Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/263

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Indeed all the motives which in those days turned men to religion were operative on the young Edward. He was a stranger and an exile, fatherless and abandoned by his mother. He heard of nothing but tales of misery from his native land; and he was exposed to constant peril from plots against his person, as he was a hindrance to many ambitious plans at home. Again we may follow the poet:—

          News came to me often;
          News of the death of my father,
          News of the marriage of my mother,
          News of Edward my brother,
          Which was worse than the rest,
          News of my nephews
          Who were slain by gluttonous Danes:
          Then of Alfred, my brother, who
          Was destroyed and died in Ely.
          I was watched as a prisoner,
          Nor was I safe even in a monastery.
          Besides God and His Mother I had no
          Comfort, and my lord Saint Peter
          And Saint John the Evangelist.

It was under the penetrating discipline of sorrow that the character of the young Edward was formed. He saw all his relatives one by one swept away by a remorseless destiny; and in his growing solitude he took refuge with God. The land of his birth was to him only the source of unnumbered woes. His lot was bound up with it, and he must do his duty, whatever it might be; but he took no pleasure in the thought.

So when Edward, at the age of forty, was called to the English throne, he came to discharge an office for which he felt no special fitness. He had little of the