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Title: The Bruce

Author: John Barbour

Editor: W. M. Mackenzie

Release Date: November 27, 2013 [EBook #44292]

Language: English

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[Pg i]

[Pg ii]

[Pg iii]

THE BRUCE

BY
JOHN BARBOUR
Archdeacon of Aberdeen

EDITED FROM THE BEST TEXTS
WITH LITERARY AND HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION, NOTES AND APPENDICES, AND A GLOSSARY
BY
W. M. MACKENZIE, M.A., F.S.A. (Scot.)
AUTHOR OF “AN OUTLINE OF SCOTTISH HISTORY,” ETC.

LONDON
ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
1909

[Pg iv]

[Pg v]

PREFACE

1. MSS. and Editions.

The poem The Bruce, by John Barbour, is preserved in only two manuscripts, one in the library of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the other in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh. The former is hereafter denoted by the letter C, the latter by E. Of these E alone is complete in the sense of having both beginning and end; the first three Books and Book IV. 1-56 are missing in C. On the other hand, C bears to have been completed in 1487, E in 1489. Other things being equal, the earlier MS. must, of course, be preferred. Here, however, intervenes a series of extracts, numbering 280 lines from Books I. and II., embedded in Wyntoun’s Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, and the two MSS. of the Cronykil are actually older than those of The Bruce. This raises a difficulty, as Wyntoun’s extracts show a goodly proportion of variations in language from the corresponding passages in E, the only other MS. which covers the same ground. Professor Skeat considers that Wyntoun’s lines are “in a better form (in the main)” than those of E;[1] but, on the other hand, we do not know Wyntoun’s method of working in such a case—how far he transcribed verbatim, how far “he modified the language of the MS. which he must have had before him.”[2] Many lines he omits, and others he obviously paraphrases; he incorporates matter from another source; and his version of The Bruce lines may quite well be due to memorial reproduction after a hurried reading. It is not otherwise easy to account for scraps of a few lines of the poem being here and there embedded in narrative independently worded or derived. There is thus no warrant for erecting this chopped-up, second-hand version of the lines in question into a canon or standard for a purely scribal transcript made for its own sake. It is needful to enter this plea in view of the separatist theory of[Pg vi] Mr. J. T. T. Brown, for whom the passages in Wyntoun represent so much of the original or ur-Bruce, out of which our MS. and printed versions have been elaborated by a fifteenth-century editor, who, to do so, borrowed freely and with no great cunning from the works of contemporary authors.[3]

The earliest printed versions of The Bruce raise yet another issue bearing on the purity of the text. The first is apparently of the year 1571, and only one copy is known to exist.[4] It does not, however, differ materially from that of “Andro Hart” (H), published at Edinburgh in 1616. In this the language is modernized; still more so is it in the edition of four years later from the same publisher. And these seem to have been the basis of the gradually worsening issues so common in the eighteenth century, until in 1790 Pinkerton reverted to the sound critical method of having a transcript made directly from the Edinburgh MS. This again was the origin of Jamieson’s more careful edition of 1820, reprinted with a few corrections in 1869. Meantime Cosmo Innes had prepared for the Spalding Club (1856) a version which, for the first time, introduced readings from the Cambridge MS., but which, in being dressed up in a “consistent orthography,” so far reverted to the evil example of Hart. Subsequently, for the Early English Text Society, and later, for the Scottish Text Society, Professor Skeat, basing on C, but also utilizing E and H with a few readings from Wyntoun and Anderson’s issue of 1670, produced, for the first time, a full and in all respects competent text. To Skeat’s edition the present one is essentially indebted.

The main point about Hart’s edition (H) is that it supplies 39 lines not found in either MS., with an expansion of two others into eight, 45 new lines in all. The expanded portion Skeat perforce relegates to the footnotes. Twelve lines from Hart in the last book he at first accepted as genuine, but finally discarded as an interpolation.[5] He might justifiably have gone further, for he seems to me to have erred in attaching undue importance to Hart’s unsupported contributions.

This is made clear by considering the question as between C and E. Each MS. has portions not found in the other. The scribe of E furnishes his own excuse; his copy was “hurriedly written” (raptim scriptus). Consequently we are[Pg vii] not surprised to find that he has dropped 81 lines found in C. On the other hand, the more careful Cambridge scribe has overlooked, as the best of copyists might, 39 lines preserved in the Edinburgh version. Upon analysis of these two groups a satisfactory test of character emerges. In one case only—C, Bk. VI. *85-*92, E, Bk. VI. 101-106—do we find an unexplained confusion, traces of two alternative accounts of one incident, a possibility to which Barbour refers in several instances. One line from C Skeat rejects because it results in a triple rhyme.[6] Having eliminated these, we find that of the remaining omissions in E two lines are the result of the misplacing of one;[7] eight lines are couplets which have been overlooked; four lines are necessary to complete couplets, so that their loss is due to sheer carelessness; while the bulk of the missing lines, 57 out of 80, is accounted for by the recurrence of the same word or words at the beginning or end of the line, whereby the eye of the scribe has run on from, e.g., “Toward the toun” in Bk. IX. *374 to “Toward the toun” in 374, and from “thai fand” in Bk. XIII. 446 to “thai fand,” in *450, missing all between. A parallel result is given by analysis of the 39 lines wanting in C but present in E. Six are involved in the mutual perplexity of Bk. VI.; one is merely a careless oversight, and the remaining 32 come under the main category of omission through recurrence, within a short space, of the same word or rhyme. On the whole, then, with the reservation noted above, the condition of things as between the two MSS. is quite normal; the omissions are explicable on ordinary grounds, and as the missing lines, with but one real exception, take their places again without disturbance of their neighbours, we may conclude that C and E are individual versions of a single original poem, and complementary to each other. But copyists were only mortal; an author too might see cause to alter a MS.; and the variations of reading, even with those of Wyntoun thrown in, after all supply a less serious illustration of such possibilities than do the MSS. of the Canterbury Tales from the Ellesmere to the so disturbing Harleian.

As for the lines found only in Hart’s edition, their every feature arouses distrust and suspicion. Skeat’s judgment of “almost certainly genuine” he has had to retract for 18 out of the total of 45, including the eight-line version of a couple in the MSS.[8] Those on the heart-throwing episode, Bk. XX. *421-*432, have been referred to above. Not a single example[Pg viii] of the remaining accretions meets the test of repetition operative in the case of the MSS., or suggests its own explanation. The couplet in Bk. II., p. 25, is nothing either way; that on p. 283 is awkward; the intrusive lines on p. 321 are neither sense nor grammar; those on pp. 215, 216 can find a place only by an unwarrantable alteration of the succeeding line in both MSS., a liberty which Mr. Brown, on purely speculative grounds, lightly accepts from the very passage in question.[9] On the untimeous harangue into which Bruce is made to pass on p. 239 I have spoken in its place. In general it may be said that Hart’s contributions are clear misfits. Moreover, the circumstantial evidence seems to clinch the main conclusion. Hart, or his editor, had a turn for rhyme: to him are due the rhyming rubrics, and he added at the close of the poem a halting colophon of six lines, which in the later corrupt editions was simply merged in the poem, and is quoted as a specimen thereof in a critical historical work of 1702.[10] In XX. 610 he has barefacedly substituted a line for that of the MSS., which introduces a detail not found before the time of Bower and no doubt taken from him.[11] This throws a strong light on the origin of other lines in the same Book.[12] Thus we prove capability and inclination. Hart “modernized” the language of The Bruce, and from “modernization” to “improvement” is a tempting transition.

2. The Scribes.

The Cambridge MS. bears witness that it was completed on August 18, 1487, by the hand of “John de R., chaplain”; the Edinburgh MS. that it was “hurriedly written” by “John Ramsay” in 1489, for a Fife vicar; and the latter signature is attached to the only MS. of The Wallace, which accompanies that of The Bruce but was transcribed two years earlier. Skeat immediately pronounces that the names signify but one person, that “John de R.” is also “John Ramsay,” apparently on the logic of Wonderland, because both surnames begin with the same letter.[13] Mr. Brown, however, points out that this equation of alternative forms was highly improbable for[Pg ix] fifteenth-century Scotland, and substitutes a reading of his own whereby the scribes are still merged in one personality as “John Ramsay” otherwise “Sir John the Ross,” one of Dunbar’s makars, the real author of The Wallace, and the wholesale redactor of The Bruce. The details of Mr. Brown’s argument and all that flows therefrom must be read in The Wallace and The Bruce Restudied.[14] Mr. Brown (if I may say so) never fails to be suggestive and interesting, and even the light which led him astray was real critical illumination; but John Ramsay, who, “as a chaplain”—which he does not claim to have been—“was entitled to the courtesy title of Sir,”[15] and took his alternative name from his office as “Ross Herald or Ross Secretary”;[16] who lightened the toil of transcribing Acts of Parliament by dropping into verse on the margin—an unjustifiable accusation;[17] and who, from the seed of Blind Harry’s “gests,” raised the prickly bloom of The Wallace, and grafted enough borrowed material on to the rough stock of the original Bruce to make it something substantially different, and did all this without leaving even a cipher as a hint to posterity—of this complex and composite personage Mr. Brown is the only begetter, and his brief and inglorious career may be followed in The Athenæum, November 17-December 8, 1900, February 9, 1901. Mr. Brown, of course, can still claim that the problem of late redaction remains, whoever the guilty one may have been.[18] On this understanding I deal with it elsewhere.[19]

For the MSS., it needs but a slight examination to show that they are from different hands. The fifteenth century had no “consistent orthography,” but a scribe would probably have of himself; would not, at the least, exhibit the systematic differences that mark the MSS. in question. That the differences are due to the scribes is indicated by their occurrence even in proper names where E is, on the whole, much more accurate than C.[20] Add that C offers more traces of southern English influences; that it invariably gives the weak form I for the Ic or Ik of E, and substitutes can for the latter’s gan; that it regularly prefers of to the off which distinguishes E and in certain positions i for y—these with other minor peculiarities, not being vital in character, are certainly due to individual idiosyncrasies in spelling. Ramsay is an honest scribe, who, at[Pg x] places, cannot read his original, and leaves a blank which must be supplied from the copy of the chaplain.[21] There is thus not the faintest reason for supposing but one scribe to have been at work. At the same time the essential agreement of the two transcripts shows that we are dealing with a single, complete, familiar poem which has suffered in precision of copying from the usual mishaps incident to its manner of publication and preservation.

3. The Present Edition.

The present edition of The Bruce is based upon the printed text of the Cambridge MS., collated throughout with that of E—that is, upon the versions of Skeat and Jamieson. I have, however, adopted rather more readings from E than does Skeat, also a few more from Wyntoun, and offer some slight emendations—e.g., luffys for liffys in Bk. II. 527, oft for off in III. 194, Fyn all for Fyngall in II. 69, etc. I have profited, too, by criticism of the published text as in the adoption of Dr. Neilson’s corn-but in Bk. II. 438. The question of Hart’s version has been discussed above; it is valid only as a check upon the MSS. Variants of any interest or importance are given in the footnotes.

There has been no modernization of the language save in the case of the rubrics, which are no part of the text proper and have been contributed by the scribes or editors in order to facilitate the understanding of the poem. I have thus adhered to the spirit while modifying the letter of their work. But while avoiding any change in the language of the poem or even any attempt at a uniform spelling, I have taken a few harmless liberties with its alphabet and restricted certain of the letters to their modern values, substituting for others a modern equivalent. Skeat did this in the matter of the ancient “thorn” letter = th. In consideration of the general reader, I have gone somewhat farther, viz.:

1 The s with the ornamental curl I read as merely s; Jamieson and Skeat take it as, generally, = ss. But such alternative forms as Parys,[22] purches,[23] and purpos,[24] on the one hand, and the actual use of the tailed letter following the ordinary type in dress, press,[25] fix the usage I have adopted.[26] There are a few exceptions in which this letter is probably a contraction for ise.g., II. 366, 459.

[Pg xi]

2. I have distributed their modern values to i, j, u, v, w. There is no advantage in preserving such forms as iugis, Evrope, wndyr: the hedge of the language—to use Lowell’s simile—is prickly enough without these accessories. Moreover, I have throughout written Edward for Eduuard or Eduard and Inglis for Ynglis (C).

3. As Skeat has substituted “th” for the “thorn” (þ), I have done likewise with the ancient English g (ȝ), the “yok” letter, resolving it into the digraph yh. As ultimately, in almost every case, significant of the consonantal y, I might have simply replaced it by that letter. But alternative forms, nearly without exception, show the digraph, both in The Bruce and in Wyntoun, giving yhe, yhet, yharnit, fenyhe, etc., and in Wyntoun’s extracts feyhnnyng, senyhoury, yhystir-day, bayhllys, etc. Even with the original letter the h is added as often as not. Apparently the usage, which had practically disappeared from the southern practice, was in a transitional stage on its way to its full revival in later Scots, where it became fixed, at the hands of the printers, as z, and survives in such forms as Cadzow, capercailzie, etc.[27] In I. 16, however, it has been read as g in forget, though foryhet is to be found in Ratis Raving, and in XV. 75 it is obviously z in Fi(t)z-Waryne.

4. The placing of the capital letters and the punctuation are, of course, modern.

Further, the poem in MSS. is not divided into Books, but paragraphs are denoted by the insertion of a large capital; these, as in C, are similarly marked in the text. The division into twenty Books was first made by Pinkerton, and, as the most convenient, has been adopted by Skeat in his editions. From Pinkerton also Skeat adopts the numbering of the lines. Jamieson, however, made a division into fourteen Books with a numbering to suit. Cosmo Innes gave up the Books in favour of Cantos, with a fresh renumbering. To avoid confusion I have adhered to Skeat’s divisions and numbering, which are those of Pinkerton; inconvenient though the duplicate numbers certainly are, a totally new and fourth arrangement would be much more so. To break up and make more accessible the matter, I have also introduced, where possible, the paragraphs of Jamieson distinguished by spaces, some of these, however, being found in C. They are merely for the convenience of the reader. I may, perhaps, draw attention to the critical treatment of The Bruce as an[Pg xii] historic document without which we move greatly in the dark. The historical notes of the early editors are few and superficial. Skeat does not profess to deal with the work strictly on this line (note, vol. ii., p. 224), though he does not fail to pass unnecessary censure at several places. But some such examination as I have tried to make seems necessary in the interests of Scottish historiography.

[Pg xiii]

CONTENTS

PAGE
Prefacev-xii
1. MSS. and Editionsv
2. The Scribesviii
3. The Present Editionx
Introductionxv-xxiii
1. The Bruce as Romancexv
2. John Barbourxvi
3. Historic value of The Brucexx
Text of “The Bruce.” Books I-XX.1-377
Notes to Text378
Appendix A.--The Site of the Battle of Bannockburn496
       „         B.--Bruce’s Speech at Bannockburn497
       „         C.--The Numbers at Bannockburn498
       „         D.--The Throwing of the Heart502
       „         E.--The Alexander and The Bruce505
       „         F.--Mr. Brown’s “Sources” for The Bruce506
       „         G.--Language and Orthography511
       „         H.--Grammar513
Glossary519
List of Principal Works545

[Pg xiv]

[Pg xv]

INTRODUCTION

1. “The Bruce” as Romance.

The literary relationships of The Bruce may be briefly indicated. It stands at the beginning of Scottish literature; of its predecessors and contemporaries we have but the names, or possible versions whose place of origin is in dispute. In form and technique, including the octosyllabic couplet, it plainly depends on the French metrical romance, the most fruitful branch of a literature which, for quite two centuries, had been the mother of literatures in Western Europe. The opening line of The Bruce characterizes at once the poem itself, and what was best and most abundant in the literature of the Middle Ages. Barbour, too, it is never overlooked, announces his work as a “romance,” but as such, we gather from what precedes, only in a technical sense; and no mediæval writer would consider this popular method of treatment incompatible with strict accuracy and reality of subject: that is a modern refinement. Barbour certainly did not, nor did those who followed and used him; his selection of the model is simply the expression of his desire to do his work in “gud manere.” He anticipated Macaulay’s ambition in that his history was to differ from the most attractive literary matter only in being true. There were already in French many examples of contemporary history presented in this way as a succession of incidents on the lines of personal memoirs, though history had in the end succeeded in widening its outlook, and consequently found more fitting expression in prose. But that was of Barbour’s own age, and indeed Froissart had made his first essay, as an historian, in verse, which later he recast and continued in the form we know. All the necessities of Barbour’s case, however, led him the other way—the despised condition of the prose vernacular as a literary medium, from which, indeed, it never fully emerged; the character of his audience, which would be either learned or aristocratic; and the nature[Pg xvi] and associations of his subject, for which only the literature of romance could furnish a parallel or supply the appropriate setting. The literary qualities of The Bruce are, therefore, those of its model; it is a clear, vivid, easy-flowing narrative, and if it is also, as romances tended to be, loose in construction and discursive, it is never tedious, for it deals with real persons and events of real interest, depicted with an admiring fidelity.

2. John Barbour.

The year of John Barbour’s birth we do not know, an item which is lacking also for Chaucer: 1320 is a good round guess. Nor have we any knowledge of his family. If, however, the St. Ninian in the Legends of the Saints be of Barbour, a claim for which there is much to be said,[28] it may give us a clue. The adventure of Jak. Trumpoure, there told, connects with the fact that Jaq. (James) Trampour had land in Afberdeen bordering on that of an Andrew Barbour.[29] It may be conjectured that the latter was John Barbour’s father, or other near relative, since the vivid personal details of the affair in the St. Ninian must have come from Trumpour himself, and the fact that he was a neighbour of the Barbours would explain how.

The name Barbour (Barbitonsoris) is obviously plebeian. Some ancestor followed the business of barber, as some one of Chaucer’s possibly did that of “hose-making.” The established spelling, Barbour, shows a French termination which takes also the form Barbier, whence Mr. Henderson concludes that John Barbour “was of Norman origin.”[30] But the spelling is merely an accident of transcription; the oldest form is Barber(e) (1357, 1365),[31] which the scribe of the Edinburgh MS. also uses, and which Wyntoun rhymes with here and matere; in a few cases it is Barbar. As we might expect, the name was common enough in the English-speaking districts of Scotland.

All our information about John Barbour, except the little to be gleaned from the complimentary references of later authors, is drawn from official sources,[32] and is thus, of course, perfectly precise, but meagre and uncharacteristic. We learn[Pg xvii] something of what Barbour did and got, but not what sort of man he was, or what he was like. By 1357, at the latest, he is Archdeacon of Aberdeen, the most important official of the diocese after the bishop, having as his prebend the parish of Rayne, in Garioch; and in the same year (August 13) he has a safe-conduct to go with three scholars, for purposes of study, to Oxford, where he may have seen John Wycliffe. There was, of course, no University in Scotland as yet, and scholars desirous of academic advantages had to seek them at least across the Border, a patronage which Edward III., in his own interests, readily encouraged. Seven years later he is again in England on a similar mission with four horsemen,[33] and on October 16 of the year following he goes to St. Denis, near Paris, this time with six companions on horseback; in 1368-69 he once more visits France “with two servants (vallettis) and two horses.” The University of Paris had the highest reputation for the study of philosophy and canon law, and Barbour, whose duty it was to administer the jurisdiction of his bishop, would necessarily be something of a lawyer, though his allusion to the clerkly “disputations” in this field does not suggest much personal interest in legal refinements.

His next appearance is in a different though related capacity. In 1372 he is clerk of the audit of the King’s household, that of Robert II., who had come to the throne in the previous year as the first of the Stewart Kings. The year after he is also an auditor of exchequer. The Stewarts were good friends to Barbour, and we see the result in his kindly, almost affectionate, references to the family in his poem. He wrote up their genealogy, but that piece of work is lost. After a long interval he reappears as an auditor of exchequer in 1382, 1383, 1384. For some part, at least, of this interval he was engaged upon The Bruce, and its completion in the course of 1376[34] suggestively approximates to a grant of £10, by the King’s order, from the customs of Aberdeen, first recorded in the accounts of March 14, 1377. So also does a pension of twenty shillings sterling from certain revenues of the same city, granted on August 29, 1378, to himself and his assignees for ever.[35] Accordingly, two years later Barbour assigned his pension, on his death, to the cathedral church of Aberdeen, as[Pg xviii] payment for a yearly mass for his own soul and for the souls of his relatives and all the faithful dead. The practice of these payments can be traced for a considerable time afterwards, but the financial readjustments of the Reformation sent Barbour’s legacy elsewhere.

But the royal bounty had not dried up. In 1386 the poet had gifts of £10 and £6 13s. 4d., no doubt in recognition of further literary labours. And on December 5, 1388, he had a fresh pension of £10 for life “for faithful service,” to be paid in equal portions at Pentecost and Martinmas. This he enjoyed for only a few years. On April 25, 1396, the first payment of twenty shillings is made to the Dean and Chapter of Aberdeen, so that Barbour must have been dead before April 5, 1395, when the accounts for the year began. As his “anniversary” fell on March 13, that date in 1395 was, in all probability, the day of his death. Thus born under the great Bruce, he had lived through the reigns of David II. and Robert II., and five years of Robert III.

Some stray notices of Barbour in other connections add nothing of importance. One, however, lets us know that he was responsible for the loss of a volume on law from the library of his cathedral.

We have really learned nothing as to the personality of the poet. That he was a keen student and a great reader as well as a trustworthy official, and stood high in the royal favour, may be inferred. The respectful and admiring references of Wyntoun and Bower attest his high reputation as a writer and authority on history. But The Bruce of itself would suggest neither the cleric nor the accountant. His pious reflections would be commonplaces even for a lay writer, and his handling of figures is not in any way distinctive. Even of Scotland in the background we get but casual, fleeting glimpses. Barbour is occupied entirely with his heroes and their performances. It is these he undertakes to celebrate, not, primarily, even the great cause which called them forth; and personal loyalty is his master virtue.[36] That he so conceived and developed his subject, his hurried passage from incident to incident, his grim, practical humour, his impatience of inaction or commonplace achievement, his actively descriptive vocabulary, and his vivid realization of the details of movement and conflict—all contribute to the impression of a man of lively, energetic temperament, with a delight in action and[Pg xix] the concrete, and so, as his time and circumstances would make him, an amateur and idealist of chivalry.

Besides The Bruce, Wyntoun credits Barbour with The Stewartis Oryginalle, a metrical genealogy starting from “Sere Dardane, lord de Frygya”(!), which has not survived.[37] Skeat has also suggested, basing on certain references by Wyntoun, that Barbour wrote a Brut on the mythical colonization of Britain by Brutus, but the inference is disputed by Mr. Brown,[38] and Wyntoun’s language is too vague for a definite opinion. On better grounds there has been attributed to him a Trojan War or Troy Book, portions of which have been used to fill up gaps in a MS. of Lydgate’s Siege with the rubric, “Here endis Barbour and begynnis the monk,” and again conversely. An independent MS. gives a larger number of lines in continuation. These fragments have been subjected to close linguistic and metrical criticism by P. Buss in Anglia, ix., pp. 493-514, and by E. Koeppel in Englische Studien, x., pp. 373-382, and their reasoning on differences of verbal and grammatical usages has been summarized by Skeat,[39] who concurs with their conclusion against Barbour’s authorship. But there are other elements of evidence, and the sceptical discussion of Medea’s alleged astronomical powers with the affirmation,

Bot na gude Cristene mane her-to
Sulde gif credence—that I defend,[40]

is significantly similar to the argumentation on astrology in The[Pg xx] Bruce, Bk. IV. 706 to end.[41] Faced with the plain statement of the fifteenth-century scribe, Skeat can only suggest that the poem was not by our Barbour, but by another person of the same name—surely the extremity of destructive literary criticism. And every argument of the German scholars against the Troy fragments would clinch the case for Barbour’s claims on the Alexander, with which I deal elsewhere. The garrulous and dreary Legends of the Saints probably contain, at least, contributions by Barbour; even Buss admits peculiar features in the St. Ninian,[42] and St. Machar is a purely Aberdeen worthy, in whom the poet, too, professes a special interest; these may well have come from Barbour’s pen as the uncongenial but meritorious labour of his old age. Such, at any rate, was the normal progress of a poetic clerk, from translation to original work, to decline at the close upon versions of saintly biographies.

3. Historic Value of “The Bruce.”

A comparison of judgments on the value of The Bruce as a contribution to history plunges us into a thicket of contradictions. Green’s verdict that it is “historically worthless”[43] is but a petulant aside. It repeats itself, however, in the pronouncement of Mr. Brown that “in no true sense is it an historical document,”[44] but Mr. Brown selects, as illustrative of this, examples, such as the Simon Fraser identification,[45] and the Stanhope Park inference,[46] which recoil to the confusion of the critic.[47] Mr. Cosmo Innes has sought to discriminate, unfortunately upon wrong lines. Of Barbour as[Pg xxi] historian, he writes: “Satisfied to have real persons and events, and an outline of history for his guide, and to preserve the true character of things, he did not trouble himself about accuracy of detail.”[48] As it happens, it is just in his outline—that is, in his dates and succession of events—that Barbour may be adjudged most careless; his details contain the most remarkable examples of his accuracy. The latest expression of opinion on this head is not even self-consistent. In the Cambridge History of English Literature it is thus written of The Bruce: first, that “it is in no real sense a history ... though, strange to say, it has been regarded from his own time to this as, in all details, a trustworthy source for the history of the period”—a clear exaggeration;[49] and then a few pages farther on: “While Barbour’s narrative contains a certain amount of anecdotal matter derived from tradition, and, on some occasions, deviates from the truth of history, it is, on the whole, moderate, truthful, and historical”[50]—which is quite another pair of sleeves.

The fact is that these wayward judgments rest upon too narrow a basis of induction, and that induction, too, usually irrelevant or uncertain—considerations as to the nature of Romance, Barbour’s literary awkwardness and literary dressing, with inadequate examination of the external evidence. But if Barbour professes to write history, as he does profess, and as he gives every evidence of honestly trying to do, he can surely claim to be tried by the appropriate tests—those of official records or other contemporary accounts, and, in the last resource, by his performance so far as these carry us, and by an estimate of the probable sources of what is peculiar to himself. Nor must the quality of his critical equipment be overlooked; he frankly lets us know that of certain incidents different versions were in circulation—some said that the fatal quarrel between Bruce and Comyn fell otherwise than as he has related, and he includes the divergent accounts of how Bruce and his man escaped the hound; and there are other matters for which, lacking certainty himself, he is content to cite popular report. Towards prevailing and attractive super[Pg xxii]stitions, necromancy, astrology, and the like, his attitude is bluntly sceptical; yet an apparently well-attested case of prophecy—not one, it must be owned, exhibiting any exceptional degree of penetration—he does record, with very distinct reservation of judgment.[51] There is no supernatural machinery in The Bruce, no visions, miraculous agencies, or other such distractions: for these we must go to sober prose. But such is not the manner of popular romance with which it has been usual to class the manner of The Bruce. Barbour is not writing a conventional romance with historic persons and incidents for his material; he is writing history which has all the qualities of romance in real life. Of the same type were the exploits of Edward Bruce, which of themselves, he says, would furnish material for many romances.[52]

So comes it, then, that a careful and most competent investigator like Joseph Bain can authoritatively pronounce The Bruce to be “of the highest value for the period,”[53] and affirm that “in these details he is almost always correct, with occasional errors in names.”[54] Barbour’s errors, indeed, lie on the surface, and are typical of his time, not wilful perversions on his part—events are transposed, wrong dates given, figures almost always exaggerated. On the other side a study of the notes to the present volume will show how trustworthy he is in the main, and, repeatedly, how strikingly and minutely accurate. His profession to tell a truthful story, so far as his knowledge will take him, must be accepted as fully borne out.

Moreover the reflection is forced upon us at many points that, in addition to the oral accounts of which he makes use, those of actual participators like Sir Allan of Cathcart, and John Thomson for the Irish campaigns, besides relations and reminiscences otherwise derived, Barbour had various contemporary writings at his command. Such was certainly the case with Sir Thomas Gray, who wrote, a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle, twenty years before. His Scalacronica embodies the results of research in the library of his prison where he found Scottish chronicles in verse and prose, in Latin, French, and English, and he expressly refers to such chronicles in his account of Bruce, letting us know that there was in existence[Pg xxiii] a description of the Battle of Bannockburn, and, incidentally, that Barbour even has not exhausted the fund of stories of adventure told of the fugitive King. More curious and suggestive is the citation, in the bye-going, by Jean le Bel, Canon of Liège, of a “history made by the said King Robert” (en hystoire faitte par le dit roy Robert), that is the King Robert whom, he tells us, Edward I. had chased by hounds in the forests.[55] It is an allowable inference that these accessible materials were known to the learned and inquiring Barbour, when he took to deal with a subject familiar to him from his earliest years, and so congenial to his instincts, literary and national.

It is worth noting that Sir Walter Scott, on the publication of the Lord of the Isles, which draws so handsomely upon The Bruce, was accused of a lack of proper patriotism, meaning the pungent and rather aggressive patriotism of a long-irritated Scotland distinctive of The Wallace and certain subsequent productions, but not of The Bruce, the spirit of which, too, was in harmony with that of the great reviver of romance. There is no malice in The Bruce; the malice and bitterness are in the contemporary war-literature of the other side. And Barbour is no sentimentalist; his patriotism is not pretentious or exclusive, nor such as leads him to depreciate an opponent, and is therefore not a distorting influence on facts, as Mr. Henderson postulates it must have been.[56] It is not possible to point to a single error on Barbour’s part which is fairly traceable to this cause. And his faults and errors, such as they are, may be paralleled over and over again from the most reputable of that century’s historians, to say nothing of those who, in later times, had to weave their web from less tangled and broken material.

[Pg xxiv]

[Pg 1]

THE BRUCE

BOOK I.

Storys to rede ar delitabill,
Suppos that thai be nocht bot fabill:
Than suld storys that suthfast wer,
And thai war said on gud maner,
Have doubill plesance in heryng. 5
The fyrst plesance is the carpyng,
And the tothir the suthfastnes
That schawys the thing rycht as it wes:
And suth thyngis that ar likand
Tyll mannys heryng ar plesand. 10
Tharfor I wald fayne set my will,
Giff my wyt mycht suffice thartill,
To put in wryt a suthfast story,
That it lest ay furth in memory,
Swa that na tyme of lenth it let,[†] 15
Na ger it haly be forget.
For aulde storys that men redys,
Representis to thaim the dedys
Of stalwart folk that lyvyt ar,
Rycht as thai than in presence war.
And certis, thai suld weill have prys 20
That in thar tyme war wycht and wys,
[Pg 2] And led thar lyff in gret travaill,
And oft, in hard stour off bataill,
Wan richt gret price off chevalry, 25
And war voydyt off cowardy.
As wes King Robert off Scotland,
That hardy wes off hart and hand;
And gud Schyr James off Douglas,
That in his tyme sa worthy was, 30
That off hys price and hys bounte,
In fer landis renownyt wes he.
Off thaim I thynk this buk to ma:
Now God gyff grace that I may swa
Tret it, and bryng it till endyng, 35
That I say nocht bot suthfast thing!

How the Lords of Scotland took the King of England to be Arbiter at the last.

1290   Discord over the Succession
Quhen Alexander the King was deid,
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid,
The land sex yher, and mayr perfay,
Lay desolat eftyr hys day; 40
Till that the barnage at the last
Assemblyt thaim, and fayndyt fast
To cheys a king thar land to ster,
That, off awncestry, cummyn wer
Off kingis that aucht that reawte, 45
And mayst had rycht thair king to be.
Bot envy, that is sa feloune,
Maid amang thaim discencioun.[†]
For sum wald haiff the Balleoll king;
For he wes cummyn off the offspryng 50
Off hyr that eldest systir was.
And othir sum nyt all that cas;
And said, that he thair king suld be
That wes in als nere degre,[†]
And cummyn wes of the neist male, 55
And in branch collaterale.
[Pg 3] Thai said, successioun of kyngrik
Was nocht to lawer feys lik;
For thar mycht succed na female,
Quhill foundyn mycht be ony male 60
That were in lyne evyn descendand;[†]
Thai bar all othir wayis on hand,
For than the neyst cummyn off the seid,
Man or woman, suld succeid.
Be this resoun that part thocht hale, 65
That the lord off Anandyrdale,
Robert the Bruys Erle off Carryk,
Aucht to succeid to the kynryk.
The barownys thus war at discord,
That on na maner mycht accord; 70
1291   The Dispute is referred to Edward I
Till at the last thai all concordyt,
That all thar spek suld be recordyt
Till Schyr Edward off Ingland King;
And he suld swer that, but fenyheyng,
He suld that arbytre disclar, 75
Off thir twa that I tauld off ar,
Quhilk sulde succeid to sic a hycht;[†]
And lat him ryng that had the rycht.
This ordynance thaim thocht the best,
For at that tyme wes pes and rest 80
Betwyx Scotland and Ingland bath;
And thai couth nocht persave the skaith
That towart thaim wes apperand;
For that at the King off Ingland
Held swylk freyndschip and cumpany 85
To thar King, that wes swa worthy,
Thai trowyt that he, as gud nychtbur,
And as freyndsome compositur,
Wald have jugyt in lawte:
Bot othir wayis all yheid the gle. 90
A! blynd folk full off all foly!
Haid yhe umbethoucht yhow enkrely,
[Pg 4] Quhat perell to yhow mycht apper,
Yhe had nocht wrocht on that maner:
Haid yhe tane keip how at that King 95
Alwayis, for-owtyn sojournyng,
Travayllyt for to wyn senyhory,
And, throw his mycht, till occupy
Landis that war till him marcheand,
As Walis was, and als Ireland; 100
That he put to swylk thrillage,
That thai that war off hey parage
Suld ryn on fute, as rebaldaill,
Quhen he wald ony folk assaill.
Durst nane of Walis in bataill ride; 105
Na yhet, fra evyn fell, abyd
Castell or wallyt toune with-in,
That he ne suld lyff and lymmys tyne.
In-to swilk thrillage thaim held he,
That he ourcome throw his powste. 110
Yhe mycht se he suld occupy
Throw slycht, that he ne mycht throw maistri.
Had yhe tane kep quhat was thrillag,
And had consideryt his usage,
That gryppyt ay, but gayne-gevyng, 115
Yhe suld, for-owtyn his demyng,
Haiff chosyn yhow a king, that mycht
Have haldyn weyle the land in rycht.
Walys ensample mycht have bene
To yhow, had yhe it forow sene. 120
And wys men sayis he is happy
That be othir will him chasty.
For unfayr thingis may fall, perfay,
Als weill to-morn as yhisterday.
Bot yhe traistyt in lawte, 125
As sympile folk, but mavyte;
And wyst nocht quhat suld eftir tyd.
For in this warld, that is sa wyde,
Is nane determynat that sall[†]
[Pg 5] Knaw thingis that ar for to fall:[†] 130
But God, that is off maist poweste,
Reservyt till his majeste
For to knaw, in his prescience,
Off alkyn tyme the mowence.
On this maner assentyt war 135
The barownis, as I said yhow ar:
And throuch thar aller hale assent,
Messingeris till hym thai sent,
That was than in the haly land,
On Saracenys warryand. 140
And fra he wyst quhat charge thai had,
He buskyt hym, but mar abad,
And left purpos that he had tane;
And till Ingland agayne is gayne.
And syne till Scotland word send he, 145
That thai suld mak ane assemble;
And he in hy suld cum to do
In all thing, as thai wrayt him to.
But he thoucht weile, throuch thar debate,
That he suld slely fynd the gate 150
How that he all the senyhowry,
Throw his gret mycht, suld occupy.
And to Robert the Bruys said he;
“Gyff thow will hald in cheyff off me
“For evirmar, and thine ofspryng, 155
“I sall do swa thou sall be king.”
‘Schyr,’ said he, ‘sa God me save,
‘The kynryk yharn I nocht to have,
‘Bot gyff it fall off rycht to me:
‘And gyff God will that it sa be, 160
‘I sall als frely in all thing
‘Hald it, as it afferis to king;
‘Or as myn eldris forouch me
‘Held it in freyast rewate.’
The tothir wreythyt him, and swar 165
That he suld have it nevir mar:
[Pg 6] And turnyt him in wreth away.
Bot Schyr Jhon the Balleoll, perfay,
Assentyt till him, in all his will;
Quhar-throuch fell eftir mekill ill. 170
He was king bot a litill quhile;
And throuch gret sutelte and ghyle,
For litill enchesone, or nane,
He was arestyt syne and tane,
And degradyt syne wes he 175
Off honour and off dignite.
Quhethir it wes throuch wrang or rycht,
God wat it, that is maist off mycht.
1292-1296   Edward takes Possession of Scotland
Quhen Schyr Edward, the mychty king,
Had on this wys done his likyng 180
Off Jhone the Balleoll, that swa sone
Was all defawtyt and undone,
To Scotland went he than in hy,
And all the land gan occupy:
Sa hale, that bath castell and toune 185
War in-till his possessioune,
Fra Weik anent Orknay,
To Mullyr-snuk in Gallaway;
And stuffyt all with Inglis men.
Schyrreffys and bailyheys maid he then; 190
And alkyn othir officeris,
That for to govern land afferis,
He maid off Inglis nation;
That worthyt than sa ryth fellone,
And sa wykkyt and covatous, 195
And swa hawtane and dispitous,
That Scottis men mycht do na thing
That evir mycht pleys to thar liking.
Thar wyffis wald thai oft forly,
And thar dochtrys dispitusly: 200
And gyff ony thar-at war wrath,
Thai watyt hym wele with gret scaith;
For thai suld fynd sone enchesone
To put hym to destructione.
[Pg 7] And gyff that ony man thaim by 205
Had ony thing that wes worthy,
As hors, or hund, or othir thing,
That plesand war to thar liking,
With rycht or wrang it have wald thai.
And gyf ony wald thaim withsay, 210
Thai suld swa do, that thai suld tyne
Othir land or lyff, or leyff in pyne.
For thai dempt thaim eftir thar will,
Takand na kep to rycht na skill.
A! quhat thai dempt thaim felonly! 215
For gud knychtis that war worthy,
For litill enchesoune or than nane,
Thai hangyt be the nekbane.[†]
Alas that folk, that evir wes fre,
And in fredome wount for to be, 220
Throw thar gret myschance and foly,
War tretyt than sa wykkytly,
That thar fays thar jugis war:
Quhat wrechitnes may man have mar?
A! fredome is a noble thing! 225
Fredome mays man to haiff liking;
Fredome all solace to man giffis:
He levys at es that frely levys.
A noble hart may haiff nane es,
Na ellys nocht that may him ples, 230
Gyff fredome failyhe: for fre liking
Is yharnyt our all othir thing.
Na he, that ay has levyt fre,
May nocht knaw weill the propyrte,
The angyr, na the wrechyt dome, 235
That is cowplyt to foule thyrldome.
Bot gyff he had assayit it,
Than all perquer he suld it wyt;
And suld think fredome mar to prys,
Than all the gold in warld that is. 240
Thus contrar thingis evir-mar,
Discoveryngis off the tothir ar.
[Pg 8] And he that thryll is has nocht his;
All that he has enbandownyt is
Till hys lord, quhat-evir he be. 245
Yheyt has he nocht sa mekill fre
As fre liking to leyve, or do[†]
That at hys hart hym drawis to.
Than mays clerkis questioun,
Quhen thai fall in disputacioun, 250
That gyff man bad his thryll owcht do,
And in the samyn tym come him to
His wyff, and askyt hym hyr det,
Quhethir he his lordis neid suld let,
And pay fryst that he awcht, and syne 255
Do furth his lordis commandyne;
Or leve onpayit his wyff, and do
It that commaundyt is him to?[†]
I leve all the solucioun
Till thaim that ar off mar renoun. 260
Bot sen thai mek sic comperyng
Betwix the dettis off wedding,
And lordis bidding till his threll,
Yhe may weile se, thoucht nane yhow tell,
How hard a thing that threldome is. 265
For men may weile se, that ar wys,
That wedding is the hardest band,
That ony man may tak on hand:
And thryldome is weill wer than deid;
For quhill a thryll his lyff may leid, 270
It merrys him, body and banys;
And dede anoyis him bot anys.
Schortly to say, is nane can tell
The halle condicioun off a threll.
1298-1299   Harsh Treatment of the Scots
Thus-gat levyt thai, and in sic thrillage; 275
Bath pur, and thai off hey parage.
For off the lordis sum thai slew,
And sum thai hangyt, and sum thai drew;
[Pg 9] And sum thai put in hard presoune,[†]
For-owtyn caus or enchesoun. 280
And, amang othir, off Dowglas
Put in presoun Sir Wilyham was,
That off Dowglas was lord and syr;
Off him thai makyt a martyr.
Fra thai in presoune him sleuch, 285
Hys landis, that war fayr inewch,[†]
Thai to the lord off Clyffurd gave.[†]
He had a sone, a litill knave,
That wes than bot a litill page,
Bot syne he wes off gret vaslage; 290
Hys fadyr dede he vengyt sua,
That in Ingland, I underta,
Wes nane off lyve that hym ne dred;
For he sa fele off harnys sched,
That nane that lyvys thaim can tell. 295
Bot wondirly hard thingis fell
Till him, or he till state wes brocht.
Thair wes nane aventur that mocht
Stunay hys hart, na ger him let
To do the thing he wes on set;[†] 300
For he thocht ay encrely
To do his deid avysily.
He thocht weill he wes worth na seyle,
That mycht of nane anoyis feyle;
And als for till escheve gret thingis, 305
And hard travalyis, and barganyngis,
That suld ger his price dowblyt be.
Quharfor, in all hys lyve-tyme, he
Wes in gret payn, et gret travaill;[†]
And nevir wald for myscheiff faill, 310
[Pg 10] Bot dryve the thing rycht to the end,
And tak the ure that God wald send.
Hys name wes James of Douglas:
And quhen he heard his fadir was
Put in presoune sa fellounly, 315
And at his landis halyly
War gevyn to the Clyffurd, perfay
He wyst nocht quhat to do na say;
For he had na thing to dispend,[†]
Na thar wes nane that evir him kend 320
Wald do sa mekill for him, that he
Mycht sufficiantly fundyn be.
Than wes he wondir will off wane;
And sodanly in hart has tane,
That he wald travaile our the se, 325
And a quhile in Parys be,
And dre myscheiff quhar nane hym kend,
Till God sum succouris till hym send.
And as he thocht he did rycht sua,
And sone to Parys can he ga; 330
And levyt thar full sympylly.
The-quhethir he glaid was and joly;
And till swylk thowlesnes he yheid,
As the cours askis off yhowtheid;
And umquhill in-to rybbaldaill: 335
And that may mony tyme availl.
For knawlage off mony statis
May quhile availyhe full mony gatis;
As to the gud Erle off Artayis
Robert, befell in-till his dayis. 340
For oft feynyheyng oft rybbaldy
Availyheit him, and that gretly.
And Catone sayis us, in his wryt,
That to fenyhe foly quhile is wyt.[†]
In Parys ner thre yher duellyt he; 345
And then come tythandis our the se,
That his fadyr wes done to ded
[Pg 11] Then wes he wa, and will of red;
And thocht that he wald hame agayne,
To luk gyff he, throw ony payn, 350
Mycht wyn agayn his heritage,
And his men out off all thryllage.

