest day or night extends but to fifteen hours, and the shortest to nine.
This island at present, following the number of the its inhabibooks in which the Divine law was written, contains five nations, the English, Britons, Scots, Picts, and Latins, each in its own peculiar dialect cultivating the sublime study of Divine truth. The Latin tongue is, by the study of the Scriptures, become common to all the rest. At first this island had no other inhabitants but the Britons, from whom it derived its name, and who coining over into Britain, as is reported, from Armorica, possessed themselves of the southern parts thereof. When they, beginning at the south, had made themselves masters of the greatest part of the island, it happened, that the nation of the Picts, from Scythia, as is reported, putting to sea, in a few long ships, were driven by the winds beyond the shores of Britain, and arrived on the northern coasts of Ireland, where, finding the nation of the Scots, they begged to be allowed to settle among them, but could not succeed in obtaining their request. Ireland is the greatest island next to Britain, and lies to the west of it; but as it is shorter than Britain to the north, so, on the other hand, it runs out far beyond it to the south, opposite to the northern parts of Spain, though a spacious sea lies between them. The Picts, as has been said, arriving in this island by sea, desired to have a place granted them in which they might settle. The Scots answered that the island could not contain them both; but “ we can give you good advice," said they, “what to do; we know there is another island, not far from ours, to the eastward, which we often see at a distance, when the days are clear. If you will go thither, you will obtain settlements; or if they should oppose you, you shall have our assistance.” The Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began