Some say I look like Gandalf. Does Gandolph of Brimside look like Gandalf? Mr. Tolkien took Gandolph away from Mr. Morris a Founding Father of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1969 I declared myself a New Pre-Raphaelite. I was looking for a spiritual vehicle. According to a Seer I saw in 1987, I died after falling on beautiful rocks by the sea. In back of me is the painting I did of the Angel I saw giving the world back to me in the form of a hollow glass float.
Several years ago I declared war on the new Roman slave masters in the red state South who took over the abolitionist party founded by my kindred. Recently, a Dark Lord of Murder appeared on the World Wide Web, and declared war on Rome.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the ‘Islamic State’ stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to his new land to fight under its banner around the globe.”
This monster is raping young women in the name of his fictional version of Allah, then making them his slaves that he hands over to his gang of jack-offs who can not get a date, or, meet anyone on the internet. Experts are sayng ISIS became powerful by use of the internet. Pundits call for an answer to appear on the internet. Christiandom is powerless. The Republican church attacks Liberals and women, instead of ISIS.
I summon ‘The Sons of the Wolves’ to wage war on ISIS, especially a War of Words, and protect Europe and America’s literary, artistic, and Nordic culture. This story wrote itself. It is written……..
“All’s well, that ends well!”
‘Son of the Duke of the Woods’
“Using language with elements of the medieval tales which were his models, Morris tells the story of Ralph of Upmeads, the fourth and youngest son of a minor king, who sets out, contrary to his parents’ wishes, to find knightly adventure and seek the Well at the World’s End, a magic well which will confer a near-immortality and strengthened destiny on those who drink from it. The well lies at the edge of the sea beyond a wall of mountains called “The Wall of the World” by those on the near side of them but “The Wall of Strife” by the more peaceful and egalitarian people who live on the seaward side.
Jack informs Christopher of his true station and gathers together an army to help him challenge the usurper. When the hosts meet, the commander of Rolf’s forces, Baron Gandolf of Brimside, challenges Jack to single combat, but Christopher claims the honor from Jack and proves his worth by defeating the opposing champion.”
Christine Rosamond Benton and I were drawn into Tolkien’s Trilogy. The artist known as ‘Rosamond’ could not put these books down, nr could I. This caused our mutual friend, Keith Purvis, a British subject, to comment;
“She doesn’t know these books are real.”
We three were original hippies who took the Lord of the Rings to heart as we modified the modern world, made it over more to our liking, we oblivious to what normal folk were about. This is exactly what William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brother and Sisterhood did. They – returned!
I discovered the Pre-Raphaelites in 1969 and let my hair grow long for the first time. I gave up drugs in 1967 and was looking for a spiritual format. I came under the spell of the Rossetti family who were friendly with Joaquin Miller. We Presco children knew Miller’s daughter as ‘The White Witch’ and we would call her for advice. Miller’s home ‘The Abbye’ was above our home in the Oakland Hills. Our kindred were friends of Miller, who was also a friend of Swineburn, who wrote ‘The Queen-Mother and Rosamund’ and ‘Rosamund Queen of Lombards. Tolkien was inspired by the Lombards.
Filed away in Rosamond’s probate is my plea to the executor to allow me to be my sister’s historian. I mention Miller and Rossetti. I saw myself in the role of Michael Rossetti who had his own publishing company. He published Miller and other famous poets. When I was twelve, my mother read evidence I might become a famous poet.
All my input has been ruthlessly ignored, because petty un-creative minds have forced our families creative legacy down the tiny holes of their hidden agendas, into the mouths of worms and parasites, because these ignorant people sensed I and the real Art World, did not let them in the door – would never admit them into our circle, our ring of genius!
The Roesmont/Rosemont family owned Melon Woflswinckle, a watermill. My kindred were named Roelof, Rudolph. Rodolphus, meaning “famous wolf’.
I am going to render the Rosemont cote of arms that shows a dancing wolf, and the words ‘Duke of the Woods’.
