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Geoffrey of Monmouth History of the Kings of Britain

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Geoffrey of Monmouth
History of the Kings of Britain
page 8

slaughter of the enemy, of whom there fell near two thousand, which so terrified the rest, that they were on the point of running away. But, as the victory generally falls to that side which has very much the superiority in numbers, so the Gauls, being three to one in number, though overpowered at first, yet at last joining in a great body together, broke in upon the Trojans, and forced them to retire to their camp with much slaughter. The victory thus gained, they besieged them in their camp, with a design not to suffer them to stir out until they should either surrender themselves prisoners, or be cruelly starved to death with a long famine. In the meantime, Corineus the night following entered into consultation with Brutus, and proposed to go out that night by by-ways, and conceal himself in an adjacent wood till break of day; and while Brutus should sally forth upon the enemy in the morning twilight, he with his company would surprise them from behind and put them to slaughter. Brutus was pleased with this stratagem of Corineus, who according to his engagement got out cunningly with three thousand men, and put himself under the covert of the woods. As soon as it was day Brutus marshalled his men and opened the camp to go out to fight. The Gauls meet him and begin the engagement: many thousands fall on both sides, neither party giving quarter. There was present a Trojan, named Turonus, the nephew of Brutus, inferior to none but Corineus in courage and strength of body. He alone with his sword killed six hundred men, but at last was unfortunately slain himself by the number of Gauls that rushed upon him. From him the city of Tours derived its name, because he was buried there. While both armies were thus warmly engaged, Corineus came upon them unawares, and fell fiercely upon the rear of the enemy, which put new courage into his friends on the other side, and made them exert themselves with increased vigour. The Gauls were astonished at the very shout of Corineus’s men, and thinking their number to be much greater than it really was, they hastily quitted the field; but the Trojans pursued them, and killed them in the pursuit, nor did they desist till they had gained a complete victory. Brutus, though in joy for this great success, was yet afflicted to observe the number of his forces daily lessened, while that of the enemy increased more and more. He was in suspense for some time, whether he had better continue the war or not, but at last he determined to return to his ships while the greater part of his followers was yet safe, and hitherto victorious, and to go in quest of the island which the goddess had told him of. So without further delay, with the consent of his company, he repaired to the fleet, and loading it with the riches and spoils he had taken, set sail with a fair wind towards the promised island, and arrived on the coast of Totness.

Chapter 16. Albion divided between Brutus and Corineus.

The island was then called Albion, and was inhabited by none but a few giants. Notwithstanding this, the pleasant situation of the places, the plenty of rivers abounding with fish, and the engaging prospect of its woods, made Brutus and his company very desirous to fix their habitation in it. They therefore passed through all the provinces, forced the giants to fly into the caves of the mountains, and divided the country among them according to the directions of their commander. After this they began to till the ground and build houses, so that in a little time the country looked like a place that had been long inhabited. At last Brutus called the island after his own name Britain, and his companions Britons; for by these means he desired to perpetuate the memory of his name. From whence afterwards the language of the nation, which at first bore the name of Trojan, or rough Greek, was called British. But Corineus, in imitation of his leader, called that part of the island which fell to his share, Corinea, and his people Corineans, after his name; and though he had his choice of the provinces before all the rest, yet he preferred this country, which is now called in Latin Cornubia, either from its being in the shape of a horn (in Latin Cornu), or from the corruption of the said name. For it was a diversion to him to encounter the said giants, which were in greater numbers there than in all the other provinces that fell to the share of his companions. Among the rest was one detestable monster, named Goëmagot, in stature twelve cubits, and of such prodigious strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had been a hazel wand. On a certain day, when Brutus was holding a solemn festival to the gods, in the port where they at first landed, this giant with twenty more of his companions came in upon the Britons, among whom he made a dreadful slaughter. But the Britons at last assembling together in a body, put them to the rout, and killed them every one but Goëmagot. Brutus had given orders to have him preserved alive, out of a desire to see a combat between him and Corineus, who took a great pleasure in such encounters. Corineus, overjoyed at this, prepared himself, and throwing aside his arms, challenged him to wrestle with him. At the beginning of the encounter, Corineus and the giant, standing, front to front, held each other strongly in their arms, and panted aloud for breath, but Goëmagot presently grasping Corineus

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