The First Rising of Lord Douglas.

1299-1303   James Douglas returns from Paris
To Sanct Androws he come in hy,
Quhar the byschop full curtasly
Resavyt him, and gert him wer 355
His knyvys forouch him to scher;
And cled him rycht honorabilly,
And gert ordayn quhar he suld ly.
A weile gret quhile thar duellyt he;
All men lufyt him for his bounte; 360
For he wes off full fayr effer,
Wys, curtais, and deboner;
Larg and luffand als wes he,
And our all thing luffyt lawte.
Leaute to luff is gretumly; 365
Throuch leaute liffis men rychtwisly:
With a vertu of leaute
A man may yheit sufficyand be:
And but leawte may nane haiff price,
Quhethir he be wycht, or he be wys; 370
For quhar it failyheys, na vertu
May be off price, na off valu,
To mak a man sa gud that he
May symply callyt gud man be.
He wes in all his dedis lele; 375
For him dedeynyheit nocht to dele
With trechery, na with falset.
His hart on hey honour wes set:
And hym contenyt on sic maner,
That all him luffyt that war him ner. 380
Bot he wes nocht so fayr, that we
Suld spek gretly off his beaute:
[Pg 12] In vysage wes he sumdeill gray,
And had blak har, as Ic hard say;
Bot off lymmys he wes weill maid, 385
With banys gret, and schuldrys braid.
His body wes weyll maid and lenye,
As thai that saw hym said to me.
Quhen he wes blyth he wes lufly,
And meyk and sweyt in cumpany: 390
Bot quha in battail mycht him se
All other contenance had he.
And in spek wlispyt he sum deill;
Bot that sat him rycht wondre weill.
Till gud Ector of Troy mycht he 395
In mony thingis liknyt be.
Ector had blak har, as he had,
And stark lymmys, and rycht weill maid;
And wlyspit alsua as did he,
And wes fulfillyt of leawte, 400
And wes curtais and wys and wycht.
Bot off manheid and mekill mycht,
Till Ector dar I nane comper
Off all that evir in warldys wer.
The-quhethyr in his tyme sa wrocht he, 405
That he suld gretly lovyt be.
1304-1305   Edward refuses Douglas
He duellyt thar, quhill on a tid,
The King Edward, with mekill prid,
Come to Strevillyne with gret mengyhe,
For till hald thar ane assemble. 410
Thiddirwart went mony baroune;
Byschop Wylyhame off Lambyrtoun
Raid thiddyr als, and with him was
This squyer James of Dowglas.
The byschop led him to the King, 415
And said: “Schyr, heyr I to yhow bryng
“This child, that clemys yhour man to be;
“And prayis yhow par cheryte,
“That yhe resave her his homage,
“And grantis him his heritage.” 420
“Quhat landis clemys he?’ said the King.
“Schyr, giff that it be yhour liking,
[Pg 13] “He clemys the lordschip off Douglas;
“For lord tharoff hys fadir was.”
The King then wrethyt him encrely, 425
And said; ‘Schyr byschop, sekyrly
‘Gyff thow wald kep thi fewte,
‘Thow maid nane sic speking to me.[†]
‘Hys fadyr ay wes my fay feloune,
‘And deyt tharfor in my presoun; 430
‘And wes agayne my majeste:
‘Tharfor hys ayr I aucht to be.
‘Ga purches land quhar-evir he may,
‘For tharoff haffys he nane, perfay:
‘The Cliffurd sall thaim haiff, for he 435
‘Ay lely has servyt to me.’
The byschop hard him swa ansuer,
And durst than spek till him na mar;
Bot fra his presence went in hy,
For he dred sayr his felouny: 440
Swa that he na mar spak tharto.
The King did that he com to do;
And went till Ingland syn agayn,
With mony man off mekyll mayn.

The Scots are likened to the Holy Maccabees.

Lordingis, quha likis for till her, 445
The Romanys now begynnys her,
Off men that war in gret distres,
And assayit full gret hardynes,
Or thai mycht cum till thar entent:
Bot syne our Lord sic grace thaim sent, 450
That thai syne, throw thar gret valour,
Come till gret hycht, and till honour,
Magre thair fayis evirilkane,
That war sa fele, that ay for ane
Off thaim thai war weill a thowsand. 455
Bot quhar God helpys quhat may withstand?
Bot, and we say the suthfastnes,
Thai war sum tyme erar may then les.
[Pg 14] Bot God that maist is of all mycht,
Preservyt thaim in his forsycht, 460
To veng the harme and the contrer,
At that fele folk and pautener
Dyd till sympill folk and worthy,
That couth nocht help thaim self: for-thi,
Thai war lik to the Machabeys, 465
That, as men in the Bibill seys,
Throw thair gret worschip and valour,
Fawcht in-to mony stalwart stour,
For to delyvir thar countre
Fra folk that, throw iniquite, 470
Held thaim and thairis in thrillage:
Thai wrocht sua throw thar vassalage,
That, with few folk, thai had victory
Off mychty kingis, as sayis the story,
And delyveryt thar land all fre; 475
Quharfor thar name suld lovyt be.
1305-1306   Bruce accepts Comyn’s Proposal
Thys lord the Bruys, I spak of ayr,
Saw all the kynryk swa forfayr;
And swa trowblyt the folk saw he,
That he tharoff had gret pitte. 480
Bot quhat pite that evir he had,
Na contenance thar-off he maid;
Till, on a tym, Schyr Jhone Cumyn,
As thai come ridand fra Strevillyn,
Said till him; “Schir, will yhe nocht se, 485
“How that governyt is this countre?
“Thai sla our folk but enchesoune,
“And haldis this land agayne resoune,
“And yhe tharoff full suld lord be.[†]
“And gyff that yhe will trow to me, 490
“Ye sall ger mak yhow tharoff king,
“And I sall be in yhour helping;
“With-thi yhe giff me all the land
“That he haiff now in till yhour hand:
“And gyff that yhe will nocht do sua, 495
“Na swylk a state upon yow ta,
[Pg 15] “All hale my land sall yhouris be;
“And lat me ta the state on me,
“And bring this land out off thyrllage.
“For thar is nothir man na page, 500
“In all this land that ne sall be[†]
“Fayn to mak thaim-selvyn fre.”
The lord the Bruis hard his carping,
And wend he spak bot suthfast thing.
And, for it likit till his will, 505
He gave sone his assent thartill:[†]
And said, ‘Sen yhe will it be swa,
‘I will blythly apon me ta
‘The state, for I wate I have rycht;[†]
‘And rycht mays oft the feble wycht.’ 510
The barownys thus accordyt ar;[†]
And that ilk nycht than writyn war[†]
Thair endenturis, and aythis maid
To hald that thai forspokyn haid.
Bot off all thing wa worth tresoun! 515
For thar is nothir duk ne baroun,
Na erle, na prynce, na king off mycht,
Thocht he be nevir sa wys na wycht,
For wyt, worschip, price, na renoun,
That evir may wauch hym with tresoune. 520
Wes nocht all Troy with tresoune tane,
Quhen ten yheris of the wer wes gane?
Then slayn wes mone thowsand
Off thaim with-owt, throw strenth of hand;
As Dares in his buk he wrate, 525
And Dytis, that knew all thar state.
Thai mycht nocht haiff beyn tane throw mycht,
Bot tresoun tuk thaim throw hyr slycht.
[Pg 16] And Alexander the Conqueroure,
That conqueryt Babilonys tour, 530
And all this warld off lenth and breid,
In twelf yher, throw his douchty deid,
Wes syne destroyit throw pusoune,
In his awyne hows, throw gret tresoune.
Bot, or he deit, his land delt he: 535
To se his dede wes gret pite.
Julius Cesar als, that wan
Bretane and Fraunce, as dowchty man,
Affryk, Arrabe, Egipt, Surry,
And all Europe halyly; 540
And for his worschip and valour
Off Rome wes fryst maid emperour;
Syne in hys capitole wes he,
Throw thaim of his consaill prive,
Slayne with punsoune, rycht to the ded: 545
And quhen he saw thair wes na rede,
Hys eyn with his hand closit he,
For to dey with mar honeste.
Als Arthur, that throw chevalry
Maid Bretane maistres and lady 550
Off twelf kinrykis that he wan;
And alsua, as a noble man,
He wan throw bataill Fraunce all fre;
And Lucius Yber vencusyt he,
That then of Rome was emperour: 555
Bot yheit, for all his gret valour,
Modreyt his systir son him slew;
And gud men als ma then inew,
Throw tresoune and throw wikkitnes;
The Broite beris tharoff wytnes. 560
Sa fell off this conand-making:
For the Cumyn raid to the King
Off Ingland, and tald all this cas;
Bot, I trow, nocht all as it was.
Bot the endentur till him gaf he, 565
That soune schawyt the iniquite:
Quharfor syne he tholyt ded;
Than he couth set tharfor na rede.
[Pg 17]
1306   Edward sends for Bruce
Quhen the King saw the endentur,
He wes angry out of mesur, 570
And swour that he suld vengeance ta
Off that Bruys, that presumyt swa
Aganys him to brawle or rys,
Or to conspyr on sic a wys.
And to Schyr Jhon Cumyn said he, 575
That he suld, for his leawte,
Be rewardyt, and that hely:
And he him thankit humyly.
Than thocht he to have the leding
Off all Scotland, but gane-saying, 580
Fra at the Bruce to dede war brocht.
Bot oft failyheis the fulis thocht;
And wys mennys etling
Cummys nocht ay to that ending
That thai think it sall cum to; 585
For God wate weill quhat is to do.
Off hys etlyng rycht swa it fell,
As I sall efterwartis tell.
He tuk his leve, and hame is went;
And the King a parlyament 590
Gert set thareftir hastely;
And thidder somownys he in hy
The barownys of his reawte.
And to the lord the Bruce send he
Bydding to come to that gadryng. 595
And he that had na persavyng
Off the tresoun, na the falset,
Raid to the King but langir let;
And in Lundon hym herberyd he
The fyrst day off thar assemble; 600
Syn on the morn to court he went.
The Kyng sat into parleament;
And forouch hys consaile prive,
The lord the Bruce than callyt he,[†]
And schawyt hym the endentur. 605
He wes in full gret aventur[Pg 18]
To tyne his lyff; bot God of mycht
Preservyt him till hyer hycht,
That wald nocht that he swa war dede.
The King betaucht hym in that steid 610
The endentur, the seile to se,
The askyt, gyff it enselyt he?
He lukyit the seyle ententily,
And answeryt till hym humyly,
And sayd; “How that I sympill be, 615
“My seyle is nocht all tyme with me;
“Ik have ane othir it to ber.
“Tharfor giff that yhour willis wer,
“Ic ask yhow respyt for to se
“This lettir, and avysit be,[†] 620
“Till to morn that yhe be set:
“And then, for-owtyn langir let,
“This lettir sall I entyr heyr,
“Befor all yhour consaill planer;
“And thair-till in-to bourch draw I[†] 625
“Myn herytage all halily.”
The King thocht he wes traist inewch,
Sen he in bowrch hys landis drewch;
And let hym with the lettir passe,
Till entyr it, as for-spokin was. 630

BOOK II.

How the Bruce avoided King Edward’s Deceit.

JAN. 1306   Bruce and the Clerk Escape
The Bruys went till his innys swyth;
Bot, wyt yhe weile, he wes full blyth,
That he had gottyn that respyt.
He callit his marschall till him tyt,
And bad him luk on all maner, 5
That he ma till his men gud cher;
[Pg 19] For he wald in his chambre be
A weill gret quhile in private,
With him a clerk for-owtyn ma.
The marschell till the hall gan ga, 10
And did hys lordys commanding.
The lord the Bruce, but mar letting,
Gert prively bryng stedys twa.
He and the clerk, for-owtyn ma,
Lap on, for-owtyn persavyng: 15
And day and nycht, but sojournyng,
Thai raid; quhill, on the fyften day,
Cummyn till Louchmaban ar thai.
Hys brodyr Edward thar thai fand,
That thocht ferly, Ic tak on hand, 20
That thai come hame sa prively:
He tauld hys brodyr halyly,
How that he thar soucht was,[†]
And how he chapyt wes throw cas.

Here John Comyn and Others are Slain in the Friars’ Kirk.

Sa fell it in the samyn tid, 25
That at Dumfres, rycht thar besid,
Schir Jhone the Cumyn sojornyng maid;
The Brus lap on and thiddir raid;
And thocht, for-owtyn mar letting,
For to quyt hym his discoveryng. 30
Thiddir he raid, but langir let,
And with Schyr Jhone the Cumyn met,
In the Freris, at the hye awter,
And schawyt him, with lauchand cher,[†]
The endentur; syne with a knyff, 35
Rycht in that sted, hym reft the lyff.
Schyr Edmund Cumyn als wes slayn,
And othir mony off mekill mayn.[†]
[Pg 20] Nocht-for-thi yheit sum men sayis,[†]
At that debat fell othir wayis; 40
But quhat sa evyr maid the debate,
Thar-throuch he deyt, weill I wat.
He mysdyd thar gretly, but wer,
That gave na gyrth to the awter.
Tharfor sa hard myscheiff him fell, 45
That Ik herd nevir in romanys tell
Off man sa hard frayit as wes he,
That eftirwart com to sic bounte.[†]

Here the King of England seeks for Robert Bruce, but does not find Him.

Now agayne to the King ga we, 50
That on the morn, with his barne,
Sat in-till his parlement;
And eftyr the lord the Bruys he sent,
Rycht till his in, with knychtis kene.
Quhen he oft tyme had callit bene,
And his men eftir him askit thai, 55
Thai said that he, sen yhytirday,
Duelt in his chambyr ythanly,
With a clerk with him anerly.
Than knokyt thai at his chamur thar;
And quhen thai hard nane mak ansuar 60
Thai brak the dur; bot thai fand nocht,
The-quhethir the chambre hale thai socht.
Thai tauld the King than hale the cas,
And how that he eschapyt was.
He wes off his eschap sary; 65
And swour in ire, full stalwartly,
That he suld drawyn and hangit be.
He manausyt as him thocht: bot he
Thoucht that suld pas ane othir way.
[Pg 21]

Here Robert Bruce sends Letters for an Assembly.

And quhen he, as ye hard me say, 70
In-till the kyrk Schyr Jhone haid slayn,
Till Louchmabane he went agayne;
And gert men, with his lettres, ryd
To freyndis apon ilke sid,[†]
That come to hym with thar mengyhe; 75
And his men als assemblit he:
And thocht that he wald mak him king.
Our all the land the word gan spryng,
That the Bruce the Cumyn had slayn;
And, amang othir, lettres ar gayn 80
To the byschop off Androws towne,
That tauld how slayn wes that baroun,
The lettir tauld hym all the deid:
And he till his men can it reid;[†]
And sythyn said thaim; “Sekyrly 85
“I hop that Thomas prophecy[†]
“Off Hersildoune sall veryfyd be[†]
“In him; for, swa our Lord help me!
“I haiff gret hop he sall be king,
“And haiff this land all in leding.” 90

The Douglas meeting with King Robert.

FEB. 1306   Douglas hears Bruce’s Letter
James off Dowglas, that ay-quhar
All-wayis befor the byschop schar,
Had weill hard all the lettir red;
And he tuk alsua full gud hed
To that the byschop had said.[†] 95
And quhen the burdys doun war laid,
Till chamyr went thai then in hy;
And James off Dowglas prively
[Pg 22] Said to the byschop; “Schyr, yhe se
“How Inglis men, throw thair powste, 100
“Dysherysys me off my land;
“And men has gert yhow undirstand,
“Als that the Erle off Carryk
“Clamys to govern the kynryk:
“And, for yhon man that he has slayn, 105
“All Inglis men ar him agayn,
“And wald disherys hym blythly;
“The-quhethir with him dwell wald I.
“Tharfor, Schir, giff it war yhour will,
“I wald tak with him gud and ill. 110
“Throw hym I trow my land to wyn,
“Magre the Clyffurd and his kyn.”
The byschop hard, and had pite,
And said; ‘Swet son, sa God help me!
‘I wald blythly that thow war thar, 115
‘Bot at I nocht reprovyt war.
‘On this maner weile wyrk thou may,
‘Thow sall tak Ferrand my palfray;
‘And for thair na is hors in this land
‘Sa wycht, na yheit sa weill at hand; 120
‘Tak him as off thine awyne heid,
‘As I had gevyn thar-to na reid.
‘And gyff his yhemar oucht gruchys,
‘Luk that thow tak hym magre his;
‘Swa sall I weill assonyheit be. 125
‘Almychty God, for his powste,
‘Graunt that he thow passis to,
‘And thow, sa weill all tyme may do,[†]
‘That yhe yhow fra yhowr fayis defend!’
He taucht him silver to dispend; 130
And syne gaiff him his benisoun.[†]
And bad him pass his way off toun;
For he na wald spek till he war gane.
The Dowglas then his way has tane
[Pg 23] Rycht to the hors, as he him bad: 135
Bot he, that him in yhemsell had,
Than warnyt hym dispitously.
Bot he, that wrethyt him encrely,
Fellyt hym with a suerdys dynt.
And syne, for-owtyn langir stynt, 140
The hors he sadylt hastely,
And lap on him delyverly;
And passyt furth but leve-taking.
Der God, that is off hevyn king,
Sawff hym, and scheld him fra his fayis! 145
All him alane the way he tais
Towart the towne off Louchmabane;
And, a litill fra Aryk-stane,
The Bruce with a gret rout he met,
That raid to Scone, for to be set 150
In kingis stole, and to be king.
MARCH 1306   Meeting of Bruce and Douglas
And quhen Dowglas saw hys cummyng,
He raid, and hailsyt hym in hy,
And lowtyt him full curtasly;
And tauld him haly all his state, 155
And quhat he was, and als how-gat
The Clyffurd held his heritage:
And that he come to mak homage
Till him as till his rychtwis king;
And at he boune wes, in all thing, 160
To tak with him the gud and ill.
And quhen the Bruce had herd his will,
He resavyt him in gret daynte,
And men and armys till him gaff he.
He thoucht weile he suld be worthy; 165
For all his eldris war douchty.
Thusgat maid thai thar aquentance,
That nevir syne, for nakyn chance,
Departyt quhill thai lyffand war.
Thair frendschip woux ay mar and mar: 170
For he servyt ay lelely;
And the tothir full wilfully,
That was bath worthy, wycht, and wys,
Rewardyt him weile his service.
[Pg 24]

The Crowning of King Robert.

The lord of the Bruce to Glaskow raid, 175
And send about him, quhill he haid
Off his freyndis a gret menyhe.
And syne to Scone in hy raid he,
And wes maid king but langir let,
And in the kingis stole wes set; 180
As in that tyme wes the maner.
Bot off thar nobleis gret affer,
Thar service, na thar realte,
Yhe sall her na thing now for me;
Owtane that he off the barnage 185
That thiddir come, tok homage;
And syne went our all the land,
Frendis and frendschip purchesand,
To maynteym that he had begunnyn.
He wyst, or all the land war wonnyn, 190
He suld fynd full hard barganyng
With him that wes off Ingland King:
For thar wes nane off lyff sa fell,
Sa pautener, na sa cruell.
And quhen to King Edward wes tauld, 195
How at the Bruys, that wes sa bauld,
Had brocht the Cumyn till ending,
And how he syne had maid him king,
Owt off his wyt he went weill ner;
And callit till him Schir Amer 200
The Vallang, that wes wys and wycht,
And off his hand a worthy knycht,
And bad him men off armys ta,
And in all hy till Scotland ga,[†]
And byrn, and slay, and rais dragoun: 205
And hycht all Fyfe in warysoun
Till him, that mycht othir ta or sla
Robert the Bruce, that wes his fa.
Schir Aymer did as he him bad,
Gret chevalry with him he had; 210
[Pg 25] With him wes Philip the Mowbray,
And Ingram the Umfravill perfay,
That wes bath wys and averty,
And full of gret chevalry;
And off Scotland the maist party 215
Thai had in-till thar company.

The First Speaking of King Robert with Sir Aymer.

1306   Valence occupies Perth
For yheit then mekill off the land
Wes in-till Inglis mennys hand.
Till Perth then went thai in a rout,
That then wes wallyt all about 220
With feile towris, rycht hey bataillyt,
To defend giff it war assaylit.
Thar-in duellyt Schir Amery,
With all his gret chevalry.
The King Robert wyst he wes thar, 225
And quhat-kyn chyftanys with him war,
And assemblyt all his mengyhe.
He had feyle off full gret bounte;
Bot thar fayis war may then thai,
Be fifteene hunder, as Ik herd say. 230
The-quhethir he had thar, at that ned,
Full feill that war douchty off deid;
And barownys that war bauld as bar.
Twa erlis alsua with him war;
Off Levynax and Atholl war thai. 235
Edward the Bruce wes thar alsua,
Thomas Randell, and Hew de le Hay,
And Schyr David the Berclay,
Fresale, Somerveile, and Inchmertyn;
James of Dowglas thar wes syne, 240
That yheyt than wes bot litill off mycht;
And othir fele folk forsye in fycht:
Bot I can nocht tell quhat thai hycht.[†]
[Pg 26] Thocht thai war qwheyn, thai war worthy,
And full of gret chevalry. 245
And in bataill, in gud aray,
Befor Sanct Jhonystoun com thai,
And bad Schyr Amery isch to fycht;
And he, that in the mekill mycht
Traistyt off thaim that wes him by, 250
Bad his men arme thaim hastily.
Bot Schir Ingram the Umfravill
Thocht it war all to gret perill
In playne bataill to thaim to ga,
Or quhill thai war arayit sa:[†] 255
And till Schyr Amer then said he;[†]
‘Schir, giff that yhe will trow to me,
‘Yhe sall nocht ische thaim till assaile,
‘Till thai ar purvayt in bataill.
‘For thar ledar is wys and wycht, 260
‘And off his hand a noble knycht;
‘And he has in his cumpany
‘Mony a gud man and worthi,
‘That sall be hard for till assay,
‘While thai ar in sa gud aray.[†] 265
‘For it suld be full mekill mycht
‘That now suld put thaim to the flycht:
‘For quhen thai folk ar weill arayit,
‘And for the bataill weill purvait,
‘With-thi that thai all gud men be, 270
‘Thai sall fer mar be avise,
‘And weill mar for to dreid, then thai
‘War set sumdele out off aray.
‘Thairfor yhe may, schir, say thaim till,
‘That thai may this nycht, and thai will, 275
‘Gang herbery thaim and slep and rest;
‘And at to morn, but langar frest,
‘Yhe sall isch furth to the bataill,
‘And fecht with thaim bot gyf thai faile.
‘Sa till thar herbery wend sall thai,[†] 280
[Pg 27] ‘And sum sall wend to the forray;
‘And thai that duellis at the logyng,
‘Sen thai come owt off travelling,
‘Sall in schort tyme unarmyt be.
‘Then on our best maner may we, 285
‘With all our fayr chevalry,
‘Ryd towart thaim rycht hardyly;
‘And thai that wenys to rest all nycht
‘Quhen thai se us arayit to fycht,
‘Cummand on thaim sa sudanly, 290
‘Thai sall affrayit be gretumly.
‘And or thai cummyn in bataill be,[†]
‘We sall speid us swagat that we
‘Sall be all redy till assembill.
‘Sum man for erynes will trymbill, 295
‘Quhen he assayit is sodanly,
‘That with avisement is douchty.’

The Lodging of King Robert in the Park of Methven.

JUNE 26, 1306   The Scots are Surprised
As he avisyt now have thai done;
And till thaim utouth send thai sone,
And bad thaim herbery thaim that nycht, 300
And on the morn cum to the fycht.
Quhen thai saw thai mycht no mar,
Towart Meffayn then gan thai far;
And in the woud thaim logyt thai;
The thrid part went to the forray; 305
And the lave sone unarmyt war.
And skalyt to loge thaim her and thar.
Schyr Amer then, but mar abaid,
With all the folk he with him haid,
Ischyt in-forcely to the fycht; 310
And raid, in-till a randoun rycht,
The strawcht way towart Meffen.
The King, that wes unarmyt then,
Saw thaim cum swa inforcely;
Then till his men gan hely cry, 315
[Pg 28] “Till armys swyth, and makys yhow yhar!
“Her at our hand our fayis ar!”
And thai did swa in full gret hy;
And on thair hors lap hastily.
The King displayit his baner, 320
Quhen that his folk assemblyt wer;
And said, “Lordingis, now may yhe se
“That yhone folk all, throw sutelte,
“Schapis thaim to do with slycht,
“That at thai drede to do with mycht. 325
“Now I persave he that will trew
“His fa, it sall him sum tyme rew.
“And nocht-for-thi, thocht thai be fele,
“God may rycht weill our werdis dele;
For multitud mais na victory, 330
“As men has red in mony story,
“That few folk has oft vencusyt ma.
“Trow we that we sall do rycht sua.
“Yhe are ilkan wycht and worthy,
“And full of gret chevalry; 335
“And wate rycht weill quhat honour is.
“Wyrk yhe then apon swylk wys,
“That yhour honour be savyt ay.
“And a thing will I to yow say,
That he that dois for his cuntre[†] 340
“Sall herbryit in-till hevyn be.”
Quhen this wes said, thai saw cumand
Thar fayis ridand, ner at the hand,
Arayit rycht avisely,
Willful to do chevalry. 345

The Battle of Methven and the First Discomfiture of King Robert

JUNE 26, 1306   The Scots give way
On athir syd thus war thai yhar,
And till assemble all redy war.
Thai straucht their speris, on athir syd,
And swa ruydly gan samyn ryd,
That speris all to-fruschyt war, 350
And feyle men dede, and woundyt sar;
[Pg 29] The blud owt at their byrnys brest.
For the best and the worthiest,
That wilfull war to wyn honour,
Plungyt in the stalwart stour, 355
And rowtis ruyd about thaim dang.
Men mycht haiff seyn in-to that thrang
Knychtis that wycht and hardy war,
Undyr hors feyt defoulyt thar,
Sum woundyt, and sum all ded: 360
The gress woux off the blud all rede.
And thai, that held on hors, in hy
Swappyt owt swerdis sturdyly;
And swa fell strakys gave and tuk,
That all the renk about thaim quouk. 365
The Bruysis folk full hardely
Schawyt thair gret chevalry:
And he him-selff, atour the lave,
Sa hard and hevy dyntis gave,
That quhar he come thai maid him way. 370
His folk thaim put in hard assay,
To stynt thar fais mekill mycht,
That then so fayr had off the fycht,
That thai wan feild ay mar and mar:
The Kingis small folk ner vencusyt ar. 375
And quhen the King his folk has sene
Begyn to faile, for propyr tene
Hys assenyhe gan he cry;
And in the stour sa hardyly
He ruschyt, that all the semble schuk; 380
He all till-hewyt that he our-tuk;
And dang on thaim quhill he mycht drey.
And till his folk he criyt hey;
“On thaim! On thaim! Thai feble fast!
“This bargane nevir may langar last!” 385
And with that word sa wilfully
He dang on, and sa hardely,
That quha had sene him in that fycht
Suld hald him for a douchty knycht.
Bot thocht he wes stout and hardy, 390
And othir als off his cumpany,
[Pg 30] Thar mycht na worschip thar availyhe;
For thar small folk begouth to failyhe,
And fled all skalyt her and thar.
Bot the gude, at enchaufyt war 395
Off ire, abade and held the stour
To conquyr thaim endles honour.
And quhen Schyr Amer has sene
The small folk fle all bedene,
And sa few abid to fycht, 400
He releyt to him mony a knycht;
And in the stour sa hardyly,
He ruschyt with hys chevalry,
That he ruschyt his fayis ilkane.
Schir Thomas Randell thar wes tane, 405
That then wes a yhoung bacheler;
And Schyr Alexander Fraseyr,
And Schyr David the Breklay,
Inchmertyne, and Hew de le Hay,
And Somerveil, and othir ma; 410
And the King him-selff alsua
Wes set in-till full hard assay,
Throw Schyr Philip the Mowbray,
That raid till him full hardyly,
And hynt hys rengyhe, and syne gan cry; 415
“Help! help! I have the new maid king!”
With that come gyrdand, in a lyng,
Crystall of Seytoun, quhen he swa
Saw the King sesyt with his fa;
And to Philip sic rout he raucht, 420
That thocht he wes off mekill maucht,
He gert hym galay disyly;
And haid till erd gane fullyly,
Ne war he hynt him by his sted.
Then off his hand the brydill yhed; 425
And the King his enssenyhe gan cry,
Releyt his men that war him by,
That war sa few that thai na mycht
Endur the fors mar off the fycht.
Thai prikyt then out off the pres; 430
[Pg 31] And the King that angry wes,
For he his men saw fle him fra,
Said then; “Lordingis, sen it is swa
“That ure rynnys agane us her,
“Gud is we pass off thar daunger, 435
“Till God us send eftsonys grace:
“And yheyt may fall, giff thai will chace,
“Quyt thaim corn-but sum-dele we sall.”
To this word thai assentyt all,
And fra thaim walopyt owyr mar. 440
Thar fayis alsua wery war,
That off thaim all thar chassyt nane:
Bot with prisoneris, that thai had tane,
Rycht to the toune thai held thar way,
Rycht glaid and joyfull off thar pray. 445
That nycht thai lay all in the toun;
Ther wes nane off sa gret renoun,
Na yheit sa hardy off thaim all,
That durst herbery with-out the wall.
Sa dred thai sar the gayne-cummyng 450
Off Schir Robert, the douchty King.
And to the King off Ingland sone,
Thai wrate haly as thai haid done;
And he wes blyth off that tithing,
And for dispyte bad draw and hing 455
All the prisoneris, thocht thai war ma.
1306   Fate of the Prisoners
Bot Schyr Amery did nocht sua;
To sum bath land and lyff gaiff he,
To leve the Bruysis fewte,
And serve the King off Ingland, 460
And off him for to hald the land,
And werray the Brus as thar fa.
Thomas Randell wes ane off tha,
That for his lyff become thar man.
Off othir, that war takyn than, 465
Sum thai ransownyt, sum thai slew,
And sum thai hangyt, and sum thai drew.
[Pg 32]

Here the King and his Men Suffer Great Want.

In this maner rebutyt was
The Bruys, that mekill murnyn mais
For his men that war slayne and tane. 470
And he wes als sa will off wane,
That he trowit in nane sekyrly,
Owtane thaim off his cumpany;
That war sa few that thai mycht be
Five hunder ner off all mengyhe. 475
His brodir alwayis wes him by,
Schyr Edward, that wes sa hardy;
And with him wes a bauld baroun,
Schyr Wilyham the Boroundoun;
The Erle off Athole als wes thar. 480
Bot ay syn thai discomfyt war,
The Erle off the Levenax wes away,
And wes put to full hard assay
Or he met with the King agayn:
Bot always, as a man off mayn, 485
He mayntemyt him full manlyly.
The King had in his cumpany
James alsua of Dowglas,
That wycht, wys, and averty was.
Schyr Gilbert de le Hay alsua, 490
Schir Nele Cambell, and othir ma,
That I thar namys can nocht say,
As utelauys went mony day;
Dreand in the Month thar pyne;
Eyte flesch, and drank watir syne. 495
He durst nocht to the planys ga,
For all the commownys went him fra;
That for thar liffis war full fayn
To pas to the Inglis pes agayn.
Sa fayris it ay commounly; 500
In commownys may nane affy,
Bot he that may thar warand be.
Sa fur thai then with him; for he
[Pg 33] Thaim fra thar fais mycht nocht warand:
Thai turnyt to the tothir hand. 505
Bot threldome, that men gert thaim fele,
Gert thaim ay yharne that he fur wele.

Here King Robert with his Men goes as far as Aberdeen.

1306   Of the Scottish Ladies
Thus in the hyllis levyt he,
Till the maist part off his menyhe
Wes revyn and rent; na schoyne thai had, 510
Bot as thai thaim off hydys mad.
Tharfor thai went till Abyrdeyne,
Quhar Nele the Bruys come, and the Queyn,
And othir ladyis fayr and farand,
Ilkane for luff off thar husband; 515
That for leyle luff, and leawte,
Wald partenerys off thair paynys be.
Thai chesyt tyttar with thaim to ta
Angyr, and payn, na be thaim fra.
For luff is off sa mekill mycht, 520
That it all paynys makis lycht;
And mony tyme mais tendir wychtis
Off swilk strenthtis, and swilk mychtis,
That thai may mekill paynys endur,
And forsakis nane aventur 525
That evyr may fall, with-thi that thai
Thar-throw succur thair luffys may.[†]
Men redys, quhen Thebes wes tane,
And King Adrastus men war slane,
That assailyt the cite, 530
That the wemen off his cuntre
Come for to fech him hame agayne,
Quhen thai hard all his folk wes slayne;
Quhar the King Campaneus,[†]
Throw the help off Menesteus, 535
That come percas ridand tharby,
[Pg 34] With three hunder in cumpany,
That throw the kingis prayer assailyt,
That yheit to tak the toun had failyheit.
Then war the wiffys thyrland the wall 540
With pikkis, quhar the assailyheours all
Entryt, and dystroyit the tour,
And slew the pupill but recour.
Syn quhen the duk his way wes gayne,
And all the kingis men war slayne, 545
The wiffis had him till his cuntre,
Quhar wes na man leiffand bot he.
In wemen mekill comfort lyis;
And gret solace on mony wis.
Sa fell it her, for thar cummyng 550
Rejosyt rycht gretumly the King;
The-quhethir ilk nycht him-selvyn wouk
And his rest apon daiis touk.
A gud quhile thar he sojournyt then,
And esyt wondir weill his men; 555
Till that the Inglis men herd say
That he thair with his mengyhe lay,
All at ese and sekyrly.[†]
Assemblit thai thar ost in hy,
And thar him trowit to suppris. 560
Bot he, that in his deid wes wys,
Wyst thai assemblyt war, and quhar;
And wyst that thai sa mony war,
That he mycht nocht agayne thaim fycht.
His men in hy he gert be dycht, 565
And buskyt of the toune to ryd:
The ladyis raid rycht by his syd.
Then to the hill thai raid thar way,
Quhar gret defaut off mete had thai.
1306   The Labours of Douglas
Bot worthy James off Dowglas 570
Ay travailland and besy was,
For to purches the ladyis mete;
And it on mony wis wald get.
For quhile he venesoun thaim brocht:
And with his handys quhile he wrocht 575
[Pg 35] Gynnys, to tak geddis and salmonys,
Trowtis, elys, and als menounys.
And quhill thai went to the forray;
And swa thar purchesyng maid thai.
Ilk man traveillyt for to get 580
And purches thaim that thai mycht ete.
Bot off all that evir thai war,
Thar wes nocht ane amang thaim thar,
That to the ladyis profyt was
Mar then Jamys of Dowglas. 585
And the King oft confortyt wes,
Throw his wyt and his besynes.
On this maner thaim governyt thai,
Till they come to the hed of Tay.

BOOK III.

Here the Lord of Lorn attacks the King because of the Death of John Comyn.

