Appendix: Gerald of Cornwall's Life of Guy of Warwyck

GERALD OF CORNWALL'S LIFE OF GUY OF WARWYCK: FOOTNOTES


1 Latin text edited by Schleich, “Lydgates Quelle,” pp. 49–52.

2 Translation provided by Benjamin Garstad, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Classics, Department of Humanities, MacEwan University.
 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Appendix: Gerald of Cornwall's Life of Guy of Warwyck

Gvydo de Warwyke1
 
Regnante in Anglia inclito rege Athelstano — anno dominiee incarnacionis, vero eiusdem
regis regni tercio — in tantum Danorum crudelissime persecucionis inualuit rabies, quod
terras conprouincialium tam crudeliter itinera legendo, depopulando inuasit, ut fere usque
Wyntoniam non erat ciuitas, villa vel castrum, quod penitus non dirutum vel remaneret
incombustum. Interea, acri ignessente furore, tanto elacionis stimulo insonuit barbarorum
principum pompositas et ambicio, Anelaphi scilicet et Gonelaphi, quod regi Athelstano, tunc
temporis cum suis prelatis et proceribus regni apud Wyntonyam ciuitatem super prouincie
desolacione salubrius affectans festinati auxilii solamen, moram trahendi oportunam,
nuncios dirigerent legacione sua triplici articulo roborata ita fungentes, scilicet aut rex
Anglie regni sui diadema Danorum ducibus sine dilacione vna cum regno Anglie resignaret
aut sub se regnaturus Athelstanus fidelitatem, homagium et tributum secundum voluntatem
paganorum persolueret aut inter duos viros vtriusque partis ad inuicem valde pugnaces
conserto prelio regis — regis videlicet vtriusque — et regni negocium expediretur, hoc
superaddito ex parte Anelaphi, quod, si cedat victoria Athelstano, sine mora se cum suis
compatriotis pro perpetuo regnum abiuratum, contrario permanente regni diadema abque
contradiccionis innouacione sibi et suis, videlicet Dacis, concederetur.




Vltimo proposito rex Anglorum codescendens, apud Wyntoniam regni prelatos et ceteros
magnates conuocat. Ipsis comparentibus sciscitatur ab eis, quis super se hoc prouincie
lucrum, deuicto, barbarico gigante nomine Colbrando, adquireret premium pro reportato
lucro recepturus. Set non inuento, dolore cordis Athelstanus concutitur pro maximo.
Indicto igitur trium dierum ieiunio, cum precibus et lacrimis ad deum altissimum quam
deuote profusis eius exorabant clemenciam, quatinus ipsis militem concedere dignaretur,
qui pro illis iure et libertate regni inimicos inuictissime expugnaret. Timore enim nimio
percutitur gens anglicana eo, quod non est, qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris eius,
Herando, milite inuict-issimo, in transmarinis partibus agente perquirendo Reyburnum, filium
Gwydonis, domini sui, comitis de Warwyk, qui furtim, cum adhuc infans esset, a
mercatoribus ignote nacionis asportatus est; set et comes Rohandus, pater comitisse
Gwydonis, vir inter mille bellicosus, morte superueniente nature debitum soluit; Gwido vero
in crastino sue desponsacionis, vir fortissimus ac in pugna robussimus, peregrini propositum
suscepit et ignorabatur, quid de eo accideret.



Set altissimus, motus suorum fidelium lacrimis, nocte natiuitatis sancti Johannis baptiste,
rege Athelstano apud castrum Wyntonie ante cubiculum prostrato, preces pro statu et
patrie prosperitate deo recomendate et infra breue pre nimio vigiliarum tedio in soporem
aliquantisper resoluto, misit dominus angelum suum, qui regem confortaret in agonia
constitutum. Qui cum sic allocutus est: ‘Athelstane rex, dormis an uigilas? Ecce, missus
sum ad te angelus domini a domino Jesu Christo, ut dicerem tibi, ne timeres frustratus
auxilio. Set cras mane surge et propera ad borialem portam ciuitatis et expecta ibi
mendicancium pauperum aduentum, inter quos vnum peregrinum venientem reperies. Quem
apprehensum reduc eum tecum et pugi onus super eum impone. Quod enim postulas, non
negabit.’ Hiis dictis angelus disparuit.