I have immortalized my family. Above are photos of the EE Zunft Rebleuten Guild of Basel whose emblem is a dancing wolf. Fremasonry has its roots in the guilds. Notice the cote of arms behind glass in top photo. William Morris said the sons of the House of Wolfen are best suited to tell the tale of their battle with the slave masters of Rome.
Jon Rosamond Wolferose
“Erhart de Rougemont who bought in 1495 “the house called Rebleuten-Zunft in Basle in the Freistrasse.’
Peter Rosemond had seen in print the letters from Erasmus to Gotschalk Rosemondt. He noticed that a seal used by a Rosemont in Holland, bearing a jumping fox, was like an emblem he had noticed in a wall of the house Rebleuten-Zunft in Basle. This seal
dated back to 1430,
This James (or Jacob, for these names were once interchangeable) was the son of Hans Ulrich
Rosemond, born 1623, a weaver; who was a son of Hans, a weaver, born
1581; who was a son of Fred Rosemond, born 1552, a weaver, member of
town council and a local captain; who was the son of another Hans
whose date of birth is not known, but he too, was a weaver and became
a citizen of Basle in 1534. His father was Erhart de Rougemont who
bought in 1495 “the house called Rebleuten-Zunft in Basle in the
Freistrasse.’ Peter Rosemond further reported information from the
Records Office in Basle that “before Basle the family resided in
Holland up to 1338, and it is said they descended from the estate
Rosemont, near Belfort, in France, where also the village Rougemont
is found.” A family coat-of-arms was registered in Basle about 1537
when the first Hans became a resident there. A reproduction of this
coat-of-arms in the writer’s possession shows a weaver’s crook
conspicuously, and it will be remembered that in Ireland our people
were linen weavers and farmers, and that Edward, the elder, was a
weaver in this country. Peter Rosemond had seen in print the letters
from Erasmus to Gotschalk Rosemondt. He noticed that a seal used by a
Rosemont in Holland, bearing a jumping fox, was like an emblem he had
noticed in a wall of the house Rebleuten-Zunft in Basle. This seal
dated back to 1430, whereas the coat-of-arms above mentioned dates
from 1534, it seems. Peter Rosemond died September 22, 1930. This is
but a sketch of what he wrote.”
Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia. Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state.
Roelof is a name given to female children and its meaning is ‘famous wolf’. Roelof is a Dutch name of Germanic origin and a variant of the name Rudolph. The name is bestowed on male children.
Swinburne’s choice of the “rose of the world” as one of his first subjects for verse suggests that he associated his conception of Rosamond with courtly love allegory, specifically the Roman de la Rose, in which the rose is the eternal symbol of the beloved and of the perfect beauty that is fearfully transient but simultaneously immortal.3 As in Swinburne’s later lyrics “Before the Mirror” and “The Year of the Rose,” Rosamond’s central symbol is the rose, and, like them, this play recapitulates the major preoccupations of courtly love poetry: the apotheosis of beauty; love as the necessary consequence of beauty fear of mutability; and a final insistence on the immortality of both love and beauty, which can be attained, paradoxically, only through death.
The House of the Wolfings
A Tale of the House of the Wolfings and All the Kindreds of the Mark is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Reeves and Turner in 1889. Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication by the Newcastle Publishing Company as the sixteenth volume of the celebrated Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library in April, 1978.
This book also influenced J. R. R. Tolkien’s popular The Lord of the Rings. In a December 31, 1960 letter published in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, (p. 303), Tolkien wrote: ‘The Dead Marshes and the approaches to the Morannon owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme. They owe more to William Morris and his Huns and Romans, as in The House of the Wolfings or The Roots of the Mountains.” Among the numerous parallels with The Lord of the Rings, Morris has Old English-style placenames such as Mirkwood (p. 2), germanic personal names such as Thiodolf (p. 8), and dwarves as skilled smiths (“How the Dwarf-wrought Hauberk was Brought away from the Hall of the Daylings”, p. 97).
