ENCOMIUM EMMAE REGINAE

Argument

Perchance, O Reader, you will wonder, and will accuse me of error or incompetence because at the beginning of this book I bring to attention the deeds and glory of Sveinn, that most active king, since in the above epistle, I pledge myself to devote this book to the praise of the Queen. But you will admit that this is the case, and allow that I nowhere deviate from her praises, if you wisely compare the beginning with the middle, and the end with the beginning. And that no cloud of error may hinder your understanding of this, you may take the following as an illustration from similar and entirely true matters. Who can deny that the Aeneid, written by Virgil, is everywhere devoted to the praises of Octavian, although practically no mention of him by name, or clearly very little, is seen to be introduced? Note, therefore, that the praise accorded to his family everywhere celebrates the glory of their fame and renown to his own honour. Who can deny that this book is entirely devoted to the praise of the Queen, since it is not only written to her glory, but since that subject occupies the greatest part of it? If that does not seem satisfactory to you, let it be established by the clear proof afforded by another matter. You are aware that wherever you draw a circle, first of all you certainly establish a point to be the beginning, and so the circle is made to return by continuously wheeling its orb, and by this return the circumference of the circle is made to connect itself to its own beginning. By a similar connection, therefore, the praise of the Queen is evident at the beginning, thrives in1 the middle, is present at the end, and embraces absolutely all of what the book amounts to. Agreeing with me that this is the case, consider what follows. Sveinn, king of the Danes, mighty alike in courage and arms and also in counsel, brought the English kingdom under his rule by force, and, dying, appointed his son Knútr to be his successor in the same kingdom. The latter, when he was opposed by the English, and vigorously using force was resisted by force, afterwards won many wars; and perhaps there would scarcely or never have been an end of the fighting if he had not at length secured by the Saviour's favouring grace a matrimonial link with this most noble queen. He had a son, Hörtaknútr by this same queen, and, while still living, he gave him all that was under his control. He was absent from England at his father's death, for he had gone to secure the kingdom of the Danes. This absence gave an unjust invader a chance to enter the bounds of his empire, and this man, having secured the kingdom, killed the king's brother under circumstances of most disgraceful treachery. But divine vengeance followed, smote the impious one, and restored the kingdom to him to whom it belonged. All this will become more clearly evident in the narrative. And so Hörtaknútr, having recovered the kingdom, and being in all things obedient to the counsels of his mother, held the kingdom imperially and increased it with riches. Yea and furthermore, exercising admirable liberality, he shared, as was fitting, the honour and wealth of the kingdom between his brother and himself. Noticing these matters, O Reader, and having scanned the narrative with a watchful, nay more, with a penetrating eye, understand that the course of this book is devoted entirely to the praise of Queen Emma.

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