The Lord off Lorne wonnyt thar-by,
That wes capitale ennymy
To the King, for his emys sak,
Jhon Comyn; and thocht for to tak
Vengeance apon cruell maner. 5
Quhen he the King wyst wes sa ner,
He assemblyt his men in hy;
And had in-till his cumpany
The barownys off Argyle alsua,
Thai war a thowsand weill or ma: 10
And come for to suppris the King,
That weill wes war of thair cummyng.
Bot all to few with him he had,
The-quhethir he bauldly thaim abaid;
And weill ost, at thar fryst metyng, 15
War layd at erd, but recoveryng.
The Kingis folk full weill thaim bar,
And slew, and fellyt, and woundyt sar.
Bot the folk off the tothir party
Fawcht with axys sa felounly 20
[Pg 36] For thai on fute war evir-ilkane,
That thai feile off thar hors has slayne;
And till sum gaiff thai woundis wid.
James off Dowglas wes hurt that tyd;
And als Schyr Gilbert de le Hay. 25
The King his men saw in affray,
And his ensenyhe can he cry;
And amang thaim rycht hardyly
He rad, that he thaim ruschyt all;
And fele of thaim thar gert he fall. 30
Bot quhen he saw thai war sa feill,
And saw thaim swa gret dyntis deill,
He dred to tyne his folk, forthi
His men till him he gan rely,
And said; ‘Lordyngis, foly it war 35
‘Tyll us for till assembill mar,
‘For thai fele off our hors has slayn;
‘And gyff we fecht with thaim agayn
‘We sall tyne off our small mengyhe,
‘And our-selft sall in perill be. 40
‘Tharfor me thynk maist avenand
‘To withdraw us, us defendand,
‘Till we cum owt off thar daunger,
‘For owr strenth at our hand is ner.’
Then thai withdrew thaim halely; 45
Bot that wes nocht full cowartly;
For samyn in-till a sop held thai;
And the King him abandonyt ay
To defend behind his mengyhe.
And throw his worschip sa wroucht he, 50
That he reskewyt all the flearis,
And styntyt swagat the chassaris,
That nane durst owt off batall chas
For alwayis at thar hand he was.
Sa weile defendyt he his men, 55
That quha-sa-evir had seyne him then
Prove sa worthely vasselage,
And turn sa oft sythis the visage,
He suld say he awcht weill to be
A king of gret rewate. 60
[Pg 37]
1306   Bruce compared to Gaudifer
Quhen that the Lord of Lorne saw
His men stand off him ane sik aw,
That thai durst nocht folow the chase,
Rycht angry in his hart he was;
And for wondyr that he suld swa 65
Stot thaim, him allane but ma,
He said; “Me think, Marthokys sone,
“Rycht as Golmakmorn was wone
“To haiff fra Fyn all his mengne,
“Rycht swa all his fra us has he.” 70
He set ensample thus mydlike,
The-quhethir he micht, mar manerlik,
Lyknyt hym to Gaudifer de Larys,
Quhen that the mychty duk Betys
Assailyheit in Gadyrris the forrayours. 75
And quhen the King thaim made rescours,
Duk Betys tuk on him the flycht,
That wald ne mar abid to fycht.
Bot gud Gaudifer the worthi
Abandonyt him so worthyly, 80
For to reskew all the fleieris,
And for to stonay the chasseris,
That Alysandir to erth he bar;
And alsua did he Tholimar,
And gud Coneus alsua, 85
Danklyne alsua, and othir ma.
But at the last thar slayne he wes:
In that failyheit the liklynes.
For the King, full chevalrusly,
Defendyt all his cumpany, 90
And wes set in full gret danger;
And yheit eschapyt haile and fer.

How the King slew the Three Men that swore his Death.

Twa brethir war into that land,
That war the hardiest off hand
That war in-till all that cuntre; 95
And thai had sworn, iff thai micht se
The Bruys, quhar thai mycht him our-ta,
That thai suld dey, or then hym sla.
[Pg 38] Thar surname wes Makyne-drosser;
That is al-so mekill to say her 100
As “the Durwarth sonnys” perfay.
Off thar covyne the thrid had thai,
That wes rycht stout, ill, and feloune.
Quhen thai the King of gud renoune
Saw sua behind his mengne rid, 105
And saw him torne sa mony tid,
Thai abaid till that he was
Entryt in ane narow place,
Betuix a louchside and a bra;
That wes sa strait, Ik underta, 110
That he mycht nocht weill turn his sted.
Then with a will till him thai yhede;
And ane him by the bridill hynt:
But he raucht till him sic a dynt,
That arme and schuldyr flaw him fra. 115
With that ane othir gan him ta
Be the lege, and his hand gan schute
Betuix the sterap and his fute:
And quhen the King felt thar his hand.
In sterapys stythly gan he stand, 120
And strak with spuris the stede in hy,
And he lansyt furth delyverly,
Swa that the tothir failyheit fete;
And nocht-for-thi his hand wes yheit
Undyr the sterap, magre his. 125
The thrid, with full gret hy, with this
Rycht till the bra-syd he yheid,
And stert be-hynd hym on his sted.
The King wes then in full gret pres;
The-quhethir he thocht, as he that wes 130
In all hys dedys avise,
To do ane owtrageous bounte.
And syne hyme that behynd hym was,
All magre his will, him gan he ras
Fra be-hynd hym, thocht he had sworn, 135
He laid hym evyn him beforn.
Syne with the suerd sic dynt hym gave,
That he the heid till the harnys clave.
[Pg 39] He rouschit doun off blud all rede,
As he that stound feld off dede. 140
And then the King, in full gret hy,
Strak at the tothir vigorusly,
That he eftir his sterap drew,
That at the fyrst strak he him slew.
On this wis him delyverit he 145
Off all thai felloun fayis thre.
1306   Macnaughton praises Bruce
Quhen thai of Lorne has sene the King
Set in hym-selff sa gret helping,
And defend him sa manlely;
Wes nane amang thaim sa hardy 150
That durst assailyhe him mar in fycht:
Sa dred thai for his mekill mycht.
Thar wes a baroune Maknauchtan,
That in his hart gret kep has tane
Unto the Kingis chevalry, 155
And prisyt hym in hert gretly.
And to the Lord off Lorne said he;
‘Sekyrly now may yhe se
‘Betane the starkest pundelan,
‘That evyr yhour lyff-tyme yhe saw tane. 160
‘For yhone knycht, throw his douchti deid,
‘And throw his owtrageous manheid,
‘Has fellyt in-till litill tyd
‘Thre men of mekill mycht and prid:
‘And stonayit all our mengyhe swa, 165
‘That eftyr him dar na man ga;
‘And tournys sa mony tyme his stede,
‘That semys off us he had na dred.’
Then gane the Lord off Lorn say;
“It semys it likis the perfay, 170
“That he slayis yhongat our mengyhe.”
‘Schyr,’ said he, ‘sa our Lord me se!
‘To sauff yhour presence it is nocht swa.
‘Bot quhethir sa he be freynd or fa,
‘That wynnys prys off chevalry, 175
‘Men suld spek tharoff lelyly.
[Pg 40] ‘And sekyrly, in all my tyme,
‘Ik hard nevir, in sang na ryme,
‘Tell off a man that swa smertly
‘Eschevyt swa gret chevalry.’ 180
Sic speking off the King thai maid:
And he eftyr his mengyhe raid;
And in-till saufte thaim led,
Quhar he his fayis na thing dred.
And thai off Lorne agayn ar gayn, 185
Menand the scaith that thai haiff tayn.
1306   How Hannibal failed at Rome
The King that nycht his wachis set,
And gert ordayne that thai mycht et;
And bad thaim comford to thaim tak,[†]
And at thar mychtis mery mak. 190
‘For disconford,’ as then said he,
‘Is the werst thing that may be.
‘For throw mekill disconforting
‘Men fallis oft in-to disparyng.[†]
‘And fra a man disparyt be, 195
‘Then utterly vencusyt is he.
‘And fra the hart be discumfyt,
‘The body is nocht worth a myt.
‘Tharfor,’ he said, ‘atour all thing,
‘Kepys yhow fra disparyng: 200
‘And thynk, thouch we now harmys fele,
‘That God may yheit releve us weill.
‘Men redys off mony men that war
‘Fer hardar stad then we yhet ar;
‘And syne our lord sic grace thaim lent, 205
‘That thai come weill till thair entent.
‘For Rome quhilum sa hard wes stad,
‘Quhen Hanniball thaim vencusyt had,
‘That, off ryngis with rich stane,
‘That war off knychtis fyngerys tane,[†] 210
[Pg 41] ‘He send thre bollis to Cartage:
‘And syne to Rome tuk his viage,
‘Thar to distroye the cite all.
‘And thai with-in, bath gret and small,
‘Had fled, quhen thai saw his cummyng, 215
‘Had nocht bene Scipio the king,[†]
‘That, or thai fled, wald thaim haiff slayn,
‘And swagat turnyt he thaim agayn.
‘Syne for to defend the cite,
‘Servandis and threllis mad he fre; 220
‘And maid thaim knychtis evirilkane:
‘And syne has off the templis tane
‘The armys, that thar eldrys bar,
‘In name off victory offerryt thar.
‘And quhen thai armyt war and dycht, 225
‘That stalwart karlis war and wycht,
‘And saw that thai war fre alsua,
‘Thaim thocht that thai had levir ta
‘The dede, na lat the toun be tane.
‘And with commowne assent, as ane, 230
Thai ischit off the toune to fycht,
‘Quhar Hannyball his mekill mycht
‘Aganys thaim arayit was.
‘Bot, throw mycht off Goddis grace,
‘It ranyt sa hard and hevyly, 235
‘That thar wes nane sa hardy
‘That durst in-to that place abid;
‘Bot sped thaim in-till hy to rid;
‘The ta part to thar pailyhownys,
‘The tothyr part went in the toune is. 240
‘The rayne thus lettyt the fechtyn:
‘Sa did it twys thar-eftir syne.
‘Quhen Hanibal saw this ferly,
‘With all his gret chevalry
‘He left the toune, and held his way; 245
‘And syne wes put to sik assay,
[Pg 42] ‘Throw the power off that cite,
‘That his lyff and his land tynt he.
‘Be thir quheyne, that sa worthily
‘Wane sik a king, and sa mychty, 250
‘Yhe may weill be ensampill se,
‘That na man suld disparyt be:
‘Na lat his hart be vencusyt all,
‘For na myscheiff that evir may fall.
‘For nane wate, in how litill space, 255
‘That God umquhile will send his grace.
‘Had thai fled and thar wayis gane,
‘Thar fayis swith the toune had tane.
‘Tharfor men, that werrayand ar,
‘Suld set thair etlyng evir-mar 260
‘To stand agayne thar fayis mycht,
‘Umquhile with strenth, and quhile with slycht;
‘And ay thynk to cum to purpos:
‘And giff that thaim war set in chos,
‘To dey, or to leyff cowartly, 265
‘Thai suld erar dey chevalrusly.’
Thusgat thaim confortyt the King;
And, to confort thaim, gan inbryng
Auld storys off men that wer
Set in-tyll hard assayis ser, 270
And that fortoun contraryit fast,
And come to purpos at the last.
Tharfor he said, that thai that wald
Thar hartis undiscumfyt hald
Suld ay thynk ythandly to bryng[†] 275
All thar enpres to gud ending:
As quhile did Cesar the worthy,
That traveillyt ay so besyly,
With all his mycht, folowing to mak
To end the purpos that he wald tak; 280
That hym thocht he had doyne rycht nocht,
Ay quhill to do him levyt ocht:
For-thi gret thingis eschevyt he,
As men may in his story se.
[Pg 43] Men may se be his ythand will, 285
And it suld als accord to skill,
That quha tais purpos sekyrly,
And followis it syne ythandly,
For-owt fayntice, or yheit faynding,
With-thi it be conabill thing, 290
Bot he the mar be unhappy,
He sall eschev it in party.
And haiff he lyff-dayis, weill mai fall,
That he sall eschev it all.
For-thi suld nane haiff disparing 295
For till eschev a full gret thing:
For giff it fall he thar off failyhe,
The fawt may be in his trawailyhe.
1306   The Ladies are worn out
He prechyt thaim on this maner;
And fenyheit to mak bettir cher, 300
Then he had matir to, be fer:
For his caus yheid fra ill to wer.
Thai war ay in sa hard travaill,
Till the ladyis began to fayle,
That mycht the travaill drey na mar; 305
Sa did othir als that war thar.
The Erle Jhone wes ane off tha,
Off Athole, that quhen he saw sua
The King be discumfyt twys,
And sa feile folk agayne him rys; 310
And lyff in sic travaill and dout,
His hart begane to faile all out.
And to the King, apon a day,
He said; “Gyff I durst to yhow say,
“We lyff in-to sa mekill dreid, 315
“And haffis oft-sys off met sik ned,
“And is ay in sic travailling,
“With cauld, and hungir, and waking;
“That I set off my-selvyn sua,[†]
“That I count nocht my liff a stra. 320
“Thir angrys may I na mar drey,
[Pg 44] “For thoucht me tharfor worthit dey,
“I mon sojourne, quhar-evir it be.
“Levys me tharfor par cheryte.”
The King saw that he sa wes failyt, 325
And that he ik wes for-travaillyt.
He said; ‘Schir Erle, we sall sone se,
‘And ordayne how it best may be.
‘Quhar-evyr yhe be, our Lord yhow send
‘Grace, fra yhour fais yhow to defend!’ 330
With that in hy to him callyt he
Thaim, that till him war mast prive:
Then amang thaim thai thocht it best,
And ordanyt for the liklyest,
That the Queyne, and the Erle alsua, 335
And the ladyis, in hy suld ga,
With Nele the Bruce, till Kildromy.
For thaim thocht thai mycht sekyrly
Duell thar, quhill thai war victaillit weile:
For swa stalwart wes the castell, 340
That it with strenth war hard to get,
Quhill that thar-in were men and mete.
As thai ordanyt thai did in hy:
The Queyne, and all hyr cumpany,
Lap on thar hors, and furth thai far. 345
Men mycht haiff sene, quha had bene thar,
At leve-takyng the ladyis gret,
And mak thar face with teris wet:
And knychtis, for thar luffis sak,
Baith sich, and wep, and murnyng mak. 350
Thai kyssyt thair luffis at thair partyng,
The King umbethocht him off a thing;
That he fra-thine on fute wald ga,
And tak on fute bath weill and wa;
And wald na hors-men with him haiff. 355
Tharfor his hors all haile he gaiff
To the ladyis, that mystir had.
The Queyn furth on hyr wayis rade;
And sawffly come to the castell,
Quhar hyr folk war ressavyt weill; 360
[Pg 45] And esyt weill with meyt and drynk.
Bot mycht nane eys let hyr to think
On the King, that sa sar wes stad,
That bot twa hunder with him had,
The quhethir thaim weill confort he ay:[†] 365
God help him, that all mychtis may!

The Pains of King Robert among the Mountains.

1306   Bruce will go to Kintyre
The Queyne duelt thus in Kyldromy:
And the King and his cumpany,
That war twa hunder, and na ma,
Fra thai had send thar hors thaim fra, 370
Wandryt emang the hey montanys
Quhar he and his oft tholyt paynys.
For it wes to the wynter ner;
And sa feile fayis about him wer,
That all the countre thaim werrayit. 375
Sa hard anoy thaim then assayit,
Off hungir, cauld, with schowris snell,
That nane that levys can weill it tell.
The King saw how his folk wes stad,
And quhat anoyis that thai had; 380
And saw wynter wes cummand ner;
And that he mycht on na wys der,
In the hillys, the cauld lying,
Na the lang nychtis waking.
He thocht he to Kyntyr wald ga, 385
And swa lang sojowrnyng thar ma,
Till wynter weddir war away:
And then he thocht, but mar delay,
In-to the manland till aryve,
And till the end hys werdis dryve. 390
And for Kyntyr lyis in the se,
Schyr Nele Cambel befor send he,
For to get him navyn and meite:
And certane tyme till him he sete,
Quhen he suld meite him at the se. 395
Schir Nele Cambel, with his mengyhe,
[Pg 46] Went his way, but mar letting,
And left his brothir with the King.
And in twelve dayis sua traveillit he,[†]
That he gat schippyne gud plente, 400
And victalis in gret aboundance:
Sa maid he nobill chevisance.
For his sibmen wonnyt thar-by,
That helpyt him full wilfully.

How the King passed over Loch Lomond.

The King, eftir that he wes gane, 405
To Lowchlomond the way has tane,
And come thar on the thrid day.
Bot thar-about na bait fand thai,
That mycht thaim our the watir ber:
Than war thai wa on gret maner: 410
For it wes fer about to ga;
And thai war in-to dout alsua,
To meyt thair fayis that spred war wyd.
Tharfor, endlang the louch his syd,
Sa besyly thai socht, and fast, 415
Tyll Jamys of Dowglas, at the last,
Fand a litill sonkyn bate,
And to the land it drew, fut-hate.
But it sa litill wes that it
Mycht our the wattir bot thresum flyt. 420
Thai send thar-off word to the King,
That wes joyfull off that fynding;
And fyrst in-to the bate is gane,
With him Dowglas; the thrid wes ane
That rowyt thaim our deliverly, 425
And set thaim on the land all dry:
And rowyt sa oft-sys to and fra,
Fechand ay our twa and twa,
That in a nycht and in a day,
Cummyn owt-our the louch ar thai. 430
[Pg 47] For sum off thaim couth swome full weill,
And on his bak ber a fardele.
Swa with swymmyng, and with rowyng,
Thai brocht thaim our, and all thair thing.
1306   Bruce reads aloud a Romance
The King, the quhilis, meryly 435
Red to thaim, that war him by,
Romanys off worthi Ferambrace,
That worthily our-cummyn was,
Throw the rycht douchty Olyver;
And how the Duk-Peris wer 440
Assegyt in-till Egrymor,
Quhar King Lavyne lay thaim befor,
With may thowsandis then I can say.
And bot eleven within war thai,
And a woman: and war sa stad, 445
That thai na mete thar-within had,
Bot as thai fra thar fayis wan.
Yheyte sua contenyt thai thaim than,
That thai the tour held manlily,
Till that Rychard off Normandy, 450
Magre his fayis, warnyt the King,
That wes joyfull off this tithing:
For he wend thai had all bene slayne.
Tharfor he turnyt in hy agayne,
And wan Mantrybill and passit Flagot; 455
And syne Lavyne and all his flot,
Dispitusly discumfyt he:
And deliveryt his men all fre,
And wan the naylis, and the sper,
And the croune that Jesu couth ber; 460
And off the croice a gret party
He wan throw his chevalry.
The gud King, apon this maner,
Comfortyt thaim that war him ner;
And maid thaim gamyn and solace,[†] 465
Till that his folk all passyt was.
[Pg 48]
Quhen thai war passit the watir brad,
Suppos thai fele off fayis had,
Thai maid thaim mery, and war blyth;
Nocht-for-thi full fele syth 470
Thai had full gret defaut off mete,
And tharfor venesoun to get
In twa partys ar thai gayne.
The King him-selff was in-till ane,
And Schir James off Dowglas 475
In-to the tothir party was.
Then to the hycht thai held thar way,
And huntyt lang quhill off the day;
And soucht schawys, and setis set;
Bot thai gat litill for till ete. 480
Then hapnyt at that tyme percas,
That the Erle of the Levenax was
Amang the hillis ner tharby;
And quhen he hard sa blaw and cry,
He had wondir quhat it mycht be; 485
And on sic maner spyryt he,
That he knew that it wes the King
And then, for-owtyn mar duelling,
With all thaim off his company,
He went rycht till the King in hy, 490
Sa blyth and sa joyfull, that he
Mycht on na maner blyther be.
For he the King wend had bene ded;
And he wes alsua will off red,
That he durst rest in-to na place[†] 495
Na, sen the King discumfyt was
At Meffan, he herd nevir thing
That evir wes certane off the King.
Tharfor in-to full gret daynte,
The King full humyly haylsit he; 500
And he him welcummyt rycht blythly,
And kyssyt him full tendirly.[†]
And all the lordis, that war thar,
Rycht joyfull off thar meting war,
[Pg 49] And kyssyt him in gret daynte. 505
It wes gret pite for till se
How thai for joy and pite gret,
Quhen that thai with thar falow met,[†]
That thai wend had bene dede; forthi
Thai welcummyt him mar hartfully. 510
And he for pite gret agayne,
That nevir off metyng wes say fayne.
1306   How men weep
Thocht I say that thai gret, sothly
It wes na greting propyrly:
For I trow traistly that gretyng 515
Cummys to men for mysliking;
And that nane may but anger gret,
Bot it be wemen, that can wet
Thair chekys quhen-evir thaim list with teris,
The-quhethir weill oft thaim na thing deris. 520
Bot I wate richt weill, but lesyng,[†]
Quhat-evir men say off sic greting,
That mekill joy, or yheit pete,
May ger men sua amovyt be,
That watir fra the hart will rys, 525
And weyt the eyne on sic avys,
That it is lik to be greting,
Thocht it to be nocht sua in all thing.
For quhen men gretis enkrely,
The hart is sorowfull or angry. 530
Bot for pite, I trow, gretyng
Be na thing bot ane opynnyng
Off hart, that schawis the tendirnys
Off rewth that in it closyt is.
The barownys apon this maner, 535
Throw Goddis grace, assemblyt wer.
The Erle had mete, and that plente,
And with glaid hart it thaim gaiff he;
[Pg 50] And thai eyt it with full gud will,
That soucht nane othir sals thar-till 540
Bot appetyt, that oft men takys;
For rycht weill scowryt war thar stomakys.
Thai eit and drank sic as thai had;
And till our Lord syne lovyng maid,
And thankit him, with full gud cher, 545
That thai war met on that maner.
The King then at thaim speryt yharne,
How thai, sen he thaim saw, had farne;
And thai full petwysly gan tell
Aventuris that thaim befell, 550
And gret anoyis, and poverte.
The King thar-at had gret pite:
And tauld thaim petwisly agayne
The noy, the travaill, and the payne,
That he had tholyt, sen he thaim saw. 555
Wes nane amang thaim, hey na law,
That he ne had pite and plesaunce,
Quhen that he herd mak remembrance
Off the perellys that passyt war.
For, quhen men oucht at liking ar, 560
To tell off paynys passyt by
Plesys to heryng wonderly;
And to rehers thar auld disese,
Dois thaim oft-sys confort and ese;
With-thi thar-to folow na blame, 565
Dishonour, wikytnes, na shame.

How the King passed to the Sea, and how the Earl of Lennox was chased.

1306   The Knights at the Oars
Eftir the mete sone rais the King,
Quhen he had levyt hys speryng;
And buskyt him, with his mengyhe,
And went in hy towart the se; 570
Quhar Schir Nele Cambell thaim mete,
Bath with schippis, and with meyte;
Saylys, ayris, and othir thing,
That wes spedfull to thar passyng.
[Pg 51] Then schippyt thai, for-owtyn mar; 575
Sum went till ster, and sum till ar,
And rowyt be the ile of But.
Men mycht se mony frely fute
About the costis thar lukand,
As thai on ayris rais rowand: 580
And nevys that stalwart war and squar,
That wont to spayn gret speris war,
Swa spaynyt aris, that men mycht se
Full oft the hyde leve on the tre.
For all war doand, knycht and knave; 585
Wes nane that evir disport mycht have
Fra steryng, and fra rowyng,
To furthyr thaim off thar fleting.

Here the Earl of Lennox is followed by Traitors.

Bot in the samyn tyme at thai
War in schipping, as yhe hard me say, 590
The Erle off the Levenax was,
I can nocht tell yhow throw quhat cas.
Levyt behynd with his galay,
Till the King wes fer on his way.
Quhen that thai off his cuntre 595
Wyst that so duelt behynd wes he,
Be se with schippys thai him soucht;
And he that saw that he wes nocht
Off pith to fecht with thai traytouris,
And that he had na ner socouris 600
Then the Kingis flote, for-thi
He sped him eftir thaim in hy.
Bot the tratouris hym folowyt sua,
That thai weill ner hym gan our-ta.
For all the mycht that he mycht do, 605
Ay ner and ner thai come him to.
And quhen he saw thai war sa ner
That he mycht weill thar manauce her,
And saw thaim ner and ner cum ay,
Then till his mengyhe gan he say; 610
[Pg 52] “Bot giff we fynd sum sutelte,
“Ourtane all sone sall we be.
“Tharfor I rede, but mar letting,
“That, owtakyn our armyng,
“We kast our thing all in the se: 615
“And fra our schip swa lychtyt be,
“We sall swa row, and speid us sua,
“That we sall weill eschaip thaim fra;
“With that thai sall mak duelling
“Apon the se, to tak our thing; 620
“And we sall row but resting ay,
“Till we eschapyt be away.”
As he devisyt thai have done;
And thar schip thai lychtyt sone:
And rowyt syne, with all thar mycht; 625
And scho, that swa wes maid lycht,
Raykyt slidand throw the se.
And quhen thar fayis gan thaim se
Forowth thaim alwayis, mar and mar,
The thingis that thar fletand war 630
Thai tuk; and turnyt syne agayne,
Swa that thai lesyt all thar payne.
Quhen that the Erle on this maner,
And hys mengyhe, eschapyt wer,
Eftyr the King he gan hym hy, 635
That then, with all his cumpany,
In-to Kyntyr aryvyt was.
The Erle tauld him all his cas;
How he wes chasyt on the se,
With thaim that suld his awyn be; 640
And how he had bene tane but dout,
Na war it that he warpyt owt
All that he had, him lycht to ma;
And swa eschapyt he thaim fra.
“Schyr Erle,” said the King, “perfay 645
“Syn thow eschapyt is away,
“Off the tynsell is na plenyheing.[†]
“Bot I will say the weile a thing;
[Pg 53] “That thar will fall the gret foly
“To pas oft fra my cumpany. 650
“For fele sys, quhen thow art away,
“Thow art set in-till hard assay.
“Tharfor me thynk it best to the
“To hald the alwayis ner by me.”
‘Schyr,’ said the Erle, ‘it sall be swa. 655
‘I sall na wys pas fer yhow fra,
‘Till God giff grace we be of mycht
‘Agayne our fayis to hald our stycht.’[†]
1306   Angus of Islay joins Bruce
Angus off Ile that tyme wes syr,
And lord and ledar off Kyntyr. 660
The King rycht weill resavyt he;
And undretuk his man to be:
And him and his, on mony wys,
He abandownyt till his service.
And, for mar sekyrnes, gaiff him syne 665
Hys castell off Donavardyne,
To duell tharin at his liking.
Full gretumly thankyt him the King,
And resavyt his service.
Nocht-for-thi, on mony wys, 670
He wes dredand for tresoun ay:
And tharfor, as Ik hard men say,
He traistyt in nane sekyrly,
Till that he knew him utraly.
Bot quhatkyn dred that evir he had, 675
Fayr contenance to thaim he maid.
And in Donavardyne dayis thre,
For-owtyne mar, then duellyt he.
Syne gert he his mengyhe mak thaim yhar,
Towart Rauchryne be se to far, 680
That is ane ile in-to the se;
And may weill in mydwart be
Betuix Kyntyr and Irland:
Quhar als gret stremys ar rynnand,
[Pg 54] And als peralous and mar 685
Till our-saile thaim in-to schipfair,
As is the rais of Bretangyhe,
Or strait off Marrok in-to Spanyhe.
Thair schippys to the se thai set;
And maid redy but langer let, 690
Ankyrs, rapys, bath saile and ar,
And all that nedyt to schipfar.
Quhen thai war boune, to saile thai went:
The wynd wes wele to thar talent.
Thai raysyt saile, and furth thai far; 695
And by the mole thai passyt yhar,
And entryt sone in-to the rase,
Quhar that the strem sa sturdy was
That wavys wycht, that brekand war,[†]
Weltryt as hillys her and thar. 700
The schippys our the wavys slayd,
For wynd at poynt blawand thai had.
Bot nocht-for-thi quha had thar bene,
A gret stertling he mycht haiff seyne
Off schippys; for quhilum sum wald be 705
Rycht on the wavys, as on mounte;[†]
And sum wald slyd fro heycht to law,
Rycht as thai doune till hell wald draw;
Syne on the wav stert sodanly.
And othyr schippis, that war thar-by, 710
Deliverly drew to the depe.
It wes gret cunnannes to kep
Thar takill in-till sic a thrang,
And wyth sic wavis; for, ay amang,
The wavys reft thar sycht of land. 715
Quhen thai the land wes rycht ner hand,
And quhen schippys war sailand ner,
The se wald rys on sic maner,
[Pg 55] That off the wavys the weltrand hycht
Wald refe thaim oft off thar sycht. 720
1306   The King settles in Rathein
Bot in to Rauchryne, nocht-forthi,
Thai aryvyt ilkane sawffly:
Blyth, and glaid, that thai war sua
Eschapyt thai hidwyss wavis fra.
In Rauchryne thai aryvyt ar; 725
And to the land thai went but mar,
Armyt upon thar best maner.
Quhen the folk, that thar wonnand wer,
Saw men off armys in thar cuntre
Aryve in-to sic quantite, 730
Thai fled in hy, with thar catell,
Towart a rycht stalwart castell,
That in the land wes ner thar-by.
Men mycht her wemen hely cry,
And fle with cataill her and thar. 735
Bot the Kingis folk, that war
Deliver off fute, thaim gan our-hy;
And thaim arestyt haillely,[†]
And brocht thaim to the King agayne,
Swa that nane off thaim all wes slayne. 740
Then with thaim tretyt swa the King,
That thai, to fullfill hys yharning,
Become his men evirilkane:
And has him trewly undretane
That thai and thairis, loud and still, 745
Suld be in all thing at his will:
And, quhill him likit thar to leynd,
Evirilk day thai suld him seynd
Victalis for three hunder men:
And ay as lord thai suld him ken;[†] 750
Bot at thar possessioune suld be,
For all his men, thair awyn fre.
The cunnand on this wys was maid.
[Pg 56] And on the morn, but langir baid
Off all Rauchryne bath man and page 755
Knelyt, and maid the King homage;
And tharwith swour him fewte,
To serve him ay in lawte:
And held him rycht weill cunnand.
For quhill he duelt in-to the land, 760
Thai fand meit till his cumpany;
And servyt him full humely.

BOOK IV.

How the Queen and Other Ladies were taken and imprisoned and her Men slain.

In Rauchryne leve we now the King
In rest, for-owtyn barganying;
And off his fayis a quhile spek we,
That, throw thar mycht and thar powste,
Maid sic a persecucioune, 5
Sa hard, sa strayt, and sa feloune,
On thaim that till hym luffand wer,
Or kyn, or freynd on ony maner;
That it till her is gret pite.
For thai sparyt, off na degre, 10
Thaim that thai trowit his freynd wer,
Nothir off the kyrk, na seculer.
For off Glaskow byschop Robert,
And Marcus off Man thai stythly speryt,
Bath in fetrys and in presoune. 15
And worthy Crystoll off Seytoun
In-to Lochdon betresyt was,[†]
Throw a discipill off Judas.
Maknab, a fals tratour, that ay
Wes off his duelling, nycht and day; 20
Quhom-to he maid gud cumpany.
It wes fer wer than tratoury
[Pg 57] For to betreys sic a persoune,
So nobill, and off sic renoune.
Bot thar-off had he na pite: 25
In hell condampnyt mot he be!
For quhen he him betrasyt had,
The Inglis men rycht with him rad
In hy, in Ingland, to the King,
That gert draw hym, and hede, and hing, 30
For-owtyn pete, or mercy.
It wes gret sorow sekyrly,
That so worthy persoune as he
Suld on sic maner hangyt be.
Thusgate endyt his worthynes. 35
And off Crauford als Schyr Ranald wes.
And Schyr Bruce als the Blar,
Hangyt in-till a berne in Ar.
1306   The Queen goes to Tain
The Queyn, and als dame Marjory,
Hyr dochtyr that syne worthily 40
Wes coupillyt in-to Goddis band
With Walter, Stewart off Scotland;
That wald on na wys langar ly
In the castell off Kyldromy,
To byd a sege, ar ridin raith 45
With knychtis and with squyeris bath,
Throw Ros, rycht to the gyrth off Tayne.
Bot that travaill thai maid in vayne;
For thai off Ros, that wald nocht ber
For thaim na blayme, na yheit danger, 50
Owt off the gyrth thame all has tayne;[†]
And syne has send thaim evirilkane
Rycht in-till Ingland, to the King,
That gert draw all the men, and hing;
And put the ladyis in presoune, 55
Sum in-till castell, sum in dongeoun.
It wes gret pite for till heir
Folk till be troublyt on this maneir.[†]
[Pg 58]

How Prince Edward of England besieged Kyldrumy.

That tyme wes in-to Kyldromy,
With men, that wycht war and hardy,[†] 60
Schyr Neile the Bruce: and I wate weile[†]
That thar the Erle wes off Adheill.
The castell weill victalyt thai,[†]
And mete and fuell gan purvay;[†]
And inforsit the castell sua, 65
That thaim thocht na strenth mycht it ta.[†]
And quhen that it the King wes tald
Off Ingland, how thai schup to hald
That castell, he wes all angry;
And callit his sone till hym in hy, 70
The eldest and apperande air,
A yhoung bachiller, stark and fair,
Schyr Edward callit off Carnavirnane,
That wes the starkest man off ane
That men fynd mycht in ony cuntre; 75
Prynce off Walys that tym wes he.
And he gert als call erlis twa,
Glowsister and Herfurd war thai;
And bad thame wend in-to Scotland
And set a sege, with stalward hand, 80
To the castell of Kildromy.
And all the haldaris halely
He bad distroy, without ransoun,[†]
Or bring thame till him in presoune.

Here the King of England collects his Men in Scotland.

Quhen thai the mandment all had tane, 85
Thai assemblit ane ost on-ane,
And to the castell went in hy,
And it assegyt vigorusly;[†]
[Pg 59] And mony tyme full hard assalit;
Bot for to tak it yheit thame falit. 90
For thai within war rycht worthy,
And thame defendit douchtely;
And ruschit thair fayis oft agayne;
Sum best woundit, and sum wes slayne.[†]
And mony tymes ysche thai wald, 95
And bargane at the barras hald;
And wound thair fayis oft and sla.
Schortly thai thaim contenyt swa,
That thai without disparit war,
And thoucht till Ingland for to far; 100
For thai sa stith saw the casteill,
And wist that it wes warnist weill;
And saw the men defend thame swa,
That thai na hop had thame to ta.[†]
SEP. 1306   Kildrummy is set on Fire
Nane had thai done all that sesoune, 105
Gyff na had beyn thair fals tresoune.
For thar within wes a tratour,
A fals lurdane, ane losengeour,
Osbarn to name, maid the tresoun,
I wate nocht for quhat enchesoun, 110
Na quham-with he maid that covyne:
Bot as thai said, that war thar-in,
He tuk a culter hat glowand,
That het wes in a fyre byrnand,
And went in-to the mekill hall, 115
That than with corne wes fillit all,
And heych up on a mow it did,
Bot it full lang wes thar nocht hyd.
For men sais oft that fyr, na pryd,
But discovering may na man hyd. 120
For the pomp oft the prid furth shawis,
Or ellis the gret bost that it blawis.
[Pg 60] Na mar may na man fyr sa covyr,[†]
Than low or rek sall it discovyr.
So fell it heir, for fyre all cleir 125
Soyn throu the thik burd can appeir,
Ferst as a sterne, syne as a moyne,
And weill bradar thar-efter soyn
The fyre out syne in blasis brast;
And the reik rais rycht wounder fast. 130
The fyre our all the castell spred,
Thar mycht no fors of men it red.
Than thai within drew till the wall,
That at that tym wes battalit all
Within, rycht as it wes with-out. 135
That battalyng, withouten dout,
Saffit thair liffis, for it brak
Blesis that wald thame ourtak.
And quhen thair fayis the myscheiff saw,
Till armys went thai in a thraw; 140
And assalit the castell fast,
Quhar thai durst come for fyris blast,
Bot thai, within that myster had,
Sa gret defens ande worthy maid,
That thai full oft thair fayis ruschit, 145
For thai nakyn peralis refusit.
Thai travaill for to sauf thair lifis:
Bot werd, that to the end ay driffis
The warldis thingis, sua thame travalit,
That thai on twa halfis war assalit. 150
Within with fyr, that thame sa brulyheit;
Without with folk, that thaim sa tulyheit,
That thai brynt magre thairis the yhet,
Bot for the fyre, that wes so het,
Thai durst nocht enter swa in hy. 155
Thar folk thar-for thai can rely,
And went to rest, for it wes nycht;
Till on the morn that day wes lycht.
[Pg 61]

How King Edward died in Burgh-in-Sand.

SEP. 1306   Kildrummy is surrendered
At sic myscheiff, as yhe herd say,
War thai within; the-quhethir thai 160
Evir thame defendit worthely,
And thame contenit sa manfully,
That thai or day, throu mekill pane,
Had muryt up the yhet agane.
Bot on the morn, quhen day wes lycht, 165
And sone wes ryssyn schynand brycht,
Thai without in hale battale,
Com purvait, reddy till assale.
Bot thai within, that sa war stad,
That na wittaill na fuaill had, 170
Quhar-with thai mycht the castell hald,
Tretit ferst, and syne thame yhald
To be in-to the Kyngis will,
That than to Scottis wes full ill;
As soyn efter wes weill knawin, 175
For thai war hangit all and drawin.
Quhen this cunnand thus tretit wes,
And affermit with sekirnes,
Thai tuk thaim of the castell soyn.
And in till schort tyme has swa done, 180
That all a quarter off Snawdoune,
Rycht to the erd, thai tumlit doune.
Syne toward Ingland wend thar way.[†]
Bot quhen the King Edward herd say
How Neyll the Bruce held Kildrummy 185
Agane his sone sa stallwardly;
He gaderit a gret chevelry,
And toward Scotland went in hy.
And as in-to Northumbirland
He wes, with his gret rowt, rydand, 190
A seiknes tuk him in the way;
And put him in sa hard assay,
[Pg 62] That he mycht nouthir gang no ryde.
Him worthit, magre his, abyde
In-till ane hamelat neir thair-by, 195
A litill toune, and unworthy.
With gret payn thiddir thai hym brocht;
He wes sa stad that he na mocht
Hys aynd bot with gret panys draw;
Na spek bot gif it war weill law. 200
The-quethir he bad thai suld him say
Quhat toune wes that, that he in lay.
“Schir,” thai said, “Bowrch-in-the-Sand
“Men callis this toune, in-to this land.”
‘Call thai it Burch? Allace!’ said he, 205
‘My hope is now fordone to me.
‘For I wend nevir to thole the payn
‘Of dede, quhill I, throu mekyll mayn,
‘The Burch of Jerusalem had tane;
‘My lif wend I thair suld be gane. 210
In Burch I wist weill I suld de:
‘Bot I was nouthir wis, no sle,
‘Till othir burchis kepe to ta.
‘Now may I no wis forthir ga.’
Thus plenyheit he off his folye; 215
As he had mater sekirly,
Quhen he wend to wit certante
Of that at nane may certane be.[†]
The-quhethir, men said enclosit he had
Ane spirit, that hym ansuer mad 220
Of thingis that he wald inqueir.
Bot he wes fule, forouten weir,
That gaf treuth to that creature.
For fendis ar of sic nature,
That thai to mankynd has invy; 225
For thai wat weill and wittirly,
That thai that weill ar liffand heir
Sall wyn the segis, quhar-of thai weir
Tumlit doune throu thair mekill pryde.
Quharfor oftymis will betyde. 230
[Pg 63] That quhen fendis distrenyheit ar
For till apper and mak answar,
Throu force of conjuracioune,
That thai sa fals ar and felloune,[†]
That thai mak ay thair ansuering, 235
In-till dowbill undirstanding,
Till dissaf thame that will thame trow.
Ensampill will I set heir now
Of a were, as I herde tell,
Betuix France and the Flemynnis fell. 240
1306   How Ferrand’s Mother was deceived
The Erll Ferrandis moder was
Ane nygramansour; and Sathanas
Scho rasit; and him askit syne,
Quhat suld worth off the fichtyne[†]
Betuix the Franch king and hir sone. 245
And he, as he all tyme wes wone,
In-to dissat maid his ansuer;
And said to hir thir versis heir.

The Lines about the War of Bosbek.

