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The Prophecy of Merlin
From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s
of the Kings of
Chapter. III.--The Prophecy of Merlin.
As Vortigern, king of the Britons, was sitting upon the bank of the drained pond, the two dragons, one of which was white, the other red, came forth, and,
approaching one another, began a terrible fight, and cast forth fire with their breath. But the white dragon had the advantage, and made the other fly to the end of the lake. And he, for grief at his flight, renewed the assault upon his pursuer, and forced him to retire. After this battle of the dragons, the king commanded Ambrose Merlin to tell him what it portended. Upon which he, bursting into tears, delivered what his prophetical spirit suggested to him, as follows:--
"Woe to the red dragon, for his banishment hasteneth on. His lurking holes shall be seized by the white dragon, which signifies the Saxons whom you invited over; but the red denotes the British nation, which shall be oppressed by the white.
Therefore shall its mountains be levelled as the
valleys, and the rivers of the valleys shall run with blood. The exercise of
religion shall be destroyed, and churches be laid open to ruin. At last the
oppressed shall prevail, and oppose the cruelty of foreigners. For a boar of
his assistance, and trample their necks under his
feet. The islands of the ocean shall be subject to his power, and he shall
possess the forests of
The house of
Religion shall be again abolished, and
there shall be a translation of the metropolitan sees.
The dignity of
punishment of men, that the natives may be restored.
He that shall do these things shall put on the brazen man, and upon a brazen
horse shall for a long time guard the gates of
Mortality shall snatch away the people, and make a desolation over all countries. The remainder shall quit their native soil, and make foreign
plantations. A blessed king shall prepare a fleet, and
shall be reckoned the twelfth in the court among the saints. There shall be a
miserable desolation of the kingdom, and the floors of the harvests shall
return to the fruitful forests. The white dragon shall rise again, and invite
over a daughter of
Then shall the North Wind rise against him, and shall snatch away the flowers which the west wind
produced. There shall be gilding in the temples, nor
shall the edge of the sword cease. The German dragon shall hardly get to his
holes, because the revenge of his treason shall overtake him. At last he shall
flourish for a little time, but the decimation of
Then shall succeed a lion of justice, at whose roar the Gallican towers and the island dragons shall tremble.
In those days gold shall be squeezed from the lily and
the nettle, and silver shall flow from the hoofs of bellowing cattle. The
frizzled shall put on various fleeces, and the outward habit denote the inward
parts. The feet of barkers shall be cut off; wild beasts shall enjoy peace;
mankind shall be grieved at their punishment; the form of commerce shall be
divided; the half shall be round. The ravenousness of kites shall be destroyed,
and the teeth of wolves blunted. The lion's whelps shall be transformed into
sea-fishes; and an eagle shall build her nest upon
Piety shall hurt the possessor of things got by
impiety, till he shall have put on his Father: therefore, being armed with the
teeth of a boar, he shall ascend above the tops of mountains, and the shadow of
him that wears a helmet.
shall be enraged, and, assembling her neighbours,
shall be employed in shedding blood. There shall be put into her jaws a bridle
that shall be made on the coast of
that oppose them, and shall cut off the tongues of bulls. They shall load the necks of roaring lions with chains, and restore the times of their ancestors.
Then from the first to the fourth, from the fourth to
the third, from the third to the second, the thumb shall roll in oil. The sixth
shall overturn the walls of
He shall reduce several parts to one, and be crowned with the head of a lion. His beginning shall lay open to wandering affection, but his end shall carry him up to the blessed, who are above.
For he shall restore the seats of saints in their countries, and settle pastors in convenient places. Two cities he shall invest with two palls, and
shall bestow virgin-presents upon virgins. He shall
merit by this the favour of the Thunderer, and shall be placed among the
saints. From him shall proceed a lynx penetrating all things, who shall be bent
upon the ruin of his own nation; for, through him,
shall arise a dissension among foreigners. Also a hoary old man, sitting upon a snow-white horse, shall turn the course of the river Periron, and shall measure out a mill upon it with a white rod. Cadwallader shall call upon Conan, and take
joy; and the oaks of
From Conan shall proceed a warlike boar, that shall
exercise the sharpness of his tusks within the Gallic woods. For he shall cut
down all the larger oaks, and shall be a defence to the smaller. The Arabians
and Africans shall dread him; for he shall pursue his furious course to the
farther part of
The camp of Venus shall be restored; nor shall the
arrows of Cupid cease to wound. The fountain of a river shall be turned into
blood; and two kings shall fight a duel at
Famine shall again return; mortality shall return; and the inhabitants shall grieve for the destruction of their cities. Then shall come the board of commerce, who shall recall the scattered flocks to the pasture they had lost. His breast shall be
food to the hungry, and his tongue drink to the
thirsty. Out of his mouth shall flow rivers, that shall water the parched jaws
of men. After this shall be produced a tree upon the
branches, shall overshadow the surface of the whole island with the breadth of its leaves. Its adversary, the North Wind, shall come upon it, and with its noxious blast shall snatch away the third branch; but the two remaining ones shall possess its place, till they shall destroy one another by the multitude of their leaves; and then shall it obtain the place of those two, and shall give
sustenance to birds of foreign nations. It shall be esteemed hurtful to native fowls; for they shall not be able to fly freely for fear of its shadow. There
shall succeed the ass of wickedness, swift against the goldsmiths, but slow against the ravenousness of wolves. In those days the oaks of the forests shall
burn, and acorns grow upon the branches of teil trees.
