WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country’s gods,
Sage beneath a spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.
‘Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
’Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
‘Rome shall perish—write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
‘Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground—
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
‘Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier’s name;
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize—
Harmony the path to fame.
‘Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.
‘Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.’
Such the bard’s prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending, as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch’s pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow;
Rushed to battle, fought, and died;
Dying, hurled them at the foe.
‘Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heaven awards the vengeance due:
Empire is on us bestowed,
Shame and ruin wait for you.’
— William Cowper.
As regards the Roman Emperors, immediately on their becoming Christians, their exaltation of the hierarchy was in proportion to its abject condition in the heathen period. Grateful converts felt that they could not do too much in its honour and service. Emperors bowed the head before the Bishops, kissed their hands and asked their blessing. When Constantine entered into the presence of the assembled Prelates at Nicæa, his eyes fell, the colour mounted up into his cheek, and his mien was that of a suppliant; he would not sit, till the Bishops bade him, and he kissed the wounds of the Confessors. Thus he set the example for the successors of his power, nor did the Bishops decline such honours. Royal ladies served them at table; victorious generals did penance for sin and asked forgiveness. When they quarrelled with them, and would banish them, their hand trembled when they came to sign the order, and after various attempts they gave up their purpose. Soldiers raised to sovereignty asked their recognition and were refused it. Cities under imperial displeasure sought their intervention, and the master of thirty legions found himself powerless to withstand the feeble voice of some aged travel-stained stranger.
Blessed John Henry Newman, A Letter Addressed to the Duke of Norfolk on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone’s Recent Expostulation (1874).
In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald, Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god, not of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ (who before the beginning of the world, was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, co-eternal and of the same substance, and who, in compassion to human nature, disdained not to assume the form of a servant), but the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym. Gratianus Æquantius at that time reigned in Rome. The Saxons were received by Vortigern, four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of Christ, and, according to the tradition of our ancestors, from the period of their first arrival in Britain, to the first year of the reign of king Edmund, five hundred and forty-two years; and to that in which we now write, which is the fifth of his reign, five hundred and forty-seven years.
— Nennius, Historia Brittonum, Chapter XXXI.
- That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
- That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
- That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
- That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
- That the pope may depose the absent.
- That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
- That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
- That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
- That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
- That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
- That this title [Pope] is unique in the world.
- That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
- That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
- That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
- That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
- That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
- That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
- That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
- That he himself may be judged by no one.
- That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
- That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
- That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
- That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
- That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
- That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
- That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
- That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.
— Dictatus papæ, included in the register of Pope Gregory VII under the year 1075; translated in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 366-367.
magnificauit igitur misericordiam suam nobiscum deus uolens omnes homines saluos fieri et uocans non minus peccatores quam eos qui se putant iustos. qui gratuito munere, supra dicto ut conicimus persecutionis tempore, ne penitus crassa atrae noctis caligine britannia obfuscaretur, clarissimos lampades sanctorum martyrum nobis accendit, quorum nunc corporum sepulturae et passionum loca, si non lugubri diuortio barbarorum quam plurima ob scelera nostra ciuibus adimerentur, non minimum intuentium mentibus ardorem diuinae caritatis incuteren: sanctum albanum uerolamiensem, aaron et iulium legionum urbis ciues ceterosque utriusque sexus diuersis in locis summa magnanimitate in acie christi perstantes dico.
quorum prior postquam caritatis gratia confessorem persecutoribus insectatum et iam iamque comprehendendum, imitans et in hoc christum animam pro ouibus ponentem, domo primum ac mutatis dein mutuo uestibus occuluit et se discrimini in fratris supra dicti uestimentis libenter persequendum dedit, ita deo inter sacram confessionem cruoremque coram impiis romana tum stigmata cum horribili fantasia praeferentibus placens signorum miraculis mirabiliter adornatus est, ut oratione feruenti illi israeliticae arenti uiae minusque tritae, stante diu arca prope glareas testamenti in medio iordanis canali, simile iter ignotum, trans tamesis nobilis fluuii alueum, cum mille uiris sicco ingrediens pede suspensis utrimque modo praeruptorum fluuialibus montium gurgitibus aperiret et priorem carnificem tanta prodigia uidentem in agnum ex lupo mutaret et una secum triumphalem martyrii palmam sitire uehementius et excipere fortius faceret.
ceteri uero sic diuersis cruciatibus torti sunt et inaudita membrorum discerptione lacerati ut absque cunctamine gloriosi in egregiis ierusalem ueluti portis martyrii sui trophaea defigerent. nam qui superfuerant siluis ac desertis abditisque speluncis se occultauere, expectantes a iusto rectore omnium deo carnificibus seuera quandoque iudicia, sibi uero animarum tutamina.