Rex, euigilans et deo pro sibi de supernis prestita reuelacione gracias agens, summo mane
surgens, duos pontifices secum accipiens et duos comites, predictam adiit portam,
expectans mendicancium aduentus horam, qua ciuitatem intrare solebant. Et ecce, nutu
dei in vigilia natalis sancti Johannis baptiste, hora, qua sol oriendo primo radios mittit in
terram, Gwydo, comes de Warwyk, miles strenuus et insignis, apud portysmowth Angliam,
natale solum, reuisurus. Qui certificatus ab Angligenis de Herandi, militis nobilissimi, et filii
sui, ut pretactum est, absencia et de morte comitis Rohandi, cuius filiam in coniugem
acceperat, et de regis ac domini sui Athelstani et procerum regni angustia et mesticia,
festinato cursu eadem die Wyntonie terminos petit. Perueniens nocte illa ad hospitale
quoddam pauperum, quod tunc temporis ducentis quinquaginta passibus distabat versus
borealem plagam a loco, in quo nunc nouum edificatum est monasterium, quod hospitale in
honore sancte crucis erat fundatum, — ad quem locum ueniens, fatigatus ex itinere
pernoctando, fatigata membra refocillando consolabatur.




Diem vero reportans, dum solis aureus reuoluitur axis, recto tramite ad sepe dictam
ciuitatis cum suis sodalibus graditur portam, rege eius expectante aduentum, tamquam
David, a patre luminum regi Sauli missus in golia philisteos deuicturus, et iste in Colbrando
de Dacis triumphaturus. Quo viso, per peregrini habitum cognito, arripuit eum rex,
introducens eum, et pre gaudio cum lacrimis Anglorum princeps imprecatur, vt sibi instante
necessitate subueniat et cum inhumano illo Colbrando regni negocia pugnando pro victoria
expedire. Qui, aliqualiter dissimulans, confitetur se etate debilem sudoreque
pere-grinacionis virtute vigoris soporata desiderare regis et procerum minime explere
valentem.


Tandem, principum precibus et lacrimis victus, sperati auxilii promittit leuamen statutoque
congressionis die — videlicet quarto idus iulii — conueniunt ambo, miles strenuus et inuisus
ille Colobrandus, in loco quodam extra predictam portam, que modo anglice ‘the hyde-mede’
vocatur, qui vocabatur antiquitus et etiam a quibusdam adhuc appellatur ‘Den-marche’. Qui
dum mituos enses alter in alterum mitterent, prosiliebant ex ictibus ignes, ac si tonitrua
coruscaciones procrearent, percussoque gigante super sinistrum humerum erumpenteque
sanguinis copia, ille, male meditacionis non ignarus, acri ignescens ira, in militem irruit
confractoque militis mucrone ipsum reddit inermem: gaudium magnum Danis, timor nimius
Anglis intonuit. Gwydo vero, dum aliquid genus armorum a Colbrando, cuius plurima erant,
requireret, set voto suo non optento, dum diucius inter se sermocinarentur, ocius elabitur
et celeriter de armis gigantis quandam sicam arripuit iterumque cum eo facta congressione
cum proprio pagani instrumento sinistrum abscidit humerum. Quod prospiciens, inhumanus
ille, nitens arripere gladium retro iacentem, post tergum cum manu dextera dum se
inclinaret, Gwydo, leuata sica et fortiter ictum inferens, gigantem amputauit capud.





Quo facto, Danis repatriantibus nauibus inuectis, confusio nimia ipsis concipitur, dum ferox
pugio trucidatur. Gwydo vero, sollempni processione a rege, clero et populo honorifice
receptus, ad cathedralem ecclesiam Wyntonie deducitur, qui coram summo altari predictam
sicam deo et ipsius ecclesie patrono optulit, quod instrumentum vsque hodie in vestiaro
eiusdem ecclesie sub firma custodia reseruatur et vocatur Angligenis materna lingua
‘Colbrondis axe’ usque in presentem diem. Preterea depositis armis militaribus, peregrini
habitu resumpto, Gwydoni insistit rex Athelstanus inquirendo, quid sit euis nomen et cuius
condicionis vir esset. Ille uero regis peticioni minime fore satisfacturum respondit tali non
obseruata condicione, quod extra ciuitatem, longe a Wyntonia, semotis regiis ministris,
inter regem et comitem soliloquium admitteretur et nulli militis denudaretur consilium ex
tune, quousque bini suum compleuerit cursum.