Fishes shall die with the heat thereof; and of them shall be engendered serpents. The Baths of Badon shall grow cold, and their salubrious waters
Chapter IV The Continuation of the Prophecy.
"Three springs shall break forth in the city of
Those that are willing to escape so great a surfeit,
will endeavour to hide it with several coverings: but whatever bulk shall be
laid upon it, shall receive the form of another body. For earth shall be turned
into stones; stones into water; wood into ashes; ashes into water, if cast over
it. Also a damsel shall be sent from the city of the
as soon as she shall have refreshed herself with the wholesome liquor, she shall bear in her right hand the wood of Caledon, and in her left the forts of the
She shall be killed by a hart with ten branches, four of which shall bear golden diadems; but
the other six shall be turned into buffalo's horns,
whose hideous sound shall astonish the three islands of
to thy side, and say to
The whiteness of wool has been hurtful to thee, and
the variety of its tinctures. Woe to the perjured nation, for whose sake the
renowned city shall come to ruin. The ships shall rejoice at so great an augmentation,
and one shall be made out of two. It shall be rebuilt by Eric, loaden with
apples, to the smell whereof the birds of several woods shall flock together.
He shall add to it a vast palace, and wall it round with six hundred towers.
At that time shall the stones speak, and the sea towards the Gallic coast be contracted into a narrow space. On each bank shall one man
hear another, and the soil of the island shall be
enlarged. The secrets of the deep shall be revealed, and
shall come forth a hern from the
They shall invade the tillage of husbandmen, and devour all the grain of the harvests. Then shall
follow a famine upon the people, and a grievous
mortality upon the famine. But when this calamity shall be over, a detestable
bird shall go to the
Three eggs shall be produced in the nest, from whence shall come forth a fox, a wolf, and a bear.
The fox shall devour her mother, and bear the head of
an ass. In this monstrous form shall she frighten her brothers, and make them
fox; who at the beginning of the fight shall feign herself dead, and move the boar to compassion.
Then shall the boar approach her carcass, and standing over her, shall breathe upon her face and eyes. But she, not forgetting her cunning, shall bite his left foot, and pluck it off from his body. Then shall she leap upon him, and snatch away his right ear and tail, and hide herself in the caverns of the mountains. Therefore shall the deluded boar require the wolf and bear to restore him his members; who, as soon as they shall enter into the
cause, shall promise two feet of the fox, together with the ear and tail, and of these they shall make up the members of a hog. With this he shall be satisfied, and expect the promised restitution. In the meantime shall the fox descend from the mountains, and change herself into a wolf, and under pretence of holding a conference with the boar, she shall go to him, and craftily devour him.
After that she shall transform herself into a boar, and feigning a loss of some members, shall wait for her brothers; but as soon as they are come, she shall suddenly kill them with her tusks, and shall be crowned with the head of a lion.
In her days shall a serpent be brought forth, which
shall be a destroyer of mankind. With its length it shall encompass
He shall gather to him the flocks of
shall borrow his shape. Therefore shall the mountain ox be incensed, and having called the wolf, shall become a horned bull against them. In the exercise of his cruelty he shall devour their flesh and bones, but shall be burned upon the top
of Urian. The ashes of his funeral-pyre shall be turned into swans, that shall swim on dry ground as on a river. They shall devour fishes in fishes, and swallow up men in men.
But when old age shall come upon them, they shall
become sea-wolves, and practise their frauds in the deep. They shall drown
ships, and collect no small quantity of silver. The
the adjacent cities, and overturn the mountains that oppose its course. Being full of deceit and wickedness, it shall make use of the fountain Galabes. Hence shall arise factions provoking the Venedotians to war. The oaks of the forest
shall meet together, and encounter the rocks of the
Gewisseans. A raven shall attend with the kites, and devour the carcasses of
the slain. An owl shall build her nest upon the walls of
The serpent of Malvernia shall bring him up, and put him upon many fraudulent practices. Having taken the crown, he shall ascend on high, and
frighten the people of the country with his hideous braying. In his days shall the Pachaian mountains tremble, and the provinces be deprived of their woods.
For there shall come a worm with a fiery breath, and with the vapour it sends forth shall burn up the trees. Out of it shall proceed seven lions deformed with the heads of goats. With the stench of their nostrils they shall corrupt women, and make wives turn common prostitutes. The father shall not know his own son, because they shall grow wanton like brute beasts. Then shall come the giant of wickedness, and terrify all with the sharpness of his eyes.