This work and its successor, The Roots of the Mountains, were to some degree historical novels, with little or no magic. Morris would go on to develop the new genre established in this work in such later fantasies as Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, The Wood Beyond the World, The Well at the World’s End, and The Water of the Wondrous Isles.
The House of the Wolfings is Morris’ romantically reconstructed portrait of the lives of the Germanic Gothic tribes, written in an archaic style and incorporating a large amount of poetry. It combines his own idealistic views with what was actually known at the time of his subjects’ folkways and language. He portrays them as simple and hardworking, galvanized into heroic action to defend their families and liberty by the attacks of imperial Rome.
Morris’ Goths inhabit an area called the Mark on a river in the forest of Mirkwood, divided according into the Upper-mark, the Mid-mark and the Nether-mark. They worship their gods Odin and Tyr by sacrificing horses and rely on seers who foretell the future and serve as psychic news-gatherers.
The men of the Mark choose two War Dukes to lead them against their enemies, one each from the House of the Wolfings and the House of the Laxings. The Wolfing war leader is Thiodolf, a man of mysterious and perhaps divine antecedents whose ability to lead is threatened by his possession of a magnificent dwarf-made mail-shirt which, unknown to him, is cursed. He is supported by his lover the Wood Sun and their daughter the Hall Sun, who are related to the gods.
The copyright for this story has expired in the United States, and thus now resides in the public domain there. The text is available via Project Gutenberg.
The book is the story of how the Wolfings fight, and eventually destroy, the invading Roman legions. But here Morris faced a problem: while he could try to reconstruct the society of these early people, their history is almost unknown, and what is known is known largely from the Roman side. Rather than attempt to force the story into a known historical context (in which case it would have had to be the story of the destruction of the legions of Varus in AD 9 by Arminius, leader of the Cherusci) Morris preferred to preserve his freedom of invention. His solution was brilliantly simple: the story is one told by the descendants of the Wolfings many years later, and as with the Saga of the Volsungs, events have become garbled with retelling. The people are consistently referred to as Goths, but this seems to have become a generic term, since the Teutones who invaded Italy in 109 BC have also become ‘Goths’, so that the actual identity of the tribe is left vague. The hero, Thiodolf, remembers killing three Hunnish kings in battle, yet the story is clearly set long before the arrival of the Huns in Western Europe, at a time when the Romans were only beginning to
Chapter xix. Those Messengers Come to Thiodolf
Of Geirbald and Viglund the tale tells that they rode the woodland paths as speedily as they might. They had not gone far, and were winding through a path amidst of a thicket mingled of the hornbeam and holly, betwixt the openings of which the bracken grew exceeding tall, when Viglund, who was very fine-eared, deemed that he heard a horse coming to meet them: so they lay as close as they might, and drew back their horses behind a great holly-bush lest it should be some one or more of the foes who had fled into the wood when the Romans were scattered in that first fight. But as the sound drew nearer, and it was clearly the footsteps of a great horse, they deemed it would be some messenger from Thiodolf, as indeed it turned out: for as the new-comer fared on, somewhat unwarily, they saw a bright helm after the fashion of the Goths amidst of the trees, and then presently they knew by his attire that he was of the Bearings, and so at last they knew him to be Asbiorn of the said House, a doughty man; so they came forth to meet him and he drew rein when he saw armed men, but presently beholding their faces he knew them and laughed on them, and said:
“Hail fellows! what tidings are toward?”
“These,” said Viglund, “that thou art well met, since now shalt thou turn back and bring us to Thiodolf as speedily as may be.”
But Asbiorn laughed and said: “Nay rather turn about with me; or why are ye so grim of countenance?”
“Our errand is no light one,” said Geirbald, “but thou, why art thou so merry?”
“I have seen the Romans fall,” said he, “and belike shall soon see more of that game: for I am on an errand to Otter from Thiodolf: the War-duke, when he had questioned some of those whom we took on the Day of the Ridge, began to have a deeming that the Romans had beguiled us, and will fall on the Mark by the way of the south-east heaths: so now is he hastening to fetch a compass and follow that road either to overtake them or prevent them; and he biddeth Otter tarry not, but ride hard along the water to meet them if he may, or ever they have set their hands to the dwellings of my House. And belike when I have done mine errand to Otter I shall ride with him to look on these burners and slayers once more; therefore am I merry. Now for your tidings, fellows.”
