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The Prophecy of Merlin
From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s
History 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.
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
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
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
Mortality shall snatch away the people, and make a desolation over all countries. The remainder shall quit their native soil, and make foreign
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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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. Therefore shall
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
and the soil of the island shall be enlarged. The secrets of the deep shall be
forth a hern from the
They shall invade the tillage of husbandmen, and devour all the grain of the harvests. Then shall
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 fly into
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
established seat he shall adjust the weights, but shall stretch out his hands
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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Merlin instructs the young Arthur