Rex ruet in bello tumulique carebit honore
Ferrandus, comitissa, tuus, mea cara Minerva, 250
Parisius veniet, magna comitante caterva.
This wes the spek he maid, perfay;
And is in Inglis for to say;
“The king sall fall in the fichting,
“And sall fale honor of erding; 255
“And thi Ferrand, Mynerff my deir,
“Sall rycht to Paris went, but weir;
“Followand him gret cumpany
“Of nobill men and of worthy.”
This is the sentens off the saw, 260
That he in Latyne can hir schaw.
He callit hir his deir Mynerfe,
For Mynerfe ay wes wont to serfe
Him fullely at his devis.
And for scho maid the samyn service,[†] 265
[Pg 64] His Minerf hir callit he:
And als, throu his gret sutelte,
He callit hir deir, hir till dissaf,[†]
That scho the titar suld consaf
Of his spek the undirstanding, 270
That plesit mast to hir liking.
His doubill spek hir sua dissavit,
That throu hir feill the ded resavit;
For scho was of his ansuer blith,
And till hir sone scho tald it swith; 275
And bad him till the battale spede,
For he suld victor haf but drede.
And he, that herd hir sermonyng,
Sped hym in hy to the fichting;
Quhar he discumfit wes and schent, 280
And takyn, and to Paris sent.
Bot in the fechting nocht-for-thi
The kyng, throu his chevelry,
Wes laid at erd, and lamyt bath,
Bot his men horsit hym weill rath. 285
And quhen Ferrandis moder herd
How hir sone in the battale ferd,
And that he swa wes discumfit,
Scho rasit the evill spirit als tit:
And askit quhy he gabbit had 290
Of the ansuer that he hir mad.
And he said that he suth said all;
“I said the that the kyng suld fall
“In the battale, and sua did he;
“And falys erding, as men may se. 295
“And I said that thi sone suld ga
“To Paris, and he did he rycht sua;
“Followand him sic a mengyhe,
“That nevir, in his lif-tyme, he
“Had sic mengyhe at his leding. 300
“Now seis thow I maid na gabbing.”[†]
The wif confusit wes, perfay,
And durst no mair on-till him say.
[Pg 65]
JULY 7, 1307   Edward I. dies at Burgh-on-Sand
Thusgat, throu doubill undirstanding, 304
That bargane come to sic ending,
That the ta part dissavit was:
Richt sua-gat fell it in this cas:
At Jerusalem thus trowit he 308
Gravyn in the burch to be;
The-quethir at Burch in-to the Sand
He suelt rycht in his awne land.
And quhen he to the ded wes ner, 312
The folk, that at Kyldrummy wer,
Com with the presoners at thai had tane,
And syne unto the Kyng ar gane.
And for to confort him thai tald 316
How thai the castell to thame yhald;
And how thai to his will war brocht,
Till do of thame quhat-evir he thocht;
And askit quhat thai suld of thaim do. 320
Than lukit he angyrly thame to,[†]
And said gyrnand, “Hangis and drawis.”
It wes gret wounder of sic sawis;
That he, that to the ded wes neir, 324
Suld ansuer apon sic maneir
Forouten menyng of mercy,
How mycht he trastly on hym cry,
That suthfastly demys all thing 328
To haf mercy for his crying
Of him that, throu his felony,
In-to sic poynt had no mercy?
His men his mandment has all done: 332
And he deit thar-eftir sone;
And syne wes brocht till berynes:
His son syne eftir kyng he wes.

How James of Douglas passed into Arran.

To Kyng Robert agane ga we, 336
That in Rauchryne, with his menyhe,
Lay till the wyntir neir wes gane,
And of that ile his met has tane.
[Pg 66] James of Douglas wes angry 340
That thai so lang suld ydill ly;
And to Schir Robert Boyd said he;
“The pouir folk of this countre
“Ar chargit apon gret maner 344
“Of us, that ydill lyis her.
“And I heir say that in Arane,
“Intill a stith castell of stane,
“Ar Inglis men that with strang hand 348
“Haldis the lordschip of the land.
“Ga we thiddir; and weill may fall,
“Anoy thame in sum thing we sall.”
Schir Robert said, “I grant thar-till. 352
‘To ly heir mair war litill skill:
‘Tharfor till Arane pass will we,
‘For I knaw rycht weill that cuntre.
‘And the castell alsua knaw I. 356
‘We sall come thair sa prevely,
‘That thai sall haff na persavyng,
‘Na yheit witting of our cummyng.
‘And we sall neir enbuschit be, 360
‘Quhar we thair out-cummyng may se.
‘Sa sall it on na maner fall,
‘Than scath thame on sum wis we sall.’
1307   Douglas is in Ambush
With that thai buskit thame on-ane: 364
And at the Kyng thair leyf has tane,
And went thaim furth syne on thair way.
In-to Kentyre soyn cumin ar thai:
Syne rowit all-wayis by the land, 368
Till at the nycht wes neir at hand;
Than till Arane thai went thair way,
And saufly thair arivit thai.
And under ane bra thair galay dreuch,[†] 372
And syne it helit weill ineuch;
Thair takill, ayris, and thair stere,
Thai hyde all on the samyn maner:[†]
And held thair way rycht in the nycht, 376
Sa that, or day wes dawyn lycht,
[Pg 67] Thai war enbuschit the castell neir,
Arayit on the best maneir.
And thouch thai wate war and wery, 380
And for lang fastyng all hungry,
Thai thoucht to hald thame all preve,
Till that thai weill thair poynt mycht se.
Schir John the Hastyngis, at that tyde, 384
With knychtis of full mekyll pryde,
And squyaris and gude yhemanry,
That war a weill gret cumpany,
Wes in the castell of Brathwik. 388
And oftsis, quhen it wald him lik,
He went to hunt with his menyhe
And sua the land abandonit he,
That nane durst warn to do his will. 392
He wes in-to the castell still,
The tym that James of Douglas,
As I haf tald, enbuschit was.
Sa hapnyt at that tyme, throu chans, 396
With vittalis and ek purvians,
And with clething, and with armyng,[†]
The day befor, in the evynnyng,
The undirwardane arivit was, 400
With thre batis, weill neir the place
Quhar that the folk I spak off ar[†]
Prevely enbuschit war.
Soyn fra the batis saw thai ga 404
Of Inglis men thretty and ma,
Chargit all with syndry thing,
Sum bare wyne, and sum armyng:
The remanand all chargit were 408
With thingis on syndry manere:
And othir syndry yheid thame by,
As thai war masteris, ydilly.
Thai that enbuschit war thame saw, 412
Ande, for-outen dreid or aw,
[Pg 68] Thair buschement apon thame thai brak,[†]
And slew all that thai mycht ourtak.
The cry rais hydwisly and hee: 416
For thai, that dredand war to de,
Rycht as bestis can rair and cry,
Thai slew thaim for-outen mercy;[†]
Swa that, in-to the samyn sted, 420
Weill neir to fourty thar war ded.
Quhen thai, that in the castell war,
Herd the folk sa cry and rair,
Thai yschit furth to the fechtyng; 424
Bot quhen Douglas saw thar cummyng,
His men till hym he can rely,
And went till meit thame hastely.
And quhen thai of the castell saw 428
Hym cum on thaim forouten aw,
Thai fled forouten mair debate;
And thai thame followit to the yhate,
And slew of thame, as thai in past. 432
Bot thai thair yhet barrit so fast,
At thai mycht do at thame no mair:
Tharfor thai left thame ilkane thair,
And turnit to the see agane, 436
Quhar that the men war forrow slane.
And quhen thai that war in the batis
Saw thair cummyng, and wist how-gatis
Thai had discumfit thair menyhe, 440
In hy thai put thame to the se,
And rowit fast with all thare mayn.
Bot the wynde wes thame agayn,
That it gert sa the land-brist rys, 444
That thai mycht weld the se na wis.
Na thai durst nocht cum to the land,
Bot hald thame thair so lang hobland,
That of thre batis drownyt twa, 448
And quhen Dowglas saw it wes swa,
[Pg 69] He tuk the armyng, and cleything,
Vittalis, wyne, and othir thing
At thai fand thar; and held thair way 452
Rycht glad and joyfull of thair pray.

The Coming of King Robert Bruce to Arran.

1307   Bruce gets News of Douglas
On this wis James of Douglas,
And hys menyhe, throu Goddis grace,
War weill releyit with armying,[†] 456
With vittale als and with clething;
Syne till a strenth thai held thair way,[†]
And thame full manly governit thai;
Till on the tend day at the King, 460
With all that war in his ledyng,
Arivit in-to that cuntre,
With thretty small galais and thre.
The King arivit in Arane; 464
And syne to the land is gane,
And in a toune tuk his herbery:
And sperit syne full specialy,
Giff ony man couth tell tithand 468
Of ony strange men in that land.
“Yhai,” said a woman, “Schir, perfay,
“Of strange men I can yhow say,
“That ar cumin in this cuntre, 472
“And schort quhile sen, throu thare bounte,
“Thai haff discumfit our wardane,
“And mony of his folk has slane.
“In-till a stalward place heir-by 476
“Reparis all thair cumpany.”
‘Dame,’ said the King, ‘wald thou me wis
‘To that place quhar thair repair is,
‘I sall reward the but lesing, 480
‘For thai ar all of my duelling;[†]
‘And I richt blithly wald thame se,
‘And richt sua trow I thai wald me.’
[Pg 70] “Yhis,” said scho, “Schir, I will blithly 484
“Ga with yhow and yhour cumpany,
“Till that I schaw yhow thair repair.”
‘That is eneuch, my sister fair;
‘Now ga furthwardis,’ said the Kyng. 488
Than went thai furth but mair letting,
Followand hir as scho thame led,
Till at the last scho schewit a sted
Till the King, in a woddy glen, 492
And said; “Schir, heir I saw the men,
“That yhe speir eftir, mak luging:
“Heir trow I be thair reparyng.”
The King than blew his horn in hy; 496
And gert the men, that war him by,
Hald thaim still, and all prive;[†]
And syne agane his horn blew he.
James of Dowglas herd him blaw, 500
And he the blast all soyn can knaw;
And said, “Suthly yhon is the Kyng:
“I knaw lang quhill syne his blawyng.”
The thrid tym thar-with-all he blew, 504
And than Schir Robert Boyde it knew,
And said, “Yhon is the King, but dreid;
“Ga we furth till hym bettir speid.”
Than went thai till the King in hy, 508
And him salusit full curtasly;
And blithly welcumit thame the Kyng,
That joyfull wes of thair meting,
And kyssit thame, and sperit syne 512
How thai had farn in thair huntyne.[†]
And thai hym tald all but lesyng:
Syne lovit thai God of thair meting.
Syne with the Kyng to his herbry 516
Thai wend, bath joyfull ande joly.
[Pg 71]

How the King sent his Man to spy in Carrick who were to him Friendly.

1307   Reasons for Vengeance
The King apon the tothir day
Can till his preve menyhe say;
“Yhe knaw all weill, and wele may se, 520
“How we ar out of our cuntre
“Banyst, throu Inglis mennys mycht;
“And that, that ouris suld be of richt,[†]
“Throu thair mastrice thai occupy; 524
“And wald alsua, without mercy,[†]
“Gif thai had mycht, distroy us all.
“Bot God forbeid that it suld fall
“Till us, as thai mak mannasyng! 528
“For than war thair na recoveryng.
“And mankynd biddis us that we
“To procur vengeans besy be.
“For yhe may se we haf thre thingis 532
“That makis us amonestyngis
“For to be worthy, wis, and wicht,
“And till anoy thame at our mycht.
“Ane is our liffis savite,[†] 536
“That suld on na wis savit be,
“Gif thai had us at thair liking.
“The tothir that makis us egging,
“Is that thai our possessioune 540
“Haldis with strinth agane resoune.
“The thrid is the joy that we abyde,
“Gif that it hapyn, as weill may tyde,
“That we haf victor and mastry 544
“Till ourcum thair felony.
“Tharfor we suld our hertis rais,
“Sua that na myscheif us abais;
“And schape all-wayis to that ending 548
“That beris mensk and ek lovyng.
“And tharfor, lordis, gif yhe se
“Emang yhow that it spedfull be,
“I will send a man to Carrik, 552
“To spy and speir how the kynrik,
[Pg 72] “Is led, or quha is frend or fa.
“And gif he seis we land may ta,
“On Turnberys snuke he may[†] 556
“Mak a fyre, on a certane day,
“And mak taknyng till us, that we
“May thair ariffe in-to saufte.
“And gif he seis we may nocht swa; 560
“Luk on na wis the fyre he ma.
“Swa may we thar throw haff wittering
“Of our passage, or our duelling.”
To this spek all assentit ar. 564
And than the King, withouten mair,
Callit till him ane that wes preve,
And born of Carrik his cuntre:
And chargit him, in les and mare, 568
As yhe herd me devis it are;
And set him certane day to may
The fyr, gif he saw it wes sway
That thai had possibilite 572
To manteme were in that cuntre.
And he, that wes richt weill in will
His lordis yharnyng to fulfill,
As he that worthy wes and leill, 576
And couth secretis rycht weill conceil,
Said, he wes boune in-till all thing
For till fullfill his commaunding:
And said he suld do sa wisly, 580
That na repreif suld eftir ly,
Syne at the King his leif has tane;
And furth apon his way is gane.
Now gais the messinger his way, 584
That hat Cutbert, as I herd say.
In Carrik soyn arivit he,
And passit throu all the cuntre.
Bot he fand few thair-in, perfay, 588
That gud wald of his mastir say.
For feill of thame durst nocht for dreid,
And othir-sum rycht in-to ded
[Pg 73] War fais to the nobill Kyng, 592
That rewit syne thair barganyng.
Bath hye and law, the land wes then
All occupyit with Inglis men;
That dyspitit, atour all thing, 596
Robert the Bruce the douchty Kyng.
Carrik wes gevyn than halely
To Sir Henry the lord Persy;
That in Turnberyis castell then 600
Wes, with weill neir thre hundreth men;
And dantit suagat all the land,
That all wes till hym obeysand.
This Cutbert saw thair felony, 604
And saw the folk sa halely
Be worthyn Inglis, rich and pure,
That he to nane durst hym discure.
Bot thoucht to leif the fyre unmaid, 608
Syne till his mastir to wend but baid,
And all thair covyne till hym tell,
That wes sa angry and sa fell.

Of the Fire the King saw Burning.

1307   Bruce sees the Fire
The Kyng, that in-to Arane lay, 612
Quhen that cumin wes the day,
That he set till his messyngere,
As I devisit yhow lang ere,
Eftir the fyre he lukit fast;[†] 616
And als soyn as the moyn wes past,
Hym thoucht weill that he saw a fyre,
By Turnbery byrnand weill schyre;
And till his menyhe can it schaw: 620
Ilk man thoucht weill that he it saw.
Than with blith hert the folk can cry;
“Gud king, speid yhow deliverly;
“Swa that we soyn in the evynnyng 624
“Arif, withouten persavyng.”
‘I grant,’ said he, ‘now mak yhow yhair.
‘God furthir us in-till our fair!’
[Pg 74]
Than in schort tym men mycht thaim se 628
Schute all thair galais to the se,
Ande beir to se bath ayr and steir,
And othir thyngis that mystir weir.

Here the King’s Hostess foretells what is to be, and gives him her Two Sons.

And as the King apon the land 632
Wes gangand up and doun, bydand
Till that his menyhe reddy war,
His hostes come rycht till hym thar.
And quhen that scho him halsit had, 636
A preve spek till hym scho mad,
And said, “Ta gude tent to my saw:
“For or yhe pas I sall yhow schaw
“Of yhour fortoun a gret party. 640
“And atour all thing specialy
“A wittering heir I sall yhow may,
“Quhat end that your purpos sall ta.
“For in this warld is nane trewly[†] 644
“Wat thingis to cum sa weill as I.
“Yhe pas now furth on yhour viage,
“To venge the harme and the outrage
“That Inglis men has to yhow done; 648
“Bot yhe wat nocht quhat-kyn forton
“Yhe mon dre in yhour warraying.
“Bot wit yhe weill, without lesing,
“That fra yhe now haf takyn land, 652
“Thair sal no micht, no strinth of hand,
“Ger yhow furth pas of this cuntre
“Quhill all to yhow abandonyt be.
“Within schort tym yhe sall be king, 656
“And haf the land at yhour liking,
“And ourcum yhour fayis all;
“Bot feill anoyis thoill yhe sall,
“Or that yhour purpos ende haf tane; 660
“Bot yhe sall thame ourdriff ilkane.
“And, that yhe trow this sekirly,
“My twa sonnys with yhow sall I
[Pg 75] “Send to tak with yhow yhour travell; 664
“For I wat weill thai sall nocht fale
“Till be rewardit weill at rycht,
“Quhen yhe ar heyt on to yhour hicht.”
1307   Of Astrology
The Kyng, that herd all hir carpyng, 668
Than thankit hir in mekill thing;
For scho confortit hym sumdeill:
The-quhethir he trowit nocht full weill
Hir spek, for he had gret ferly 672
How scho suld wit it sekirly:
As it wes wounderfull, perfay,
How ony man throu steris may
Knaw the thingis that ar to cum 676
Determinabilly, all or sum,
Bot gif that he enspirit war
Of him, that all thing evirmar
Seis in his presciens, 680
*As it war ay in his presens:[†]
As David wes, and Jeromy,
Samuell, Joell, and Ysay,
That throu his haly grace can tell
Feill thingis that eftirward befell. 684
Bot thai prophetis so thyn ar sawin,
That nane in erd now is knawin.[†]
Bot feill folk ar sa curious,
And to wit thingis sa covatous, 688
That thai, throu thair gret clergy,
Or ellis throu thair devilry,
On thir twyn maners makis fanding
Of thingis to cum to haf knawing. 692
Ane of thame is astrology,
Quhar-throu clerkis, that ar witty,
May knaw conjunctione of planetis,
And quhethir that thair cours thaim settis 696
[Pg 76] In soft segis, or in angry;
And of the hevyn all halely
How that the disposicioune
Suld apon thingis wirk heir doune, 700
On regiones, or on climatis,
That wirkis nocht ay-quhar a-gatis,
Bot sum ar les, sum othir mair,
Eftir as thair bemys strekit air, 704
Owthir all evin, or on wry.
Bot me think it war gret mastry
Till ony astrolog to say
This sall fall heir, and on this day. 708
For thouch a man his liff haly
Studeit swa in astrology,
That on the sternis his hed he brak,
Wis men sais he suld nocht mak, 712
His liftyme, certane domys thre;
And yheit suld he ay dout quhill he
Saw how that it com till ending:
Than is thar na certane demyng. 716
Or gif thai men that will study
In the craft of astrology,
Knaw all mennis nacioune,
And als the constillacioune 720
That kyndly maneris giffis thaim til,
For till inclyne to gud or ill;
How that thai throu craft of clergy,
Or throu slicht of astrology, 724
Couth tell quhatkyn perell apperis
To thame that haldis kyndly maneris;
I trow that thai suld faill to say
The thingis that thame happyn may. 728
For quhethir sa men inclynit be
Till vertu or to mavite,
He may richt weill refrenyhe his will,
Outhir throu nurtour or throu skill, 732
And to the contrar turne him all.
And men has mony tymis seyn fall,
That men, kyndly to ivill giffin,
Throu thair gret wit away has drivin 736
[Pg 77] Thair evill, and worthyn of gret renoune,
Magre the constillacioune.
As Arestotill, gif, as men redis,
He had followit his kyndly dedis, 740
He had beyn fals and covatous;
Bot his wit maid him virtuous.
And syn men may on this kyn wis
Wirk agane that cours, that is 744
Principal caus of thair demyng,
Me think thair dome na certane thing.
1307   Of Necromancy
Nigramansy ane othir is,
That kennys men on syndry wis, 748
Throw stalward conjuraciones,
And throw exorcizaciones,
To ger spiritis to thame apeir,
And gif ansuer on seir maneir. 752
As quhilom did the Phitones,[†]
That, quhen Saull abasit wes
Of the Philistianis mycht,
Rasit, throu hyr mekill slycht, 756
Samuelis sperit als tit,
Or in his sted the evill spirit,
That gaf rycht graith ansueir hir to.
Bot of hir-self rycht nocht wist scho. 760
And man is in-to dreding ay
Of thingis that he has herd say,
And namly of thingis to cum, quhill he
Have of the end the certante.[†] 764
And sen thai ar in sic wenyng,
Fourouten certane witting,
Me think, quha sayis he knawis thingis
To cum, he makis gret gabbingis. 768
Bot quhethir scho that tald the King
How his purpos suld tak ending,
Wenit, or wist it witterly;
It fell eftir all halely 772
As scho said: for syne king wes he,
And of full mekill renomme.
[Pg 78]

BOOK V.

Of the King’s Handseling in Carrick at his First Arrival.

This wes in vere, quhen wyntir tyde,
With his blastis hydwis to byde,
Wes ourdriffin: and byrdis smale,
As thristill and the nychtingale, 4
Begouth rycht meraly to syng,
And for to mak in thair synging
Syndry notis, and soundis sere,
And melody plesande to here. 8
And the treis begouth to ma
Burgeonys, and brycht blumys alsua,
To wyn the heling of thar hevede.
That wikkit wyntir had thame revede; 12
And all grevis begouth to spryng.[†]
In-to that tyme the nobill King,
With his flot and a few menyhe,
Thre hundir I trow thai mycht weill be, 16
Is to the se, furth of Arane[†]
A litill forrow the evyn gane.
1307   Who made the Fire?
Thai rowit fast with all thar mycht,
Till that apon thame fell the nycht, 20
That it wox myrk on gret maner,
Swa that thai wist nocht quhar thai wer.
For thai na nedill had na stane;
Bot rowyt alwayis in-till ane, 24
Stemmand alwayis apon the fyre,[†]
That thai saw byrnand licht and schire.
It wes bot aventur that thame led:[†]
And thai in schort tym swa thame sped, 28
That at the fyre arivit thai,
And went to land but mair delay.
[Pg 79] And Cuthbert, that has seyn the fyre,
Wes full of angir and of ire, 32
For he durst nocht do it away;
And he wes alsua doutand ay
That his lord suld pas the se.
Tharfor thair cummyng watit he,36
And met thame at thair ariving.
He wes weill soyne brocht to the King,
That sperit at hym how he had done.
And he with sair hert tald him sone, 40
How that he fand nane weill willand,
Bot all war fais that evir he fand:
And at the lord the Persy,
With neir thre hundreth in cumpany, 44
Was in the castell thar besyde,
Fulfillit of dispit and pride.
Bot mair than twa part of his rowt
War herbreit in the toune tharout; 48
“And dispisis yhow mair, Schir King,
“Than men may dispis ony thing.”
Than said the Kyng, in full gret ire,
‘Tratour, quhy maid thou on the fyre?’ 52
“A! Schir,” said he, “sa God me se!
“That fyre wes nevir maid on for me.
“Na, or this nycht, I wist it nocht;
“Bot fra I wist it, weill I thocht 56
“That yhe, and haly yhour menyhe,
“In hy suld put yhow to the se.
“Forthi I com to meit yhow her,
“To tell peralis that may aper.” 60
The King wes of his spek angry,
And askit his preve men in hy,
Quhat at thame thocht wes best to do.
Schir Edward ferst answerd thar-to, 64
His brothir that wes so hardy,[†]
And said: “I say yhow sekirly
“Thar sall na peralis that may be,
“Dryve me eftsonis to the se. 68
[Pg 80] “Myne aventure heir tak will I,
“Quhethir it be eisfull or angry.”
‘Brothir,’ he said, ‘sen thou will sa,
‘It is gud that we sammyn ta 72
‘Dises or ese, or pyne or play,
‘Eftir as God will us purvay.
‘And sen men sais that the Persy
‘Myne heritage will occupy, 76
‘And his menyhe sa neir us lyis,
‘That us dispytis mony wys;
‘Ga we venge sum of the dispit,
‘And that we may haf don als-tit; 80
‘For thai ly trastly, but dreding
‘Of us, or of our heir-cummyng.
‘And thouch we slepand slew thaim all,
‘Repreif us tharof na man sall. 84
‘For weriour na fors suld ma,
‘Quhethir he mycht ourcum his fa
‘Throu strynth, or throu sutelte;
‘Bot at gud faith ay haldin be.’ 88

Here the King secretly enters the Town and slays All.

Quhen this wes said thai went thare way;
And till the toun soyn cumin ar thai,
Sa prevely, bot noys making,
That nane persavit thair cummyng. 92
Thai scalyt throu the toune in hy,
And brak up dures sturdily,
And slew all that thai mycht ourtak:
And thai that na defens mycht mak, 96
Full pitwisly couth rair and cry;
And thai slew thame dispitwisly,
As thai that war in-to gud will
To venge the angir and the ill, 100
That thai and thairis had to thaim wrocht;
Thai with so felloun will thaim socht,
That thai slew thame evirilkane,
Outtak Makdowall hym allane, 104
That eschapit throu gret slicht,
And throu the myrknes of the nycht.
[Pg 81]
1307   The Carrick Men are Overawed
In the castell the lorde Persy
Herd weill the noyis and the cry: 108
Sa did the men, that with-in wer,[†]
And full effraytly gat thair ger.
But off thaim wes nane sa hardy,
That evir ischyt fourth to the cry. 112
In sic afray thai baid that nycht,
Till on the morn that day wes licht:
And than cesit in-to party
The noyis, slauchtir, and the cry. 116
The King gert be departit then
All haill the reif amang his men;
And duelt all still thair dais thre.
Sic hansell to the folk gaf he, 120
Richt in the first begynnyng,
Newly at his arivyng.

A Certain Lady, a Relative of the King, comes to him with Forty Men.

Qwhen at the King and his folk ware
Arivit, as I tald yhow are, 124
A quhill in Carrik lendit he,
To se quha frend or fa wald be.
Bot he fand litill tendirnes:
And nocht-for-thi the pepill wes 128
Inclynit to hym in-to party;
Bot Inglis men sa angirly
Led thame with danger and wyth aw,
That thai na frendschip durst him schaw. 132
Bot a lady of that cuntre,
That wes till hym in neir degre
Of cosynage, wes wounder blith
Of his arivale, and als swith 136
Sped hir till hym, in full gret hy,
With fourty men in cumpany,[†]
[Pg 82] And betacht thame all to the King,
To help hym in his warrayng. 140
And he resavit thame in daynte,
And hir full gretly thankit he;
And sperit tithandis of the Queyn,
And of his frendis all bedeyn, 144
That he had left in that cuntre,
Quhen that he put hym to the se.
And scho hym tald, sychand full sair,
How that his brothir takyn wair 148
In the castell of Kildrummy,
And syne destroyit sa vilonysly;
And of the Erll Adell alsua:
And how the Queyn and othir ma 152
That till his party war heldand,
War tane and led in-to Ingland,
And put in-to feloun presoune.
And how that Cristole of Setoun 156
Wes slane, gretand scho tald the King,
That soroufull wes of that tithing;
And saide, quhen he had thoucht a thraw,
Thir wordis that I sall yhow schaw:— 160
“Allas,” he said, “for luf of me,
“And for thair mekill laute,[†]
“Thai nobill men and thai worthy,
“Ar distroyit sa vilonisly! 164
“Bot and I lif in lege pouste,
“Thair ded sall rycht weill vengit be.
“The King the-quhethir of Ingland
“Thoucht that the kinrik of Scotland 168
“Wes to litill to hym and me;
“Tharfor I will it all myn be.
“Bot of gud Cristal of Setoune,
“That wes of sa nobill renoune, 172
“That he suld de war gret pite,
Bot quhar worschip mycht prufit be.”
[Pg 83]

Here Henry Percy flies to England.

1307   The Englishmen are Afraid
The Kyng thus sychand maid his mayn,
And the lady hir leif has tane, 176
And went hyr hame to her wonnyng.
And feill sis confort scho the Kyng
Bath with silver and with met,
As scho in-to the land mycht get. 180
And he oft ryot to the land,[†]
And maid all his that evir he fand;
And syne he drew him to the hicht,
To stynt bettir his fayis mycht. 184
In all that tym wes the Persy,
With a full sympill cumpany,
In Turnberyis castell lyand;
For the King Robert sua dredand, 188
That he durst nocht ysche out to fair,
Fra thine to the castell of Air,
That than wes full of Inglismen;
Bot lay lurkand as in a den, 192
To the men of Northumberland
Suld cum armyt, and with strang hand,
Till convoy him till his cuntre.
For his saynd till thame send he: 196
And thai in hy assemblyt then,
Passand, I trow, a thousand men,
And askit avisment thame emang.
Quhethir at thai suld duell or gang. 200
Bot thai war schonand wounder sair
So fer in Scotland for to fair.
For a knycht, Schir Gawter the Lile,
Said it wes all to gret perell[†] 204
So neir the schavalduris to ga.
His spek discomfort thame all sua,
That thai had left all that viage,
Na war a knycht of gret corage, 208
That Schir Roger of Sanct Johne hicht,
[Pg 84] That thame confort with all his mycht;
And sic wordis can till thame say,
That thai all sammyn held thair way 212
To Turnbery; quhar the Persy
Lap on, and went with thaim in hy
In-to Ingland his castell till,
Without distrowbilling or ill. 216
Now in Ingland is the Persy,
Quhar he, I trow, a quhill sall ly,
Or that he schap hym for to fair
To warray Carrik ony mar.[†] 220
For he wist that he had no richt;
And als he dred the Kyngis mycht,
That in Carrik wes travalland,
Quhar the mast strynth wes of the land. 224
Quhar James of Douglas, on a day,
Com to the Kyng, and can him say;
“Schir, with yhour leiff, I wald ga se
“How that thai do in my cuntre; 228
“And how my men demanit are.
“For it anoyis me wounder sare,
“That the Clyffurd sa pesabilly
“Brukis and haldis the senyhory, 232
“That suld be myn with alkyn rycht.
“Bot quhill I liff, and may haf mycht
“To lede a yheman or a swane,
“He sall nocht bruk it but bargane.” 236
The Kyng said; ‘Certis I can nocht se
‘How that thou yheit may sekir be
‘In-to that cuntre for to fair.
‘Quhar Inglis men sa mychty are; 240
‘And thou wat nocht quha is thi frend.’
He said, “Schir, neidwais I will wend,
“And tak aventur that God will giff,
“Quhethir sa it be till de or liff.” 244
The King said, ‘Sen that it is sua,
‘That thou sic yharnyng has to ga,
[Pg 85] ‘Thou sall pas furth with my blessing.
‘And gif the hapnys ony thing 248
‘That anoyus or scathfull be,
‘I pray the, speid the soyne to me;
‘Tak we sammyn quhat-evir may fall.’
“I grant,” he said; and thar-with-all 252
He lowtit, and his leyf has tane,
And is towart his cuntre gane.

The Passing of James of Douglas to Douglas-dale, his Heritage.

1307   Douglas sends for Dickson
Now takis James his viage
Toward Douglas, his heritage, 256
With twa yhomen, forouten ma;
That wes a sympill stuff to ta,
A land or castell for to wyn!
The-quhethir he yharnyt to begyn 260
To bryng his purpos till ending;
For gude help is in begynnyng.
For gude begynnyng and hardy,
And it be followit wittely, 264
May ger oftsis unlikly thing
Cum to full conabill endyng.
Sa did it her: bot he wes wis,
And saw he mycht, on nakyn wis, 268
Warray his fais with evyn mycht;
Tharfor he thoucht to wirk with slight.
In Douglasdaill, his awn cuntre,
Apon ane evynnyng enterit he, 272
And with a man wonnit thar-by,
That wes of frendis richt mychty,
And rich of mubill and catell,
And had been till his fader lele; 276
And till him-self, in his yhoutheid,
He had done mony thankfull deid.
Thom Dicson wes his name, perfay.
Till him he send and can him pray, 280
That he wald cum all anerly
For to spek with hym prevely.
[Pg 86] And he but danger till him gais:
Bot fra he tald him quhat he wes, 284
He gret for joy and for pite,
And hym richt till his hous had he;
Quhar in a chalmer prevaly
He held him and his cumpany, 288
That nane of him had persaving.
Of mete and drink and othir thing,
That mycht thaim eis, thai had plente.
Swa wroucht he than throu sutelte, 292
That all the leill men of the land,
That with his fader wes duelland,
This gud man gert cum, ane and ane,
And mak him manrent evirilkane; 296
And he him-self first homage maid.
Douglas in hert gret blithnes had,[†]
That the gud men of his cuntre
Wald swa-gat bundin till him be. 300
He sperit the covyn of the land,
And quha the castell had in hand.
And thai him tald all halely;
And syne emang thame prevaly 304
Thai ordanit, that he still suld be
In hyddillis, and in prevate,
Till Palme Sonday that wes neir hand,
The thrid day eftir followand. 308
For than the folk of the cuntre
Assemblit at the kirk wald be;
And thai that in the castell were,
Wald als be thar, thar palmys to bere, 312
As folk that had na dreid of ill;
For thai thoucht all wes at thar will.
Than suld he cum with his twa men.
Bot, for that men suld nocht him ken, 316
He suld a mantill haf, ald and bare,
And a flaill, as he a taskar war.
Undir the mantill nocht-for-thi
He suld be armyt prevaly; 320
[Pg 87] And quhen the men of his cuntre,
That suld all bown befor him be,
His ensenyhe mycht heir him cry,
Than suld thai, full enforsaly, 324
Richt in myddis the kirk assale
The Inglis men with hard batale,
Swa that nane mycht eschap thaim fra;
For thar-throu trowit thai to ta 328
The castell, that besyde wes neir.
And quhen this, that I tell yhow her,
Wes devisit and undirtane,
Ilkane till his hous is gane; 332
And held the spek in prevate,
Till the day of thair assemble.

Here James of Douglas slays them in the Kirk.

1307   Douglas! Douglas!
The folk apon the Sononday
Held to Sanct Brydis kirk thair way; 336
And thai that in the castell were
Ischit out, bath les and mare,
And went thair palmys for to bere;
Outane a cuke and a portere. 340
James of Douglas of thare cummyng
And quhat thai war, had wittering;
And sped him to the kirk in hy.
Bot, or he com, to hastely 344
Ane of his cryit, “Douglas! Douglas!”
Thomas Dicsone, that nerest was
Till thame that war of the castel,
That war all innouth the chancell, 348
And quhen he “Douglas!” sa herd cry,
Drew out his suerd, and fellely
Ruschit emang thame to and fra.
And ane othir forouten ma; 352
Bot thai in hy war left lyand.
With that Douglas com rycht at hand,[†]
That than enforsit on thame the cry.[†]
Bot thair chancer full sturdely 356
[Pg 88] Thai held, and thaim defendit weill,
Till of thair men war slayne sumdeill.
Bot the Douglas so weill him bare,
That all the men that with hym ware, 360
Had confort of his weill-doing;
And he him sparit na-kyn thing,
Bot prufit swa his foris in ficht,
That throu his worschip, and his mycht, 364
His men sa kenly helpit he than,
That thai the chanser on thame wan.
Than dang thai on thame sa hardely,
That in schort tym men mycht se ly 368
The twapart ded, or than deand.
The laiff war sesit soyn in hand.
Swa that of threttie wes levit nane,[†]
Na thai war slane ilkane, or tane. 372

Here makes he “the Douglas Larder.”

1307   Douglas burns his Castle
James of Douglas, quhen this wes done,
The presoners has tane alsone;
And with thame of his cumpany
Towart the castell went in hy, 376
Or ony noys or cry suld ris.
And for he wald thame soyn suppris,
That levit in the castell were,
That war but twa forouten mare, 380
Fiffe men or sex befor send he,
That fand all oppyn the entre;
And enterit, and the portar tuk
Richt at the yhat, and syne the cuk. 384
With that Douglas come to the yhet,
And enterit in forout debat,
And fand the met all reddy grathit,
With burdis set, and clathis layit.[†] 388
The yhettis than he gert thame spare,
And sat and ete all at lasare.
[Pg 89] Syne all the gudis tursit thai,
Thai thoucht that thai mycht haf away; 392
And namly wapnys and armyng,
Silver, tresour, and ek clethyng.
Vittalis, that mycht nocht tursit be,
On this maner distroit he. 396
All the vittale outakin salt,
As quhet, flour, meill and malt,
In the wyne-sellar gert he bryng;
And sammyn on the flure all flyng. 400
And the presoners that he had tane
Richt tharin gert he hed ilkane;
Syne of the tunnys the hedis out-strak:
A foull melle thair can he mak. 404
For meill, malt, blude, and wyne,
Ran all to-gidder in a mellyne
That wes unsemly for to se;
Tharfor the men of that cuntre 408
For sic thingis thar mellit were,
Callit it “the Douglas Lardenere.”
Syne tuk he salt, as I herd tell,
And ded hors, and fordid the well; 412
And syne brynt all, outakyn stane;
And is furth with his menyhe gane
Till his reset; for him thocht weill,
Gif he had haldin the casteill, 416
It suld have beyn assegit rath,
And that him thoucht to mekill vath;
For he na hop had of reskewyng.
And it is to perelous thing 420
In castell till assegit be,
Quhar that ane wantis of thir thre,
Vittale, or men with thair armyng,
Or than gud hop of reskewing. 424
And for he dred thir thingis suld fale,
He chesit forthward to travale,
Quhar he mycht at his larges be,
And sua driff furth his destane. 428
[Pg 90]
On this wis wes the castell tane,
And slane that war tharin ilkane.
The Douglas syne all his menyhe
Gert in seir placis departit be; 432
For men suld les wit quhar thai war,
That yheid departit here and thar.
Thame that war woundit gert he ly
In-till hyddillis all prevely; 436
And gert gud lechis to thame bryng,
Quhill that thai war in-to helyng.
And him-self, with a few menyhe,
Quhile ane, quhill twa, and quhile thre, 440
And umquhile all hym allane,
In hyddillis throu the land is gane.
Sa dred he Inglis mennys mycht,
That he durst nocht weill cum in sicht; 444
For thai that tyme war all weldand
As mast lordis our all the land.

Here Clifford builds the Castle again.

Bot tythandis, that scalis sone,[†]
Of the deid Douglas had done,[†] 448
Com to the Cliffurdis ere in hy,
That for his tynsale wes sary,
And menit his men that he had slayne,
And syne has till his purpos tane 452
To byg the castell up agane,
Tharfor, as man of mekill mane,
He assemblit gret cumpany,
And till Douglas he went in hy. 456
And biggit up the castell swith,
And made it rycht stalward and stith;
And put thar-in vittale and men.
Ane of the Thrill-wallis then 460
He left behynd hym capitane,
And syne till Ingland went agane.
[Pg 91]

How one Man and his Two Sons undertook to slay King Robert.

1307   Bruce in Carrick
In-to Carrik yheit wes the King,
With a full sympill gaderyng; 464
He passit nocht twa hundreth men.
Bot Schir Edward his brothir then
Wes in Galloway, weill neir tharby;
With hym ane othir cumpany. 468
Thai held the strynthis of the land;
For thai durst nocht yheit tak on hand
Till our-ride the land planly.
For of Vallanch Schir Amery 472
Wes in-till Edinburgh lyand,
That wes wardane of the land
Under-neth the Inglis kyng.
And quhen he herd of the cummyng 476
Of King Robert and his menyhe
In-to Carrik; and how that he
Had slane of the Persyis men;
His consell he assemblit then, 480
And, with assent of his consale,
He send till Are, hym till assale,
Schir Ingerame Bell, that wes hardy,[†]
And with hym a gret cumpany. 484

Here the English Knight fees a Traitor.

