Monday, September 9, 2013

Alfred the Great’s dying words to his son

Statue of King Alfred in Wantage Market Square, England.

Statue of King Alfred in Wantage Market Square, England.

The last of the works attributed to Alfred which need be specially mentioned, is the collection of proverbs, or sayings, in verse and prose, found amongst the Cotton manuscripts….


In almost the last of the series, the King addresses his son:

“Thus quoth Alfred: My dear son, sit thou now beside me, and I will deliver thee true instruction. My son, I feel that my hour is near, my face is pale, my days are nearly run. We must soon part. I shall to another world, and thou shalt be left alone with all my wealth. I pray thee, for thou art my dear child, strive to be a father and a lord to thy people; be thou the children’s father, and the widow’s friend; comfort thou the poor and shelter the weak, and with all thy might right that which is wrong. And, my son, govern thyself by law, then shall the Lord love thee, and God above all things shall be thy reward. Call thou upon Him to advise thee in all thy need, and so He shall help thee the better to compass that which thou wouldest.”

Thomas Hughes, Alfred the Great (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 297, 299.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 315

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