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A voyage of three Ambassadours, who in the time of K. Edward the Confessor, and about the yere of our Lord 1056, were sent unto Constantinople, and from thence unto Ephesus , together with the occasion of their sending, &c. recorded by William of Malmesburie, lib. 2. de gestis regum Anglorum, capite 13.

UPON Easter day king Edward the Confessour being crowned with his kingly diademe, and accompanied with divers of his nobles, sate at dinner in his pallace at Westminster . And when others, after their long abstinence in the Lent, refreshed themselves with dainty meats, and fed thereupon very earnestly, he lifting up his mind from earthly matters and meditating on heavenly visions (to the great admiration of those which were present) brake forth into an exceeding laughter: and no man presuming to enquire the cause of his mirth, they all kept silence til dinner was ended. But after dinner as hee was in his bed-chamber putting off his solemne roabes, three of his Nobles, to wit earle Harold, an Abbot, and a Bishop, being more familiar with him then the residue followed him in, and bouldly asked him what was the occasion of his laughter : for it seemed very strange unto them all, what should move him at so solemne a time and assembly, while others kept silence, to laugh so excessively. I saw (quoth he) admirable things, and therefore laughed I not without occasion. Then they (as it is the common guise of all men) demaunded and enquired the cause more earnestly, humbly beseeching him that hee would vouchsafe to impart that secret unto them. Whereupon musing a long while unto himselfe, at length he told them wonderfull things: namely that seven Sleepers had rested in mount Caelius two hundred yeeres, lying upon their right sides; but in the very houre of his laughter, that they turned themselves on their left sides; and that they should continue so lying for the space of 74. yeeres after; being a dismal signe of future calamitie unto mankinde. For all things should come to passe within those 74. yeeres, which, as our Saviour Christ foretold unto his disciples, were to be fulfilled about the ende of the world; namely that nation should rise against nation, and kingdome against kingdome, and that there should bee in many places earthquakes, pestilence, and famine, terrible apparitions in the heavens, and great signes, together with alterations of kingdomes, warres of infidels against the Christians, and victories of the Christians against the infidels. And as they wondered at these relations, he declared unto them the passion of the seven Sleepers, with the proportion and shape of eache of their bodies (which things no man living had as then committed unto writing) and that so plainely and distinctly, as if he had conversed a long time in their company. Hereupon the earle sent a knight, the bishop a clearke, and the abbot a monke unto Maniches the Emperour of Constantinople, with the letters and gifts of their King. Who giving them friendly entertainment, sent them over unto the bishop of Ephesus ; and wrote his letters unto him giving him charge, that the English Ambassadours might be admitted to see the true, and material habiliments of the seven Sleepers. And it came to passe that King Edwards vision was approved by all the Greekes, who protested they were advertised by their fathers, that the foresaid seven Sleepers had alwayes before that time rested upon their right sides; but after the Englishmen were entered into the cave, those Sleepers confirmed the trueth of the outlandish prophesie, unto their countreymen. Neither were the calamities foretold, any long time delayed: for the Agarens, Arabians, Turkes and other unbeleeving nations invading the Christians, harried and spoiled Syria , Lycia , the lesser Asia, and many cities of Asia the greater, and amongst the rest Ephesus , yea, and Jerusalem also.

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