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bury and Athelney; he called from other lands learned
men to help him, the best he could get-Phlegmund
from Mercia, Asser from Wales, Grimbald from St.
Omers, and John from Corbei, in Saxony. He himself
translated into English such Latin works as he thought
would be most useful to his people, translating freely,
omitting much, and adding much from himself in the
way of comment and reflection and illustration.

Translation of Pastoral Care.' - One of these works
was the ‘Pastoral Care' of the Pope Gregory who sent
missionaries to Britain. To the translation Alfred pre-
fixed a preface which is extremely interesting. A copy
was sent to each bishop, and the one sent to Wærferth,
bishop of Worcester, is preserved in the Bodleian Library.
In it the king speaks thus :

Ælfréd kyning háteð grétan Alfred, king, biddeth greet
Wærferð biscep his wordum luf- Wærferth, bishop, with his words
lice qnd fréondlice; ond 8é cyðan in loving and friendly wise ; and I
háte Sæt mé com swide oft on would have you know that it has
gemynd, hwelce wiotan iu waron come very often into my mind,
giond Angeloynn, ægder ge god- what wise men formerly there
cundra háda ge woruldcundra, ond were among the English race, both
hú geskeliglica tida 8á wæron of the sacred orders and of the
giond Angelcynn; qnd hú man secular, and how happy times
útan bordes wísdóm ond láre hieder those were throughout the English
on lọnd sóhte, ond hú wé hie nú race; and how people from abroad
sceoldan úte begietan, gif we hie for wisdom and learning sought
habban sceoldan.

hither to this land, and how we
now should have to get them

abroad, if we would have them.
Swá cláne hió wæs odfeallenu So clean was it fallen away in
en Angelcynne dætte swide feawa the English race that there were
wáron behionan Humbre de hiora very few on this side Humber who
Peninga cúden understondan on would know how to render their
Englisc; qnd ic wéne Sætte noht services into English ; and I ween
monige begiondan Humbre náren. that not many would be on the

Swæ feáwa hiora wæron Hæt ic
furdum ánne ánlépne ne mæg
gedencean be súðan Temese, da da
ic to rice feng. Gode ælmihtigum
sie donc Sæt we nu ænigne on
stal habba8 lareowa.

other side of Humber. So few of
them were there that I not even a
single one can think of south of
Thames when I took to the realm.
God almighty be thanked that we
now have in office any teachers.


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Translation of Orosius.--Another work chosen for
translation by Alfred was the Chronicles of Orosius.
Orosius was a Spanish monk, a friend of St. Augustine,
and his work in those early ages had great repute as a
compendium of universal history and geography. Alfred,
as was his wont, added valuable matter of his own, and
among these additions is an account of the land of the
Northmen given to the king by Othere and Wulfstan,
two strangers from those regions whom Alfred gladly
entertained at his court.

in the


as t1




Othere séde his hláforde.
Elfrede cyninge, bat he ealra
Nordmonna norðmest búde. Hé
cwæð dæt hé búde on Fém lande
nordweardum wid Ha Westsæ.
Hé séde Yeah Hæt Væt land sie
swide lang norð &qnan; ac hit is
eall wéste, búton on feáwum
stowum wíciað Finnas, on hun-
tode on wintra, qnd on sumera on
fiscade be dáre sá.

Hé wæs swide spédig mann on
Fám æhtum de hiora spéda on
béoð, Sæt is, en wildrum. Hé
hæfde Págit, Ja he done cyning
sóhte, tamra deóra six hund. Dá
deór hie hátað hránas'; dara
wéron six stálhránas, da beo8
swide dyre mid Finnum for dám
hie od da wildan hránas mid.

E 트

Othere said to his lord king
Alfred that he of all the Northmen
abode northmost. He said that
he dwelt in the land to the north-
ward along the West Sea. He said,
however, that that land is very
long north from thence, but it is
all waste, except that in a few
places Finns dwell for hunting in
winter, and in summer for fishing
in that sea.

He was a very wealthy man in
those possessions in which their
wealth consists, that is in wild
deer. He had at the time that he
came to the king, of tame deer, six
hundred. These deer they call
reindeer, of which there were six
decoy reindeer, which are very
valuable among the Finns, for
with them they catch the reindeer.