Promisso regio de hiis obseruandis sub iureiurando stabilito, procedunt ambo per viam, qua
Gwydo ad ciuitatem tendebat, nemine subsequente, quousque, peruenientes ad quandam
crucem, procul a ciuitate starent, vlterius non progredientes. Cum autem illie peruenissent,
Gwydo, genua flectens humum: ‘Domine’, inquit, ‘mi rex Athelstane, vester seruus in
omnibus sum, fui et ero. Comes de Warewyk, Gwydo, nomen mihi imposuerunt me de
salutiferi fontis suscipientes lauacro.’ Quo audito rex ruit in eius amplexus gratanter eum
osculando, multa sibi promittens donaria, si in eius conuersari vellet palacio. Qui, omnia
relinquens et principi benignissimo suum recomendans secretum, dicit se habitem, quo tune
iudutus erat, vit comite nunquam depositurum. Qui sibi inuicem cum lacrimis valefacientes,
rex ad sua, Gwydo vero uersus Warewyk calles aggreditur.


Cum autem villam suam peruenisset, ignotus omnibus, tribus diebus vnus de tresdecim
pauperibus, quos comitissa sua cotidie pro amborum corporis incolumitate animeque salute,
ab vxore propria ignotus — scilicet resedendo — est depastus; post prandium sue
perendinacionis graciarum acciones dilecte comitisse tamen vicem pro vice rependens,
desertum peciit, longo itineris spacio pertransito inter opaca siluarum cuisdam heremite
colloquio refoueri postulat solo.


Set, quo paulo ante mortis nexibus depresso, eius successorem Gwydo se ipsum constituit
in multiplicium virtutem virens floribus. Duobus igitur inibi feliciter viuens annis, obitum suum
biduo ante reuelacione presciens angelica, misit vnicum sibi seruientem ad vxorem suam
cum anulo matrimonialis federis, sibi illud resignans, exortans eam, vt festinando se
preparet ad eius perficere sepulturam, quem, cum venerit, ante altare in capella inueniet
recubantem, debita in morte resolutum, additoque, quod peracto quindecim dierum
curriculo post eius mortem nature debitum et ipsa erat persoluenda.

Hiis impletis, veniente vxore Gwydonis cum euisdem diocesis ordinario, cum clero et populo
ad heremitagium viri sui, Gwydonis, et inuento corpore eius, sicut nunciatum fuerat, miro
fragrante suauitatis odore et iacente totum in terra prostrato, eleuatum de terra principis
more in eodem habitaculo, ut decuit, honorifice reconditum est. Circa cuius sepulcrum et
ipsa, transactis XV diebus, vinculis carnis absoluta decentissime humata est, hereditatem
paternam filio suo Reyburno relinquens, ut ipse memoriale parentum in pectoris sui armariolo
quem tenerrime sigillando inprimeret, inde pro meritis celestia regna mercaturus.



Jstud extractum est ex scriptis Girardi Cornubiensis in libro de gestis regum Westsaxonum in
capitulo XI et eciam habetur Wynton in tabula pendente iuxta maius altare ecclesie
cathedralis sancti Stephani.

Explicit Gwydo de Warwyk et vxor eius Felicia.
 
Gerald of Cornwall’s Life of Guy of Warwick2
 
When the famous king Athelstan reigned in England — in the [927th] year of Our Lord’s
incarnation, that is, the third year of his reign — the fury of the utterly cruel harrying of
the Danes gained strength to such a pitch, since it so cruelly attacked the lands and the
roads of the locals with pillaging and plundering, that almost right up to Winchester there
was not a city, country house, or castle which was not thoroughly demolished or stood
unburnt. In the meantime, with this fierce, burning frenzy, the pride and ambition of the
barbarian princes Anelaph and Gonelaph resounded under such a goad of exaltation that
they sent a delegation to King Athelstan, who was at that time with his prelates and
nobles of the realm at the city of Winchester to seek speedy relief of the desolation of the
province, delaying as necessary. The ambassadors delivered a message stiffened with a
threefold ultimatum, namely, that either the king of England should transfer the crown of
his kingdom to the leaders of the Danes without the least delay, along with the kingdom of
England; or Athelstan should reign under them and render loyalty, homage, and tribute
according to the will of the pagans; or a duel should be arranged between two mighty
warriors, one from either side, in order to settle the business of the kingdom, that is, who
would be king; and Anelaph added that, if the victory fell to Athelstan, he and his
compatriots would quit the kingdom forever without delay; otherwise the crown of the
kingdom would be granted in perpetuity to him and his, the Danes, without objection
thereafter.