Said Geirbald: “Our tidings are that both our errands are prevented, and come to nought: for Otter hath not tarried, but hath ridden with all his folk toward the stead of thine House. So shalt thou indeed see these burners and slayers if thou ridest hard; since we have tidings that the Romans will by now be in Mid-mark. And as for our errand, it is to bid Thiodolf do even as he hath done. Hereby may we see how good a pair of War-dukes we have gotten, since each thinketh of the same wisdom. Now take we counsel together as to what we shall do; whether we shall go back to Otter with thee, or thou go back to Thiodolf with us; or else each go the road ordained for us.”
Said Asbiorn: “To Otter will I ride as I was bidden, that I may look on the burning of our roof, and avenge me of the Romans afterwards; and I bid you, fellows, ride with me, since fewer men there are with Otter, and he must be the first to bide the brunt of battle.”
“Nay,” said Geirbald, “as for me ye must even lose a man’s aid; for to Thiodolf was I sent, and to Thiodolf will I go: and bethink thee if this be not best, since Thiodolf hath but a deeming of the ways of the Romans and we wot surely of them. Our coming shall make him the speedier, and the less like to turn back if any alien band shall follow after him. What sayest thou, Viglund?”
Said Viglund: “Even as thou, Geirbald: but for myself I deem I may well turn back with Asbiorn. For I would serve the House in battle as soon as may be; and maybe we shall slaughter these kites of the cities, so that Thiodolf shall have no work to do when he cometh.”
Said Asbiorn; “Geirbald, knowest thou right well the ways through the wood and on the other side thereof, to the place where Thiodolf abideth? for ye see that night is at hand.”
“Nay, not over well,” said Geirbald.
Said Asbiorn: “Then I rede thee take Viglund with thee; for he knoweth them yard by yard, and where they be hard and where they be soft. Moreover it were best indeed that ye meet Thiodolf betimes; for I deem not but that he wendeth leisurely, though always warily, because he deemeth not that Otter will ride before to-morrow morning. Hearken, Viglund! Thiodolf will rest to-night on the other side of the water, nigh to where the hills break off into the sheer cliffs that are called the Kites’ Nest, and the water runneth under them, coming from the east: and before him lieth the easy ground of the eastern heaths where he is minded to wend to-morrow betimes in the morning: and if ye do your best ye shall be there before he is upon the road, and sure it is that your tidings shall hasten him.”
“Thou sayest sooth,” saith Geirbald, “tarry we no longer; here sunder our ways; farewell!”
“Farewell,” said he, “and thou, Viglund, take this word in parting, that belike thou shalt yet see the Romans, and strike a stroke, and maybe be smitten. For indeed they be most mighty warriors.”
A Tale of the House of the Wolfings and All the Kindreds of the Mark is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Reeves and Turner in 1889.
The House of the Wolfings is a romantically reconstructed portrait of the lives of the Germanic Gothic tribes, written in an archaic style and incorporating a large amount of poetry. Morris combines his own idealistic views with what was actually known at the time of his subjects’ folkways and language. He portrays them as simple and hardworking, galvanized into heroic action to defend their families and liberty by the attacks of imperial Rome.
Morris’s Goths inhabit an area called the Mark on a river in the forest of Mirkwood, divided into the Upper-mark, the Mid-mark and the Nether-mark. They worship their gods Odin and Tyr by sacrificing horses, and rely on seers who foretell the future and serve as psychic news-gatherers.
The men of the Mark choose two War Dukes to lead them against their enemies, one each from the House of the Wolfings and the House of the Laxings. The Wolfing war leader is Thiodolf, a man of mysterious and perhaps divine antecedents, whose ability to lead is threatened by his possession of a magnificent dwarf-made mail-shirt which, unknown to him, is cursed. He is supported by his lover the Wood Sun and their daughter the Hall Sun, who are related to the gods.
