Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/255
THE BODY OF ST. CUTHBERT
FROM LINDISFARNE TO DURHAM.
8 1 . Almighty God, who is justly merciful and merci- Arrival of the
. . . . Danes.
fully just, being willing to punish the English nation for a.d. 875. their manifold sins, permitted the Fresons and Danes, pagan nations, to exercise their inhumanity over them. These nations, under Ubba, Duke of the Fresons, and Halfdene, King of the Danes, arrived in Britain, which is now called England, and having divided themselves into three bodies, ravaged the country in three di- rections. One body rebuilt the walls of York, and occupying the neighbouring country on all sides, took up their abode there ; the other two, much more fero- cious than the first, occupied Mercia and the country of the South Saxons, destroying everything they came near, both sacred and profane, with fire, rapine, and slaughter. Then might be seen noble and excellent priests slain around the altars on which they had solemnized the holy mysteries of the body and blood of Christ, virgins ravished, the respect due to matrons trodden under foot, infants torn from their mothers' breasts and dashed against the ground, or suspended by the feet, or torn in pieces by the hands of the barbarians ; in short, no mercy was shown by the cruel wretches, to sex, age, or dignity. Nor yet even thus could their brutal ferocity glut itself, but they must needs destroy every member of the royal family from whom they apprehended danger to their