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THE SAXON CHRONICLES. ANOTHER work of King Alfred was the translation of Bæda's noble history, and it is possible that to this we owe the most precious remnant of Saxon literature ---the Chronicles. There are seven of these Chronicles now existing ; they are designated by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and the one marked A is probably the parent of all the rest. At the time of the Reformation it was in the library of Christ Church monastery at Canterbury; Archbishop Parker gained possession of it and bequeathed it to Benet (now Corpus Christi) College in Cambridge, and there it now is. Internal evidence connects it with Winchester rather than Canterbury, and it is often cited as the Winchester Chronicle. It is the work of several scribes, and the first handwriting ceases at 891, the year in which Phlegmund became archbishop, and it is extremely probable that so far at least it is the work of King Alfred's reign.

The Chronicle begins with the year 60 B.C., and from thence to A.D. 449 it is compiled from various Latin authors, and chiefly from Bæda. From 449 to 731 (where Beda ceases) there are many such entries, mingled, however, with gleanings from the half-lost history of Wessex and Kent, gained from songs, runic stones, and rolls of kings. Of such a kind is the entry for the year 473 :

Her Hengest and Æsc gefuhton Here (at this time) Hengist wi8 Walas, and genamon unari- and Aesc fought with the Welsh medlico here reaf, and Na Walas (Britons), and took innumerable flugon da Englan swa fyr.

spoil, and the Welsh fled from the English like fire.

The period of thirty years ending with 855 bears marks of contemporary freshness. It records among other things Alfred's visit to Rome with his father, and it may, perhaps, be the work of the saintly Swithun, bishop of Winchester, who also went with the king to Rome. The period closes with the death of Ethelwulf, and with a great genealogy of the Wessex kings, ascending up to Wodin, thence to Hrathra, who was born in the ark,' thence to · Adam primus homo et pater noster, id est Christus. Amen.'

The period from 894 to 897 is described as the most remarkable piece of writing in the whole series of Chronicles. It is a warm, vigorous, earnest narrative, free from the rigidity of the other annals, full of life and originality. It reads more like a narrative of our own time than Alfred's.' 1

The following is part of the entry for 896 :--

On 8y ylcan gere worhte se fore In the same year wrought the sprecene here geweorc be Lygan before-mentioned army a fort by xx mila bufan Lunden byrig. Da the Lea twenty miles above London

sumera foron micel dæl town. Then in the summer went Para burgwara, and eac swa odres forth a great part of the townsmen, folces. Dæt hie gedydon æt Sara and also of other folk. Thus they Deniscana geweorc, and Jær wur did to the Danish fort, and there don gefliemde, and sume feower they were put to flight, and some cyninges Hegnas ofslægene. Da four king's thanes

were slain. Hæs on hærfæste da wicode se Theu after this, in harvest, the cyng on neaweste Pare byrig, da king encamped in the neighbourhwile de hie hira corn gerypon, hood of the town the while they Dæt Ha Deniscan him ne mehton reaped their corn, that the Danes Bæs ripes forwiernan.

might not prevent them from the

reaping. Down to the year 924 the narrative is of the same.

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i Earle.

character but more subdued, but the record from 925 to 975 is extremely meagre. The years 937, 942, 973, 975 have no prose entry, but a poetical piece is inserted in each of these years, and the first is the noble ode on the Battle of Brunanburg, which begins thus :

Her Ædelstan cyning Here Æthelstan the king
eorla dryhten

of earls the lord
and his broPor eac

and his brother also Eadmund ædeling

Eadmund the prince geslogon æt sæcce

fought in battle sweorda ecgum

with edge of swords ymbe Brunanburh.

near Brunanburg. At the end of the year 1001 the handwriting again changes, and from thence to the close of the Chronicle in 1079 there are only eleven scattered entries, consisting of matters interesting to Canterbury rather than to Winchester. It has therefore been thought that the Winchester Chronicle ceased in 1001, and that when Lanfranc became archbishop in 1079 it was brought to Canterbury and that the few additional entries were made there.

The Chronicles marked B, C, F, G are little more than copies of A, though each has some entries peculiar to itself. Chronicle D, the Worcester Chronicle, is specially rich in entries relating to Mercian and Northumbrian affairs during the eighth and ninth centuries, and it is thought to owe its origin to Wærferth, the Bishop of Worcester, the friend of King Alfred. In recording the events of Edward the Confessor's reign it has a strong and distinct character of its own, and it is the only one of the Chronicles which gives an account of the Battle of Hastings.

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