And quhen Ingerame cumin wes thair,
Him thoucht nocht speidfull for to fair
Till assale hym in-to the hicht.
Tharfor he thoucht to wirk with slycht, 488
And lay still in the castell than,
Till he gat spering at a man
Of Carrik, that wes sle and wicht,
And als a man of mekill mycht, 492
As of the men of that cuntre
And to King Robert wes preve.
As he that wes his sib-man neir,
And quhen he wald, for-out danger, 496
[Pg 92] Micht to the Kyngis presens ga.
The-quhethir he and his sonnis twa
War wonand still in the cuntre,
For thai wald nocht persavit be, 500
That thai war speciall to the King;
Thai maid him mony tyme warnyng,
Quhen that thai his tynsale mycht se;
For-thi in thame affyit he. 504
His name I can nocht tell perfay;
Bot I herd syndir men oft say
*Forsuth that his ane e wes out;[†]
*Bot he sa sturdy wes and stout,
That he wes the mast dowtit man[†]
That in-to Carrik liffit than. 508
And quhen Schir Ingerame gat wittering
Forsuth that this wes no gabbing,
Eftir him in hy he sent,
And he com at his commandment. 512
Schir Ingerame, that wes sle and wis,
Tretit with hym than on sic wis,
That he maid sekir undirtaking
In tresone for to slay the King; 516
And he suld have for his service,
Gif he fulfillit thair devis,
Weill fourte pundis worth of land
Till hym and his ayris lestand. 520

Here King Robert is in Great Peril.

1307   The King is Warned
The tresone thus is undirtane;
And he hame till his hous is gane,
And watit opportunite
For to fulfill his mavite. 524
In gret perell than wes the King,
That of his tresone wist na thing.
For he, that he trowit mast of ane,
His dede falsly had undirtane: 528
And nane may treson do titar than he
[Pg 93] That man in trowis leawte.
The King in hym trastit; for-thi
He had fulfillit his felony, 532
Na war the King, throu Goddis grace,
Gat hale wittering of his purchas,
And how, and for how mekill land,
He tuk his slauchtir upon hand. 536
I wat nocht quha the warnyng maid,
Bot in all tym he sic hap had,
That quhen men schupe him to betrais,
He gat witting tharof alwayis: 540
And mony tyme, as I herd say,
Throu women, that he wald with play,
That wald tell all that thai mycht here.
And sua mycht happyn that it fell here. 544
Bot how that evir it fell, perde,
I trow he sall the warrar be.
Nocht-for-thi, this tratour ay
Had in his thocht, bath nycht and day, 548
How he mycht best bring till ending
His tresonabill undirtaking;
Till he umbethocht him at the last,
In till his hert can umbecast, 552
That the King had in custum ay
For to ris airly evirilk day,
And pas weill fer fra his menyhe,
Quhen he wald pas to the preve, 556
And seik a covert him alane,
Or at the mast haf with him ane.
Thair thoucht he, with his sonnys twa,
For to suppris the King, and slay, 560
And syne wend to the wod away:
Bot yheit of purpos falyheit thai.
And nocht-for-thi thai com all thre
In a covert that wes preve, 564
Quhar the King wes oft wount to ga,
His preve nedis for to ma.
Thair hid thai thame till his cummyng.
And the King in the mornyng, 568
[Pg 94] Rais quhen that his liking wes,
And richt towart that covert gais,
Quhar liand war the traitouris thre,
For till do thar his prevate. 572
To treson tuk he than no heid:
But he wes wount, quhar-evir he yheid,
His suerd about his hals to bere;
that avalit hym gretly ther.[†] 576
For had nocht God, all thing weldand,[†]
Set help in-till his awne hand,
He had ben ded withouten dreid.
A chalmir page thar with him yheid. 580
And sua, forouten followis ma,
Towart the covert can he ga.

Here the Noble King slays three Traitors, Himself, Alone.

1307   The King Fights with Three
Now, bot God help the nobill King,
He is neir hand till his ending! 584
For that covert that he yheid till,
Wes on the tothir syde a hill,[†]
That nane of his men mycht it se.
Thiddirward went his page and he; 588
And quhen he cummin wes in the schaw,
He saw thai thre cum all on raw
Aganis him full sturdely.
Than till his boy he said in hy, 592
“Yhone men will slay us and thai may!
“Quhat wappyn has thou?” ‘A Schir! perfay,
‘I haf a bow bot and a vyre.’
“Gif me thame smertly baith.” ‘A! Syre, 596
‘How-gat will yhe than that I do?’
“Stand on fer and behald us to.
“Gif thow seis me abovin be,
“Thou sall haf wapnys in gret plente: 600
“Ande gif I de, withdraw the soyne.”
With thai wordis, forouten hoyn,
[Pg 95] He tit the bow out of his hand,
For the tratouris wes neir cumand. 604
The fader had a suerd but mair,
The tothir bath suerd and hand-ax bair,
The thrid a suerd had and a speir.
The King persavit, be thair effeir, 608
That all wes suth men till hym tald.
“Tratour,” he said, “thou has me sald.
“Cum na forthir, bot hald the thair,
“I will thou cum na forthir mair.” 612
‘A! Schir, umbethinkis yhow,’ said he,
‘How neir to yhow that I suld be;
‘Quha suld cum neir to yhow bot I?’
The King said, “I will sekirly 616
“That thou at this tym cum nocht ner,
“Thou may say quhat thou will on fer.”
Bot he, with fals wordis flechand,
Wes with his sonnys ay cumand. 620
Quhen the King saw he wald nocht let,
Bot ay cum on fenyheand falset,
He tasit the vyre and leit it fle,
And hit the fader in the e, 624
Till it rycht in the harnys ran;
And he backward fell doun rycht than.
The brothir, that the hand-ax bar,
That saw his fader lyand thar, 628
A gyrd rycht to the King can mak,
And with the ax he him ourstrak.
Bot he, that had his suerd on hicht,
Raucht him sic rout in randoun richt. 632
That he the hed to harnis clafe,
And him doun ded to the erd drafe.
The tothir brothir, that bare the spere,
Saw his brothir sa fallin ther, 636
With his speir, as angry man,
In a rais till the King he ran.
Bot the King, that him dred sum-thing,
Watit the sper in the cummyng, 640
And with a wysk the hed of-strak;
And or the tothir had toym to tak
[Pg 96] His suerde, the King sic swak him gaiff,
That he the hede till harnys claif: 644
He ruschit doune of blude all rede.
And quhen the King saw thai war ded,
All thre lyand, he wyppit his brand.
With that his boy com fast rynand, 648
And said; “Our Lord mot lovit be,
“That grantit yhow mycht and powste
“To fell the felony and pride
“Of thir thre in sa litill tyde.” 652
The King said; ‘Sa our Lord me se!
‘Thai had beyn worthy men all thre,
‘Had thai nocht beyn full of tresoune;
‘Bot that maid thair confusione.’ 656

BOOK VI.

The King is went till his luging.
And of his dede soyn com tithing
To Schir Ingerame the Umphrevell,
That thoucht his sutelte and gyle 4
Had all falyheit in-to that place.
Tharfor anoyit swa he wes,
That he agane to Lowdiane[†]
To Schir Amer his gate has tane; 8
And till him tald all haill the cas,
That tharof all forwounderit was,
How ony man sa suddandly
Micht do so gret a chevelry, 12
As did the King, that, him alane,
Vengeans of thre tratouris has tane.[†]
He said, “Certis I may weill se
“That it is all gret certante 16
“That ure helpis ay hardy men;
“As be this deid yhe may weill ken.[†]
[Pg 97] “War he nocht outrageous hardy
“He had nocht swa unabasitly 20
“Sa smertly seyn his avantage.
“I dreid that his gret vassalage,
“And his travell will bring til end
“That at men quhile full litill wend.”[†] 24

Here Galloway Men seek him.

1307   Bruce has only Sixty Men
Sik speking maid he of the King,
That ay, forouten sudjornyng,
Travalit in Carrik heir and thair.
His men fra him sua scalit war, 28
Till purches thame necessite
And als the cuntre for to se,
That thai left nocht with him sexty.[†]
And quhen the Gallowais wist suthly 32
That he wes with a few menyhe,
Thai maid a preve assemble
Of weill twa hundreth men and ma;
Ane sluth-hund with thaim can thai ta, 36
For thai thoucht him for to suppris;
And gif he fled on ony wis,
To follow him with the hunde swa,
That he suld nocht eschape thaim fra. 40
Thai schupe, thame in ane evynnyng,
Suddandly to suppris the King,
And till him held thai straucht thare way.
Bot he, that had his wachis ay 44
On ilk syde, of thar cummyng,
Lang or thai com, had wittering,
Quhat and how feill at thai mycht be.
Tharfor he thoucht, with his menyhe, 48
To withdraw him out of the place,
For the nycht neir fallyn was.
And for nycht wes he thoucht that thai
Suld nocht have sicht to hald the way 52
[Pg 98] Quhill he war passit with his menyhe.
And as he thoucht rycht sua did he:
And went hym doune till a marras,
Our a wattir that rynand was;[†] 56
And in a bog he fand a place
Weill strate, that weill twa bowdraucht was
Fra thai the wattr passit had.
He said, ‘Heir may yhe mak abade, 60
“And rest yhow all a quhile and ly.
“I will ga wach all preuely,
“Giff I heir oucht of thar cummyng;
“And gif I may heir ony thyng, 64
“I sall ger warn yhow, sua that we
“Sall ay at our avantage be.”

Here he fights alone against Two Hundred.

1307   The King hears a Hound
The King now takis his gat to ga,
And with him tuk he servandis twa. 68
And Schir Gilbert de la Hay left he
Thar, for to rest with his menyhe.
To the wattir he com in hy,
And lisnyt full ententily 72
Gif he oucht herd of thare cummyng;
Bot yheit than mycht he heir na thing.
Endlang the wattir than yheid he
On athir syde gret quantite; 76
And saw the brayis hye standand,
The wattir holl throu slike rynand,
And fand na furd that men mycht pas
Bot quhar himself our passit was. 80
And sua strate wes the up-cummyng
That twa men mycht nocht sammyn thryng,
Na on na maner pres thame sua
That thai sammyn the land mycht ta.[†] 84
His twa men bad he than in hy[†] *85
Ga to thair feris to rest and ly;
[Pg 99] For he wald wach thar com to se.
“Schir,” said thai, “quha sall with yhow be?” *88
“God,” he said, “forouten ma;
“Pas on, for I will it be swa.”
Thai did as he thame biddin had,
And he thar all allane abaid. *92
Quhen he a quhile had biddin thare,
And herbryit, he herd as it war
A hundis quhistlyng apon fer,
That ay com till him ner and ner. 88
He stude still for till herkyn mair,
And ay the langer quhill he wes thair,
He herd it ner and ner cumand:
Bot he thoucht he thair still wald stand,[†] 92
Till that he herd mair taknyng,
For, for a hundis quhestlyng,
He wald nocht walkyn his menyhe.
Tharfor he walde abyde and se 96
Quhat folk thai war, and quethir thai
Held toward him the richt way;
Or passyt ane othir way fer by:
The moyn wes schynand rycht cleirly. 100
Sa lang he stude, that he mycht her
The noyis of thaim that cummand wer.
Than his twa men in hy send he
To warne and walkyn his menyhe. 104
And thai ar furth thar wayis gane;
And he left thar all hym allane.
And sua lang stude he herkynand,
Till that he saw cum at his hand 108
The haill rowt, in full gret hy;
Than he umbethoucht him hastely,
Gif he yheid to feche his menyhe,
That, or he mycht reparit be, 112
Thai suld be passit the furde ilkane.
And than behufit he chesit him ane
Of thir twa, outhir to fle or de.
Bot his hert, that wes stout and he, 116
[Pg 100] Consalit hym allane to byde
And kep thame at the furdis syde,
And defend weill the up-cummyng,
Sen he wes warnysit of armyng 120
That he thair arrawis thurt nocht dreid.
And gif he war of gret manheid,
He mycht stonay thame evirilkane,
Sen thai mycht cum bot ane and ane. 124
He did rycht as his hert hym bad;
Stark outrageous curage he had,
Quhen he sa stoutly hym allane,
For litill strynth of erd, has tane 128
To ficht with twa hundreth and ma.
Thar-with he to the furd can ga.
And thai, apon the tothir party,
That saw him stand thair anerly, 132
Thryngand in-till the wattir raid,
For of him litill dout thai had;
And raid till him in full gret hy.
1307   Bruce beats them off
He smat the first sa rygorusly 136
With his spere, that richt scharply schare,
Till he doun to the erd hym bare.
The laif com than in a randoune;
Bot his hors, that wes born doune, 140
Cummerit thaim the upgang to ta.
And quhen the Kyng saw it wes sua,
He stekit the hors, and he can flyng,
And syne fell at the upcummyng. 144
The laif with that com with a schowt;
And he, that stalward wes and stout,
Met thame richt stoutly at the bra,
And sa gud payment can thaim ma 148
That fiff-sum in the furd he slew.
The laif than sumdeill thaim with-drew,
That dred his strakis woundir sare,
For he in nathing thame forbare. 152
Than ane said: “Certis, we ar to blame;
“Quhat sall we say quhen we cum hame,
“Quhen a man fechtis agains us all?
“Quha wist evir men sa fouly fall 156
[Pg 101] “As us, gif that we thusgat leif?”
With that all haill a schout thai geve,
And cryit, “On hym! he may nocht last.”
With that thai presit hym so fast, 160
That, had he nocht the bettir beyn,
He had beyn ded forouten weyn.
Bot he sa gret defens can mak,
That, quhar he hit with evin strak, 164
Thar mycht no thing agane it stand.
In litill space he left lyand
Sa feill, that the upcom wes then
Dittit with slayn hors and men; 168
Swa that his fayis, for that stopping,
Micht nocht cum to the up-cummying.
A! deir God! quha had beyn by,
And seyn how he sa hardely 172
Adressit hym agane thame all,
I wat weill that thai suld him call
The best that liffit in-till his day.
And gif that I the suth sall say, 176
I herd nevir in na tyme gane
Ane stynt sa mony hym allane.
Example: how Tydeus slew Forty-nine Men,
And the Lieutenant tholed Shame and Paine.
Suth is, quhen till Ethiocles
Fra his brothir Polynices 180
Wes send Thedeus in-to message
Till ask haly the heritage
Of Thebes till hald for a yheir,
For thai cummyn of a byrth weir;[†] 184
Thai straif, for athir kyng wald be.
Bot the barnage of thar cuntre
Gert thame assent on this maner,
That the tane suld be kyng a yhere; 188
And than the tothir, na his menyhe,
Suld nocht be fundin in the cuntre,
Quhill the first brothir ryngand were.
Syne suld the tothir ryng a yhere; 192
[Pg 102] Ande syne the first suld leif the land,
Quhill that the tothir war ryngand.
Thus ay a yheir suld ryng the tane,
The tothir a yheir fra that war gane. 196
To ask halding of this assent,
Thedeus wes to Thebes went;
And sua spak for Polynices,
That of Thebes Ethiocles 200
Bad his constabill with hym ta
Fifty weill armyt, and forouth ga
To meit Thedeus in the way,
And slay hym but langar delay. 204
The constabill his way is gane,
And nyne and fourty with him has tane,
Swa that he with thame maid fifty.
In-till the evynnyng, prevely 208
Thai set enbuschement in the way,
Quhar Thedeus behufit away
Betuix ane hye crag and the se.
And he, that of thair mavite 212
Wist na thing, his way has tane,
And toward Grece agane is gane.
And as he raid in-to the nycht,
Sa saw he, with the monys licht, 216
Schynyng of scheldis gret plente;
And had woundir quhat it mycht be.
With that all haill thai gaf a cry,
And he, that herd sa suddanly 220
Sic noyis, sumdeill affrayit was;
Bot in schort time he till him tais
His spiritis full hardely;
For his gentill hert and worthy, 224
Assurit him in-till that neide.
Then with the spuris he strak his steide,
And ruschit in amang thame all.
The first he met he gert him fall, 228
And syne his suerd he swappit out,
And raucht about him mony a rout,
And slew sex-sum weill soyn and ma,
Than undir him his hors thai sla. 232
[Pg 103] And he fell; bot he smertly rais,
And, strikand, rowm about him mais,
And slew of thame a quantite:
Bot woundit woundir sair wes he. 236
1307   How Tydeus overcame Fifty
With that a litill rod he fand,
Up toward the crag strikand.
Thiddir went he in full gret hy,
Defendand him full douchtely, 240
Till in the crag he clam sum-deill;
And fand a place enclosit weill,
Quhar nane but ane mycht him assale.
Thair stude he and gaf thame battale: 244
And thai assalit evirilkane;
And oft fell, quhen that he slew ane,
As he doun to the erd wald driff,
He wald beir doun weill four or fiff. 248
Thair stude he and defendit swa,
Till he had slane thame half and ma.
A gret stane than by him saw he,
That throu the gret anciente, 252
Was lowsyt reddy for to fall;
And quhen he saw thaim cumand all,
He tumlit doun on thaim the stane;
And aucht men tharwith has he slane, 256
And sua stonait the remanand,
That thai war weill neir recryand.
Then wald he preson hald no mare,
Bot on thame ran with suerd al bare, 260
And hewit and slew with all his mayn
Till he had nyne and fourty slane.
The constabill syne can he ta,
And gert him suere that he suld ga 264
To King Ethiocles, and tell
The aventure that thame befell.
Thedeus bare him douchtely,
That our-com him allane fyfty. 268
Yhe that this redis, jugis yhe,
Quhethir that mair suld presit be:
[Pg 104] The King, that, with avisment,
Undirtuk sic hardyment 272
As for to stynt, him ane but fer,
Thai folk that weill twa hundreth wer;
Or Thedeus, that suddanly,
Fra thai had rasit on him the cry, 276
Throu hardyment that he had tane,
Wan fifty men all him allane.
Thai did thair dede bath in the nycht,
And faucht bath with the monys licht; 280
Bot the King discumfit ma,
And Thedeus the ma can sla.
Now demys, quhethir mair lovyng
Suld Tedeus haf, or the King! 284
In this maner that I haf tald,
The King, that stout wes, stark and bald,
Wes fechtand on the furdis syde,
Gyffand and takand rowtis ryde;[†] 288
Till he sic martirdome thair maid
That he the furde all stoppit had,
That nane of thame mycht till him ryde.
Than thoucht thame foly for to byde, 292
And halely the flicht can ta,
And went hamward quhar thai com fra.
For the Kingis men with that cry
Walknyt, and full affraitly, 296
Com for to seik thair lord the King.
The Galloway men herd thair cummyng
And fled, that durst nocht byde no mair.
The Kingis men, that dredand wair 300
For thair lord, full spedaly
Com to the furde, and soyn in hy
Thai fand the Kyng sytand alane,
That of his basnet than had tane, 304
To tak the air, for he wes hate;
[Pg 105] Than sperit thai at him of his stat;
And he tald thaim all haill the cas,
Howgat that he assalyheit was; 308
And how that God hym helpit sua,
That he eschapit haill thame fra.
Than lukit thai how feill war ded,
And thai fand liand in that sted 312
Fourteyn, that slayn war with his hand.
Than lovit thai God fast, all-weldand,
That thai thar lord fand haill and feir;
And said, “Thaim byrd on na maner 316
“Dreid thair fayis, sen thair chiftane
“Wes of sic hert and of sic mane,
“That he for thame had undertane
“With sa feill folk to ficht him ane.” 320
1307   True Courage is a Mean
Syk wordis spak thai of the Kyng:
And, for his hye undertaking
Farlyit, and yharnyt hym to se,
That with hym ay wes wount to be. 324
A! quhat worschip is prisit thing![†]
For it makis men to haf loving,
Gif it be followit ythandly.
For pris of worschip nocht-forthi 328
Is hard to wyn but gret travale;
Oft till defende and oft assale,
And till be in thair dedis wis,
Gerris men of worschip wyn the pris. 332
That may no man haf worthyhede,
Bot he haf wit to steir his stede
And se quhat is to leif or ta.
Worschip extremyteis has twa; 336
Fule-hardyment the formast is,
And the tothir is cowardis:
And thai ar bath for to forsak.
Fule-hardyment will all undertak, 340
Als weill thingis to leiff as ta;
Bot cowardis dois na thing sua,
Bot uterly forsakis all;
[Pg 106] And that war woundir for to fall, 344
Na war falt of discrecione.
For-thi has worschip sic renoune,
That it is mene betuix thai twa,
And takis that is till undirta, 348
And levis that is to leif; for it
Has so gret warnasyng of wit,
That it all peralis weill can se,
And all avantagis that may be. 352
It wald till hardyment hald haly,
With-thi away war the foly.
For hardyment with foly is wis.
Bot hardyment that mellit is 356
With wit, is worschipay, per de,
For, but wit, worschip may nocht be.
This nobill Kyng, that we of reid,
Mengit all tyme with wit manheid;[†] 360
That may men be this melle se.
His wit hym schawit the strat entre
Of the furde, and the ysche alsua;
He thoucht that thai mycht nevir our-ga[†] 364
Apon a man that wes worthy.
Tharfor his hardyment hastely
Thoucht weill it mycht be undirtane,
Sen that anis mycht assale bot ane. 368
Thus hardyment, governit with wit,
That he all tym wald sammyn knyt,
Gert him off worschipe haf the pris,
And oft our-cum his enymys. 372

How Douglas slew Thirlwall.

1307   Thirlwall would seize the Castle
The King in Carrik duelt all still:[†]
His men assemblit fast him till,
That in the land war travalande,
Quhen thai of this deid herd tithand. 376
[Pg 107] For thai thar ure with him wald ta,
Gif he war eft assalyheit swa.
Bot yheit than James of Douglas
In Douglasdaill travaland was; 380
Or ellis weill neirhand thar-by,
In hiddillis sum-deill prevely.
For he walde se his governyng,
That hade the castell in keping: 384
And gert mak mony a juperdy,
To se quhethir he wald ysche blithly.
Quhen he persavit weill that he
Wald blithly ysche with his menyhe, 388
He maid a gaddering prevely
Of thame that war of his party;
That wes so feill that thai durst ficht
With Thrillwall and all the mycht 392
Of thame that in the castell were.
He schup him in the nycht to fare
To Sandylandis; and neir thar-by
He him enbuschit prevely, 396
And fand a few a trayn to ma;[†]
That sone in the mornyng can ta,
Cattale, that wes the castell by,
And syne with-drew thame halely 400
Toward thame that enbuschit ware.
Than Thrillwall, forouten mare,
Gert arme his men forouten baid;
And yschit with all the men he had, 404
And followit fast eftir the ky.
He wes arayit at poynt clenly,
Outakyn that his hede wes bair.
Than, with the men that with him war, 408
The cattale followit he gude speid,
Richt as a man that had no dreid,
Till that he of thame gat a sicht.
Than prikit thai with all thair mycht, 412
Followand thame out of aray;
And thai sped thame fleand, quhill thai
[Pg 108] Fer by thar buschement war all past;
And Thrillwall evir chasit on fast. 416
And than thai that enbuschit war
Yschit till him, bath les and mar,
And rasit suddandly the cry;
And thai that saw sa suddandly 420
That folk sa egirly cum prikand
Betuix thame and thair warrand,
Thai war in-to full gret affray.
And, for thai war out of aray, 424
Sum of thaim fled, and sum abaid:
And Douglas, that thar with him had
A gret menyhe, full egirly
Assalit, and scalit thame hastely, 428
And in schort tym cummerit thaim sua,
That weill nane eschapit thaim fra.
Thrillwall, that wes thair capitane,
Wes thair in-to the bargane slane, 432
And of his men the mast party;
The laif fled full affrayitly.
Douglas his menyhe fast can chas,
And the flearis thair wais tais 436
To the castell in full gret hy;
The formast enterit spedely,
Bot the chassaris sped thame so fast,
That thai ourtuk sum at the last, 440
And thame forout mercy can sla.
And quhen thai of the castell swa
Saw thaim slay of thair men thaim by,
Thai sparit the yhettis hastely, 444
And in hy to the wallis ran.
James of Douglas his menyhe than
Sesit weill hastely in hand
At thai about the castell fand; 448
Till thair reset syne went thair way.
Thusgat yschit Thrillwall that day.
[Pg 109]
Qwhen Thrillwall on this maner
Had yschit, as I tell yhow heir, 452
James of Douglas and his men
Buskit thame all sammyn then,
And went thair way toward the Kyng
In gret hy; for thai herd tithyng 456
That of Vallanch Schir Amery,
With a full gret chevelry
Bath of Inglis and Scottis men,
With gret felony war reddy then 460
Assemblit for to seik the Kyng,
That wes that tym with his gaderyng
In Cumnok, quhar it stratest was.
Thiddir went James of Douglas, 464
That wes richt welcum to the Kyng.
And quhen he tald had that tithing,
How that Schir Amer wes cumand
For to hunt hym out of the land 468
With hund and horn, rycht as he were
A wolf, a theif, or thefis fere;
Than said the King: “It may weill fall,
“Thouch he cum and his power all, 472
“We sall abyde in this cuntre;
“And gif he cumis we sall him se.”

Here Sir Aymer and John of Lorn follow King Robert with a Sleuth-hound.

1307   Valence goes to hunt Bruce
The King spak apon this maner;
And of Vallanch Schir Amer 476
Assemblit a gret cumpany
Of nobill men and of worthy,
Of Ingland and of Lowdiane.
And he has alsua with him tane 480
Johne of Lorn and all his mycht,
That had of worthy men and wicht
With him aucht hundreth men and ma.
A sleuthhund had he thar alsua, 484
Sa gude that change wald for na thing.
And sum men sayis yheit that the King
[Pg 110] As a strecour him nurist had,
And ay sa mekill of hym maid, 488
That with his hand he wald hym feyd.
He followit hym quhar-evir he yheid;
Swa that the hund hym lufit swa,
That he wald part na wis him fra. 492
Bot how that John of Lorn him had,
I herd nevir mencione be made.
Bot men sais it wes certane thing
That he had him in his sesing, 496
And throu hym thoucht the Kyng to ta;
For he wist he hym luffit swa,
That fra he mycht anys feill
The Kyngis sent, he wist rycht weill 500
That he wald change it for na thyng.
This John of Lorn hatit the King
For Schir John Cumyn his emys sak;
Micht he him outhir sla or tak, 504
He wald nocht pris his liff a stra,
With-thi he vengeans on hym mycht ta.
How Sir Aymer and John of Lorn
Chased the King with Hound and Horn.
1307   Bruce divides his Men
The wardane than, Schir Amery,
With Johne of Lorne in cumpany, 508
And othir of gud renoune alsua,
Thomas Randale wes ane of thai,
Come in-till Cumnok to seik the King,[†]
That wes weill war of thar cummyng, 512
And wes up in the strenthis then,
And with hym weill thre hundreth men.[†]
His brothir that tyme with him was,
And alsua James of Douglas. 516
Schir Ameryis rout he saw,
That held the playn ay and the law,
And in haill battale alwayis raid.
[Pg 111] The Kyng, that na supposing had 520
That thai war mair than he saw thair,
Till thame, and nouthir ellis-quhar,
Had ey, and wroucht unwittandly.
For Johne of Lorn full sutelly 524
Behynd thoucht to suppris the Kyng.
Tharfor with all his gaderyng,
About ane hill he held his way,
And held hym in-to covert ay, 528
Till he so neir com to the Kyng,
Or he persavit his cummyng,
That he wes cummyn on hym weill neir.
The tothir host and Schir Amer 532
Presit on the tothir party.
The Kyng wes in gret juperdy,
That wes on athir syde umbeset
With fayis that to slay hym thret, 536
And the lest party of thame twa
Was starkar fer na he, and ma.
And quhen he saw thame pres him to,
He thoucht in hy quhat wes to do, 540
And said, “Lordis, we haf no mycht
“As at this tyme for to stand and ficht.
“Thar-for departis us in thre,
“All sall nocht swa assalyheit be: 544
“And in thre parteis hald our way.”
Syne till his consall can he say,
Betuix thame in-to prevate,
In quhat stede thar repair suld be. 548
With that thair gat all ar thai gane,
Ande in thre partis thair way has tane.
Than John of Lorn com to the plas
Quhar-fra the Kyng departit was, 552
And in his trais the hund he set,
That than, forouten langar let,
Held evyn the way eftir the Kyng,
Richt as he had of him knawing, 556
And left the tothir parteis twa,
As he na kepe to thame wald ta.
[Pg 112] And quhen the Kyng saw his cummyng,
Eftir his route in-till a lyng, 560
He thoucht thai knew that it wes he:[†]
Tharfor he bad till his menyhe
Yheit than in thre depart thame sone;
And thai did sua forouten hoyn, 564
And held thair way in thre parteis.
The hund did than sa gret mastris,
That he held ay, forout changing,
Eftir the rout quhar wes the Kyng. 568
And quhen the Kyng has seyn thaim sua
All in a rout eftir hym ta
The way, and follow nocht his men,
He had a gret persavying then 572
That thai knew him; for-thi in hy
He bad his men richt hastely
Scale, and ilk man hald his way
All be hym-self, and sua did thai. 576
Ilk man a syndri gat is gane,
And the King has with him tane
His forstir brothir, forouten ma,
And sammyn held thair gat thai twa. 580
The hund alwais followit the Kyng,
And changit nocht for na parting,
Bot ay followit the Kyngis tras,
But wavering, as he passit was. 584
And quhen that Johne of Lorn saw
The hund so hard eftir hym draw,
And followit straucht eftir thai twa,
He knew the Kyng wes ane of thai, 588
And bad five of his cumpany,
That war richt wicht men and hardy,
And als on fute spediast ware
Of all that in that rout war thar, 592
Ryn eftir hym, and him our-ta,
And lat him na wys pas thaim fra.[†]
[Pg 113]

Here Five Chosen Men are sent to take the King.

And fra thai herd had the biddyng,
Thai held the way eftir the Kyng. 596
And followit hym so spedely,
That thai him weill soyn can our-hy.
The King than saw thame cumand ner,
And wes anoyit in gret maner, 600
For he thoucht, gif thai war worthy,
Thai mycht hym travale and tary,
And hald hym suagat taryand
Till the remanand suld cum at hand. 604
Bot had he dred bot anerly
Thame five, I trow all sekirly
He suld nocht haf full mekill dreid.
And till his fallow, as he yheid, 608
He said, “Yhon five ar fast cumand:
“Thai ar weill neir now at our hand.
“Swa is thair ony help with the?
“For we sall soyn assalit be.” 612
‘Yha, Schir,’ he said, ‘all that I may.’
“Thou sais weill,” said the Kyng, “perfay.
“I se thame cumand till us neir.
“I will na forthir, bot richt heir 616
“Byde, quhill that I am in aynd,
“And se quhat fors that thai can faynd.”
*How the King slew the five men
That John of Lorn sent to him then.[†]
1307   Bruce and Another against Five
The Kyng than stude full sturdely,
And the five soyn, in full gret hy, 620
Com with gret schoyr and mannasyng.
Thre of thame went on-to the Kyng;
And till his man the tothir twa
With swerd in hand can stoutly ga. 624
The Kyng met thame that till hym socht,
And till the first sic rowt he rocht,
That ere and cheik doun in the hals
He schare, and of the schuldir als 628
[Pg 114] He ruschyt doun all desaly.
The twa, that saw sa suddanly
Thair fallow fall, effrayit war,
And stert a litill ouirmair. 632
The Kyng with that blenkyt him by,
And saw the twa full sturdely
Agane his man gret melle ma.
With that he left his awn twa, 636
And till thame that faucht with his man
A lowp richt lychtly maid he than,
And smat the hed of of the tane.
To mete his awn syne is he gane. 640
Thai com on hym rycht hardely.
He met the first sa egyrly,
That with his swerd, that scharply schare,
The arm he fra the body bare. 644
Quhat strakis thai gaf I can nocht tell,
Bot to the Kyng so fair befell,
That, thouch he travale had and payn,
He of his famen four has slayn. 648
His fostir brothir eftir soyn
The fift has out of dawis done.
And when the King saw that all fiff
War on that wis broucht out of lif, 652
Till his fallow than can he say,
“Thou has helpit richt weill, perfay.”
‘It likis yhow to say sua,’ said he,
‘Bot the gret part to yhow tuk yhe,[†] 656
‘That slew four off the fyve, yhow ane.’[†]
The Kyng said; “As the glew is gane,
“Bettir than thou I mycht it do,
“For I had mair lasair thar-to. 660
“For the twa fallowis that delt wyth the,[†]
“Quhen thai me saw assalyheit with thre,
[Pg 115] “Of me richt na kyn dout thai had;
“For thai wend I wes stratly stad. 664
And for-thi that thai dred me nocht,
“Noy thaim fer out the mair I moucht.”
With that the Kyng lukyt hym by,
And saw of Lorn the cumpany 668
Neir, with thair sleuthhund fast cumand;
Than till a wod, that wes neir hand,
He went with his fallow in hy.
God sauf thame for his gret mercy! 672

BOOK VII.

How John of Lorn sought the Good King Robert Bruce with the Sleuth-hound.

1307   Bruce takes to the Water
The Kyng toward the wod is gane,
Wery, for-swat, and will of wayn.
In-till the wod soyn enterit he,
And held doun toward a vale 4
Quhar throu the wod a wattir ran.
Thiddir in gret hy went he than,
And begouth to rest hym thair,
And said he mycht no forthirmar. 8
His man said; “Schir, that may nocht be:
“Abyde yhe heir, yhe sal soyn se
“Five hundreth yharnand yhou to sla,
“And thai ar fele aganis twa; 12
“And, sen we may nocht deill wyth mycht,
“Help us all that we may wyth slycht.”
The King said; ‘Sen that thou will swa,
‘Ga furth, and I sall with the ga. 16
‘Bot I haf herd oftsis say,
‘That quha endlang a wattir ay
‘Wald wayd a bow-draucht, he suld ger
‘Bath the sleuthhund and the ledar, 20
‘Tyne the sleuth men gert him ta,
‘Pruf we gif it will now do swa.
‘For war yhon devillis hund a-way,
‘I roucht nocht of the layff, perfay.’ 24
[Pg 116]

Here the Sleuth-hound lost his Scent.

As he devisit thai haf done,
And enterit in the wattir sone,
And held on endlang it thar way,
And syne to the land yheid thai, 28
And held thair way as thai did ere.
And John of Lorn, with gret effere,
Com with his rout richt to the place,
Quhar that his five men slan was. 32
He menyt thame quhen he thaim saw;
And said, eftir a litill thraw,
That he suld wenge in hy thar blude:
Bot othir wayis the gammyn yhude. 36
Thair wald he mak no mair duelling,
Bot furth in hy followit the King,
Richt to the burn thai passit ar;
Bot the sleuth-hund maid stynting thar, 40
And waveryt lang tyme to and fra,
That he na certane gat couth ga;
Till at the last than Johne of Lorn
Persavit the hund the sleuth had lorn, 44
And said; “We haf tynt this travell;
“To pas forthir may nocht avale;
“For the wode is bath braid and wyde,
And he is weill fer be this tyde. 48
“Tharfor I rede we turn agane,
“And wast no mair travale in vayn.”
With that releyt he his menyhe,
And his way to the host tuk he. 52

Or else he was Slain with an Arrow.

1307   The King Escapes
Thus eschapit the nobill Kyng.
Bot sum men sais, this eschaping
Apon ane othir maner fell
Than throu the wading; for thai tell 56
That the Kyng a gud archer had,
And quhen he saw his lord swa stad,
[Pg 117] That he wes left swa anerly,
He ran on fut alwayis him by, 60
Till he in-till the wod wes gane.
Then said he till hym-self allane,
That he arest rycht thair wald ma,
And luk gif he the hund mycht sla. 64
For gif the hund mycht lest on lif,
He wist full weill that thai wald drif
The Kyngis tras till thai hym ta;
Than wist he weill thai wald him sla. 68
And for he wald his lord succour,
He put his lif in aventur.
And stud in-till a busk lurkand
Quhill that the hund com at his hand, 72
And with ane arrow soyn him slew,
And throu the wod syne hym withdrew.
Bot quhethir his eschaping fell
As I tald first, or now I tell, 76
I wat it weill, without lesyng,
At that burn eschapit the King.

How the Three Men that bare the Wedder Sheep thought to have slain King Robert Bruce.

The King has furth his wayis tane.
And Johne of Lorn agane is gane 80
To Schir Amer, that fra the chas
With his men than reparit was,
That litill sped in thair chassing;
For thow that thai maid following 84
Full egirly, thai wan bot small;
Thair fayis neir eschapit all.
Men sais, Schir Thomas Randale than,
Chassand, the Kyngis baner wan; 88
Quhar-throu in Ingland wyth the Kyng
He had rycht gret price and lovyng.
Quhen the chaseris releit war,
And Johne of Lorn had met thaim thar, 92
He tald Schir Amer all the cas,
How that the King eschapit was;
[Pg 118] And how that he his fif men slew,
And syne he to the wod hym drew. 96
Quhen Schir Amer herd this, in hy
He sanyt hym for the ferly,
And said; “He is gretly to pris;
“For I knaw nane that liffand is 100
“That at myscheif can help hym swa.
“I trow he suld be hard to sla
“And he war bodyn all evynly.”
On this wis spak Schir Amery. 104

Here Three Traitours meet the King, with a Wedder.

And the gud Kyng held furth his way,
He and his man, ay quhill that thai
Passit owt throu the forest war;
Syne in a mure thai enterit ar. 108
That wes bath hee and lang and braid;
And or thai half it passit had,
Thai saw on syde thre men cumand,
Lik to licht men and waverand. 112
Swerdis thai had and axis als,
And ane of thame apon his hals
A mekill bundyn weddir bare.
Thai met the Kyng, and halsit him thar: 116
And the Kyng thame thar halsing yhald,
And askit thame quhethir thai wald.
Thai said, Robert the Bruce thai socht,
To meit with hym gif that thai mocht, 120
Thair duelling with hym wald thai ma.
The King said, “Gif that yhe will swa,
“Haldis furth yhour way with me,
“And I sall ger yhow soyn him se.” 124
1307   The King goes with the Men
Thai persavit be his spekyng[†]
And his effer, he wes the Kyng.
Thai changit contenans and late,
And held nocht in the first stat; 128
For thai war fayis to the Kyng;
[Pg 119] And thoucht to cum in-to scowkyng,
And duell with hym quhill that thai saw
Thar tym, and bryng hym than of daw. 132
Thai grantit till his spek for-thi,
Bot the Kyng, that wes witty,
Persavit weill be thair havyng
That thai lufit hym in na thing: 136
He said; “Fallowis, yhe man all thre
“Forthir aquynt quhill that we be,
“All be yhour-self forrouth ga,
“And, on the sammyn wis, we twa 140
“Sall fallow yhow behynd weill neir.”
Quod thai; ‘Schir, it is na mysteir
‘To trow in-till us any ill.’
“Nane do I,” said he, “bot I will 144
“That yhe ga forrow us, quhill we
“Bettir with othir knawyn be.”
‘We grant,’ thai said, ‘sen yhe will swa:’
And furth apon thair gat can ga. 148
Thus yheid thai till the nycht wes neir.
And than the formast cumin weir
Till a wast husbandis hous; and thar
Thai slew the weddir at thai bar, 152
And slew fyre for to rost thar met,[†]
And askit the Kyng gif he wald et,
And rest hym till the met war dicht?
The Kyng, that hungry wes I hicht, 156
Assentit to thair speke in hy:
Bot he said, he wald anerly
Betuyx hym and his fallow be
At a fyre, and thai all thre 160
In the end of the hous suld ma
Ane othir fyre; and thai did swa.
Thai drew thame in the hous end,
And half the weddir till him send; 164
And thai rostit in hy thair met,
And fell rycht frakly for till et.
[Pg 120] The King weill lang he fastyt had,
And had rycht mekill travale made: 168
Tharfor he ete richt egyrly.
And quhen he etyn had hastely,
He had to slepe sa mekill will,
That he mycht set na let thar-till. 172
For quhen the wanys fillit ar,
The body worthis hevy evirmar;[†]
And to slepe drawis hevynes.
The Kyng, that all for-travalit wes, 176
Saw that hym worthit slep neidwais;
Till his fostir brothir he sais,
“May I trast the me to walk,
“Till I a litill slepyng tak?” 180
‘Yha, Schir,’ he said, ‘till I may dre.’[†]
The Kyng than wynkit a litill we,
And slepit nocht full ynkurly,
Bot gliffnyt up oft suddandly; 184
For he had drede of thai thre men,
That at the tothir fyre war then.
That thai his fais war he wyst;
Tharfor he slepit as foul on twist. 188

Here he slew the three traitors.