Against him shall arise the dragon of
engagement the dragon shall be worsted, and oppressed by the wickedness of the conqueror. For he shall mount upon the dragon, and putting off his garment shall sit upon him naked. The dragon shall bear him up on high, and beat his naked
rider with his tail erected. Upon this the giant rousing up his whole strength, shall break his jaws with his sword. At last the dragon shall fold itself up under its tail, and die of poison. After him shall succeed the boar of Totness, and oppress the people with grievous tyranny. Gloucester shall send forth a lion, and shall disturb him in his cruelty, in several battles.
He shall trample him under his feet, and terrify him with open jaws. At last the lion shall quarrel with the kingdom, and get upon the backs of the nobility. A bull shall come into the quarrel, and strike the lion with his right foot. He shall drive
him through all the inns in the kingdom, but shall
break his horns against the walls of
multitude of dragons.
Then shall the dragons encounter, and tear one another to pieces. The winged shall oppress that which wants wings, and fasten its claws into the poisonous cheeks. Others shall come into the quarrel, and kill one another.
A fifth shall succeed those that are slain, and by various stratagems shall destroy the rest. He shall get upon the back of one with his sword, and
sever his head from his body. Then throwing off his garment, he shall get upon
another, and put his right and left hand upon his tail. Thus being naked shall he overcome him, whom when clothed he was not able to deal with. The rest he shall gall in their flight, and drive them round the kingdom. Upon this shall come a roaring lion dreadful for his monstrous cruelty. Fifteen parts shall he reduce to one, and shall alone possess the people. The giant of the snow white colour shall shine, and cause the white people to flourish.
Pleasures shall effeminate the princes, and they shall suddenly be changed into beasts. Among
them shall arise a lion swelled with human gore. Under
him shall a reaper be placed in the standing corn, who, while he is reaping,
shall be oppressed by him. A charioteer of
Afterwards he shall become a sea-fish, who, being roused up with the hissing of a serpent, shall engender with him. From hence shall be produced three thundering bulls, who having eaten up their pastures shall be turned into trees.
The first shall carry a whip of vipers, and turn his back upon the next. He shall endeavour to snatch away the whip, but shall be taken by the last. They
shall turn away their faces from one another, till they
have thrown away the poisoned cup. To him shall succeed a husbandman of
become white with corn.
The serpent shall endeavour to diffuse his poison, in order to blast the harvest. A grievous mortality shall sweep away the people, and the walls of cities shall be made desolate.
There shall be given for a remedy the city of
For she shall bear a dose of medicine, and in a short time the island shall be restored. Then shall two successively sway the sceptre, whom a horned dragon shall serve. One shall come in armour, and shall ride upon a flying serpent. He shall sit upon his back with his naked body, and cast his right hand upon his tail. With his cry shall the seas be moved, and he shall strike terror into the second. The second therefore shall enter into confederacy with the lion; but a quarrel happening, they shall encounter one another. They shall distress one
another, but the courage of the beast shall gain the advantage. Then shall come one with a drum, and appease the rage of the lion. Therefore shall the people of the kingdom be at peace, and provoke the lion to a dose of physic.
In his established seat he shall adjust the weights,
but shall stretch out his hands into
surround Cornwall with his tail. He shall be opposed
by a soldier in a chariot, who shall transform that people into a boar. The
boar therefore shall ravage the provinces, but shall hide his head in the depth
intent upon the earth. From them shall the stars turn away their faces, and confound their usual course. Corn will wither at their malign aspects; and there shall fall no dew from heaven. The roots and branches will change their places, and the novelty of the thing shall pass for a miracle. The brightness of the sun shall fade at the amber of Mercury, and horror shall seize the beholders.
The helmet of Mars shall make a shadow; and the rage of Mercury pass his bounds. Iron Orion shall unsheath his sword: the marine Phoebus shall torment the clouds; Jupiter shall go out of his lawful paths; and Venus forsake her stated
lines. The malignity of the star Saturn shall fall down in rain, and slay mankind with a crooked sickle. The twelve houses of the star shall lament the irregular excursions of their guests; and Gemini omit their usual embraces, and call the urn to the fountains. The scales of Libra shall hang obliquely, till Aries puts his crooked horns under them. The tail of Scorpio shall produce lightning, and Cancer quarrel with the Sun. Virgo shall mount upon the back of Sagittarius, and darken her virgin flowers.
The chariot of the Moon shall disorder the zodiac, and the Pleiades break forth into weeping. No offices of Janus shall hereafter return, but his gate being shut shall lie hid in the chinks of Ariadne. The seas shall rise up in the twinkling of an eye, and the dust of ancients shall be restored. The winds shall fight together with a dreadful blast, and their sound shall reach the stars.
King Arthur &
The Round Table
Merlin & The Tree of Life
Merlin the Magician
Born circa 400 CE ; Welsh: Myrddin;
Latin: Merlinus; English: Merlin.
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