The Roots of the Mountains: Wherein is Told Somewhat of the Lives of the Men of Burgdale, Their Friends, Their Neighbors, Their Foemen, and Their Fellows in Arms is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with an element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Reeves and Turner in 1889. Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication by the Newcastle Publishing Company as the nineteenth volume of the Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library in April, 1979.
According to Graham Seaman, “The Roots of the Mountains seems to be the story that inspired the subplot of the Dunedain, wanderers of a fading heroic past defending the frontiers of the Shire against the Orcs, and the loves of Aragorn, Eowyn, Faramir, and Arwen in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.”
This work and its predecessor, The House of the Wolfings, are to some degree historical novels, with little or no magic. Morris went on to develop the new genre established in these works in such later fantasies as Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, The Wood Beyond the World, The Well at the World’s End and The Water of the Wondrous Isles.
The story is set in the Burgdales, a group of small Germanic settlements in the valleys at the foot of a mountain range, and the neighbouring woodlands and pastures. The area is inhabited by the interdependent Dalemen, who are weavers, smiths, and traders, the Woodlanders, who are hunters and carpenters, and the Shepherds. Their society is challenged by disruptions from the outside world in the form of the Sons of the Wolf, the descendants of the Wolfings from the previous novel, and the invading Huns or “Dusky Men”. The Sons of the Wolf, driven from their original country by the Huns, continue to resist the invaders as a frontier force guarding their new home. The somewhat troubled integration of the Sons of the Wolf into the society they are protecting is told in the story of five lovers representing both peoples, four of whom eventually marry.
Morris projected a sequel to The Roots of the Mountains to be called The Story of Desiderius, but he never completed it.
The Sons of the Wolf, driven from their original country by the Huns, continue to resist the invaders as a frontier force guarding their new home. The somewhat troubled integration of the Sons of the Wolf into the society they are protecting is told in the story of five lovers representing both peoples, four of whom eventually marry.
Using language with elements of the medieval tales which were his models, Morris tells the story of Ralph of Upmeads, the fourth and youngest son of a minor king, who sets out, contrary to his parents’ wishes, to find knightly adventure and seek the Well at the World’s End, a magic well which will confer a near-immortality and strengthened destiny on those who drink from it. The well lies at the edge of the sea beyond a wall of mountains called “The Wall of the World” by those on the near side of them but “The Wall of Strife” by the more peaceful and egalitarian people who live on the seaward side.
Ralph meets a mysterious lady who has drunk from the well, and they become lovers. Together and separately, they face many foes and dangers including brigands, slave traders, unscrupulous rulers and treacherous fellow travellers. The lady is killed, but with the help of Ursula, another maiden whom Ralph meets upon the way, and the Sage of Sweveham, an ancient hermit who has also drunk of the well, Ralph eventually attains the Well, after many more adventures. The outward journey takes more than a year. Returning from the well, Ralph, Ursula and the Sage find that some of the poor oppressed folk they had helped on the way to the well have righted grave wrongs, increased prosperity and reduced the level of strife in the city-state kingdoms along the way. The wayfarers must now decide whether they can settle down to a righteous but stodgy life at Ralph’s home kingdom now that they have learned so much and become near-immortal, or are called to further heroism in the wider world.
Reception and influence
On its publication, The Well at the World’s End was praised by H. G. Wells, who compared the book to Malory and admired its writing style: “all the workmanship of the book is stout oaken stuff, that must needs endure and preserve the memory of one of the stoutest, cleanest lives that has been lived in these latter days”. 
Although the novel is relatively obscure by today’s standards, it has had a significant influence on many notable fantasy authors. C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien both seem to have found inspiration in The Well at the World’s End: ancient tables of stone, a “King Peter”, and a quick, white horse named “Silverfax,” an obvious inspiration for “Shadowfax,” are only a few. Lewis was sufficiently enamored with Morris that he wrote an essay on Morris, first read to an undergraduate society at Oxford University called the Martlets and later published in the collection of essays called Rehabilitations.