1307   Bruce’s Foster-Brother is Slain
The Kyng slepit bot litill than,
Quhen sic a slepe fell on his man
That he mycht nocht hald up his e,
Bot fell on slepe and routit he. 192
Now is the King in gret perell:
For slepe he swa a litill quhile,
He sall be ded, forouten dred.
For the thre tratouris tuk gud hede, 196
That he on slep wes and his man.
In full gret hy thai rais up than,
And drew thair swerdis hastely,
And went toward the King in hy, 200
Quhen that thai saw he slepit swa,
[Pg 121] And slepand thoucht thai wald hym sla.
*Till hym thai yheid a full gret pas,[†]
Bot in that tym, throu Goddis grace, *204
The Kyng blenkit up hastely,
And saw his man slepand him by, 204
And saw cumand the tratouris thre.
Delyverly on fut gat he,
And drew his suerd out and thame met,
And, as he yheid, his fut he set 208
Apon his man weill hevaly.
He walkynt, and rais all desaly:[†]
For the sleip maisterit hym swa,
That, or he gat up, ane of thai, 212
That com for to sla the Kyng,
Gaf hym a strake in his rysyng,
Swa that he mycht help hym no mair.
The Kyng so stratly stad wes thair, 216
That he wes never yheit swa stad;
Na war the armyng that he had,
He had beyn ded foroutyn weyr.
Bot nocht-for-thi on sic maneir 220
He helpit hym swa in that bargane,
That thai thre tratouris he has slane,
Throu Goddis grace and his manheid.
His fostir-brothir thair wes ded. 224
Than wes he wounder will of wayn,
Quhen he saw he wes left allane.
His fostir-brothir menyt he,
And waryit all the tothir thre, 228
And syne his way tuk hym allane,
And richt toward his trist is gane.

Here the King goes to his Tryst.

The Kyng went furth wrath and angry,
Menand his man full tendirly, 232
And held his way all hym allane,
And richt toward the hous is gane,
[Pg 122] Quhar he set trist to mete his men;
It wes weill lat of nycht be then.[†] 236
He come soyn in the hous, and fand
The gud wif on the bynk sytand
Scho askit hym soyn quhat he wes,
And quhyne he com, and quhar he gais. 240
“A travalland man, dame,” said he,
“That travalys heir throu the cuntre.”
Scho said, ‘All that travaland ere,
‘For saik of ane, ar welcom here.’ 244
The Kyng said, “Gud dame, quhat is he
“That garris yhow have sik specialte
“Till men that travalis?” ‘Schir, perfay,’
Quod the gud wif, ‘I sal yhow say; 248
‘Gud Kyng Robert the Bruce is he,
‘That is rycht lord of this cuntre.
‘His fayis him haldis now in thrang;
‘Bot I thynk to se or oucht lang 252
‘Hym lord and kyng our all the land,
‘That na fayis sall hym withstand.’
“Dame, lufis thou hym sa weill?” said he.
‘Yha Schyr,’ scho said, ‘sa God me se!’ 256
“Dame,” said he, “lo! hym her the by,
“For I am he”;—‘Sa yhe suthly?’
“Yha, certis, dame.”—‘And quhar are gane
‘Yhour men, quhen yhe ar thus allane?’ 260
“At this tyme, dame, I have no ma.”
Scho said, ‘It may no wis be swa;
‘I have twa sonnys wicht and hardy,
‘Thai sall becum yhour men in hy.’ 264
As scho devisit thai have done,
His sworn men becom thai sone.
The wif gart soyn him syt and et.
Bot he had schort quhil at the met 268
Sittyn, quhen he herd gret stampyng
About the hous; than, but lettyng,
Thai stert up, the hous to defend;
Bot soyn eftir the Kyng has kend 272
[Pg 123] James of Douglas: than wes he blith,
And bad oppyn the dures swith:
And thai com in, all at thai ware.
Schir Edward the Bruce wes thare, 276
And James als of Douglas,
That wes eschapit fra the chas,
And with the Kyngis brothir met.
Syne to the trist that thame wes set 280
Thai sped thame with thair cumpany,
That war ane hundreth and fyfty.

Here meets he with his Company.

1307   Bruce Plans a Surprise
And quhen at thai has seyn the Kyng,
Thai war joyfull of thair metyng: 284
And askit how he eschapit was,
And he thaim tald all haill the cas;
How the five men him presit fast,
And how he throu the wattir past, 288
And how he met the thevis thre,
And how he slepand slayn suld be,
Quhen he walknyt, throu Goddis grace;
And how his fostyr-brothir was 292
Slayne, he tald thame halely.
Than lovyt thai God all comonly,
That thair lord wes eschapit swa.
Than spak thai wordis to and fra, 296
Till at the last the Kyng can say;
“Fortoun has travalit us this day,
“That scalit us sa suddandly.
“Our fayis this nycht sall trastly ly;” 300
For thai trow we so scalit ar[†] *301
*And fled to-waverand her and thar,
*That we sall nocht thir dayis thre
All to-giddir assemblit be *304
*Tharfor this nycht thai sall trastly.
“But wachis, tak thair eis and ly.
“Quharfor, quha knew thair herbery,
“And wald cum on thame suddanly,
[Pg 124] “With few menyhe mycht soyn thame scath, 304
“And yhet eschape withouten vath.”
‘Perfay,’ quoth James of Douglas,
‘As I com hiddirward, per-cas
‘I com so neir thair herbery, 308
‘That I can bring yhow quhar thai ly.
‘And wald yhe speid yhow, yheit or day
‘It may sa happyn that yhe may
‘Do thame a gretar scath weill soyn 312
‘Than thai us all the day has done,
‘For thai ly scalit as thame lest.’
Than thocht thai all it wes the best
To speid thame to thaim hastely; 316
And thai did swa in full gret hy,
And com on thame in the dawyng,
Richt as the day begouth to spryng.

Here the King and his Company come hastily upon their Enemies, and slay Many.

1307   Sir Aymer praises Bruce
So fell it that a cumpany 320
Had in toune tane thair herbry,
Weill fra the host a myle or mair;
Men said that thai twa thousand war.[†]
Thar assemblit the nobill Kyng. 324
And soyn eftir thair assemblyng,
Thai, that slepand assalyheit war,
Rycht hyduisly can cry and rar;
And othir-sum, that herd the cry, 328
Ran furth rycht swa effraytly,
That sum of thame all nakyt war,
Fleand to-waverand heir and thair;[†]
And sum thair armys with thaim drew: 332
And thai without mercy thame slew;
And swa cruell vengeans can ta,
That the twa part of thame and ma,
War slayn rycht in that ilk sted; 336
Till thar host the remanand fled.
[Pg 125] The host, that herd the noyis and cry,
And saw thair men sa wrechidly
Cum nakit, fleand heir and thair, 340
Sum haill, and sum woundit sair,
In-to full gret affray thai rais,
And ilk man to his baner gais:
Swa that the host wes all on steir. 344
The Kyng and thai that with hym weir,
Quhen thai on steir the host saw swa,
Toward thair warrand can thai ga,
And tharin swith cummyn ar thai. 348
And quhen Schir Amery herd say
How that the Kyng thar men had slayn,
And how thai turnit war agane,
He said, “Now may we cleirly se 352
“That nobill hert, quhar-evir it be,
“Is hard till ourcum throu mastry.
“For quhar a hert is rycht worthy
“Agane stoutnes it is ay stout; 356
“And, as I trow, thair may na dowt
“Ger it all out discumfit be,
“Quhill body liffand is and fre;[†]
“As be this melle may be seyn. 360
“We wend Robert the Bruce had beyn
“Swa discumfit that, be gud skill,
“He suld nouthir haff hert no will
“Swilk juperdy till undirta; 364
“For he wes put at undir swa
“That he wes left all hym allane,
“And all his folk war fra hym gane;
“And he wes sa fortravalit, 368
“To put of thame that hym assalit,
“That he suld haf yharnit restyng
“Mair than fechtyng or travalyng.[†]
“Bot his hert fillit is of bownte, 372
“Swa that it vencust may nocht be.”
[Pg 126]

Here Sir Aymer passes to Carlisle.

On this wis spak Schir Amery.
And quhen thai of his cumpany
Saw how thai travalit had in vane, 376
And how the Kyng thar men had slane,
That at his larges wes all free,[†]
Thame thoucht it wes a nyste
For to mak thair langer duellyng, 380
Sen thai mycht nocht anoy the Kyng;
And said that to Schir Amery,
That umbethoucht hym hastely
That he to Carleill than wald ga, 384
And a quhill thar-in sojorn ma;
And haf his spyis on the Kyng,
To knaw alwais his contenyng.
For quhen that he his poynt mycht se, 388
He thoucht that with a gret menyhe
He suld schute on hym sodanly.
Tharfor, with all his cumpany,
Till Ingland he the way has tane, 392
And ilk man till his hous is gane.
In hy till Carleill went is he.
And thar-in thynkis for to be
Till he his poynt saw of the Kyng, 396
That than with all his gaderyng
Wes in Carrik, quhar umbestount
He wald went with his men till hount.

Here the King meets three Traitors.

1307   Bruce taunts the Bowmen
Swa hapnyt it that on a day 400
He went till hunt, for till assay
Quhat gammyn wes in that cuntre.
And swa hapynt that day that he
By a wode-syde to sett is gane, 404
With his twa hundis, hym allane;
Bot he his swerd ay with hym bare.
He had bot schort quhill syttyn thare,
[Pg 127] Quhen he saw fra the wode cumand 408
Thre men with bowis in thar hand,
That toward hym com spedely;
And he persavit that in hy,
Be thair effeir and thair havyng, 412
That thai lufit hym na kyn thyng.
He rais and his leysche till him drew he,
And leit his houndis gang all fre.
God help the Kyng now for his mycht! 416
For bot he now be wis and wicht,
He sall be set in mekill pres.
For thai thre men, withouten les,
War his fayis all utrely: 420
And had wachit so besaly,
To se quhen thai vengeans mycht tak
Of the Kyng for Jhone Cumynys sak,
That thai thoucht than thai laser had; 424
And, sen he hym allane wes stad,
In hy thai thoucht thai suld him sla:
And gif that thai mycht chevis swa,
Fra that thai the Kyng had slayn, 428
That thai mycht wyn the wode agayn,
His men, thai thoucht, thai suld nocht dreid.
In hy towart the Kyng thai yheid,
And bend thair bowis quhen thai war neir; 432
And he, that dred in gret maneir
Thar arowis, for he nakit was,
In hy ane spekyng to thame mais,
And said; “Yhe aucht to shame, perde, 436
“Syn I am ane and yhe ar thre,
“For to schut at me on fer.
“Bot haf yhe hardyment, cum ner
“With yhour swerdis me till assay; 440
“Wyn me on sic wis gif yhe may;
“Yhe sall weill mair all prisit be.”
‘Perfay,’ quod ane than of the thre,
‘Sall no man say we drede the swa, 444
‘That we with arrowis sall the sla.’
With that thair bowis away thai kest,
And com on fast, but langar frest.
[Pg 128] The Kyng thame met full hardely, 448
And smat the first so rigorusly,
That he fell ded doun on the greyn.
And quhen the Kyngis hounde has seyn
Thai men assale his mastir swa, 452
He lap till ane and can hym ta
Richt be the nek full felonly,
Till top our taill he gert hym ly.
And the Kyng, that his swerd up had, 456
Saw he so fair succour hym maid,
Or he that fallyn wes mycht rys,
He hym assalyheit on sic wis,[†]
That he the bak strak evyn in twa. 460
The thrid, that saw his fallowis swa
Forouten recoveryng, be slayne,
Tuk till the wod his way agane.
Bot the Kyng followit spedely; 464
And als the hound that wes hym by,
Quhen he the man saw gang hym fra,
Schot till hym soyn, and can him ta
Richt be the nek, and till hym dreuch; 468
And the Kyng, that wes neir eneuch,
In his risyng sik rowt hym gaf,
That stane-ded till the erd he draf.
The Kyngis menyhe that war neir, 472
Quhen at thai saw on sic maneir
The Kyng assalit sa suddandly,
Thai sped thame toward hym in hy,
And askit how that cas befell? 476
And he all haly can thaim tell,
How thai assalyheit hym all thre.
“Perfay,” quod thai, “we may weill se
“That it is hard till undirtak 480
“Sic mellyng with yhow for to mak,
“That so smertly has slayn thir thre
“Forouten hurt.” ‘Perfay,’ said he,
‘I slew bot ane forouten ma,[†] 484
[Pg 129] ‘God and my hund has slane the twa;
‘Thair tresoune cumrit thame, perfay,
‘For richt wicht men all thre war thai.’

Here Sir Aymer sets the King in Great Jeopardy.

1307   Bruce is in Glentrool
Qwhen that the Kyng, throu Goddis grace 488
On this maner eschapit was,
He blew his home, and than in hy
His gud men till hym can rely;
Than hamwardis buskit he to fair, 492
For that day wald he hunt no mair.
In Glentruell a quhile he lay,[†]
And went weill oft to hunt and play,
For to purchase thame venysoun, 496
For than the deir war in sesoun.
In all that tyme Schir Amery,
With nobill men in cumpany,
In Carleill lay, his poynt to se; 500
And quhen he herd the certante
That in Glentruell wes the King,
And went to hunt and to playing,
He thoucht than with his chevelry, 504
To cum apon hym suddanly;
Fra Carleill all on nychtis ryde,
And in covert on dayis byde.
And swagat, with sic tranonting, 508
He thoucht he suld suppris the Kyng.
Than he assemblit a gret menyhe
Of folk of full gret renowne.
Bath of Scottis and Inglis men. 512
Thair way all sammyn held thai then,
And raid on nychtis so prevaly,
Till thai com to the wode neir by
Glentruell, quhar lugit wes the Kyng, 516
That wist richt nocht of thair cummyng.
In-to gret perell now is he,
For, bot God throu his gret powste,
[Pg 130] Saif hym, he sall be tane or slane; 520
For thai war sex quhar he wes ane.

How Sir Aymer Valence sent the Woman to spy King Robert in Glentrool.

Qwhen Schir Amer, as I herd tald,
With his men that wes stout and bald,
Wes cum so neir the Kyng that thai 524
War bot a myle fra hym away,
He tuk avisment with his men,
On quhat maner thai suld do then.
For he said thame, that the King wes 528
Lugit in-to so strate a place,
That hors-men mycht hym nocht assale;
And gif fut-men gaf hym battale,
He suld be hard to wyn, gif he 532
Of thair cummyng ma warnit be:
“Tharfor I rede, all prevaly
“We send a woman hym to spy,
“That pouerly arayit be. 536
“Scho may ask met per cherite,
“And se thair covyne halely,
“And on quhat maner at thai ly,
“The quhilis we and our menyhe, 540
“Cumand throu-out the wod may be
“On fut, all arayit as we ar.
“May we do swa, that we cum thar
“On thaim or thai wit our cummyng 544
“We sall fynd in thame no styntyng.”
1307   The Woman Discloses the Plot
This consall thoucht thaim wes the best,
Than send thai furth, but langar frest,
The woman that suld be thar spy, 548
And scho hir way can hald in hy
Richt to the logis, quhar the King,
That had no dreid of supprising,
Yheid unarmyt, mery and blith. 552
The woman has he seyn alswith,
He saw hir uncouth, and for-thi
He beheld hir mayr ynkirly,
[Pg 131] And by hir countenans hym thoucht[†] 556
That for gud cummyn wes scho nocht.
Than gert he men in hy hir ta;
And scho, that dred men suld hir sla,
Tald thame how that Schir Amery, 560
With the Cliffurd in cumpany,
And the flour of Northumbirland,
War cummand on thame at thar hand.
Quhen at the King herd that tithing, 564
He armyt hym but mair duelling;
Sa did thai all that evir thar war,
Syne in a sop assemblit ar:
I trow they war thre hundreth ner. 568
And quhen thai all assemblit wer,
The King his baner gert display,
And set his men in gude aray.
Thai had nocht standyn bot a thraw, 572
Richt at thair hand quhen at thai saw
Thair fayis throu the wod cumand,
Armyt on fut, with sper in hand,
That sped thame full enforsaly. 576
The noyis begouth soyne and the cry;
For the gud King, that formast was,
Stoutly towart his fayis gais,
And hint out of a manis hand, 580
That neir besyde him wes gangand,
A bow and a braid arrow als,
And hyt the formast in the hals,
Till throppill and wassand yheid in twa, 584
And he doune to the erd can ga.

Here were Fifteen Hundred discomfited with Few Scots.

The laiff with that maid a stopping;
Than, but mair baid, the nobill King
Hynt fra his baneour the banar, 588
And said, “Apon thame! for thai ar
[Pg 132] “Discomfit all!” and with that word
He swappit swiftly out his sword,
And on thame ran so hardely, 592
That all thai of his cumpany
Tuk hardyment of his gud dede.
For sum, that first thar wayis yhede,
Again com to the ficht in hy, 596
And met thair fayis so rigorusly,
That all the formast ruschit war.
And quhen thai that war hendirmar
Saw that the formast left the stede, 600
Thai turnit soyn the bak and fled,
And of the wod thai thaim with-drew.
The King a few men of thame slew,
For thai rycht soyn thair gat can ga; 604
It discomfortyt thame all swa,[†]
That the King with his menyhe was
All armyt to defend that plas,
That thai wend throu thar tranonting 608
Till have wonnyn for-out fichting,
That thai effrayit war suddanly.
And he thame soucht so angyrly,
That thai in full gret hy agane 612
Out of the woud ran to the plane.
For thai falyheit of thair entent,
Thai war that tym sa fowly schent,
That fiften hundreth men and ma 616
Wyth fewar war rebutit swa,
That thai with-drew thaim schamfully.
Tharfor emang thame sudanly
Thair rais debate and gret distans 620
Ilkane with othir of thar myschans;
Clyffurd and Vaus maid a melle,
Quhar Cliffurd raucht him a cole;[†]
And athir syne drew to partis. 624
Bot Schir Amer, that wes wis,
[Pg 133] Departit thame with mekill pane,
And went till Ingland hame agane.
He wist, fra stryff rais thame amang, 628
He suld thame nocht hald sammyn lang
For-outen debat or melle;
Tharfor till Ingland turnit he
With mar schaym than he com of toune; 632
Quhen sa mony of sic renoun
Saw sa few men bid thaim battale,
Quhar thai ne war hardy to assale.

BOOK VIII

How James of Douglas discomfited then
At Ederford Philip Mowbray with many men.
1307   Bruce leaves the Mountains
The King, fra Schir Amer was gane,
Gadert his menyhe evirilkane;
And left bath woddis and montanis,
And held his way straucht to the planys. 4
For he wald fayn that end war maid
Of that at he begonnyn had,
And he wist weill he mycht nocht bring
It to gud end but travalyng. 8
To Kyle first went he, and that land
He maid till him all obeysand:
The men mast fors com till his pes.
Syne eftirward, or he wald ces, 12
Of Cunyngame the mast party
He gert helde till his senyhory.
In Bothwell than Schir Amer was,
That in his hert gret angyr has; 16
For thai of Cunyngame and Kyle,
That war obeysand till hym quhile,
Left the Inglis menis fewte:
Tharof fayn vengit wald he be; 20
And send Schir Philip the Mowbray,
With a thousand, as I herd say,
[Pg 134] Of men that war in his leding,
To Kyle to warray the nobill Kyng. 24
Bot James of Douglas, that all tyde,
Had spyis out on ilka syde,
Wist of thar cummyng, and that thai
Wald hald doune Makyrnokis way.[†] 28
He tuk with hym all prevely
Thame that war of his cumpany,
That war sexty withouten ma.[†]
Syne till a strate place can he ga, 32
That is in Makyrnokis way,
The Edry-furd it hat perfay;[†]
It lyis betuix marras twa,
Quhar that na hors on lif ma ga. 36
On the south half, quhar James was,
Is ane upgang, ane narrow plas,
And on the north half is the way
Sa ill, as it apperis to day. 40
1307   Mowbray escapes with Difficulty
Douglas, with thame he with hym had,
Enbuschit hym, and thame abaid.
He mycht weill fer se thair cummyng,
Bot thai mycht se of hym na thing. 44
Thai maid enbuschement all the nycht,
And quhen the sone wes schynand brycht,
Thai saw in battale cum arayit
The vaward with baner displayit, 48
And syne soyn the remanand
Thai saw weill neir behynd cumand.
Than held thai thaim still and preve,
Till the formast of thair menyhe 52
War enterit in the furde thame by;
Than schot thai on thame wyth a cry;
And with wapnys that scharply schare
Sum in the furde thai bakward bare, 56
And sum, with arrowes barblyt braid,
Sa gret martirdome on thame maid,
[Pg 135] That thai gan draw to voyd the place;[†]
Bot behinde thame so stoppit was 60
The way, that thai fast mycht nocht fle,
And that gert of thaim mony de.
For thai on na syde mycht away
Bot as thai com, bot gif at thai 64
Wald throu thair fayis hald thar gat;
Bot that way thoucht thame all to hat.
Thair fayis met thame so sturdely,
And continit the ficht so hardely, 68
That thai so dredand war at thai
Quha first mycht fle, first fled away.
And quhen the reirward saw thaim swa
Discumfit, and thair wayis ga, 72
Thai fled on fer, and held thair way.
Bot Schir Philip the Mowbray,
That with the formast rydand was,[†]
That enterit war in-to the plas, 76
Quhen that he saw how he wes stad,
Throu the gret worschip that he had,
With spurys he strak the steid of pris,
And, magre all his enymys, 80
Throu the thikkest of thame he raid,
And but challans eschapit had,
Ne war ane hynt hym by the brand;
Bot the guid steid, that wald nocht stand, 84
He lansit furth deliverly;
Bot the tothir sa stalwardly
Held, that the belt brist of the brand,
That swerd and belt left in his hand. 88
And he but swerd his wayis raid,
Weill otow thame, and thair abaid,
Behaldand how his menyhe fled,
And how his fais clengit the sted 92
That war betuix him and his men;
Tharfor the wayis tuk he then
To Kylmernok and Killwynnyn,
And till Ardrossan eftir syne. 96
[Pg 136] Syne throu the Largys, him allane,
Till Ennirkyp the way has tane,
Richt till the castell that wes then
Stuffit all with Inglis men, 100
That him resavit in gret dante.
And fra thai wist how-gat that he
Sa fer had ryddyn, hym allane,
Throu thame that war his fais ilkane, 104
Thai prisit him so gretumly,
And alsua lovit his chevelry.
Schir Philip thus eschapit was,
And Douglas, that wes in the plas, 108
Quhar he sexty has slane and ma;
The laiff fouly thar gat can ga,
And fled to Bothwell hame agane;
Quhen Schir Amer wes na thing fane, 112
Quhen he herd tell on quhat maner
That his menyhe discumfit wer.
Bot quhen to King Robert wes tald,
How the gud Douglas, that wes bald, 116
Vencust sa feyll with few menyhe,
Richt joyfull in his hert wes he.
And all his men confortit war:
For thame thoucht weill, bath les and mair 120
That thai suld les thar fayis drede,
Sen thair purpos sa wyth thaim yheide.

Here Sir Aymer urges a Fight on the Plain.

1307   Bruce accepts the Challenge
The Kyng lay in-to Gawlistoun,
That is rycht evyn anent Lowdoun; 124
And till his pes tuk the cuntre.
Quhen Schir Amer and his menyhe,
Herd how he rewlit all the land,
And how that nane durst him withstand, 128
He wes in-till his hert angry;
And with ane of his cumpany
He send him word ande said, gif he
Durst hym in-to the planys se, 132
[Pg 137] He suld the tend day of May
Cum undir Lowdoun hill away:
And gif that he wald met him thair,
He said, his worschip sulde be mair, 136
And mair be turnit to nobillay,
To wyn him in the playn away,
With hard dyntis in evyn fichting,
Than till do fer mair in scowking. 140
The King, that herd his messinger,
Had despit apon gret maner,
That Schir Amer spak sa hely,
Tharfor he ansuerd irusly,[†] 144
And till the messynger said he;
“Sa to thi lord that, gif I be
“In lif, he sall me se that day
“Weill neir, gif he dar hald the way 148
“That he has said; for sekirly
“By Lowdoun hill mete hym sall I.”

Here King Robert provides for Advantage in the Place where they should Fight.

The messinger, but mair abade,
Till his mastir his wais raide, 152
And his ansuer him tald alswith;
Than wes na neid to mak him blithe.[†]
For he thoucht, throu his mekill mycht,
Gif the King durst apeir to ficht, 156
That, throu the gret chevelry
That suld be in his cumpany,
He suld swa ourcum the Kyng,
That thar suld be na recoveryng. 160
And the Kyng, on the tothir party,
That wes ay wis and a-verty,
Raid for to se and ches the plas,
And saw the hye-gat lyand was 164
Apon a fair feild, evin and dry;
Bot apon athir syde thar-by
[Pg 138] Wes a gret mos, mekill and braid,
That fra the way wes, quhar men raid, 168
A bowdraucht neir on athir syde:
And that place thocht hym all to wyde
Till abyde men that horsit war.
Tharfor thre dykis ourthwort he schar, 172
Fra bath the mosis to the way:
That war sa fer fra othir, that thai
War in-twyn a bow-draucht and mar.
Sa holl and hye the dykis war, 176
That men mycht nocht, but mekill pane,
Pas thaim, thouch nane war thaim agane.
Bot sloppis in the way left he,
So large, and of sic quantite, 180
That fyffe hundir mycht sammyn ryde
In at the sloppis, syde for syde.
Thar thoucht he battale for to beid,
And bargane thaim; for he na drede 184
Had at thai suld on syde assale,
Na yheit behynd gif him battale.
And befor hym thocht weill that he
Suld fra thar mycht defendit be. 188
Thre deip dykis he gert thar ma;
For gif he mycht nocht weill our-ta
To met thame at the first, that he
Suld haf the tothir at his pouste; 192
Or than the thrid, gif it war swa
At thai had passit the tothir twa.
On this wis him ordanit he,
And syne assemblit his menyhe, 196
That war sex hundreth fechtand men,
But rangald, that wes with him then,
That war als feill as thai, or ma.
With all that menyhe can he ga, 200
The evyn befor the battale suld be,
To litill Lowdoun, quhar that he
Wald abide to se thair cummyng;
Syne with the men of his leding 204
He thoucht to speid hym, swa that he
Suld at the dik befor thaim be.
[Pg 139]

Here Sir Aymer comes with his Host in Sight.

1307   The Splendid Array of the English
Schir Amer, on the tothir party,
Gaderit so great chevelry, 208
That he mycht be thre thousand neir,
Armyt and dicht in gud maner;
And than, as man of gret noblay,
He held toward the trist his way. 212
And quhen the set day cumin was,
He sped him fast toward the place
That he had nemmyt for to ficht.
The sone wes rysyn schynand bricht, 216
That blenknyt on the scheldis braid.
In twa eschelis ordanit he had
The folk that he had in leding.
The Kyng, weill soyn in the mornyng, 220
Saw first cumand thair first eschele,
Arrait sarraly and weill,
And at thair bak, sum-deill neirhand,
He saw the tothir followand: 224
Thair basnetis burnyst war all brycht,
Agane the sone glemand of licht;
Thair speris, thair pennownys, and thar scheldis
Of licht illumynit all the feldis. 228
Thair best and browdyn bricht baneris,
And hors hewit on seir maneris,
And cot-armouris off seir colour,
And hawbrekis, that war quhit as flour, 232
Maid thame glitterand, as thai war lik
Till angellis he of hevinis rik.

Here King Robert meets him with Few.

The King said; “Lordingis, now yhe se
“How yhon men, throu thar gret pouste, 236
“Wald, and thai mycht fulfill thar will,
“Slay us, and mak sembland thar-till.
“And sen we knaw thair felony,
“Ga we and meit thame hardely, 240
“That the stoutest of thair menyhe,
“Of our metyng abaysit be.
[Pg 140] “For gif the formast egirly
“Be met, yhe sall se suddanly 244
“The henmast sall abasit be;
“And thouch that thai be ma than we,
“That suld abais us litill thing;
“For quhen we cum to the fichting, 248
“Thar may met us no ma than we.
“Tharfor, lordingis, ilkane suld be
“Of worschip and of gret valour,
“For till maynteme heir our honour. 252
“Thinkis quhat gladschip us abydis,
“Gif that we may, as us betydis,
“Haf victour of our fayis heir!
“For thar is nane her, fer no neir, 256
“In all this land that us thar dout.”
Than said thai all that stude about,
‘Schir, gif God will, we sall sa do,
‘That no repruf sall ly thar-to.’ 260
“Than ga we furth now,” said the King,
“And he, that maid of nocht all thing,
“Leyd us, and sauf us for his mycht,
“And help us for till hald our richt!” 264
With that thai held thar way in hy,
Weill sex hundreth in cumpany,
Stalward and stout, worthy and wicht:
Bot thai war all to few, I hicht, 268
Agane so feill to stand in stour,
Ne war thair outrageous valour.
MAY 10, 1307   The Battle of Loudoun Hill
Now gais the nobill Kyng his way,
Richt stoutly and in gude aray, 272
And to the formast dyk is gane,
And in the slop the feld has tane.
The cariage-men and the pouerale,
That wes nocht worth in the batale, 276
Behynd him levit he al still,
Standand all sammyn on the hill.
Schir Amery the King has seyn,
With his men that war cant and keyn, 280
[Pg 141] Cum to the playn doune fra the hill,
As him thoucht in-to full gud will
For to defend or till assaill,
Gif ony wald hym byde battale. 284
Tharfor his men confortit he,
And bad thame wicht and worthy be;
For gif at thai mycht wyn the Kyng,
And victor haf of the fechting, 288
Thai suld richt weill rewardit be,
And gretly ek thair renownee.
With that thai war weill neir the Kyng,
And he left his amonystyng, 292
And gert trumpe to the assemble;
And the formast of his menyhe
Enbrasit with that thar scheldis braid,
And rycht sarray to-gidder raid, 296
With hedis stowpand and speris straucht
Richt to the Kyng thar way thai raucht;
That met thame with sa gret vigour,
That the best and of mast valour 300
War laid at erd at thair metyng;
Quhar men mycht her sic a brekyng
Of speris that to-fruschyt war,
And the woundit so cry and rar, 304
That it anoyus wes till her.
For thai, that first assemblit wer,
Funyheit and fawcht full sturdely;
The noyis begouth than and the cry. 308

Here King Robert wins in Plain Battle.

A! mychty God! quha thair had beyn,
And had the Kyngis worschip seyn,
And his brothir that wes hym by,
That contenit thame so hardely, 312
That thair gud deid and thar bounte,
Gaiff gret confort to thair menyhe;
And how Dowglas so manfully
Confortit thame that war hym by; 316
[Pg 142] He suld weill say that thai had will
To wyn honor and cum thair-till.
The Kingis men, that worthy war,
With thair speris that scharply schar, 320
Stekit men and stedis bath,
Till red blud ran of woundis rath.
The hors that woundyt war can fling,
And ruschit the folk in thair flynging, 324
Swa that thai that than formast war
War skalyt in soppis heir and thar.[†]
The King that saw thame ruschit swa,
And saw thame reland to and fra, 328
Ran apon thaim so egirly,
And dang on thame sa hardely,
He gert feill of his fayis fall.
The feld wes weill neir coverit all 332
Bath with slayn hors and with men;
For the gud King thame followit then,
With weill fif hundreth that wapnys bar,
That wald thair fayis no thing spar. 336
Thai dang on thame so hardely,
That in schort tyme men mycht se ly
At erd ane hundreth and wele mar;[†]
The remanand the waykar war, 340
Than thai begouth thame to withdraw;
And quhen thai of the reirward saw
Thair vawarde be sa discomfit,
Thai flede withouten mair respit. 344
And quhen Schir Amer hes seyn
His men fleand haly bedeyn,
Wit yhe weill he wes full way;
Bot he mycht nocht amonist swa 348
That ony for him wald turne agane.
And quhen he saw he tynt his pane,
He turnit his bridill, and to-ga:
For the gud King thame presit swa 352
That sum war dede, and sum war tane;
The remanand thar gat ar gane.
[Pg 143]

Here Sir Aymer passes to England.

MAY, 1307   The Rejoicing of the Scots
The folk fled apon this maner
For-outen arest, and Schir Amer 356
Agane to Bothwell is he gane,
Menand the scath that he had tane;
Sa schamfull that he vencust wes,
That till Inglande in hy he gais 360
Richt till the King, and schamfully
He gaf up thar his wardanry.
Na never syne, for na kyne thing,
Bot gif he com richt with the King, 364
Com he to warra Scotland.
Sa hevely he tuk on hand,
That the King, in set battalyhe,
With a quheyn lik poueralyhe, 368
Vencust him with a gret menyhe,
That wes renownit of gret bounte.
Sic anoy had Schir Amery:
And King Robert, that wes hardy, 372
Abaid all still in-to the plas,
Till that his men left all the chas;
Syne with presoners that thai had tane,[†]
Thai ar towart thair innys gane, 376
Fast lovand God of thair weillfair.
Men mycht haf seyn, quha had beyn thair,
A folk that mery war and glad
For thair victour; and als thai haid 380
A lord so swet and deboner,[†]
So curtas, and of sa fair effer,
So blith als, and so weill bowrdand,
And in battale so stith to stand, 384
So wis, and richt sua avise,
That thai had gret caus blith to be.
So war thai blith forouten dout;
For feill, that wonnyt thaim about, 388
Fra thai the King saw help him swa,
Till him thar homage can thai ma.
[Pg 144] Than wox his power mair and mair,
And he thoucht weill that he wald fair 392
Outour the Month with his menyhe,
To luk quha that his frend wald be.
In-to Schir Alexandir the Freser
He trastit, for thai cosyngis wer, 396
And his brothir Symon, thai twa.
He had myster weill of ma,
For he hade fais mony ane;
Schir Johne Cumyne Erll of Bouchane, 400
And Schir Johne the Mowbray syne,
And gud Schir David of Brechyne,
With all the folk in thair leding,
War fayis to the nobill King. 404
And, for he wist thai war his fayis,
His viage northwardis he tais;
For he wald se quhat-kyn ending
Thai walde mak of thair manasing. 408

How the Good King Robert the Bruce passed North beyond the Mounth.

The king buskit and maid him yhar,
Northwardis with his men to fair.
His brothir can he with hym ta,
And Schir Gilbert de le Hay alsua; 412
The Erll of Lennax als wes thar,
That with the King was our all quhar;
Schir Robert Boyd and othir ma.
The King can furth his wais ta, 416
And left James of Douglas,
With all the folk that with him was,
Behynd hym, for till luk gif he
Micht recover his cuntre. 420
He left him in-to gret perill;
Bot eftir, in ane litill quhill,
Throu his gret worschip sa he wrocht,
That to the Kingis pes he brocht 424
The forest of Selcryk all hale,
And alsua did he Douglasdale,
[Pg 145] And Gedword forest alsua.[†]
And quha sa weill on hand couth ta 428
To tell his worschippis ane and ane,
He suld fynd of thaim mony ane.
For in his tym, as men said me,
Threttene tymes vencust wes he, 432
And victory wan sevin and fifty.
He semyt nocht lang ydill to ly,
Be his travale he had na will;
Me think men suld him luf of skill. 436

Here Sir James wins Many Men, and makes First a Train on the Castle.

1307   The Activity of Douglas
This James, quhen the King wes gane,
All prevely his men has tane,
And went to Douglasdaill agane,
And maid all prevely a trane 440
Till thaim that in the castell war.
A buschement slely maid he thair;
And of his men fourteyn and ma
He gert, as thai war, sekkis ta 444
Fillit with gyrs, and syne thame lay
Apon thair hors, and hald thair way
Richt as thai wald to Lanrik fair,
Otow quhar the enbuschement war. 448
And quhen thai of the castell saw
So feill ladis gang on raw,
Of that sight war thai wondir fayn,
And tald it to thair capitane, 452
That hicht Schir Johne off Webitoune.
He wes bath yhoung, stout, and felloun,
Richt joly als, and volageous;
And for that he was amourous, 456
He wald ysche fer the blithlyer.
He gert his men all tak thar ger,
And yschit to get that vittale,
For thar vittale all fast couth fale. 460
[Pg 146] Thai yschit all abaundanly,
And prikit furth sa wilfully
To win the ladis at thai saw pas,
Quhill that Douglas with his men was 464
All betuix thame and the castell.
The layd-men that persavit weill
Thai kest thair ladis doun in hy,
And thair gownys deliverly, 468
That helit thame, thai kest away,
And in gret hy thair hors hint thai,
And stert upon thame sturdely,
And met thair fayis with a cry; 472
That had gret woundir, quhen thai saw
Thaim that war ere lurkand full law,
Cum apon thame so hardely,
Thai wox abasyd suddandly, 476
And at the castell wald haf beyn.
Quhen thai, on the othir haf, has seyn
Douglas brek his enbuschement,
That agane thame rycht stoutly went, 480
Thai wist nocht quhat till do no say.
Thar fayis at thair hand saw thai,[†]
That strak on thame forout sparing,
And thai mycht help thaim-self no thing, 484
Bot fled to warrand quhar thai mocht;
And thai so angirly on thame socht,
That of thame all eschapit nane.
Schir Jhone of Webitoun thar wes slaine; 488
And quhen he ded wes, as yhe her,
Thai fand in-till his awmener
A letter, that him send ane lady[†]
That he lufit per drowry; 492
The letter spak on this maner[†] *493
That said, quhen he had yhemyt a yher
In wer, as ane gud bachiller,
And governit weill, in all maner, *495
[Pg 147] The aventurus castell off Douglas,
That to kepe so perelous was, 496
Than mycht he weill ask ane lady
Hir amouris and hir drowry.
1307   Douglas destroys his Castle
The letter spak on this maner.
And quhen thai slayn on this wis wer, 500
Douglas richt to the castell raid,
And thair so gret debate he maid,
That in the castell enterit he.
I wat nocht all the certante, 504
Quhethir it wes throu strinth or slicht,
Bot he wrocht swa, throu his gret mycht,[†]
That the constabill and all the lafe
That war thar-in, bath man and knaf, 508
He tuk, and gaf thame dispending,
And send thame hame, but mair greving,
Till the Cliffurde in thair cuntre.
Ande syne so besely wrocht he, 512
That he all tumlit doune the wall,
And distroit the hous all:
Syne till the Forest held his way,
Quhar he had mony harde assay, 516
And mony fair poynt of wer befell;
Quha couth thame all rehers and tell,
He suld say that his name suld be
Lestande in full gret renoune.[†] 520

BOOK IX

How Good King Robert lay Sick in Inverury.

