What the poet Claudianus saith of the state of Britaine in the decaie of the Romane empire, of the Scots and Picts cruellie vexing the Britains, they are afflicted by inuasion of barbarous nations, the practise of the Saxons, of the Scots first comming into this Iland, and from whence, the Scotish chronographers noted for curiositie and vanitie.
The Xxxv. Chapter.Honorius the emperour. AFTER this, in the time of the emperour Honorius, the Scots, Picts, and Saxons, did eftsoones inuade the frontiers of the Romane prouince in Britaine, as appéereth by that which the poet Claudianus writeth, in attributing the honour of preseruing the same frontiers vnto 396. the said emperour, in his booke intituled "Panegerycus tertij consulatus" (which fell in the yéere 396) as thus:
The same Claudianus vpon the fourth consulship of Honorius, saith in a tetrastichon as followeth: “ Quid rigor æernus cæli? quid frigora prosunt?
“ Ille leues Mauros nec falso nomine Pictos
Edomuit, Scotúmq; vago mucrone secutus,
Fregit Hyperboreas remis audacibus vndas,
Et geminis fulgens vtróq; sub axe tropheis,
Tethyos alternæ refluas calcauit arenas.
The nimble Mores and Picts by right
so cald, he hath subdude,
And with his wandring swoord likewise
the Scots he hath pursude:
He brake with bold couragious oare
the Hyperborean waue,
And shining vnder both the poles
with double trophies braue,
He marcht vpon the bubling sands
of either swelling seas.
Ignotúmq; fretum? maduerunt Saxone fuso
Orcades, incaluit Pictonum sanguine Thule,
Scotorum cumulos fleuit glacialis Hyberne.
What lasting cold? what did to them
the frostie climats gaine?
And sea vnknowne? bemoisted all
with bloud of Saxons slaine
The Orknies were: with bloud of Picts Thule some take to be Iseland, some Scotland.
hath Thule waxed warme,
And ysie Ireland hath bewaild
the heaps of Scotish harme.
” The same praise giueth he to Stilico the sonne in law of Honorius, and maketh mention of a legion of souldiers sent for out of Britaine in the periphrasis or circumlocution of the Gotish bloudie warres: “ Venit & extremis legio prætenta Britannis,
Quæ Scoto dat fræna truci, ferróq; notatas
Perleget exanimes Picto moriente figuras.
A legion eke there came from out
the farthest Britains bent,
Which brideled hath the Scots so sterne:
and marks with iron brent
Vpon their liuelesse lims dooth read,
whiles Picts their liues relent.
” He rehearseth the like in his second " Panegerycus" of Stilico, in most ample and pithie manner insuing: “ Inde Calidonio velata Britannia monstro,
Ferro Picta genas, cuius vestigia verrit
Cærulus, Oceaniq; æstum mentitur amictus,
Me quoq; vicinis pereuntem gentibus inquit,
Muniuit Stilico, totam quum Scotus Hybernam
Mouit, & infesto spumauit remige Thetis,
Illius effectum curis, ne bella timerem
Scotica, ne Pictum tremerem, ne littore toto
Prospicerem dubijs venturum Saxona ventis.
Then Britaine whom the monsters did
of Calidone surround,
Whose cheekes were pearst with scorching steele,
whose garments swept the ground,
Resembling much the marble hew
of ocean seas that boile,
Said, She whom neighbour nations did
conspire to bring to spoile,
Hath Stilico munited strong, when
raised by Scots entice
All Ireland was, and enimies ores
the salt sea fome did slice,
His care hath causd, that I all feare
of Scotish broiles haue bard,
Ne doo I dread the Picts, ne looke
my countrie coasts to gard
Gainst Saxon troops, whom changing winds
sent sailing hitherward.
” Thus maie it appéere, that in the time when the Romane empire began to decaie, in like Britaine afflicted by inuasion of barbarous nations. manner as other parts of the same empire were inuaded by barbarous nations, so was that part of Britaine which was subiect to the Romane emperors grieuouslie assailed by the Scots and Picts, and also by the Saxons, the which in those dales inhabiting all alongst the sea coasts of low Germanie, euen from the Elbe vnto the Rhine, did not onelie trouble the sea by continuall rouing, but also vsed to come on land into diuerse parts of Britaine and Gallia, inuading the countries, and robbing the same with great rage and crueltie. Sidon. Apol. li. 8. Epist. To the which Sidonius Apollinaris thus alludeth, writing to Namatius. " The messenger did assuredlie affirme, that latelie ye blew the trumpet to warre in your nation, and betwixt the office one while of a mariner, and another while of a souldier, wafted about the The pirasie of the Saxons. crooked shores of the ocean sea against the fléet of the Saxons, of whome as manie rouers as ye behold, so manie archpirats ye suppose to see: so doo they altogither with one accord command, obeie, teach, and learne to plaie the parts of rouers, that euen now there is good occasion to warne you to beware. This enimie is more cruell than all other enimies. He assaileth at vnwares, he escapeth by forseeing the danger afore hand, he despiseth those that stand against him, he throweth downe the vnwarie: if he be followed he snappeth them vp that pursue him, if he flée he escapeth." Of like effect for proofe héereof be those verses which he wrote vnto Maiorianus his panegyrike oration, following in Latine and in English verse. “ Tot maria intraui duce te, longéq; remotas
Sole sub occiduo gentes, victricia Cæsar
Signa Calidonios transuexit ad vsq; Britannos,
Fuderit & quanquam Scotum, & cum Saxone Pictum,
Hostes quæsiuit quem iam natura vetabat,
Quærere plus homines, &c.
So manie seas I entred haue,
and nations farre by west,
By thy conduct, and Caesar hath
his banners borne full prest
Vnto the furthest British coast,
where Calidonians dwell,
The Scot and Pict with Saxons eke,
though he subdued fell,
Yet would he enimies seeke vnknowne
whom nature had forbid, &c.
” ¶ Thus much haue we thought good to gather out of the Romane and other writers, that ye might perceiue the state of Britaine the better in that time of the decaie of the Romane empire, and that ye might haue occasion to marke by the waie, how not onelie the Scots, but also the Saxons had attempted to inuade the Britains, before anie mention is made of the same their attempts by the British and English writers. But whether the Scots had anie habitation within the bounds of Britaine, till the time supposed by the Briraine writers, we leaue that point to the iudgement of others that be trauelled in the search of such antiquities, onclie admonishing you, that in the Scotish chronicle you shall find the opinion which their writers haue conceiued of this matter, and also manie things touching the acts of the Romans doone against diuerse of the Britains, which they presume to be doone against their nation, though shadowed vnder the generall name of Britains, or of other particular names, at this daie to most men vnknowne. But whensoeuer the Scots came into this Ile, they made the third nation that inhabited the same, comming first out of Scithia, or rather out of Spaine Polydor. (as some suppose) into Ireland, and from thence into Britaine; next after the Picts, though their writers fetch a farre more ancient beginning (as in their chronicles at large appéereth) referring them to the reading thereof, that desire to vnderstand that matter as they set it foorth. Thus farre the dominion and tribute of the Romans ouer this land of Britaine, which had continued (by the collection of some chronographers) the space of 483. yeeres. And heere we thinke it conuenient to end this fourth booke.