Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/39

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31
HENRY THE FIRST.

the infidels: soon after which, Ralph bishop of Durham, either by the negligence or corruption of his keepers, escaped out of prison, and fled over to the duke; whom he stirred up to renew and solicit his pretensions to the crown of England, by writing to several nobles, who, either through old friendship, or new discontent, or an opinion of his title, gave him promises of their assistance, as soon as he should land in England: but the duke having returned exceeding poor from the Holy Land, was not yet in a condition for such an undertaking, and therefore thought fit to defer it to a more seasonable opportunity.

As the king had hitherto, with great industry, sought all occasions to gratify his people, so he continued to do in the choice of a wife. This was Matilda, daughter of Malcolm the late king of Scots; a lady of great piety and virtue; who, by the power or persuasion of her friends, was prevailed with to leave her cloister for a crown, after she had, as some writers report, already taken the veil. Her mother was sister to Edgar Atheling, the last heir male of the Saxon race; of whom, frequent mention has been made in the two preceding reigns: and thus the Saxon line, to the great contentment of the English nation, was again restored.

Duke Robert, having now with much difficulty and oppression of his subjects, raised great forces, and gotten ready a fleet to convey them, resolved once more to assert his title to the crown of England: to which end he had for some time held a secret correspondence with several nobles, and lately received fresh invitations. The king, on the other side, who had received timely intelligence of his brother's pre-

parations,