The Wood Beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature.
It was first published in hardcover by Morris’s Kelmscott Press in 1894. Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication by Ballantine Books as the third volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in July, 1969. The Ballantine edition includes an introduction by Lin Carter.
When the wife of Golden Walter betrays him for another man, he leaves home on a trading voyage to avoid the necessity of a feud with her family. His efforts are fruitless, as word comes to him en route that his wife’s clan has killed his father. As a storm then carries him to a faraway country, the effect of this news is merely to sunder his last ties to his homeland. Walter comes to the castle of an enchantress, from which he rescues a captive maiden in a harrowing adventure (or rather, she rescues him). They flee through a region inhabited by mini-giants, eventually reaching the city of Stark-wall, whose custom is to take the next foreigner to arrive as ruler when the throne is vacant. The late king having died, Walter and his new love are hailed as the new monarchs. The two are married and presumably live happily ever after.
Morris considered his fantasies a revival of the medieval tradition of chivalrous romances. In consequence, they tend to have sprawling plots of strung-together adventures. His use of archaic language has been seen by some modern readers as making his fiction difficult to read.
When the novel was reissued in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, James Blish noted that Morris’s style was a successful recapturing of the style of Sir Thomas Malory, “all the way down to the marginal glosses and the nonstop compound sentences hitched together with scores of semicolons. He also recaptured much of the poetry; and if the reader will make the small effort necessary to accommodate himself to the rhythm of the style, he will find both it and the story rewarding.”[
Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, set in the forested land of Oakenrealm, was Morris’ reimagining and recasting of the medieval Lay of Havelock the Dane, with his displaced royal heirs Christopher and Goldilind standing in for the original story’s Havelock and Goldborough.
In contrast to his source, Morris emphasizes the romantic aspect of the story, giving a prominent place to the heroine’s misfortunes and bringing to the forefront the love story between her and the hero; the warfare by which the hero regains his heritage is relegated to a secondary role. Also unlike both the source and most of Morris’s other fantasies, there is little or no supernatural element in this version of the story.
Christopher is portrayed as initially ignorant of his true identity, leading to an emotional conflict between the protagonists to reconcile their mutual love and attraction with what they believe to be the profound disparity in their social status and shame of their forced marriage. This situation is resolved when the two fall in with Jack of the Tofts, who gives refuge to Christopher after his sons rescue the hero from an assassination attempt by a servant of the usurper Earl Rolf.
Jack informs Christopher of his true station and gathers together an army to help him challenge the usurper. When the hosts meet, the commander of Rolf’s forces, Baron Gandolf of Brimside, challenges Jack to single combat, but Christopher claims the honor from Jack and proves his worth by defeating the opposing champion.
|“Thou servant of Rolf, the traitor and murderer, hearken! I
say that I am King of Oakenrealm, and the very son of King
Christopher the Old; and that will I maintain with my body
against every gainsayer. Thou Lord of Brimside, wilt thou
gainsay it? Then I say thou liest, and lo here, my glove!”
And he cast it down before the Lord.Again was there good rumour, and that from either side of
the bystanders; but Jack of the Tofts stood up silent and
stiff, and the Baron of Brimside laughed, and said: “Well,
swain, if thou art weary of life, so let it be, as for me;
but how sayest thou, Jack of the Tofts? Art thou content to
give thine head away in this fashion, whereas thou wottest
that I shall presently slay this king of thine?”Said Jack: “The King of Oakenrealm must rule me as well as
others of his liege-men: he must fight if he will, and be
slain if he will.” Then suddenly he fell a-laughing, and
beat his hand on his thigh till the armour rattled again,
and then he cried out: “Lord Gandolf, Lord Gandolf, have a
care, I bid thee! Where wilt thou please to be buried,
|KING CHRISTOPHER COMES TO OAKENHAM.But on the morrow the first man who came to the King was the
man-at-arms aforesaid; and he told that he had done the
King’s errand, and ridden a five miles on the road to
Oakenham before he had left the horse with his felon load,
and that he had found nought stirring all that way when he
had passed through their own out-guards, where folk knew him
and let him go freely. “And,” quoth he, “it is like enough
that this gift to Oakenham, Lord King, has by now come to
the gate thereof.” Then the King gave that man the gold
which he had promised, and he kissed the King’s hand and
went his ways a happy man.