Now leif we in-to the Forest
Douglas, that sall haf litil rest,
Till the cuntre deliverit be
Of Inglis men and thair pouste: 4
And turne we to the nobill Kyng;
That, with the folk of his leding,
[Pg 148] Toward the Month has tane the way
Richt stoutly, in-to gud aray; 8
Quhar Alysandir Freser him met,
And als his brothir, Symon het,
With all the folk thai with thaim hade.
The Kyng gud counternans thaim maid, 12
That wes richt blith of thair cummyng.
Thai tald the King all the covyng
Of Jhone Cumyne the Erll of Bouchane,
That till help him had with him tane 16
Schir John Mowbra and othir ma,
Schir David the Brechyne alsua,
With all the folk of thair leding,
“And yharnis mair than ony thing 20
“Vengeans on yhow, Schir Kyng, to tak,
“For Schir John the Cumynis sak,
“That quhilom in Drumfreis wes slayn.”
The King said, ‘Sa our lord me sayn, 24
‘I had gret caus hym for to slay.
‘And syn that thai on hand will ta,
‘Becaus of hym, to warra me,
‘I sall thoill all a quhile, and se 28
‘On quhat wis that thai preif thar mycht.
‘And gif it fall at thai will ficht,
‘Giff thai assalyhe we mon defend;
‘Syne fall quhatevir that God will send.’ 32
Eftir this spek the Kyng in hy
Held straucht the way till Enverrowry:
And thair him tuk sic ane seiknes,
That put him till full hard distres, 36
That he forbare bath drink and met.
His men no medicine couth get
That evir mycht to the King availyhe.
His strinth so haly can him falyhe, 40
That he mycht nouthir ryde no ga.
Than, wit yhe weill his, men wes wa!
For nane wes in that cumpany,
That wald haf beyn half so sary 44
[Pg 149] For till half seyn his brothir ded
Lyand befor hym in that sted,
As thai war all for his sekness;
For all thair confort in him wes. 48
But gud Schir Edward the worthy,
His brothir that wes so hardy,
And wis and wicht, set mekill payn
To confort thame with all his mayn. 52
And quhen the lordis that war thair
Saw that the evill ay mair and mair
Travalit the King, thai thoucht in hy
It war nocht speidfull thair to ly: 56
For thair all playn wes the cuntre,
And thai war bot ane few menyhe
To ly, but strinth, in-to the playn.
For-thi, till that thair capitane 60
War coverit of his mekill ill,
Thai thoucht to wend sum strinth soyn til.
1307   The Importance of a Captain
For folk for-outen capitane,
Bot thai the bettir be a-pane, 64
Sall nocht be all so gud in deid,
As thai ane lord had thame to leid,
That dar put him in aventure,
But abasing, to tak the ure 68
That God will send: for quhen that he
Is of sic will and sic bounte,
That he dar put him till assay,
His folk sall tak ensampill ay 72
Of his gud deid and his bounte,
That ane of thame sall be worth thre
Of thame that wikkid chiftane has;
His wrechidnes so in thame gais, 76
That thai thair manlynes sall tyne
Throu wrechidnes of his covyne.
For quhen the lord at thame suld leid,
May do nocht bot as he war ded, 80
Or fra his folk haldis his way
Fleand, trow yhe nocht than that thai
[Pg 150] Sall vencust in thair hertis be?
Yhus, sall thai, as I trow, per de, 84
Bot gif thair hertis be so hye
Thai will nocht for thair worschip fle.
And thouch sum be of sic bounte,
Quhen thai the lord and his menyhe 88
Seis fle, yhit sall thai fle a-payn;
For all men fleis the ded richt fayn.
Se quhat he dois, that swa fowly
Fleis thus for his cowardy! 92
Bath him and his, vencust is he,
And gerris his fayis abovin be.
Bot he that, throu his gret nobillay,
To perellis him abawndonys ay 96
For to reconfort his menyhe,
Gerris thame be of so gret bounte,
That mony tym unlikly thing
Thai bring richt weill to gud ending. 100
So did this King that I of reid,
And, for his outrageous manheid,
Confortit his men on sic maneir,
That nane had radnes quhar he wer. 104
*Thai wald nocht ficht quhill that he wes
Liand in-till sic seiknes;
Tharfor in littar thai him lay,
And till the Slevach held their way,
And thoucht thair in that strinth to ly, 108
Till passit war his malady.

Here the Earl of Buchan gathers against the King.

NOV.-DEC. 1307   Skirmishing at Slevach
Bot fra the Erll of Bouchane
Wist that thai war thiddir gane,
And wist that swa seik wes the King 112
That men doutit of his coveryng,
He send eftir his men in hy,
And assemblit gret cumpany.
For all his awne men war thar, 116
And als frendis with him war;
[Pg 151] That wes Schir Johne the Mowbray,
And his brothir, as I herd say,
And als Schir David of Brechyne, 120
With fele folk in thair leding.
And quhan thai all assemblit war,
In hy thai tuk thair way till fair
To the Slevach, with all thar men, 124
For till assaill the King, that then
Wes liand in-till his seiknes.
This was eftir the Martymes,
Quhen snaw had helit all the land. 128
To the Slevach thai com neirhand,
Arayit on thair best maneir.
And than the Kingis men, that wer
War of thair com, thame apparalit 132
Till defend, gif thai thame assalit.
And nocht-for-thi thair fayis war
Ay twa for ane that thai war thair.
The Erlis men neir cumande war, 136
Trumpand and makand mekill fair,
And maid knychtis quhen thai war neir.
And thai, that in the wodsyde weir,
Stude in aray richt sarraly, 140
And thoucht to byde thair hardely
The cummyng of thair enymys.
Bot thai wald apon nakyn wis
Ysche till assale thame in fichting, 144
Till coverit war the nobill Kyng.
Bot gif othir wald thame assalyhe,
Thai wald defend, avalyhe que valyhe.[†]
And quhen the Erlis cumpany 148
Saw that thai wroucht so besaly,
That thai that strinth schup to defend,
Thair archaris furth to thame thai send
To bykkir thame, as men of mayn. 152
And thai send archaris thame agayn,
That bykkirrit thame so sturdely,
Till thai of the Erlis party
[Pg 152] In-to thair battale withdrawin war. 156
Thre dayis on this wis lay thai thar,
And bikkirrit thame evirilke day:
Bot thar bowmen the wer had ay.
And quhen the Kingis cumpany 160
Saw thair fayis befor thame ly,
That ilka day wox ma and ma,
And thai war quhoyn, and stad war swa
That thai had no-thing for to et, 164
Bot gif thai travalit it to get,
Tharfor thai tuk consale in hy
That thai wald thar no langer ly,
Bot hald thair way quhar thai mycht get, 168
Till thaim and thairis vittale and met.
In a littar the Kyng thai lay,
And redyit thame and held thar way,
That all thair fayis mycht thame se; 172
Ilk man buskit in his degre,
To ficht gif thai assalyheit war.
In myddis thame the King thai bair,
And yheid about hym sarraly, 176
And nocht full gretly can thame hy.
The Erll, and thai that with him war,
Saw that thai buskit thame to fair;
And saw how with so litill affray 180
Thai held furth with the King thar way,
Reddy to ficht quha walde assale,
Thair hertis all begouth to fale,
And in pes let thame pas thar way, 184
And till thair hous hame went thai.
How the King discomfited at Inverury
The Earl of Buchan shamefully.
DEC. 23, 1307   Brechin attacks at Inverury
The Erll his way tuk to Bouchane;
And Schir Edward the Broys is gane
Richt to Strabogy, with the Kyng; 188
And swa lang thair maid sojornyng,
Till he begouth to cover and ga,
And syne thair wayis can thai ta
[Pg 153] Till Enverrowry straucht agane; 192
For thai wald ly in-till the plane,
The wyntir sesoune; for vittale
In-to the playn mycht nocht thame fale.
The Erll wist that thai war thar, 196
And gaderit his menyhe heir and thar,
Brechyne, Mowbra, and thair men,
All to the Erll assemblit then,
And war a full gret cumpany 200
Of men arayit jolely.
Till Ald Meldrom thai held the way,
And thar with thair men lugit thai,
Before Yhoill-evyn ane nycht bot mair; 204
And thousand, trow I weill, thai war.
Thai lugit thame all thair that nycht;
And on the morn, quhen day wes licht,
The lord of Brechine, Schir Davy, 208
Is went towart Inverrowry,
To luk gyff he on ony wys[†]
Mycht do skaith till his ennemys.
In-to the end of Enverrowry 212
He com ridand so suddandly,
That of the Kingis men he slew
A part, and othir-sum thaim withdrew,
And fled thair way toward the King, 216
That, with the mast of his gaderyng,
On yhond half doun wes than lyand.
And quhen men tald him the tithand,
How Schir David had slayn his men, 220
His hors in hy he askit then,
And bad his men all mak thame yhare
In-to gret hy, for he wald fare
To bargane with his enymys. 224
With that he buskit for to ris,
That wes nocht all weill coverit then.
Then said sum of his preve men;
“Quhat think yhe, Schir, thusgat to fair 228
“To ficht, and yheit nocht coverit ar?”
[Pg 154] ‘Yhis,’ said the Kyng, ‘forouten wer;
‘Thair bost has maid me haill and fer.
‘For suld no medicine so soyne 232
‘Haff coverit me, as thai haf done.
‘Tharfor, sa God him-self me se!
‘I sall outhir haf thaim, or thai me.’
And quhen his men has herd the King 236
Set him so haill for the fechting,
Of his covering all blith thai war,
And maid thame for the battale yhar.

Here the Earl of Buchan flies, and Sir David Brechin yields himself to the King.

The nobill King ande his menyhe, 240
That mycht weill neir sevin hundreth be,
Toward Ald Meldrome tuk the way,
Quhar the Erll and his menyhe lay.
The discurrouris saw thame comande 244
With baneris to the wynd wafand;
And tald it to thar lord in hy,
That gert arm his men hastely,
And thame arayit for battale. 248
Behynd thame set thai thar merdale,
And maid gude sembland for the ficht.
The King com on with mekill mycht;
And thai abaid, makand gret fair, 252
Till thai neir at assemble war.
Bot quhen thai saw the nobill King
Cum stoutly on without stinting,
A litill on bridill thai thaim with-drew; 256
And the King, that rycht weill knew[†]
That thai war all discumfit neir,
Pressit on thame with his baneir;
And thai with-drew thaim mair and mair. 260
And quhen the small folk thai had thar,
Saw thair lordis with-draw thame swa,
Thai turnit thar bak all, and to-ga;
[Pg 155] And fled all scalit heir and thair. 264
The lordis, that yheit to-giddir war,
Saw that thair small folk war fleand,
And saw the Kyng stoutly cumand,
Thai war ilkane abasit swa, 268
That thai the bakkis gaf, and to-ga.
A litill stound sammyn held thai,
And syne ilk man has tane his way.
DEC. 23, 1307   Buchan is Defeated
Fell nevir men so foull myschans 272
Eftir so sturdy cuntyrnans.
For quhen the Kyngis cumpany
Saw at thai fled so fowlely,
Thai chasyt thame with all thar mayn, 276
And sum thai tuk, and sum war slayn.
The remanand war fleand ay;
Quha had gud hors gat best away!
Till Ingland fled the Erll of Bouchane, 280
Schir Johne Mowbray is with him gane,
And war resettit with the King.
Bot thai had bath bot schort lesting,
For thai deit soyn eftir syne. 284
And Schir David of Brechyne
Fled to Brechine, his awn castele,
And warnyst it bath fair and wele.
Bot the Erll of Adell Davy, 288
His sone that wes in Kyldromy,
Com syne, and him assegit thar.
And he, that wald hald weyr no mair,
Nor bargane with the nobill Kyng, 292
Com syne his man with gud treting.

Here the King burns all Buchan, and gets the Castle of Forfar and destroys it.

Now ga we to the King agane,
That of his victor wes richt fane,
And gert his men burn all Bouchane 296
Fra end till end, and sparit nane;
[Pg 156] And heryit thame on sic maneir,
That eftir that, weile fifty yheir,[†]
Men menyt “the heirschip of Bouchane.” 300
The King than till his pes has tane
The north cuntre, that humylly
Obeysit till his senyhory.
Swa that be north the Month war nane 304
That thai ne war his men ilkane.
His lordschip wox ay mair and mair.
Toward Angus than couth he fair,
And thoucht soyn to mak all fre 308
Apon north half the Scottis Se.[†]
The castell of Forfer wes then
Stuffit all with Inglis men.
Bot Philip the Forster of Platan 312
Has of his frendis with him tane,
And with ledderis all prevely
To the castell he can hym hy,
And clam out-our the wall of stane, 316
And swagat has the castell tan,
Throu falt of wach, with litill payn.
And syn all that he fand has slayn:
Syne yhald the castell to the King, 320
That maid hym richt gud rewarding,
And syne gert brek doune the wall,
And fordid well and castell all.

How Good King Robert the Bruce besieged the Town of Perth.

JAN. 1313   Perth is too Strong for Assault
Qwhen that the castell of Forfar, 324
And all the towris tumlit war
Doun to the erd, as I haf tald,
The wis king, that wes wicht and bauld,
That thoucht that he wald mak all fre 328
Apon north half the Scottis Se,
Till Perth is went with all his rout,
And umbeset the toune about,
[Pg 157] And till it has ane sege soyn set. 332
Bot quhill it mycht haf men and met,
It mycht nocht, but gret payn, be tane
For the wallis war all of stane,
With thik towris and hye standand. 336
And that tym war thar-in duelland
Moffat, and als Olyfard;[†]
Thai twa the toun had all in ward.
Of Strathern als the Erll wes thar; 340
Bot his sone and of his men war
Without, in-to the Kingis rout.
Thar wes oft bikkyrring stith and stout,
And men slayn apon ilk party. 344
Bot the gud King, that all vitty
We in his dedis evirilkane,
Saw the wall so stith of stane,
And saw defens at thai can ma, 348
And how the toun wes hard to ta
With oppyn assale, be strinth or mycht,
Tharfor he thoucht to wirk with slicht.
And all the tym that he thair lay 352
He spyit, and slely gert assay
Quhar of the dik the schawdest was;
Till at the last he fand a place
That men mycht to thair schulderis waid. 356
And quhen he that place fundyn had,
He gert his menyhe busk ilkane,
Quhen sex woukis of the sege wes gane.[†]
Thai tursit thair harnas halely, 360
And left the sege all oppinly,
And furth with all his folk can fair,
As he wald do thar-to no mair.

Here he gets it with Jeopardy.

And thai that war within the toune, 364
Quhen thai to fair so saw him boune,
[Pg 158] Thai schowtit hym and scornyng maid;
And he furth on his wayis raid,
As he na will had agane to turne, 368
Na besyde thame to mak sojorne.
Bot in aucht dais nocht-for-thi,
He gert mak ledderis prevely,
That mycht suffice till his entent, 372
And in a myrk nycht syne is went
*Toward the toun with his menyhe.[†]
*Bot hors and knafis all left he
Fer fra the toun, and syne has tane *376
*Thair ledderis, and on fut are gane
Toward the toune all prevely.
Thai herd no wachis spek no cry:
For thai that war within, ma fall, 376
As men that drede nocht, slepit all.
Thai had no dreid than of the King,
For thai of hym herd no tithing
All thai thre dais befor and mair; 380
Tharfor sekir and trast thai war.
And quhen the King herd thame nocht steir,
He wes blith apon gret maneir;
And his leddir in hand can ta, 384
Ensampill till his men till ma,
Arayit weill in all his geir,
Schot in the dik, and with his speir
Tastit, quhill he weill our woude, 388
Bot till his throt the wattir stude.
JAN. 1313   Perth is captured
That tym wes in his cumpany
A knycht of France, wicht and hardy;
And quhen he in the wattir swa 392
Saw the King pas, and with him ta
His leddir unabasitly,
Ha sanyt him for the ferly,
And said; “A Lord! quhat sall we say 396
“Of our lordis of France, that ay
“With gud morsellis farsis thair panch,
“And will bot et and drynk and dance,
[Pg 159] “Quhen sic a knycht, sa richt worthy 400
“As this is throu his chevelry,
“In-to sic perill has hym set,
“To wyn ane wrechit hamlet?”
With that word to the dik he ran, 404
And our eftir the Kyng he wan.
And quhen the Kyngis menyhe saw
Thar lord pas our, in-till a thraw
Thai passit the dik, and, but mar let, 408
Thair ledderis to the wall thai set;
And to clym up fast pressit thai;
Bot the gud Kyng, as I herd say,
Was the tothir man that tuk the wall, 412
And baid thair, till his menyhe all
War cummyn our in full gret hy;
Yheit rais thar nouthir nois nor cry.
Bot soyn eftir thai noyis maid, 416
That of thame first persaving had,
So that the cry rais throu the toune;
Bot he, that with his men wes boune
Till assale, to the toune is went, 420
And the mast of his menyhe sent
All scalit throu the toun, bot he
Held with him-self a gret menyhe,
Swa that he mycht be appurvait, 424
To defend, gif he war assayit.
Bot thai, that he send throu the toune,
Put soyn to gret confusioune
Thair fayis, that in beddis war, 428
Or scalit, fleand heir and thair;
That, or the sone rais, thai had tane
Thair fayis, or discumfit ilkane.
The wardanis bath tharin war tane: 432
And Malis of Strathern is gane
Till his fader, the Erll Malis,
And with strinth tuk him and all his;
Syne, for his sake, the nobill King 436
Gaf hym his land in governyng.
[Pg 160] The laif, that ran out throu the toune,
Sesit to thame in gret fusioune
Men, armyng and marchandis, 440
And othir gudis on syndri wis;
Quhill thai, that war eir pouer and bare,
Of that gude rych and mychty war.
Bot thair wes few slayne; for the King, 444
Had gevin thame in commandyng,
On gret payn, thai suld slay nane,
That, but gret bargane, mycht be tane;
That thai war kynde to the cuntre 448
He wist, and had of thame pite.
On this maner the toun wes tane.
And syne the towris everilkane
And wallis gert he tummyll doune: 452
He levit nocht about that toune
Tour standand, stane no wall,
That he na haly gert distroy all.
And presoneris, that thair tuk he, 456
He send quhar thai mycht haldin be,
And till his pes tuk all the land;
Wes nane that durst him than withstand.

Here All Scots obey the King except Lorn.

Apon north half the Scottis Se 460
Obeysit all till his majeste,
Outane the Lord of Lorn, and thai
Of Argile that wald with him ga.
He held evir agane the King, 464
And hatit hyme atour all thing.
Bot yheit, or all the gammyn ga,
I trow weill that the King sall ta
Vengeans of his gret cruelte, 468
And that him sair repent sall he,
That he the King contraryit ay,
May fall, quhen he no mend it may.
[Pg 161]

Here Sir Edward Bruce is much commended.

JUNE 1308   Edward Bruce is in Galloway
The Kingis brothir, quhen the towne 472
Wes takyn thus and doungyn doune,
Schir Edward, that wes so worthy,
Tuk with him a gret cumpany,
And tuk his gat toward Galloway. 476
For with his men he walde assay
Gif he recover mycht that land,
And wyn fra Inglis mennys hande.
This Schir Edward, forsuth, I hicht, 480
Wes of his handis a nobill knycht,
And in blithnes swet and joly;
Bot he wes outrageous hardy,
And of so hye undirtaking, 484
That he had nevir none abasing
Of multitude of men; for-thi
He discumfit commonly
Mony with quheyn: tharfor had he 488
Outour his peris renowne.
And quha rehers wald all his deid,
Of his hye worschipe and manheid
Men mycht mony romanys mak; 492
And, nocht-for-thi, I think till tak
On hand off hym to say sum thing,
Bot nocht the tend part his travaling.
This gud knycht, that I spek of heir, 496
With all the folk that with hym weir,
Weill soyn to Galloway cummyn is,
All that he fand he maid it his;
And ryotit gretly the lande. 500
Bot than in Galloway war wonnand
Schir Ingerame Umphrevell, that wes
Renownit of so hye prowes,
That he of worschip passit the rout: 504
Tharfor he gert ay ber about
Apon a sper ane red bonat,
In-to the takyn that he wes set
[Pg 162] In-to the hicht of chevelry; 508
Of Sanct Johne als Schir Amery.
Thai twa the land had in stering,
And quhen thai herd of the cummyng
Of Schir Edward, that so planly 512
Our-raid the land, than in gret hy
Thai assemblit all thair menyhe.
I trow twelf hundreth thai mycht be.

Here Sir Edward Bruce discomfits the Englishmen at Cree.

Bot he with fewar folk thaim met 516
Besyde Cre, and so hard thame set,
With hard battale in stalwarde ficht,
That he thame all put to the flicht,
And slew twa hundreth wele and ma, 520
And the chiftanis in hy can ta
Thair way to Buttill, for till be
Resavit in-to gude savite.
And Schir Edward thame chasit fast; 524
Bot till the castell at the last
Gat Schir Ingerame and Schir Amery;
Both the best of thair cumpany
Left ded behynd thame in the plas. 528
And quhen Schir Edward saw the chas
Wes falit, he gert seys the pray;
A swa gret cattell had away,
That it war woundir for till se. 532
Of Buttill tour thai saw how he
Gert his men drif with him thar pray,
Bot no let set tharin mycht thai.
JUNE 1308   Umfraville thinks to surprise Edward
Throu his chevelrous chevelry 536
Galloway wes stonayit gretumly,
And doutit hym for his bounte.
Sum of the men of the cuntre
Com till his pes, and maid him ath. 540
Both Schir Amery, that had the scath
Of the bargane I tald of er,
Raid till Ingland, and purchast ther
[Pg 163] Of armyt men gret cumpany, 544
To venge hym of the velany
That Schir Edwarde, the nobill knycht,
Him did by Cre in-till the ficht.
Of gude men he assemblit thair 548
Weill fyftene hundreth men and mar,
That war of rycht gude renowne.
His way with all that folk tuk he,
And in the land, all prevely, 552
He enterit with that chevelry;
Thinkand Schir Edward to suppris,
Gif that he mycht on ony wis:
For he thoucht he wald him assale, 556
Or that he left, in playn batale.
Now may yhe heir of gret ferly,
And of richt hye chevelry.
For Schir Edward into the land 560
Wes with his menyhe neir at hand;
And in the mornyng richt airly
He herd the cuntre men mak cry,
And had wittering of thair cummyng. 564
Than buskit he him but delaying.
And lap on hors deliverly.
He had than in his rowt fifty,
Apon gude hors armyt richt weill. 568
His small folk gert he ilk deill
With-draw thame till a strate neir by:
And he raid furth with his fifty.

Here he discomfits far more manfully, that is to say, Fifteen Hundred with Fifty.

A knycht, that than wes in his rout, 572
Worthy and wicht, stalward and stout,
Curtas and fair, and of gude fame,
Schir Alane of Catkert be name,[†]
Tald me this taill as I sall tell. 576
Gret myst in-to the mornyng fell,
Swa that men mycht nocht se thaim by,
For myst, ane bow-draucht fullely.
[Pg 164] Sa hapnyt that thai fand the trais, 580
Quhar at the rout furth passit was
Of thair fayis, that forouth raid.
Schir Edward, that gret yharnyng had
All tyme for till do chevelry, 584
With all his rout in full gret hy,
Followit the tras quhar gane war thai:
And, before myd-morne of the day
The myst wox cleir all suddanly; 588
Than he and all his cumpany
War nocht ane bow-draucht fra the rout.
Than schot thai on thame with a schout;
For gif thai fled, thai wist that thai 592
Suld nocht weill ferd part get away.
Tharfor in aventure till de
He wald him put or he wald fle.
And quhen the Inglis cumpany 596
Saw on thame cum so suddanly
Sic folk, forouten abasing,
Thai war stonayit for affraying.
And the tothir, but mair abaid, 600
So hardely emang thame raid,
That fele of thame to erde thai bare.
Richt gretly thus stonayit thai ware
Throu the fors of that first assay, 604
That thai war in-to gret affray,
And wend be fer thai had beyn ma,
For that thai war assalyhit swa.
And syne Schir Edwardis cumpany, 608
Quhen thai had thrillit thame hastely,
Set stoutly in the hedis agane,
And at that cours borne doun and slane
War of thair fais a gret party, 612
That than affrait war so gretly,
That thai war scalit gretly then.
And quhen Schir Edward and his men
Saw thame in-to so ill aray, 616
The thrid tyme on thame prikid thai.
And thai that saw thame so stoutly
Cum on thame, dred thame gretumly,
[Pg 165] That all thair rout, bath les and mair, 620
Fled, ilkane scalit, heir and thair.
Wes nane emang thame so hardy
To byde, bot all comonly
Fled to warand; and he can chas, 624
That wilfull till distroy thame was:
For sum he tuk, and sum war slayn,
Bot Schir Amery with mekill payn
Eschapit, and his gat is gane. 628
His men discumfit war ilkane;
Sum tane, sum slayn, sum gat away.
This wes a richt fair point, perfay!

Sir Edward Bruce in a Year won Thirteen Castles.

1308   Edward Bruce subdues Galloway
Lo! how hardyment tane suddanly, 632
And drivin syne till end scharply,
May ger oft-sis unlikly thyngis
Cum to richt fair and gud endingis!
Richt as it fell in this case heir; 636
For hardyment, withouten weir,
Wan fyftene hundreth with fifty,
Quhar ay for ane thai war thretty:
And twa men ar a manis her; 640
Bot ure thame led on sic maner,
That thai discumfit war ilkane.
Schir Amery hame his gate is gane,
Richt blith that he so gat away. 644
I trow he sall nocht mony day
Have will to warra that cuntre,
With-thi Schir Edward tharin be!
Ande he duelt furth in-to the land, 648
Thame that rebelland war warrand,
And in a yheir so warrait he,
That he wan quytly that cuntre
Till his brothiris pes, the king; 652
Bot that wes nocht but hard fichting.
For in that time thair him befell
Mony fair poynt, as I herd tell,
[Pg 166] The quhilk that ar nocht writin heir. 656
Bot weill I wat that, in that yheir,
Thretten castellis with strynth he wan,
And ourcom mony a mody man.
Quha-sa the suth of hym wald reid; 660
Had he had mesur in his deid,
I trow that worthyar than he
Micht nocht in his tyme fundyn be,
Outakyn his brothir anyrly, 664
To quhom, in-to gude chevelry,
I dar peir nane wes in his day.[†]
For he led hym with mesure ay,
And with gret wit his chevelry 668
He governit ay sa worthely,
That he oft full unlikly thing
Brocht rycht weill to gud ending.[†]

Here Sir James Douglas meets with Sir Alexander Stewart, Lord Bonkill.

In all this tym James of Douglas 672
In the Forest travaland was,
And it throu hardiment and slicht
Occupyit, magre all the mycht
Of his feill fayis, the-quhethir thai 676
Set him full oft in hard assay.
Bot oft throu wit and throu bounte
His purpos to gud end brocht he.
In-till that tym him fell, throu cas, 680
A nycht, as he travaland was,
And thought for till have tan restyne
In a hous on the wattir of Lyne;
And as he com with his menyhe 684
Neirhand the hous, swa lisnyt he,
And herd thair sawis ilke deill,[†]
And be that he persavit weill
[Pg 167] At thai war strange men at thair 688
That nycht thar-in herberyit wair.
And as he thoucht it fell, per cas;
For of Bonkill the lord thar was,
Alysander Stewart hat he, 692
With othir ma of gret bounte,
Thomas Randole of gret renown,
And Adame alsua of Gordoun,
That com thair with gret cumpany, 696
And thoucht in the Forest to ly,
And occupy it throu thar gret mycht,
Bath with travale and stallwart ficht,
To chas Douglas of that cuntre; 700
Bot othir wayis than yheid the gle.
1308   Randolph is Taken
For quhen James had witteryng
That strange men had tane herbreyng
In the place quhar he schupe to ly, 704
He till the hous went hastely,
And umbeset it all about.
Quhen thai within herd sic a rout
About the hous, thai rais in hy, 708
And tuk thair geir rycht hastely,
And schot furth, fra thai harnast war.
Thair fayis thaim met with wapnys bar,
And assalyheit richt hardely; 712
And thai defendit douchtely
With all thair mycht, till at the last
Thar fais pressit thame so fast,
That thair folk falyheit thame ilkane. 716
Thomas Randoll thar wes tane;
And Alexander Stewarde alsua
Wes woundit in a place or twa.
Adame of Gordoun fra the ficht, 720
Quhat throu slicht and quhat throu mycht,
Eschapit, and feill of his men;
Bot thai that war arestit then,
War of thair taking woundir wa; 724
Bot nedlyngis thame behufit be swa.
[Pg 168]

Here Sir James Douglas comes to the King with Sir Alexander Stewart and Thomas Randolph.

That nycht the gud lord of Douglas
Maid to Schir Alysander, that was
His emys son, richt gladsum cheir: 728
Sa did he als, forouten weir,
Till Thomas Randole, for that he
Wes till the King in neir degre
Of blude, for his sister him bare. 732
And on the morn, forouten mare,
Toward the nobill King he raid,
And with him bath thai twa he had.
The King of his cummyng wes blith, 736
And thankit him tharof feill sith.
And till his nevo can he say,
“Thou has a quhill renyit thi fay;
“Bot thou reconsalit now mon be.” 740
Then to the King soyn anseurd he,
And saide, ‘Yhe chasty me, bot yhe
‘Aw bettir chastyit for till be.
‘For sen that yhe warrait the King 744
‘Of Ingland in-to playn fichting
‘Yhe suld pres till derenyhe yhour richt,
‘And nocht with voidre na with slicht.’
The King said; “Yheit may fall it may 748
“Cum, or oucht lang, to sic assay.
“Bot sen thou spekis so ryaly,
“It is gret skill at men chasty
“Thi prowd wourdis till at thou knaw 752
“The richt, and bow it as thou aw.”
The King, for-out mair delaying,
Send hym to be in ferm keping,
Quhar that he all a quhill suld be, 756
Nocht all apon his awn pouste.
[Pg 169]

BOOK X

Here the King passes against John of Lorn.

1308   John of Lorn occupies a Pass
Qwhen Thomas Randol, on this wis
Wes takyn, as I heir devis,
And send to duell in gud keping,
For the speke he spak to the King; 4
The gud King, that thoucht on the scath,
The dispit and felony bath,
That John of Lorne had till him done,
His host assemblit he than soyn, 8
And toward Lorn he tuk the way,
With his men in-to gude aray.
Bot Johne of Lorn of his cummyng,
Lang or he com, had witteryng; 12
And men on ilk syde gaderit he,
I trow twa thousand thai mycht be;
And send thame for to stop the way,
Quhar the King behufit to ga: 16
And that wes in ane evill place,
That so strat and so narrow was,
That twa men sammyn mycht nocht ryde
In sum place of the hyllis syde. 20
The nethir half wes perelous;
For a schoir crag, hye and hyduous,
Raucht till the se, doun fra the pas.
On the owthir half ane montane was 24
So cumrous and ek so stay,
That it wes hard to pas that way.
Crechanben hecht that montane.
I trow that nocht in all Bretane, 28
Aye hyer hill may fundyn be.
Thar Johne of Lorne gert his menyhe
Enbuschit be abovyn the way;
For, gif the gud King held that way, 32
He thoucht he suld soyn vencust be;
And hym-self held hym on the se,
[Pg 170] Weill neir the pas with his galays.
Bot the King, that in all assays 36
Wes fundyn wis and averte,
Persavit thair subtilite,
And that he neid that gat suld ga.
His men departit he in twa; 40
And to the gud lorde of Douglas,
Quham in all wit and worschip was,
He taucht the archaris evirilkane.
And this gud lord has with him tane 44
Schir Alysander Freser the wicht,
And Williame Wisman, a gud knycht,
And with thame gud Schir Androu Gray:
Thir with thair menyhe held thar way, 48
And clam the hill delyverly.
And, or thai of the tothir party
Persavit thame, thai had ilkane
The hicht abovyn thair fayis tane. 52

Here the King meets with John of Lorn’s Company.

1308   The Fight for the Bridge
The King and his men held thar way,
And quhen in-to the pas war thai
Enterit, the folk off Lorne in hy
Apon the King rasit ane cry, 56
And schot, and tumlit on hym stanys,
Richt gret and hevy for the nanys.
Bot thai scathit nocht gretly the King;
For he had thar, in his leding, 60
Men that licht and delyver war,
And licht arming had on thaim thar,
Swa that thai stoutly clam the hill,
And lettit thair fayis to fullfill 64
The mast part off thar felony.
And als, apon the tothir party,
Com James of Douglas and his rout,
And schot apon thame with a schout, 68
And woundit thame with arrowis fast.
Syne with thair swerdis, at the last,
[Pg 171] Thai ruschit emang thame hardely.
For thai of Lorn, full manlely,[†] 72
Grete and apert defens can ma.
Bet quhen thai saw at thai war swa
Assalyheit apon twa parteis,
And saw weill that thair enymyis 76
Had all the farer off the ficht,
In full gret hy thai tuk the flicht.
And thai a felloun chas can ma,
And slew all at thai mycht ourta. 80
And thai that mycht eschap, perfay,[†]
Richt till ane wattir held thair way,
That ran doun by the hillis syde,
And wes rycht styth, bath deip and wyde, 84
That men in na place mycht it pas
Bot at ane brig beneth thaim was.
To that brig held thai fast thair way,
And till brek it can fast assay. 88
Bot thai that chassit, quhen thai thaim saw,
Mak thair arest, but dreid or aw
Thai ruschit apon thame hardely,
And discumfit thame utrely, 92
And held the brig haill, quhill the King,
With all the folk of his leding,
Passit the bryg all at thair ese.
Till Johne of Lorne it suld displese, 96
I trow, quhen he his men mycht se,
Out of his schippis fra the se,
Be slayn and chassit fra the hill,
And he mycht set no help thar-till. 100
For it angeris als gretumly,
To gud hertis that ar worthy,
Till se thair fais fulfill thair will,
As to thame-self to thole the ill. 104
[Pg 172]

Here the King besieges and wins Dunstaffnage Castle.

At sic myscheiff war thai of Lorne;
For feill the lyffis thair has lorne,
And othir sum thai flede away.
The Kyng in hy gert ses the pray 108
Of all the land; quhar men mycht se
So gret aboundans cum off fe,
That it war woundir till behald.
The King, that stout wes, stark and bald, 112
Till Dunstaffynch richt suddanely[†]
He past, and segit it sturdely
And assalyheit, the castell to get.
And in schort tyme he has thame set 116
In sic thrang, that tharin war than,
That, magre tharis, he it wan,[†]
And a gud wardane thair-in set,
And betaucht hym bath men and met, 120
Swa that he thair lang tym mycht be,
Magre thaim all of that cuntre.
Schir Alexander of Argill that saw
The King distroy up, cleyn and law, 124
His land, send tretis to the King,
And com his man but tarying;[†]
And he resavit him till his pes.
But Johne of Lorn his son yheit wes 128
Rebell, as he wes wont to be,
And fled with schippes to the see.
1313   William Bunnock’s Stratagem
Bot thai that left apon the land
War to the King all obeysand; 132
And he thar homage all has tane;
Syne toward Perth is passit agane,
To play hym thair in-to the playn:
Yheit Lowdyan wes him agayn. 136
[Pg 173] And at Lythkow wes than a peill,
Mekill and stark, and stuffit weill
With Inglis men, that wes reset
Till thaim that with armouris or met 140
Fra Edinburgh wald to Strevilling ga,
And fra Strevilling again alsua;
And till the cuntre did gret ill.
Now may yhe heir, gif that yhe will, 144
Interludys and juperdys,
That men assayit on mony wis,
Castellis and pelis for till ta.
And this Lithkow wes ane of thai; 148
And I sall tell how it wes tane.
In the cuntre thar wonnyt ane
That husband wes, and with his fee
Oftsis hay to the peill led he. 152
Wilyhame Bunnok to nayme he hicht,
*That stalward man wes in-to ficht.[†]
He saw sa hard the cuntre stad,
*That he gret noy and pite had
Throu fortrassis that war then
Governit and led with Inglis men, 156
Thai travalit men outour mesur.
He wes a stout carle and a sture,
And of him-self dour and hardy,
And had frendis wonnand hym by, 160
And schew till sum his prevate;
That apon his covyn gat he
Men that mycht ane enbuschement ma,
Quhill that he with his wayn suld ga 164
Till lede thaim hay in-to the peill.
Bot his wayn suld be stuffit weill:
For aucht men armyt in the body
Of his wayn suld syt prevaly, 168
And with hay helyt be about.
And hym-self, that wes dour and stout,
Suld by the wayn gang ydilly;
And ane yheman, wicht and hardy, 172
[Pg 174] Befor suld dryf the wayn, and ber
Ane hachit, that war scharp to scher,
Undir his belt; and quhen the yhet
Wes opnyt, and thai war thar-at, 176
Quhen he herd hym cry sturdely,
“Call all! Call all!” than hastyly
He suld stryk with the ax in twa
The hede-soyme; than in hy suld thai, 180
That war within the wayn, cum out,
And mak debat, quhill at thar rout,
That suld neir by enbuscht be,
Cum for to manteyme the melle. 184
This wes in-till the harvist tyde,
Quhen feldis, that war fair and wyde,
Chargit with corne assoverit war;
For syndri cornys that thai bair 188
Woxe rype to wyn to mannys fude;
And the treis all sammyn stude
Chargit with froytis on syndri wis.
That sammyn tym, as I devis,[†] 192
Thai of the peill had wonnyn hay,
And with this Bunnok spokin had thai
To leid thair hay, for he wes neir;
And he consentit but dangeir, 196
And said that in-to the mornyng
Weill soyn ane fudyr he suld bring,
Farer and greter, and weill mor
Than eny he broucht that yher befor: 200
And held thaim cunnand sekirly.
For that nycht warnyt he prevaly
Thaim that in the wayn suld ga,
And bad the buschement be alsua. 204
And thai so grathly sped thaim thar,
That or day thai enbuschit war
Weill neir the peill, quhar thai mycht heir
The cry alsoyne as ony weir, 208
And held thame swa still but stering,
That nane of thame had persavyng.
[Pg 175]
1313   Linlithgow Castle is Taken
And this Bunnok fast can him payn
Till dres his menyhe in his wayn; 212
And all a quhile befor the day,
He had thaim helit with the hay;
Than maid he him to yhok his fee,
Till men the sone schynande mycht se. 216
And sum that war within the peill
War yschit, on thair awn unseill,
To wyn thair harvist neir thar-by.
Than Bunnok, with the cumpany 220
That in his wayn closit he had,
Went on his way but mair abaid,
And callit his wayn toward the peill.
And the portar, that saw hym weill 224
Cum neir the yhat, it opnyt soyn:
And than Bunnok, forouten hoyn,
Gert call the wayn deliverly.
And quhen it wes set evinly 228
Betuix the chekys of the yhet,
Swa that men mycht it spar na gat,[†]
He cryit, “Theif! Call all! Call all!”
And he than leyt the gadwand fall, 232
And hewit in twa the soym in hy.
Bunnok with that deliverly
Raucht till the portar sic ane rout
That blude and harnys bath com out. 236
And thai that war within the wayn
Lap out belif, and soyn has slayn
Men of the castell that war by.
Than in a quhill begouth the cry: 240
And thai that neir enbuschit war
Lap out, and com with swerdis bar,
And tuk the castell all but payn,
And thame that tharin wes has slayn. 244
And thai that war went furth beforn,
Quhen thai the castell saw forlorn,
Thai fled to warrand to and fra;
And sum till Edinburgh can ga, 248
And till Strevilling ar othir gane,
And sum in-to the way war slayn.
[Pg 176]

How Earl Thomas Randolph became Man to the Good King Robert the Bruce.

