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Unformatted text preview: nsellors, and the remonstrances of the more dignified ecclesiastics,n to espouse her; though she was within the degrees of affinity prohibited by the canonlaw.o As the austerity, affected by the monks, made them particularly violent on this occasion, Edwy entertained a strong prepossession against them; and seemed on that account determined not to second their project, of expelling the seculars from all the convents, and of possessing themselves of those rich establishments. War was therefore declared between the king and the monks; and the former soon found reason to repent his provoking such dangerous enemies. On the day of his coronation, his nobility were assembled in a great hall, and were indulging themselves in that riot and disorder, which, from the example of their German ancestors, had become habitual to the English;p when Edwy, attracted by softer pleasures, retired into the Queen’s apartment, and in that privacy, gave reins to his fondness towards his wife, which was only moderately checked by the presence of her mother. Dunstan conjectured the reason of the king’s retreat; and carrying along with him, Odo, archbishop of Canterbury, over whom he had gained an absolute ascendant, he burst into the apartment, upbraided Edwy with his lasciviousness, probably bestowed on the queen the most opprobrious epithet that can be applied to her sex, and tearing him from her arms, pushed him back, in a disgraceful manner, into the banquet of the nobles.q Edwy, though young and opposed by the prejudices of the people, found an opportunity of taking revenge for this public insult. He questioned Dunstan concerning the administration of the treasury during the reign of his predecessor;r and when that minister refused to give any account of money, expended, as he affirmed, by orders of the late king, he accused him of malversation in his office, and banished him the kingdom. But Dunstan’s cabal was not unactive during his absence: They filled the public with high panegyrics on his sanctity: They exclaimed against the impiety of the king and queen: And having poisoned the minds of the people by these declamations, they proceeded to still more outrageous acts of violence against the royal authority. Archbishop Odo sent into the palace a party of soldiers, who seized the queen; and having burned her face with a red hot iron in order to destroy that fatal beauty, which had seduced Edwy, they carried her by force into Ireland, there to remain in perpetual exile.s Edwy, finding it in vain to resist, was obliged to consent to his divorce, which was pronounced by Odo;t and a catastrophe, still more dismal, awaited the unhappy Elgiva. That amiable princess, being cured of her wounds, and having even obliterated the scars, with which Odo had hoped to deface her beauty, returned into England, and was flying to the embraces of the king, whom she still PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 79 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 regarded as her husband; when she fell into the hands of a party, whom the primate had sent to intercept her. Nothing but her death could now give security to Odo and the monks; and the most cruel death was requi...
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- Spring '08