Arthur from the Vita Merlini

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Arthur from the Vita Merlini

from: The Camelot Project  2007

Translated by Emily Rebekah Huber

Introduction

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"Hiis igitur gestis cleri populique favore
Ambrosio regnumque datur regnique corona,
postmodo quam gessit tractando singula juste.
Emensis autem per lustra quaterna diebus,
proditur a medico moriturque bibendo venenum.
Mox germanus ei successit junior Uter,
nec primum potuit regnum cum pace tueri.
Perfida gens etenim demum consueta redire
venerat et solita vastabat cuncta phalange.
Oppugnavit eam sevis congressibus Uter,
et pepulit victam trans equora remige verso.
Mox reformavit posito certamine pacem
progenuitque sibi natum qui postmodo talis
extitit ut nulli fieret probitate secundus.
Arturus sibi nomen erat regnumque per annos
optinuit multos postquam pater Uter obivit,
idque dolore gravi gestum fuit atque labore
et nece multorum per plurima bella virorum.
Nam dum predictus princeps langueret, ab Angla
venerat infidus populus cunctasque per enses
trans Humbrum patrias submiserat ac regiones.
Et puer Arturus fuerat nec debilitate
etatis poterat tantas compescere turmas.
Ergo consilio cleri populique recepto
Armorico regi mittens mandavit Hoelo
ut sibi presidio festina classe rediret.
Sanguis enim communis eos sociabat amorque
alter ut alterius deberet dampna levare.
Mox igitur collegit Hoel ad bella feroces
circumquaque viros et multis milibus ad nos
venit, et Arturo sociatus perculit hostes
sepius agrediens, et stragem fecit acerbam.
Hoc socio securus erat fortisque per omnes
Arturus turmas dum progrederetur in hostes,
quos tandem vicit patriamque redire coegit,
composuitque suum legum moderamine regnum.
Mox quoque submisit post hec certamina Scotos
ac Hibernenses, convertens bella, feroces.
Supposuit patrias illatis viribus omnes,
et Norwegenses trans equora lata remotos
subdidit et Dacos invisa classe petitos.
Gallorum populos ceso Frollone subegit,
cui curam patrie dederat Romana potestas.
Romanos etiam bello sua regna petentes
obpugnans vicit, procuratore perempto
Hyberio Lucio, qui tunc collega Leonis
induperatoris fuerat jussuque senatus
venerat ut fines Gallorum demeret illi.
Ceperat interea nostrum sibi subdere regnum
infidus custos Modredus desipiensque
illicitam venerem cum conjuge regis agebat.
Rex etenim transire volens, ut fertur, in hostes,
reginam regnumque suum commiserat illi.
Ast ut fama mali tanti sibi venit ad aurs,
distulit hanc belli curam patriamque revertens
applicuit multis cum milibus atque nepotem
obpugnans pepulit trans equora diffugientem.
Illic collectis vir plenus prodicione
undique Saxonibus cepit committere pugnam
cum duce, set cecidit deceptus gente prophana
in qua confisus tantos inceperat actus.
O quantas hominum strages matrumque dolores
quarum conciderant illic per prelia nati!
Illic rex etiam letali vulnere lesus
deseruit regnum, tecumque per equora vectus,
ut predixisti, nimpharum venit ad aulam.
Ilico Modredi duo nati regna volentes
subdere quisque ceperunt bella movere
alternaque suos prosternere cede propinquos.
Deinde nepos regis dux Constantinus in illos
acriter insurgens populos laniavit et urbes,
prostratisque simul crudeli morte duobus
jura dedit populo regni diademate sumpto.
Nec cum pace fuit quoniam cognatus in illum
prelia dira movens violavit cuncta Conanus
proripuitque sibi regiones rege perempto,
quas nunc debiliter nec cum ratione gubernat."
 
"Thus with these deeds and the favor the the clergy and people,
the kingdom and its crown were given to Ambrosius,
and thereafter he ruled by treating everyone justly.
However, with the days improving over a period of twenty years,
he was betrayed by a doctor and died from drinking poison.
Soon his younger brother Uther succeeded him,
but he was unable at first to watch over the kingdom with peace.
For indeed the treacherous people accustomed to return
came at last and destroyed everything with their usual regiment
of soldiers. Uther fought them with raging battles, and he beat them back, conquered, across the seas with their oars turned.
Soon with the struggle finished he re-established peace
and engendered for himself a son who afterward stood out so much
that he was second to none in uprightness.
Arthur was his name and he held fast the kingdom
for many years after Uther his father passed away,
and he was burdened with a heavy sadness and with the work
and the death of many through the many wars of men.
For while the foresaid king [Uther] was sick, from Anglia
the wicked people came and they subjected all countries
and regions across the Humber to their swords.
Arthur was a boy and not able, in the weakness
of his age, to check such throngs.
Therefore by the accepted advice of the clergy and the people,
sending to Hoel the king of Armorica,
he ordered that he return in haste with a fleet for aid.
Truly the shared life-blood and love united them
so that the one should lighten the injuries of the other.
Thus, soon Hoel brought together for the war
fierce men on every side and with many soldiers
came to us, and Arthur's ally [i.e., Hoel], attacking again and again,
struck down the enemies and made a bitter massacre.
With this ally Arthur was secure and strong
through all the troubles while he advanced against the enemies,
whom he finally conquered and began to return to the country,
and settled his kingdom with his law in the government.
And soon after these battles he subjected the Scots
and the Irish, ferocious, facing battles.
He placed all those countries under his power,
and he subjugated the faraway Norwegians across the broad seas
and the Danes attacking with a hostile fleet.
With Frollo conquered he subdued the people of Gaul,
to whom the Roman magistrate had given the care of the country.
Fighting the Romans he also conquered those who were seeking
war on his realm, and killed the governor
Hyberius Lucius, who then was an associate
of general Leonis and had come on order of the senate
to enforce those boundaries of the Gauls.
Meanwhile Modred, the unfaithful and foolish guardian,
had begun to place our kingdom under himself
and was making illicit love with the king's wife.
For indeed the king, as it is said, wishing go over [the sea],
had committed to him [Modred] the queen and his kingdom.
But as the notoriety of such great wickedness came to his ears,
he put off his concern over the wars and returning to his country,
he landed with many soldiers and fighting he beat back
his nephew flying across the sea.
There, with the Saxons gathered on every side,
that man full of destruction began to make war
with his lord, but he was slain, deceived by the impious people
in whom he, having trusted, had begun such deeds.
Oh, how great was the slaughter of men and the weeping
of mothers whose sons had perished there in battle!
There also the king, struck by a mortal wound,
abandoned his kingdom, and carried over the sea with you,
as you said before, he came to the court of maidens.
Each of those two sons of Modred, wishing to subdue
the kingdom, began to make war and to alternately
throw down their neighbors by slaughter.
Then duke Constantine, the nephew of the king,
rising up sharply against them, tore the people and cities to pieces,
and with those two cast down together with a cruel death
he gave law to the people with the royal crown taken upon himself.
And there was no peace since his kinsman Conan,
moving against him with cruel battles, injured him
and seized for himself lands with the king slain,
which lands he now governed feebly without reason."