THE CHRONICLE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO A.D. 975
were preparing for themselves perpetual slavery, which is the stepmother of all misfortune.
The person who especially gave this counsel was Vurthern, * who at that time was king over all, and to him all the nobility assented. They preferred to procure assistance to them from Germany. Already two young men, Hengist and Horsa, were pre-eminent. They were the grandsons of Woden, king of the barbarians, whom the pagans have since raised to an abominable dignity, and honouring him as a god, offer sacrifice to him for the sake of victory or valour, and the people, deceived, believe what they see, as is their wont. The aforesaid youths therefore arrive, according to the petition of the king and his senate, with three vessels, loaded with arms, and prepared with every kind of warlike stores : the anchor is cast into the sea, and the ships come to land. Not long afterwards they are sent against the Scots to try their mettle, and without delay they sheathe their breasts in arms, and engage in a novel mode of battle. Man clashes with man, now falls a German and now a Scot : .on both sides is a most wretched scene of slaughter : at length the Saxons remain masters of the field. For this the king aforesaid honours them with a triumph ; and they privately send home messengers, to tell their countrymen of the fertility of the country and the indolence of its cowardly people.
Their countrymen, without delay, listen to their representa
tions, and send to them a large fleet and army. Forthwith
they were magnificently received by the king of the Britons,
and contracted a league of hospitality with the natives. The
Britons promise peace, worthy gifts of alliance and honours,
provided that they might remain in ease under their protec
tion from the attacks of their enemies, and pay them im
Thus much of the alliance and promises of the Britons:
now let us speak of their discord and ill fortune. For seeing
the cunningness of the new people, they partly feared and
partly despised them. They break their compact, and no
longer render them the honours of alliance, but instead
thereof, they try to drive them from their shores. These
being their designs, the thing is made public, the treaty is
openly set aside, all parties fly to arms: the Britons give
* Otherwise called Vortigero.