The king of the English agreed to the last proposal and summoned the prelates and other
magnates of the kingdom to Winchester. When they were gathered, they were asked who
of them would secure above and beyond his own interest, the good of the land by
defeating a barbarian giant called Colbrand and receive a reward for restoring that wealth.
But no one was found and Athelstan was struck to the heart with the utmost grief. So a
three-day fast was proclaimed, and faithfully pouring forth prayers and tears to God Most
High, they besought His mercy that He might deign to grant them a warrior, who for their
sakes and the right and freedom of the kingdom might altogether invincibly drive out their
enemies. For the English people were struck with terrible fear that there was no one who
might relieve them of all their cares, since Herandus, a thoroughly invincible warrior, was
busy in lands across the sea searching for Reyburn, the son of Guy, his lord, the count of
Warwick, who while he was still an infant had been secretly carried off by merchants of an
unknown nation; and Count Rohandus, the father of Guy’s countess, a warrior amongst a
thousand, had died unexpectedly, paying his debt to nature; and indeed Guy, on the day
after his marriage, a man superlatively brave and strong in battle, had taken up the
pilgrim’s vocation, not knowing what lay ahead.

But the Most High was moved by the prayers of his faithful, and on the eve of the nativity
of St. John the Baptist, while King Athelstan was at the castle of Winchester, prostrate
before his chamber, offering prayers to God for the safety of his homeland and then falling
asleep for a time from sheer weariness at his vigil, the Lord sent His angel to encourage
the king, who was fixed in agony. The angel spoke to him thus, “King Athelstan, do you
sleep or keep vigil? Behold! I am an angel of the Lord sent to you by the Lord Jesus Christ
that I might tell you not to be afraid or disappointed of hope. Rather, tomorrow morning
get up and hurry to the north gate of the city and wait there for the arrival of some
mendicant paupers, amongst whom you will find one who is a traveling pilgrim. Take him
and bring him back with you and set the burden of the duel on him. For what you ask, he
will not deny.” With these words the angel disappeared.

The king, waking up and giving thanks to God for this revelation and taking two bishops
and two counts with him, went to the gate mentioned earlier, awaiting the arrival of the
beggars at the hour when they were accustomed to enter the city. And behold, by the will
of God on the vigil of the birthday of St. John the Baptist, in the hour when the sun in its
first rising sheds its rays on the earth, Guy, the Count of Warwick, a doughty and famous
warrior, landed at Portsmouth, returning from his wanderings in distant parts across the
sea once more to see England, his native land. He had been informed by his countrymen
about the absence of Herandus, the most noble warrior, and of his own son, as was
touched on previously, and about the death of Count Rohandus, whose daughter he had
taken as wife, and about the predicament and sadness of his lord and king Athelstan and
the nobles of the kingdom; and he set out by a speedy course for the bounds of
Winchester on that very same day. He came that night to a certain hospice for beggars,
which at that time stood against the north gate a hundred and fifty paces distant from the
place in which a new monastery has now been built, founded as a hospice in honor of the
Holy Cross. Coming to this place, and worn out by his journey through the night, he
relieved his weary limbs by warming them.

While the golden axis of the sun was turned over, bringing back the day, he took the right
way to the oft-mentioned gate of the city with his companions, where his king was
awaiting his arrival. Just as David had been sent from the Father of lights by King Saul to
defeat Goliath the Philistine, so Guy himself was intended to gain victory over Colbrand of
the Danes. When he was seen and recognized by his pilgrim’s garb, the king took hold of
him and brought him inside, and with tears of joy the prince of the English besought him to
undertake this pressing need and settle the business of the kingdom by fighting for victory
with the beastly Colbrand. Guy demured somewhat and insisted that, weak with age and
the exertion of travel, he felt the want of his now-diminished strength and vigor and he
would hardly discharge the office of king’s and nobles’ champion at all well.

