CHAPTER I
THE EARLY TRADITION

THERE are many names in the long bead-roll of England's memory. But none should stir the historic imagination more deeply than that of Arthur, the legend-hung champion of a dying order, through whom we reach back, beyond the advent of the chill barbarians from the north, to the slow spread of Mediterranean civilization by the shores of the Atlantic, and to that pax Romana, of which this island was the ultimate outpost.

Arthur first meets us, fully equipped and a Christian warrior, in the enigmatic pages of Nennius. The tale of Vortigern, that queer blend of chronicle, hagiography and folk-lore, has been told. Nennius turns to a later phase of the Saxon invasion. Hengist is dead. His son Octha has established a realm in Kent.

Of him sprang the kings of the Kentishmen. Then Arthur fought against them in those days with the kings of the Britons, and it was he who led their battles. The first battle was at the mouth of the river which is called Glein. The second, third, fourth and fifth were upon another river, which is called Dubglas and is in the region of Linnuis. The sixth battle was upon the river which is called Bassas. The seventh battle was in the wood of Celidon; it it is Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth battle was on the castle Guinnion, wherein Arthur bore the image of St Mary the ever-virgin upon his

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