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FERQUHARD.

AFTER the deceasse of Donwald, his nephue Ferquhard the sonne of his brother, the
Ferquhard the second of that name created king of Scotland. Ferquhard being king was couetous: before he was king, he shewed liberalitie. other Ferquhard, succéeded in gouernement of the realme, a man of quicke and liuelie spirit, but inclined neuerthelesse rather vnto euill than vnto good, speciallie after he had atteined the crowne, insomuch as it was commonlie spoken of him, that from a liberall and most gentle humane person, he was suddenlie changed into an insatiable and most cruell monster. Before he came to the crowne he was liberall beyond measure. There was no gentleman that wanted monie, either to redéeme his lands ingaged, or to bestow in dower for the mariage of his daughter, but if he had wherewith to helpe him, he might account himselfe sure thereof. Priests and other deuout persons, speciallie such as were poore and in any necessitie, he oftentimes most bountifullie relieued to their great ease and comfort. To be briefe, such a readinesse was in him to helpe all men, that (as was thought) he could better be contented to want himselfe, than to sée other men haue néed of anie thing that was in his possession, so that all men iudged him most worthie of all princelie authoritie. But after he was once placed in the kinglie seat, he so altered his conditions, that men could not but woonder much therat. Where before he was knowne to be liberall, well desposed, righteous, sober, and a reformer of offenses, he was now foorthwith become couetous, wicked towards God, a tormentor of the iust and righteous people, and insatiable in all vnawfull affections. That which before time he had giuen vnto anie of the nobilitie, he now without Gifts are required as a loane. Lo, what a pretense couetousnes hath. For their goods sake prelats are troubled. all shame most vncourteouslie demanded to be to him restored, alledging that he did but lend it for the time. And such as went about to delay restitution, pretending anie excuse, he caused their goods to be confiscate, and also their bodies to be committed to prison. Now & then he found means without cause or matter to put some of them to cruell death. Such of the prelates as hée vnderstood to be wealthie, he rested not till he had piked one matter or other vnto them, whereby they were sure to forfeit all their treasure vnto his coffers, that neuer might be filled.

The bishops of the realme, namelie those two reuerend fathers, Colman and Finnan, The king is excommunicated. perceiuing such wickednesse in the prince, blamed him sharpelie sundrie times for the same: and at length bicause they saw he regarded not their admonishments, he was by them excommunicated: whereof he so little passed, that when other went vnto the church to heare diuine seruice, he would get him to the woods and forrests to hunt the hart, or some other The king is hunting. game. Neither were such wanting as were willing to kéepe him companie: so readie is the nature of man at all times to follow licentious libertie. He vsed also, contrarie to the custome of his countrie, to eat thrée meales a day, hauing such number of dishes and He was a glutton. abundance of delicate fare, as the like had not béene vsed at anie time before those daies in that realme: and all to serue his gréedie appetite, togither with theirs that followed his companie.

Of wines & other strong drinks he would participate abundantlie at all times and places, A drunkard he was also. without regard of health or honor, being excéedinglie giuen vnto most beastlie drunkennesse. He customablie vsed to sit at supper till it were verie late in the night, hauing his banketting dishes and cuppes to come in one after another, till he were so mistempered, that being laid to sleepe, he would streight vomit out such heauie gorges, as he had in such most gluttonous wise receiued. Herevnto he was so drowned in the filthie lust of the flesh, that he defiled his owne daughters: and for that his wife was about to dissuade him from such villanie, he slue hir with his owne hands. Thus continuing in his wickednesse certeine yeeres, at length the nobles began to conspire against him, so that they would haue deuised a meane how to haue rid him out of the way, if bishop Colman had not forbidden them that practise, prophesieng as it were by diuine inspiration, that Ferquhard sore detesting his A prophesie. owne wicked dooings, should shortlie be punished by the hands of almightie God, according to his deseruings.

And sure his words proued true: for within a moneth after, as the same Ferquhard The king is sicke. followed in chase of a woolfe, the beast being all inraged by the pursute of the hounds, flue backe vpon the king, and snatching at him, did wound and bite him right sore in one of his sides, immediatlie wherevpon, whether through anguish of his hurt, or by some other occasion, he fell into a most filthie disease: for a venemous humor with a soft consuming heat, did so eat and wast his members and lims, that a lothsome sight it was to behold the same: for out of his legs, féet, and priuie parts, there issued filthie corruption and matter, with so vile a sauour, that vnneth might any creature abide it. His bellie was swollen, as though he had beene infected with the dropsie, and therto was it verie hard withall. Finallie lice bred so abundantlie in his secret parts, that he might in no wise be rid or cleansed of them.

At length, when he had béene vexed in this sort for the space of two yéeres togither, or thereabouts, he began to call himselfe to remembrance, and to consider how this punishment was worthilie fallen vpon him for his sinnes, and therevpon causing bishop Colman to He sent for his confessor. be fetched vnto him, being as then about 20 miles off, he confessed vnto him the whole summe of his offenses, declaring himselfe right penitent for the same. Colman reioising hereat, did not onelie release him of the sentence of excommunication, pronounced against The king being excommunicated is released. him; but also willed him to be of comfort, and to put his confidence in the mercie of almightie God, who was readie to receiue all such sinners as turned vnto him with repentant hearts: so that being put in hope by these & the like words of Colman to haue forgiuenesse of his sinnes, with bitter teares he besought God to haue mercie vpon him: and humblie receiuing the sacrament, got him into simple clothing of heare and sackecloth. Then causing himselfe to be borne into the next fields, hée there yelded vp the ghost in the presence of Ferquhard yéeldeth vp the ghost. Colman, who (according to the dutie of a good ghostlie father) was still about him, in exhorting him to commit himselfe wholie to the mercie of God, & not to doubt but he should be sure to atteine the same. Thus Ferquhard ended his life, in the 18 yéere after he began his reigne ouer the Scotishmen, and in the yéere of Grace 664.

664. Finnan bishop. Holie Iland. In this Ferquhards daies bishop Aidan departed this world, and then was Finnan sent for foorth of Scotland, to take vpon him the gouernement of the church of Lindesferne, where the bishops of Northumberland as then had their sée. This Finnan was well learned, and no lesse renowmed for his vertuous life than his predecessor Aidan. He died anon after the deceasse of Ferquhard, and then was Colman remooued vnto that sée of Lindesferne, who Bishop Colman cōuerted the Saxons. Penda king of Mercia. with his vertuous instructions and examples of holie life conuerted a great multitude of Saxons vnto the true worshipping of the liuing God. And amongst other was Penda sonne to the former Penda, king of Mercia. There be that write how Penda the father also was baptised by this Colman: and that the same Colman trauelled through the most part of all the English prouinces, setting foorth the word of life amongest the people, purchasing him great fame for his worthie merits. He came to the church of Lindesferne in the daies of Maldwin that succéeded the last mentioned Ferquhard.

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