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CONSTANTINE.

CONSTANTINE procured friends so on ech side, that by their meanes being of high
Constantine procured friends. authoritie in the realme, he was brought by them vnto Scone, and there crowned king the 12 day after Kenneths deceasse, in the 25 yeere after that the same Kenneth had begun his reigne ouer the Scotishmen, and in the yéere of our saluation a thousand iust, in the 994. Io. Ma. 1000. H. B. which yéere (as is said) sundrie vnketh sights were séene as well in Albion, as in other places. The sea left vpon the sands on the coasts of Buchquane, an infinite multitude of fishes, the which lieng there dead, caused such a filthie sauour, that the aire being therewith Maruellous haps chanced. The moone appéered blouaie, Scarsitie of corne and catell. It rained stones. Preaching was despised. infected, great death of people insued. The moone appéered of a bloudie colour, to the great terror of them that beheld it. In the summer next following, corne failed, and cattell died so generallie, that if there had not beene more plentie of fish got than was accustomed to be, the people had béene famished in manie places. In Albion and also France it rained stones. But all these dreadfull woonders might not withdraw the Scotishmen from their wicked vices, wherevnto in those daies they were wholie giuen, though there wanted not diuerse vertuous men, as well bishops as other, that in their sermons exhorted the people to repent and amend their naughtie liuings: for otherwise vndoubtedlie such grislie sights and tokens as chanced in those daies, menaced some great mischiefe to fall vnto the whole nation. And suerlie their woords proued true: for the Scots continuing in their wilfulnesse, being stubborne harted one against another, brought their countrie into danger of vtter destruction.

Malcolme the sonne of Kenneth, created (as ye haue heard in his fathers life time) prince Malcolme séeketh frends against Constantine. of Cumberland, hearing that Constantine (against the ordinance latelie made) had vsurped the crowne, as soone as his fathers bodie was buried in Colmekill, with such funerall pompe as apperteined, he desired his fathers friends to giue him such faithfull counsell as they thought most expedient, which way he were best to woorke for the appeasing of the sedition now begun, by reason of Constantines presumptuous attempt. There were some amongest Good counsell was giuen him. that companie that tooke it to be best, first to vnderstand the minds of all the péeres and nobles of the realme, before they went about anie exploit against the tyrant; least whilest Malcolme should séeke to deliuer himselfe from danger, he might happilie wind himselfe further into trouble, than without extreame perill of the common-wealth he should be able to get foorth thereof againe. Other there were that iudged it best suddenlie to go against Yet other counsell was giuen him. Constantine before he made himselfe strong: for if they came vpon him yer he were prouided for their comming, manie of them that feigned themselues to be his friends, would forsake him, so soone as they saw anie power of his enimies at hand. And then should he either fall into their hands, or be driuen to flée the realme for safegard of his life.

The fierce yoong man following this counsell as the best to his seeming, & trusting more to his owne wit than to the graue aduise of men of skill, assembled togither in all Malcolme goeth with an armie to fight with Constantine. K. Constantine went to méete Malcolme. Malcolme thought himselfe too weake. hast possible about the number of ten thousand men, with whome making towards Constantine with spéedie iornies, at length he came into Louthian. Constantine being informed of all his aduersaries dooings, had gotten togither also an huge power, so that passing foorth with the same to incounter them, the brute which-ran of his great number and puissance, caused Malcolme for verie feare that he should not be able in anie part to match him, to breake vp his armie, and to flée backe into Cumberland: by reason whereof he had béene put to such hinderance and dishonor, as would not easilie haue béene recouered, had not Kenneth the bastard sonne of his father the aboue mentioned Kenneth incamped with a mightic power about Sterling, & defended the passages of the Forth, that Constantine with his armie could not come ouer. Then rose there a great famine and Lacke of vittels caused Constantine to breake vp his campe. penurie of vittels in both hosts, so that Constantine with great indignation was constreined to breake vp his campe, and so to leaue his enterprise for that season.

Thus was the realme diuided into two sundrie factions, wherevpon followed wastings and incursions made into each others possessions, with such crueltie, that the same might be a sufficient instruction what mischiefe happeneth through ciuill discord. The poore commons and husbandmen were brought to such miserie through the often spoilings and robberies vsed by the men of warre, that they were not able to till their grounds. Finallie, there rose one mischiefe so fast in the necke of an other, that no kind of crueltie was spared, robbing, reauing, and forcible extortion was exercised on all sides without hope of anie redresse or amendment. Whilest the Scotishmen were thus at diuision amongest themselues, King Edward, or rather Ethelred, purchased peace of the Danes. renting and pulling in péeces their owne miserable natiue countrie, Edward king of England being oppressed with inuasion of Danes, was glad to buie peace at their hands, for himselfe and his people, with right large summes of monie; but perceiuing that his enimies ceassed not dailie to spoile and rob his subiects, he purposed to trie what he might doo by making Malcolme is readie to helpe king Edward against the Danes. them warre: and to make his part the stronger, he required Malcolme prince of Cumberland to aid him against the Danes, according to the couenant of the ancient ieague. Malcolme consenting to K. Edwards request, came with a mightie armie of Cumberland men to support him: by reason whereof the Danes doubting to be ouermatched, after certeine light King Edward made peace with the Danes. skirmishes, without anie great bloudshed, condescended to haue peace, which was concluded with these conditions: that king Edward should paie vnto the Danes a thousand pounds of gold, for the which they should content themselues with those lands which they had alredie in possession, and to inuade no further vpon the Englishmen; but contrariwise to be readie to fight in their defense, if anie forreine enimie sought to make anie warres vpon them. In the meane time, whilest Malcolme was thus in England occupied in aid of king Edward against the Danes, king Constantine thought the time to serue verie well for his purpose, to reduce all those regions of Scotland, which tooke part with his aduersarie (the foresaid Malcolme) vnder his subiection.

He assembled therefore twentie thousand men, and comming into Louthian, heard how King Constantine renued warre with Malcolme. Kenneth the bastard aforesaid (being left by his brother Malcolme to resist Constantines attempts) thad got togither an huge armie of his brothers friends, and was come vnto Crawmond, where the riuer falleth into the Forth, thrée miles from Edenburgh, purposing there to abide his enimies, if they minded to assaile him. Constantine herevpon hasted Constantine ioined battell with Kenneth the bastard. thitherwards, and comming within sight of his enimies, strightwaies ioined battell with them; immediatlie wherewith there rose such an outragious tempest of wind, comming out of the east, & driuing the sand in the faces of Constantines men, that they were not able to sée about them to make anie defense against their enimies that then preassed vpon them right eagerlie. By means whereof the discomfiture lighted vpon Constantines side, though neither part had anie great cause to reioise: for in the hotest of the fight, Constantine and Kenneth chanced to incounter togither, and so fighting man to man, either siue other. Thus King Constantine is slaine. 1002. Constantine ended his life by dint of the enimies sword, in the third yeare of his reigne, & in the yeare after the incarnation 1002, & his bodie was buried in Colmekill amongst his predecessors.

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