— De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, ii. 10-11., Gildas.
He established the seat of his cathedral in the town called Glesgu, which is translated “Beloved Family,” and is now called Glasgow. And there he gathered together many servants of God, a family beloved and well known to God, who lived in abstinence following the pattern of the primitive church under the Apostles, without possessions and in holy discipline and divine service.
And the diocese of that episcopate extended to the borders of the Cambrian kingdom, and that kingdom stretched continuously from sea to sea, just like the earthen wall built by the Emperor Severus. After the advice and counsel of the Roman legions, in order to prevent the Picts from rushing into the country, a wall was constructed in this same place that was eight feet wide and twelve feet tall, and it reached up to the river Forth, and divides Scotland from England as a boundary line. And this Cambrian region over which Kentigern now was placed with episcopal honor, had received the Christian faith (as had the whole of Britain) during the time of Pope Eleutherius, when King Lucius ruled. But when the pagans had attacked the island during various times, and having dominion over it, the islanders had thrown away the faith they had received by falling into apostasy. Many also were not yet washed in the health-giving water of baptism, and many were stained by the contagion of manifold heresies. Many, only Christian in name, were wrapped up in the hog pool of multiple vices. Very many had been taught by ministers inexperiened in and ignorant of the law of God. And for these reasons, all the inhabitants of the province had a need for the counsel of a good shepherd, and the cure of a good ruler. Therefore God, the Disposer and Dispenser of all good things, provided, preferred, and proposed Saint Kentigern as a healing remedy, as the sustenance of life and the example, for all the diseases of all the people.
— Jocelin of Furness, Life of St. Kentigern, Chapter XI.
The first prey by the Saxons from Ireland or in Ireland.
— Annals of Ulster, U434.1.
The Angles came to England.
— Annals of Ulster, U464.2.
The second prey of the Saxons from Ireland (as some state) was carried off this year, as Maucteus (Mochta) says. Thus I have found in the Book of Cuanu.
— Annals of Ulster, U471.1.
[These are the only V century citations of the “English” in the Annals of Ulster. In 409 or 410, the Romano-British were either invited by the emperor to see to their own defence or rather expelled the Roman magistrates from their cities, effectively ending Roman rule in Britain.]
THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF DECEMBER
In the 5199th year of the creation of the world,
from the time when God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth;
the 2957th year after the flood;
the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;
the 1510th year from Moses, and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the 1032nd year from the anointing of David King;
in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the 194th Olympiad;
the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;
the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, all the earth being at peace, Jesus Christ, the Eternal God, and the Son of the Eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, nine months after his conception was born in Bethlehem of Juda, made Man of the Virgin Mary.
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.
If the degree of my nobility and fortune had been matched by moderation in success, I would have come to this City as a friend rather than a captive, nor would you have disdained to receive with a treaty of peace one sprung from brilliant ancestors and commanding a great many nations. But my present lot, disfiguring as it is for me, is magnificent for you. I had horses, men, arms, and wealth: what wonder if I was unwilling to lose them? If you wish to command everyone, does it really follow that everyone should accept your slavery? If I were now being handed over as one who had surrendered immediately, neither my fortune nor your glory would have achieved brilliance. It is also true that in my case any reprisal will be followed by oblivion. On the other hand, if you preserve me safe and sound, I shall be an eternal example of your clemency.
— Tacitus, Annals 12:37.
Quotiens causas belli et necessitatem nostram intueor, magnus mihi animus est hodiernum diem consensumque vestrum initium libertatis toti Britanniae fore: nam et universi co[i]stis et servitutis expertes, et nullae ultra terrae ac ne mare quidem securum inminente nobis classe Romana. Ita proelium atque arma, quae fortibus honesta, eadem etiam ignavis tutissima sunt. Priores pugnae, quibus adversus Romanos varia fortuna certatum est, spem ac subsidium in nostris manibus habebant, quia nobilissimi totius Britanniae eoque in ipsis penetralibus siti nec ulla servientium litora aspicientes, oculos quoque a contactu dominationis inviolatos habebamus. Nos terrarum ac libertatis extremos recessus ipse ac sinus famae in hunc diem defendit: nunc terminus Britanniae patet, atque omne ignotum pro magnifico est; sed nulla iam ultra gens, nihil nisi fluctus ac saxa, et infestiores Romani, quorum superbiam frustra per obsequium ac modestiam effugias. Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, mare scrutantur: si locuples hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi, quos non Oriens, non Occidens satiaverit: soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari adfectu concupiscunt. Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
Click for an English translation.
Continue reading “To Robbery, Slaughter, Plunder, They Give the Lying Name of Empire”