So how could it be that this man, the descendant of the uncle of the Duke of Normandy could be so poor. The answer would seem to lie in Hugo’s reported ancestor and the uncle of Hrolfr/Rollo/Robert the first Duke of Normandy, Malahulcii or Malahulc.
Determining the origins of the Tosny family is difficult since the records of that time are rare and often written a century or more after the events. Among the most accepted historical accounts of this period and region is that of Orderic Vitallis who wrote in the early 12th Century. In his works, Orderic Vitallis relates the story of the origins of the Tosny family as being Scandinavian. In fact, he is quite clear as to who their relations are: the Dukes of Normandy. In clarifying the ancestry of the family it is stated that Roger de Tosny, then Lord of Tosny and Conches, was “de stirpe Malahulcii qui Rollonis ducis patruus…” (trans. “of the line of Malahulc uncle of Rollo the Duke”). This claim is corroborated by the unknown monk who wrote the Acta Archiepisc Rotomag (The Acts of the Archbishops of Rouen written in the 1070s or 1080s) who states that the Archbishop Hugo (named Archbishop in 942 by then Duke of Normandy William) was the son of Hugo de Calvacamp who was “vero fuit prosapia clarus…” of Malahulc (trans. “of the illustrious stock of”).
Therefore, in late 939 early 940 there is an influx of Vikings into Normandy at a time of great upheaval in that land as well. Duke William Longsword of Normandy is at odds with his neighbors in Flanders and France: both want to see him removed. In 942 William is assassinated through the efforts of the Duke of Flanders and the Duke and the King of France attempted to prevent his son Richard from ascending to the “throne” of Normandy. This is a period of great violence that sees Richard prevail and claim his “throne.” A result of this conflict was the beginning of the Tosny family. The records show that Hugo de Calvocampo’s son Hugo was named Archbishop of Rouen and he quickly granted the lands around Tosny on the Seine to his brother Ralph .
But appearances are deceptive: while both style and detail are Icelandic, the plot is not. The story of a descent to Hades in search of a lost lover is certainly not new, though the twist that she turns out not to be there is – and could be seen as a belated response to Rossetti’s insistent painting of Morris’s wife Jane as Proserpine, implicitly casting Morris as Pluto. Above all, the Story of the Glittering Plain presents Hallblithe with a choice between two ways of life; a choice he makes without hesitation. The Glittering Plain offers him thoughtless individual love, and the possibility of living forever without work; as the king tells him
The one positive aspect of the Glittering Plains would seem to be escape from death: death and images of death form an undercurrent through the entire book, with Hallblithe himself ‘of the House of the Raven’, the bird of death in battle. It is the king’s daughter who tells the reality of this escape:
And I the daughter of the Undying, on whom the days shall grow and grow as the grains of sand which the wind heaps up above the sea beach. And life shall grow huger and more hideous round about the lonely one, like the ling-worm laid upon the gold, that waxeth thereby, till it lies all around about the house of the queen entrapped, the moveless unending ring of the years that change not.
A greed for eternal life is just that – greed. Hallblithe’s choice of life with struggle and hardship, of love that comes with social obligations, and, in the end, of death, is the only one possible for him or any human. This is not the conclusion Morris had reached in his youth, where his hero’s only goal is to find and re-find the Hollow Land (the equivalent of the Glittering Plains in English folk-tale), and it is an uncomfortable conclusion for anyone who takes News from Nowhere seriously as Morris’s description of a possible future; but it is a conclusion Morris returns to repeatedly in his later romances