Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
King Canute
By William Camden (1551–1623)
From Remains concerning Britain

KING CANUTUS, commonly called Knute, walking on the sea-sands near to Southampton, was extolled by some of his flattering followers, and told that he was a King of Kings, the mightiest that reigned far or near; that both sea and land were at his command. But this speech did put the godly king in mind of the infinite power of God, by whom kings have and enjoy their power, and thereupon he made this demonstration to refell 1 their flattery. He took off his cloak, and wrapping it round together, sate down upon it near to the sea, that then began to flow, saying “Sea, I command thee that thou touch not my feet!” But he had not so soon spoken the word but the surging wave dashed him. He then, rising up and going back, said: “Ye see now, my Lords, what good cause you have to call me a king, that am not able by my commandment to stay one wave. No mortal man, doubtless, is worthy of such an high name, no man hath such command, but one King which ruleth all. Let us honour Him, let us call Him King of Kings and Lord of all Nations. Let us not only confess, but also profess Him to be Ruler of the Heavens, Sea and Land.”
Note 1. refell = set aside (refallere). [back]

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