“The fatal hour is come, and Thomas’s ill-fated ship, badly steered, struck on a rock and was wrecked! Melancholy event, when that youthful nobility was engulfed in the sea in one common ruin! The illustrious offspring of Kings suffer shipwreck, and sea-monsters devour those whom princes deplore. O boundless grief! Neither nobility nor fortune can recall to life those who are drowned in the sea. Purple and fine linen rot in its depths and the children of Kings are the food of fishes. Thus, fortune mocks those who trust to its smiles; it gives, it takes away, it raises up and casts down. What availed thee, O William! Thy numerous retinue of nobles, thy wealth, thy glory, or thy grace of form? All the royal splendour has vanished, and for thee the waves have obliterated both the past and the future. Damnation pursues them in those dark waters, should not divine mercy vouchsafe to spare them. If, at the cost of their lives, their souls are saved, they will have reason to rejoice. Those may well exult who have a sure hope that the loved relatives whom they remember in their prayers have their salvation secured. But it is a grievous affliction to have no certainty that those who are engulfed in the sea enjoy everlasting rest”.

This indeed could be a poem written by Henry Blois and passed onto Orderic as the end shows empathy with those who have lost family…. as Henry Blois himself had lost his sister in the same shipwreck. If the ‘illustrious versifier’ is not Henry Blois, terming those who died as ‘fish food’; it must be from where he derived the words to construct the prophecy of Merlin about the White ship disaster. There is no doubt that Henry Blois would have met Orderic. This may even be how he obtained his work as Orderic died in 1142. The Libellus Merlini started to circulate c.1136-40 and hence many of the older prophecies about his uncle came out. Henry Blois may well be the ‘distinguished Versifier’ to which Orderic relates in the above passage. However, his most vital interpolation into Orderic’s work would have been after 1142. I would imagine around 1155 when the new set of Prophecies came out the Orderic interpolation put an end to peoples scepticism because the prophecy of the ‘sixth in Ireland’ was included.

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