Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/258

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186
APPENDIX.

mercy and justice, and to teach them to your sons above every thing else, seeing that at your prayer God has vouchsafed to grant to you the disposal of the whole of Britain. If you are faithful to God and me, you shall find me, from this time, your invincible buckler, whereon shall be broken all the strength of your enemies. Wherefore, now, put off your fears and nactivity, and, as soon as to-morrow's light shall dawn, cross over to the nearest shore, and blow loudly with your horn three times. And as wax melts before the heat of the fire, so by your blasts shall the pride of your enemies, with God's will, be dissolved, and the courage of your friends be aroused. About the ninth hour of the day, five hundred of your dearest friends shall come to you fully armed; and by this sign shall you believe me, that at the end of seven days, an army shall assemble together from the whole of this land at Mount Assandune, prepared to follow you as their king in adversity as well as in prosperity: there shall you join battle with the enemy, and, without doubt, gain the victory.'" Having said these words, the saint disappeared from the eyes of the king, and the light faded away. Alfred, feeling certain that all he had heard would come to pass, yielded himself wholly to the saint's protection and guidance.

§ 4. At the dawn of day he hastened with unusual activity to the shore, and did as he had been directed. His horn was heard both by his enemies and friends, and five hundred of his best adherents joined him, well prepared with arms. He revealed to them the vision, and said,—" We have now seen what punishment our fathers, who are dead, have, by God's just ordinance, been suffered to receive from the barbarians for our crimes as well as theirs. We ourselves, also, are sought out, day and night, for similar treatment; nor have we any place of refuge to which we can trust. I beg you, therefore, let us obey the admonitions of our patron, St. Cuthbert. Let us be faithful to God, eschew evil,