The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

upon him, with his brother Honorius, held it thirteen years. In his time, Pelagius, a Briton, spread far and near the infection of his perfidious doctrine against the assistance of the Divine grace, being seconded therein by his associate, Julianus of Campania, whose anger was kindled by the loss of his bishopric, of which he had been just deprived. St. Augustin, and the other orthodox fathers, quoted many thousand catholic opinions against them, yet they would not correct their madness; but, on the contrary, their folly was rather increased by contradiction, and they refused to embrace the truth; which Prosper, the rhetorician, has beautifully expressed thus in heroic verse:—

"Contra Augustinum narratur serpere quidam
Scriptor, quem dudum livor adurit edax.
Qui caput obscuris contectum utcunque cavernis
Tollere humo miserum protulit anguiculum.
Aut hunc fruge sua æquorei pavere Britanni,
Aut huic Campano gramine corda tument."

An insect scribbler durst 'gainst Austin write,
Whose very heart was scorch'd with hellish spite.
Presumptuous serpent! from what midnight den,
Durst thou to crawl on earth and look at men?
Sure thou at first wast fed on Britain's plains,
Or in thy breast Vesuvian sulphur reigns.


CHAPTER XI.
HOW DURING THE REIGN OF HONORIUS, GRATIAN AND CONSTAN
TINE WERE CREATED TYRANTS IN BRITAIN; AND SOON AFTER
THE FORMER WAS SLAIN IN BRITAIN, AND THE LATTER IN
GAUL.

In the year 407, Honorius, the son of Theodosius the younger, the forty-fourth from Augustus, being emperor, two years before the invasion of Rome by Alaric, king of

-20-

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