At length, won over by the prayers and tears of these princes, he promised the assistance
they wished for, and on the day decided for the duel, namely the fourth of the Ides of July
[12 July], they both came together, the mighty warrior and the unbeaten Colbrand, in a
certain place outside of the aforementioned gate, which is called in English the
Hyde-Mede, a place which was anciently called and is also referred to by some up to the
present as Dene-marche. While they thrust their swords the one against the other in turn,
and sparks leapt from their blows, as if those flashes might produce thunder, the giant was
struck on the left shoulder and a quantity of blood gushed forth, and he, not unacquainted
with evil thinking, and burning with fierce anger, rushed against the warrrior, breaking the
point of Guy’s sword and rendering him weaponless. A great joy resounded amongst the
Danes, and a greater fear amongst the English. When Guy asked for some kind of weapon
from Colbrand, who had many, his plea was not granted, but when they had been
conversing with each other for some time, Guy very quietly slipped away and quickly
snatched a dagger from among the giant’s weapons. When the duel resumed, Guy cut off
the pagan’s left arm at the shoulder with his own weapon. When that savage man saw
this, he strove to seize the sword lying behind him, and while he bent backwards with his
right hand, Guy raised the dagger and delivered a mighty blow that cut off the giant’s
head.

As soon as this happened, the Danes leapt aboard their homeward bound vessels. A great
confusion had arisen amongst them while the fierce dagger worked its slaughter. Then Guy
was received in solemn procession by the king, clergy, and people and led forth to the
cathedral church of Winchester, where before the high altar he presented the
aforementioned dagger to God and the patron of this same church, and this weapon is
preserved under close guard up to the present day in the vestry of the same church and is
called in the mother tongue of the English people “Colbrand’s axe” to this very day.
Meanwhile, once Guy had set aside his warlike weapons and resumed the garb of a pilgrim,
King Athelstan pressed him, asking his name and of what position he might be. But he
replied to the questioning of the king that he would very shortly give an answer, though
not in such an open and public situation, but rather beyond the city, far from Winchester,
distant from the royal ministers, where a private conversation between king and count
would be possible. Guy would reveal his counsel to no one but the king when the two of
them had finished their walk.

The royal promise to observe these conditions was granted and confirmed under oath, and
they both went along the road by which Guy came to the city, and, arriving at a certain
cross, they stood at a distance from the city and did not proceed any farther. When they
arrived there, Guy knelt on the ground and said, “My lord king Athelstan, I am your servant
in all things, have been and will be. The Count of Warwick, Guy, is the name they set upon
me when they took me up from the cleansing water of the saving font.” When he heard
this, the king joyfully ran into his embrace, kissing him and promising him many gifts if he
wished to return to the palace. But he, refusing all of them and commending his secret to
the most kindly prince, said that he would never exchange his pilgrim’s garment for that of
a count. They bid each other farewell with tears, and the king went home and Guy went
along the road to Warwick.

When, however, he arrived at his own manor he was not recognized by anyone, and for
three days he ate as one of the thirteen paupers whom his countess [tended to] for the
safety of their bodies and the salvation of their souls. He was unknown to his own wife, no
doubt by keeping back; and, after dinner on the third day, he took his turn to give thanks
to his beloved countess and sought a desert place, and after traveling a lengthy space of
road amidst the shade of the woods he sought no more refreshment than the conversation
of a certain hermit.

But, a little while before the hermit was weighed down with the bonds of death, he named
Guy, fresh with the flowers of manifold virtues, as his successor. After Guy had been
happily living there for two years, he foresaw his own death two days beforehand in an
angelic vision; and he sent one of his attendants to his wife with his wedding ring,
returning it to her and prevailing upon her to hurry and get ready to carry out his burial,
since she would find him lying before the altar in the chapel, having paid his debt in death,
adding that fifteen days after Guy’s death, she herself would pay her debt to nature.

When these things had been done, Guy’s wife went with the ordinary of that diocese, with
the clergy and the people, to the hermitage of her husband Guy, and when his body was
found, just as it had been announced, it was fragrant with a marvelous smell of sweetness
and lying stretched out full length on the ground. It was lifted up from the earth and in the
manner of a prince was honorably buried in the same dwelling place, as was seemly. At this
tomb she also, after fifteen days had passed, broke the chains of the body and was very
properly interred, leaving her father’s inheritance to her son Reyburn, that she might
impress a memorial to his parents upon his breast with the most tender sealing, and so
purchase heavenly kingdoms with her merits.

This extract is from the writings of Gerard of Cornwall, in the book about the deeds of the
kings of Wessex, in the eleventh chapter, and it is also preserved on a tablet hanging by
the high altar of the cathedral church of St. Stephan.

Thus ends “Guy of Warwick and his wife Felicia.”
 

Go to Bibliography