Bunnok on this wis, wyth his wayn,
The peill tuk, and the men has slayn; 252
Syne taucht it to the Kyng in hy,
That hym rewardit worthely;
And gert doun driff it to the ground;
And syne our all the land can found, 256
Settand in pes all the cuntre,
That till hym obeisand wald be.
And quhen a litill tym wes went,
Eftir Thomas Randale he sent, 260
And with hym so weill tretit he,
That he his man hecht for till be.
And the king him soyn forgaf:
Ande, for till hye his stat, hym gaf 264
Murref, and tharof Erll hym maid
And othir syndri landis braid
He gaf him in-till heritage.
He knew his worthy vassalage, 268
And his gret wit and his avis,
His trast hart and his leill servis.
Tharfor in hym affyit he,
And maid him rych of land and fee, 272
As it wes certis richt worthy.
*For, and men spek of him trewly,[†]
*He was so curageous a knycht,
*So wis, so worthy, and so wycht,
And of so soverane gret bounte,
That mekill of him may spokin be.
Therfor I think of hym to reid, 276
And till schaw part of his gud deid,
And till discryve yhow his fassoun
With part of his condicioun.
He wes of mesurabill stature, 280
And portrait weill at all mesure,
With braid visage, plesand and fair,
Curtas at poynt, and debonar;
[Pg 177] And of richt sekir contenyng. 284
Laute he lufit atour all thing;
Falsade, tresoune, and felony,
He stude agayne ay ythandly.
He hyet honour and larges, 288
And ay mantemyt richtwisnes.
In cumpany solacious
He wes, and thar-with amorus.
And gud knychtis he lufit ay. 292
For gif that I the suth sall say,
He wes fullfillit of all bunte,
And off all vertuis maid wes he.
I will commend him heir no mar, 296
Bot yhe sall weill heir forthirmar
That he, for his dedis worthy,
Suld weill be prisit soveranly.
1314   Randolph besieges Edinburgh Castle
Qwhen the King wes thus with him saucht, 300
And gret lordschippis had him betaucht,
He wex so wis and avise,
That his land first weill stablist he;
And syne he sped him to the were, 304
Till help his eym and his effere.[†]
With the consent of the gud Kyng,
Bot with a sympill apparalyng,
Till Edinburgh he went in hy, 308
With gud men in-till cumpany,
And set a sege to the castele,
That than wes warnyst wondir wele
With men and vittale at all richt, 312
So that it dred no mannis mycht.
Bot this gud Erll nocht-for-thi
The sege tuk full apertly:
And presyt the folk that thar-in was[†] 316
Swa that nocht ane the yhet durst pas.
Thai may abyde thar-in and et
Thair victaill, quhill thai oucht mai get:[†]
Bot I trow thai sall lettit be 320
To purchas mair in the cuntre.
That tym Edward, of Ingland Kyng,
[Pg 178] Had gevin the castell in keping
Till Schir Peris Lumbard a Gascoun. 324
And quhen thai of his warnysoun
Saw the sege set thair stithly,
Thai mystrowit hym of tratory,
For that he spokin had with the King. 328
And, for that ilk mystrowing
Thai tuk him and put in presoun;
And off thair awne nacioun
Thai maid a constabill thaim to leid, 332
Richt war and wis and wicht of deid.
And he set wit and strinth and slicht
To kepe the castell at his mycht.
But now of thame I will be still, 336
And spek a litill quhill I will
Of the douchty lord Dowglas,
At that tym in the Forest was.
Quhar he full mony a juperdye, 340
And fair poyntis off chevelry,
Previt, als weill be nycht as day,
Till thame that in the castellis lay,
Off Roxburgh and Jedworth; bot I 344
Will let fele of thame pas forby.
For I can nocht rehers thame all,
And thouch I couth, trow weill yhe sall,
That I might nocht suffice thar-to, 348
Sa mekill suld be thair ado.
Bot thai that I wat wittirly,
Eftir my wit rehers sall I.

The winning of the Castle of Roxburgh by the Douglas through the Sleight of John Ledhouse.

FEB. 27, 1314   The Scots are taken for Oxen
This tym that the gud Erll Thomas 352
Assegit, as the lettir sais,
Edinburgh, James of Douglas
Set all his wit for till purchas
How Roxburgh throu subtilite 356
Or ony craft, mycht wonnyn be;
[Pg 179] Till he gert Sym of the Ledows,
A crafty man and a curious,[†]
Of hempyn rapis ledderis ma, 360
With treyn steppis bundin swa,
That wald brek apon nakyn wis.
A cruk thai maid, at thair devis,
Of irn, that wes styth and square; 364
That, fra it in ane kyrnaill ware,
And the leddir thar-fra stratly
Strekit, it suld stand sekirly.
This lord of Douglas than, alsoyn 368
As this devisit wes and done,
Gaderit gud men in prevate;
Thre score I trow at thai mycht be.
And on the Fasteryn evyn rycht, 372
In the begynnyng of the nycht,
Till the castell thai tuk the way.
With blak froggis all helit thai
The armouris at thai on thame had. 376
Thai com ner by thar but abaid,
And send haly thair hors thame fra,
And on range in ane rod can ga
On handis and feit, quhen thai war neir, 380
Richt as thai ky and oxin weir,
That war unbondyn left therout.
It wes richt merk forouten dout:
The-quhethir ane, on the wall that lay, 384
Besyde him till his feir can say,
“This man thinkis to mak gude chere,”
(And nemmyt ane husband thar-by neir)
“That has left all his oxyne out.” 388
The tothir said, ‘It is na dout
‘He sall mak merye this nycht, thouch thai
‘Be with the Douglas led away.’
Thai wende the Douglas and his men 392
Had beyn oxyne, for thai yheid then
On handis and feit, ay ane and ane.
The Dowglas rycht gud tent has tane
[Pg 180] Till all thar speke, bot als-soyn thai 396
Held carpand inward on thar way.
The Douglas men thar-of wes blith.
And till the wall thai sped thame swith,
And soyn has up thair ledderis set, 400
That maid a clap, quhen the cleket
Wes festnyt fast in the kyrnell.
That herd ane of the wachis wele,
And buskit thiddirward but baid; 404
Bot Ledous, that the leddyr maid,
Sped hym to clym first to the wall:
Bot, or he wes up gottin all,
He at that ward had in keping, 408
Met him rycht at the up-cummyng;
And for he thoucht to dyng hym doune,
He maid na noyis na cry na sowne,
Bot schot till him deliverly. 412
And he that wes in juperdy
Till de, a lans till him he maid,
And gat him be the nek but baid,
And stekit him upward with ane knyff, 416
Quhill in his hand he left the liff.
And quhen he ded sa saw him ly,
Upon the wall he went in hy,
And doune the body kest thame till, 420
And said, “All gangis as we will.
“Speid yhow upward deliverly.”
And thai did swa in full gret hy.
Bot, or thai wan up, thar com ane, 424
And saw Ledows stand him allane,
And knew he wes nocht of thar men.
In hy he ruschit till hym then,
And hym assalyheit sturdely; 428
Bot he hym slew deliverly,
For he wes armyt and wes wycht,
The tothir nakyt wes, I hicht,
And had nocht for till stynt no strak. 432
Sic melle tharup can he mak,
Quhill Douglas, and his menyhe all
War wonnyn up apon the wall.
[Pg 181]
FEB. 27, 1314   Douglas holds the Hall
Than in the tour thai went in hy. 436
The folk that tym wes halely
In-to the hall at thair dansyng,
Synging, and othir wayis playing:
As apon Fastryn evyn is 440
The custom to mak joy and blis,
To folk that ar in-to savite;
Swa trowit thai that tym to be.
Bot, or thai wist, rycht in the hall 444
Douglas and his men cummyn war all.
And cryit on hicht, “Douglas! Douglas!”
And thai, that ma war than he was,
Herd “Dowglas!” cryit richt hidwisly, 448
Thai war abasit for the cry,
And schupe richt na defens to ma.
And thai but pite can thame sla,
Till thai had gottyn the ovir hand. 452
The tothir fled to seyk warrand,
That out-our mesure dede can dreid.
The wardane saw how that it yheid,
That callit wes Gylmyne de Fenis, 456
In the gret toure he gotten is,
And othir of his cumpany,
And sparit the entre hastily.
The layff, that levit war without, 460
War tane or slane, forouten dout,
Bot giff that ony lap the wall.
The Douglas held that nycht the hall,
All-thouch his fais thar-of wes wa. 464
His men war gangand to and fra
Throu-out the castell all that nycht,
Till on the morn that day wes lycht.
The wardane that wes in the tour, 468
That wes a man of gret valour,
Gylmyne the Fynis, quhen he saw
The castell tynt, bath hye and law,[†]
He set his mycht for till defende 472
The tour; but thai without him send
[Pg 182] Arrowes in so gret quantite,
That anoyit tharof wes he.
Bot to the tothir day nocht-for-thi 476
He held the tour full sturdely,
And than at ane assalt he was
Woundit so felly in the face,
That he wes dredand of his lif: 480
Tharfor he tretit thame belif,
And yhald the tour on sic maner,
That he and all that with hym weir
Suld saufly pas in-to Ingland. 484
Douglas held thame gud cunnand,
And convoyit thame to thair cuntre.
Bot thar full schort tym liffit he;
For throu the wound in-till the face 488
He deit soyn, and beryit was.
Douglas the castell sesit all,
At than wes closit with stalward wall,
And send this Leydous till the Kyng, 492
That maid hym full gret rewarding.
And his brothir in full gret hy,
Schir Edward, that wes sa douchty,
He send thiddir to tummyll it doune 496
Bath tour, castell, and dungeoune.
And he com with gret cumpany,
And gert travale so besaly,
That tour and wall rycht to the ground 500
War tumlyt in ane litill stound:
And duelt still thar, quhill Tevydaie
Com to the Kyngis pes all haill,
Outane Jedworth and othir that neir, 504
The Inglis mennis bowndis weir.

Here Sir Thomas Randolph besieges Edinburgh.

Qwhen Roxborgh won wes on this wis,
The Erll Thomas, that hye enpris
Set ay apon soverane bounte, 508
At Edinburgh with his menyhe
[Pg 183] Was lyand at the sege, as I
Tald yhow befor all oppynly.
Bot fra he herd how Roxburgh was 512
Tane with a trane, all his purchas,
With wit and besynes, I hicht,
He set to purches him sum slicht,
How he mycht help hym throu body[†] 516
Mellit with full hye chevelry,
To wyn the wall of the castell
Throu sumkyn slicht; for he wist weill
That no strinth mycht it planly get, 520
Quhill thai within had men and met.
Tharfor prevely sperit he
Gif ony man mycht fundin be,
That couth ony gude jupardye 524
To clym the wallis prevelye;
And he suld haf his warisoune.
For it wes his entencioune
Till put him in-to aventure, 528
Or at that sege on him forfure.[†]
MARCH, 1314   William Francis offers to Guide
Than wes thair ane William Francas,
Wicht and apert, wis and curtas,[†]
That in-till his yhouthede had beyn 532
In the castell; quhen he has seyn
The Erll sa ynkirly hym set
Sum sutelte or wile to get,
Quhar-throu the castell haf mycht he, 536
He com till hym in prevate,
And said; “Me think yhe wald blithly
“That men fand yhow sum juperdy,
“How yhe mycht our the wallis wyn: 540
“And certis gif yhe will begyn
“For till assay on sic a wis,
“I undirtak, for my service,
[Pg 184] “For to ken yhow to clym the wall, 544
“And I sall formast be off all;
“Quhar with a schort leddir may we,
“I trow of tuelf fut it may be,
“Clym to the wall up all quytly. 548
“And gif that yhe will wit how I
“Wat this, I sall yhow lichtly say.
“Quhen I wes yhoung this hendir day,
“My fader wes kepar of yhon hous, 552
“And I wes sumdele volageous,
“And lufit ane wench her in the toune;
“And for I, but suspicioun,
“Micht repair till hir prevely, 556
“Of rapis ane leddir to me maid I,
“And tharwith our the wall I slaid.
“Ane strat rod, that I spyit had
“In-till the crag, syne doune I went; 560
“And oftsis com to myne entent;
“And quhen it neir drew to the day,
“I held agane that ilke way,
“And ay com in but persaving. 564
“I oysit lang that travailing,
“So that I can that rod ga richt,
“Thouch men se nevir so myrk the nycht.
“And gif yhow thinkis yhe will assay[†] 568
“To pass up eftir me that way,
“Up to the wall I sall yhow bring,
“Gif God us kepis fra persaving
“Of thame that wachis on the wall. 572
“And gif that us so fair may fall,
“That we our leddir up may set,
“Giff a man on the wall may get,
“He sall defend, gif it beis neid, 576
“Quhill the remanand up thaim speid.”
The Erll wes blith of his carping,
And hicht him full fair rewardyng;
And undirtuk that gat to ga, 580
And bad him soyn his leddir ma,
And hald him preve quhill thai mycht
Set for thair purpos on ane nycht.
[Pg 185]

The winning of the Castle of Edinburgh by Good Earl Thomas Randolph.

MARCH 14, 1314   A Dangerous Climb
Soyne eftir wes the leddir maid; 584
And than the Erll, but mair abaid,
Purvait hym on a nycht prevaly,
With thritty men, wicht and hardy;
And in ane myrk nycht held thar way. 588
Thai put thame in full hard assay,
And to gret perell sekyrly.
I trow, mycht thai haf seyne cleirly,
That gat had nocht beyn undirtane, 592
Thouch thai to let thame had nocht ane.
For the crag wes hye and hidwous,
And the clymbyng rycht perelus:
For hapnyt ony to slyde or fall, 596
He suld be soyne to-fruschit all.
The nycht wes myrk, as I herd say,
And till the fut soyn cummyn ar thai
Of the crag, that wes hye and schore, 600
Than Williame Francous thame befor
Clam in the crykis forouth thaim ay,
And at the bak him followit thai,
With mekill payne, quhill to, quhill fra; 604
Thai clam in-to the crykis swa,
Quhill half the craggis thai clummyn had,
And thair ane place thai fand so braid,
That thai mycht syt on anerly. 608
And thai war ayndles and wery,
And thair abaid thair aynd to ta.
And richt as thai war syttand swa,
Abovyn thame, apon the wall, 612
The chak-wachis assemblit all.
Now help thame God that all thing may!
For in full gret perell ar thai.
For, mycht thai se thame, thair suld nane 616
Eschap out of that place unslane;
Till ded with stanys thai suld thaim dyng,
That thai mycht help thame-self no thing.
[Pg 186]
Bot wondir myrk wes all the nycht, 620
Swa that thai had of thame na sycht.
And nocht-for-thi yheit wes thar ane
Of thame that swappit doun a stane,
And said, “Away! I se yhow weill.” 624
The-quhethir he saw thame nocht a deill.
Out-our thair hedis flaw the stane,
And thai sat still, lurkande ilkane.
The wachis, quhen thai herd nocht stere, 628
Fra that ward passit all sammyn were,
And carpand held fer by thair way.
Erll Thomas than alsoyne, and thai
That on the crag thar satt hym by, 632
Toward the wall clam hastely,
And thiddir com with mekill mayne,
And nocht but gret perell and payne.
For fra-thine up wes grevousar 636
To clym up, na be-neth be fer.
Bot quhatkyn payn at evir thai had,
Richt to the wall thai com but baid,
That had weill neir tuelf fut on hicht. 640
And, for-owt persaving or sicht,
Thai set their ledder to the wall,
And syne Francous, befor thame all,
Clam up, and syne Schir Androu Gray, 644
And syne the Erll him-self, perfay,
Wes the thrid man the wall can ta.
Quhen thai thair doun thair lord swa
Saw clymen up apon the wall, 648
As wood men thai clame eftir all.
Bot or up cummyn all wer thai,[†]
Thai that war wachis till assay
Herd bath stering and ek speking, 652
And alswa fraying of armyng,
And on thame schot full sturdely:
And thai met thame richt hardely;
And slaw off thame dispitwisly. 656
Than throu the castell ras the cry,
[Pg 187] “Tresoune! Tresoune!” thai cryit fast.
Than sum of tham war sa agast,
That thai fled and lap our the wall. 660
Bot to say suth, thai fled nocht all;
For the constabill, that wes hardy,
All armyt schot furth to the cry,
And with him feill hardy and stout. 664
Yheit wes the Erll with his rout,
Fechtand with thame apon the wall;
Bot soyn he thame discomfit all.
Be that his men war cummyn ilkane 668
Up at the wall, and he has tane
His way doune to the castell soyne.
In gret perell he has hym done;
For thair wes fer ma men tharin, 672
And thai had beyn of gude covyn,
Than he; bot thai effrayit war.
And nocht-for-thi with wapnys bar,
The constabill and his cumpany 676
Met hym and his richt hardely,
MARCH 14, 1314   The Fight for the Castle
Thar men micht se gret bargane rys,
For with wapnys, on mony wis,
Thai dang on othir at thar mycht, 680
Quhill swerdis, that war fayr and brycht,
War till the hyltis all bludy.
Then hidwisly begouth the cry;
For thai that fellit or stekit war 684
With gret noyis can cry and rar.
The gud Erll and his cumpany
Faucht in that ficht so sturdely,
That all thair fayis ruschit war. 688
The constabill wes slayn richt thar:
And fra he fell, the remanand
Fled quhar thai best mycht to warrand:
Thai durst nocht byde na mak debat. 692
The Erll wes handlyt thair sa hat,
That had it nocht hapnyt throw cas,
That the constabill thair slayn was,
[Pg 188] He had beyn in gret perell thar; 696
Bot than thai fled, thar was no mar,
Ilke man for to sauf his lif,
And furth his dayis for to drif;
And sum slaid doune out our the wall. 700
The Erll has tane the castell all,
For than wes nane durst him withstand.
I hard nevir quhar in ane land,
Wes castell tane so hardely, 704
Outakyn Tyre all anerly,
Quhen Alexander the Conquerour,
That conquerit Babilonys tour,
Lap fra a berfrois on the wall; 708
Quhar he emang his fayis al
Defendit him full douchtely,
Quhill that his noble chevelry
With ledderis our the wallis yheid, 712
That nouthir left for ded no dreid;
For fra thai wist weill at the king
Wes in the toune, ther wes no thing
In-till that tyme that stint thame mocht, 716
For all perell thai set at nocht.
Thai clam the wallis, quhar Arestee
Com first to the gude king, quhar he
Defendit him with all his mycht, 720
That than wes set so hard, I hicht,
That he wes fellit on a kne:
He till his bak had set ane tre,
For dreid thai suld behynd assalyhe. 724
Arestee then to the battalyhe
Sped him in all hye sturdely,
And dang on thame so douchtely,
That the king weill reskewit was. 728
For his men, in-to syndry plas,
Clam our the wall and soucht the kyng,
And him reskewit with hard fichting;
And wan the toune deliverly. 732
Outakyn this takyng all anerly,
I herd nevir in na tyme gane
Quhar castell wes sa stoutly tane.
[Pg 189]
1314   The Prophecy of Queen Margaret
And of this takyng that I meyne, 736
Sanct Mergaret, the gud haly queyne,
Wist in hir tyme, throw reveling
Of him that knawis and wat all thing.
Tharfor, in stede of prophesye, 740
Scho left ane takyne richt joly,
That is that scho in hir chapell[†]
Gert weill be portrait ane castell,
A leddir up to the wall standand 744
And a man thar-on clymande,
And wrat owth him, as old men sayis,
In Franch, Gardis vous de Francois.
And for this word scho gert writ swa, 748
Men wend the Franch-men suld it ta.
Bot for Francois hattyn wes he,
That swa clam up in prevate,
Scho wrat that as in prophesy: 752
And it fell eftirward suthly
Richt as scho said; for tane it was,
And Francois led thame up that place.
On this wis Edinburgh wes tane; 756
And thai that war tharin ilkane
War tane, or slane, or lap the wall;
Thair gudis haff thai sessit all,
And soucht the housis evirilkane. 760
Schir Peris Lumbard that wes tane,
As I said ere befor, thai fand
In presoune, fetterit with boyis, sittand.
Thai broucht hym to the Erll in hy, 764
And he gert lows hym hastely;
Than he becom the Kingis man.
Thai send word to the King rycht than,
And tald how the castell wes tane; 768
And he in hy is thiddir gane,
With mony men in cumpany,
And gert myne doune all halely
Bath tour and wall richt to the ground: 772
And syne our all the land can found,
[Pg 190] Sesand the cuntre till his pes.
Of this deid, that so worthy wes,
The Erll wes prisit gretumly. 776
The King, that saw him sa worthy,
Wes blith and joyfull our the laif,
And to manteym his stat, him gaff
Rentis and landis fair eneuch. 780
And he to sa gret worschip dreuch,
That all spak of his gret bounte.
His fayis gretly stonayit he,
For he fled nevir throu fors of ficht. 784
Quhat sall I mair say of his mycht?
His gret manheid, and his bountee
Gerris him yheit oft renownyt be.
How Sir Edward won Ru’glen peel
And Dundee, then Stirling, besieged well.
In this tyme that thir juperdyis 788
On thir castellis, that I devis,
War eschevit swa hardely,
Schir Edward the Brois, the worthy,
Had all Galloway and Nyddis-daill 792
Wonnyn till his liking all haill;
And doungyn doune the castellis all
Richt in the dik, bath tour and wall.
He herd than say, and knew it weill, 796
That in Ruglyne wes ane peill.
Thiddir he went with his menyhe,
And wonnyn it in schort tym has he.
Syne till Dunde he tuk the way, 800
That than wes haldin, as I herd say,
Agane the King; tharfor in hy
He set ane sege thar-to stoutly,
And lay thar quhill it yholdyn was. 804
Till Strevilling syne the way he tais,
Quhar gud Schir Philip the Mowbra,
That wes full douchty at assay,
Wes wardane, and had in keping 808
That castell of the Inglis Kyng.
[Pg 191] Thar-till ane sege he set stythly;
Thai bykkirrit oftsis sturdely;
Bot gret chevelry done wes nane. 812
Schir Edward, fra the sege wes tane,
A weill lang tyme about it lay,
Fra the Lenteryne, that is to say,
Quhill forrouth the Saint Johnnis mes. 816
The Inglis folk, that tha-rin wes,
Begouth to fale the vittale than.
Than Schir Philip, the douchty man,
Tretit, quhill thai consentit weir, 820
That gif at Mydsummer tyme ane yheir
To cum, it war nocht with bataill
Reskewit, that than, withouten faill,
He suld the castell yheld quytly. 824
That cunnand band thai sekirly.

BOOK XI

1313   The Compact about Stirling
And quhen this cunnand thus wes maid,
Schir Philip in-to Ingland raid,
And tald the King all haill this tale,
How he a tuelf moneth all hale
Had, as it writtin wes in thair tale, 5
Till reskew Strevilling with battale.
And quhen he herd Schir Philip say
That Scottis men had set ane day
To fecht, and at sic space he had
Till purvay hym, he wes rycht glad; 10
And said, it wes gret succuddry
That set thame apon sic folye;
For he thocht to be, or that day,
So purvait, and in sic aray,
That thair suld na strinth him with-stand. 15
And quhen the lordis of Ingland
Herd at this day wes set planly,
Thai jugit it to gret foly,
And thoucht till haff all thair liking,
Giff men abaid thame in fechting. 20
[Pg 192] Bot oft falyheis the fulys thoucht:
And wis mennis etling cumis nocht
Till sic end as thai weyn alwayis.
A litill stane oft, as men sayis,
May ger weltir a mekill wane. 25
Na manis mycht may stand agane
The grace of God, that all thing steris;
He wat quhat-to all thing efferis,
And disponis at his liking,
Eftir his ordinans, all thyng. 30

The winning of Stirling by Sir Edward the Bruce, though the Battle was set over a Year and a Day, betwixt him and Sir Philip the Mowbray.

Qwhen Schir Edward, as I yhow say,
Had gevyn sa outrageous a day
To yheld or reskew Strevilling,
Richt soyne he went on-to the King.
And tald quhat tretis he had maid, 35
And quhat day he thame gevyn had.
The King said, quhen he herd the day,
“That wes unwisly done, perfay;
“I herd nevir quhar so lang warnyng
“Wes gevin to so mychty ane Kyng 40
“As is the Kyng of England.
“For he has now in-till his hand
“Ingland, Irland, and Walys alsua,
“And Akatane yhet, with all tha
“That duellis undir his senyhory, 45
And of Scotland a gret party.
“And off tresour so stuffit is he,
“That he may wageowris haf plente.
“And we ar qwheyn agane so fele;
“God may richt weill our werdis deill, 50
“Bot we ar set in juperdy
“To tyne or wyn than hastely.”
Schir Edward said; ‘Sa God me reid!
‘Thouch he and all that he may leid
‘Cum, we sall fecht, all war thai ma.’ 55
Quhen the King herd his brothir swa
[Pg 193] Spek to the battale so hardely,
He prysit hym in his hert gretly,
And said; “Brothir, sen swa is gane
“At this thing thus is undirtane, 60
“Schap we us tharfor manfully;
“And all that lufis us tendirly
“And the fredome of this cuntre,
“Purvay thaim at that time to be
“Bowne with all mycht that evir thai may; 65
“Swa that gif our fayis assay
“To reskew Strevillyng throu battale,
“That we of purpos ger thame faill.”
The assembling of the English host,
That with great power came and boast.
1314   The Preparations in both Countries
Till this all thai assentit ar,
And bad thair men all mak thaim yhare 70
For to be boune agane that day
On the best wis that evir thai may.
Than all, that worthi war to ficht
Of Scotland, set all haill thair mycht
Till purvay thame agane that day; 75
Wapnys and armowris purvayit thai,
And all that efferis to fichting.
And of Ingland the mychty Kyng
Purvait hym on so gret aray,
That certis nevir I herd yheit say 80
That Inglis men mair aparaile
Maid, than thai did than for battale.
And quhen the tym wes cummyn ner,
He assemblit all his power.
And, but his awne chevelry, 85
That wes so gret it wes ferly,
He had of mony a fer cuntre
With hym gud men of gret bounte.
Of Frans ane worthy chevelry
He had in-till his cumpany; 90
The Erll of Hennaut als wes thar,
And wyth him men that worthy war;
[Pg 194] Of Gascon and of Almanyhe;
Of Duche als and of Bretanyhe[†]
He had wicht men and weill farrand, 95
Armyt clenly at fut and hand.
Of Ingland hale the chevelry[†] *97
He had thair gaderit so clenly, *98
That he left nane mycht wapnys welde,
Or worthy war to ficht in felde.
Of Walis als wyth hym had he,
And of Irlande ane gret menyhe; 100
Of Pouty, Aquytane, and Bayon
He had full mony of gret renoun.
And of Scotland he had yheit then[†] *103
*A gret menyhe of worthy men.
*Quhen all thir sammyn assemblit war,
He had of fechtaris with hym thar. *106
Ane hundreth thousand men and ma:
And fourty thousand war of tha
Armyt on hors, bath hede and hand. 105
And yheit of thai war thre thousand
Wyth helit hors in plate and mailyhe,
Till mak the front of the batailyhe
And fifty thousand of archerys[†]
He had, forouten hoblerys; 110
With men on fut and small rangale,
That yhemyt harnas and vittale
He had so fele it wes ferly.
Of cartis als that yheid thame by
So feill that, but all thai that bar 115
Harnas, and als that chargit war
Of palyheonys and veschall with-all,
And apparall of chalmyr and hall,
And wyne and wax, schot and vittale,
Four scor wes chargit with fewale.[†] 120
Thai war so fele quhar at thai raid,
And thar batalis war ek so braid,
[Pg 195] And so gret rowme held thar charre,
That men that mekill host mycht se
Our-tak the landis so largely. 125
Men mycht se than, that had beyn by,
Mony ane worthy man and wycht,
And mony ane gayly armyt knycht,
And mony ane sturdy sterand steid
Arayit in-till so ryche weid; 130
And mony helmys, and hawbyrschownys,
*Scheldis and speris, and pennownys,
And so mony a cumly knycht,
At semyt weill that in-to ficht
Thai suld vencus the warld all hale.
Quhy suld I mak to lang my tale? 135
JUNE, 1314   The English Host at Berwick
Till Berwik ar thai cummyn ilkane,
And sum thar-in thar innys has tane,
And sum lugit without the townys,
In tentis and in palyheownis.
How Englishmen menaced at will
The Scots and dealt their lands till.
And quhen the Kyng his host has seyne 140
So gret, so gud men, and so cleyne,
He wes richt joyfull in his thoucht,
And weil presumyt thar wes nocht
In warld a Kyng mycht him withstand.
Hym thoucht all wonnyn till his hand, 145
And largely emang his men
The landis of Scotland delt he then.
Of othir mennis landis large wes he.
And thai, that war of his menyhe,
Mannausit the Scottis men halely 150
With gret wordis; but, nocht-for-thi,
Or thai cum all to thair entent,
Howis in haill clath sall be rent!
[Pg 196]
In ten battles the English men
Were dealt and taught to chieftains then.
The Kyng, throu consall of his men,
His folk he delt in battalis ten. 155
In ilkane war weill ten thousand,
That thoucht thai stalwardly suld stand
In the battale and stoutly ficht,
And leif nocht for thair fayis mycht.
He set ledaris till ilk battale, 160
Knawyn war of gud governale.[†]
And till renownyt erllis twa,
Of Glowcister and Herfurd war thai,
He gaf the vangard in ledyng,
With mony men at thar bydding, 165
Ordanit in-till full gret aray.
Thai war so chevelrus, that thai
Trowit, gif thai com to the ficht,
Thair suld no strynth with-stand thar mycht.
And the Kyng, quhen his menyhe wer 170
Devisit in-to battalis ser,
His awne battale ordanit he,
And quha suld at his bridill be.
Schir Gylys de Argente he set
Upon ane half, hys renyhe to get; 175
And of Vallanch Schir Amery
On othir half, that wes worthy;
For in thair soverane gret bownte
Atour the layff affyit he.
How all the noble chivalry
At Edinburgh took harbery.
JUNE 18, 1314   The Splendour of the English March
And quhen the Kyng, apon this wis, 180
Had ordanit, as I heir devis,
His battalis and his stering,
Arly he rais in ane mornyng,
And fra Berwik he tuk the way.
Bath hyllis and valayis helit thai, 185
[Pg 197] And the battalis that war so braid
Departit, our the feldis raid.
The sonne wes brycht and schynand cler,
And armys, that new burnyst wer,
So blenknyt with the sonnys beyme, 190
That all the land wes in ane leyme[†]
With baneris richt freschly flawmand,
And pensalis to the wynd waffand,
So fele thai war of ser quyntis,
That it war gret slicht to devis. 195
For suld I tell all thar effer,
Thair countynans and thar maner,
Thouch I couth, I suld cummerryt be.
The King, with all that gret menyhe,
Till Edinburgh he raid on rycht. 200
Thai war all out to fele to ficht
With few folk of ane sympill land;
Bot quhar God helpis quhat may withstand?
How in this time assembled then,
To King Robert have certain men.
The Kyng Robert, quhen he herd say
That Inglis men in sic aray 205
And in-to sa gret quantite,
Com in his land, in hy gert he
His men be summond generaly;
And thai come all full willfully
To the Torwod, quhar at the Kyng 210
Had ordanit to mak thar meting.
Schir Edward the Bruce, that wes worthy,
Com with a full gret cumpany
Of gud men, armyt weill and dicht,
Hardy and forsy for the ficht. 215
Waltir, Steward of Scotland, syne,
That than wes bot ane berdlas hyne,
Com with a rout of nobill men,
That all be contynans mycht ken.
[Pg 198] And the gud lord Dowglas alswa 220
Brocht with him men, I undir-ta,
That weill war oysit in fichting;
Thai sall the les haf abaysing,
Giff men betyd in thrang to be;
And avantage sall tytar se 225
For till stonay thar fayis mycht,
Than men that oysis nocht to ficht.
The Erll of Murreff, with his men
Arrayit weill, com alsua then
In-to gud covyne for to ficht, 230
In gret will to maynteyme thar rycht;
With othir mony gud baroune,
And knychtis of full gret renoune,
Com with thair men full stalwardly.
Quhen thai assemblit halely,[†] 235
Of fechtand men I trow thai ware
Thretty thousand and sum deill mare,
Foroutyn cariage and pouerale,
That yhemyt harnas and vittale.
Our all the host than yheid the Kyng, 240
And beheld to thair contenyng,
And saw thame of full fair effer;
Of hardy contynans thai wer,
Be liklynes the mast cowart
Semyt till do richt weill his part. 245
The King has seyn all thair having,
That knew hym weill in-to sic thing,
And saw thame all comonly
Of sekyr contynans and hardy,
Forouten effray or abaysyng. 250
In his hert had he gret liking.
And thoucht that men of sa gret will,
Gif thai wald set thair mycht thair-till,
Suld be full hard till wyn, perfay.
Ay as he met thame in the way, 255
He welcummyt thame with gladsum fair,
Spekand gud wordis heir and thair.
[Pg 199] And thai, that thar lord so mekly
Saw welcum thame and so hamly,[†]
Joyfull thai war, and thoucht at thai 260
Micht weill put thame in-till assay
Of hard fechting in stalwart stour,
For till maynteym weill his honour.
The parting of the Scots men,
That in four battles dealt were then.
JUNE, 1314   Bruce explains his Plan
The worthy Kyng, quhen he has seyn
His host assemblit all bedeyn, 265
And saw thame wilfull to fulfill
His liking, with gud hert and will;
And to maynteym weill thair franchis,
He wes rejosit on mony wis;
And callit all his consell preve, 270
And said thame; “Lordingis, now yhe se
“That Inglis men with mekill mycht
“Has all disponit thame for the ficht;
“For thai yhon castell wald reskew.
“Tharfor is gud we ordane now 275
“How we may let thame of purpos,
“And swa to thame the wayis clos
“That thai pas nocht but gret lettyng.
“We haf heir with us at byddyng
“Weill thretty thousand men and ma. 280
“Mak we four battalis of all thai;
“And ordane us on sic maner,
“That, quhen our fayis cummys neir,
“We till the New Park hald our way;
“For thair behufis thaim pas, perfay,[†] 285
“Bot gif that thai beneth us ga
“And our the marras pas, and swa[†]
“We sall be at avantage thair.
“For me think that richt speidfull war
[Pg 200] “To gang on fut to this fechting, 290
“Armyt bot in-to licht armyng;
“For schupe we us on hors to ficht,
“Syn our fayis ar mar of mycht,
“And bettir horsit than ar we,
“We suld in-to gret perell be. 295
“And gif we fecht on fut, perfay,
“At avantage we sall be ay;
“For in the park emang the treis,
“The hors men alwais cummerit beis.
“And the sykis alswa thair doune, 300
“Sall put thame to confusioune.”
All thai consentit to that saw,
And than, in-till ane litill thraw,
Thair four battalis ordanit thai.
And to the Erll Thomas, perfay, 305
He gaf the vaward in leding;
For in his nobill governyng
And in his hye chevelry
Thai assoueryt rycht soveranly.[†]
And, for to maynteym his baner, 310
Lordis, that of gret worschip wer,
War assignit with thair menyhe,
In-till his battale for till be.
The tothir battale wes gevin to lede
Till hym that douchty wes of dede, 315
And prisit of gret chevelry,
That wes Schir Edward the worthy;
I trow he sall manteyme him swa
That, how sa evir the gammyn ga,
His fayis to plenyhe sall mater haf. 320
And syne the thrid battale he gaf
To Waltir Stewart for to leid,
And till Dowglas douchty of deid.
Thai war cosyngis in neir degre,
Tharfor till hym betaucht wes he, 325
[Pg 201] For he wes yhoung; but nocht-for-thi[†]
I trow he sall sa manfully
Do his devour, and wirk so weill,
That hym sall neyd no mar yheymseill.
The ferd battalle the nobill Kyng 330
Tuk till hym-self in governyng,
And had in-till his cumpany
The men of Carryk all halely,
And of Argile and of Kentyre,
And of the Ilis, quhar-off wes syre 335
Angus of Ile, and But, all tha.[†]
He of the playne-land had alsua
Of armyt men ane mekill rout;
His battale stalward wes and stout.
He said the rerward he wald ma, 340
And evyn forrouth hym suld ga
The vaward, and on athir hand
The tothir battalis suld be gangand
Behynd, on syde a litell space:
And the Kyng, that behynd thaim was, 345
Suld se quhar thair war mast mystir,
And relief thaim with his baneir.
How King Robert gart pots make
And cover them well, I undertake.
JUNE 21, 1314   The Scots march to the New Park
The King thus, that wes wicht and wis,
And richt worthy at all devis,
And hardy als atour all thing,[†] 350
Ordanit his men for the fechting.
And on the morn, on Settirday,
The King herd his discurrouris say
That Inglis men with mekill mycht
Had lyin at Edinburgh that nycht. 355
Tharfor, forouten mair delay,
He to the New Park held his way
[Pg 202] With all that in his leding war,
And in the Park thame herbryit thar.
And in ane playne feld, by the way, 360
Quhar he thoucht neid behufit away
The Inglis men, gif that thai wald
Throw the Park to the castell hald,
He gert men mony pottis ma,
Of a fut breid round, and all tha 365
War deip up till ane manis kne,
Swa thik, that thai mycht liknyt be
Till ane wax-cayme that beis mais.
All that nycht travaland he was;
Swa that, or day wes, he had maid 370
Thai pottis, and thame helit had
With stikis and with gyrs al greyne,
Swa that thai mycht nocht weill be seyne.
On Sonday than in the mornyng,
Weill soyn eftir the sonne-rising, 375
Thai herd the mes full reverently.[†]
And mony shraf thame devotly,
That thoucht till de in that melle,
Or than to mak thar cuntre fre.
To God for thair richt prayit thai. 380
Thair dynit nane of thame that day,
Bot, for the vigill of Sanct Johne,
Thai fastit bred and wattir ilkone.
The King, quhen that the mes wes done,
Went for to se the pottys soyne; 385
And at his liking saw thaim maid.
On athir syde the way weill braid
It wes pottit, as I haf tald.
Gif that thair fais on hors will hald
Furth in that way, I trow thai sall 390
Nocht weill eschew foroutyn fall.
Throu-out the host syne gert he cry
That all suld arme thame hastely,
And busk thame on thar best maner.
And quhen thai all essemblit wer, 395
[Pg 203] He gert aray thame for the ficht,
And syne our all gert cry on hicht,
That quhat sa evir he war that fand
His hert nocht sekir for till stand
To wyn all or de with honour, 400
For to maynteyme that stalward stour,
That he be tyme suld tak his way;
And nane suld duell with him bot thai
That wald stand with him to the end,
And tak the ure that God wald send. 405
Then all ansuerd with a cry,
And with a voce said generaly;
That nane for dout of dede suld fale,
Quhill discumfit war the battale.
JUNE 23, 1314   The Camp-followers in a Valley
Qwhen the gud King had herd his men 410
Sa hardely him ansuer then,
Sayand that nouthir ded no dreid
Till sic discomfort suld thame leid,
That thai suld eschew the fechting,
In hert he had gret rejosyng. 415
For him thoucht men of sic covyne,
So gud so hardy and so fyne,
Suld weill in battall hald thair rycht
Agane men of full mekill mycht.
Syne all the small folk and pouerale 420
He send with harnase and vittale
In-till the Park, weill fer him fra,
And fra the battall gert thame ga;
And as he bad, thai went thair way;
Twenty thousand weill neir war thai. 425
Thair way thai held till ane vale,
The King left with ane clene menyhe;
The-quhethir thai war thretty thowsand.
I trow they stalwardly sall stand,
And do thair devour as thai aw. 430
Thai stude than rangit all on raw,
Reddy for till byde battale,
Gif ony folk wald thame assale.
[Pg 204]
How the King bad the Earl Murray
To keep beside the Kirk the way.
The King gert thame all buskit be,
For he wist in-to certante 435
That his fayis all nycht lay
At the Fawkirk, and syne at thai
Held toward him the way all straucht,
With mony men of mekill mawcht.
Tharfor till his nevo bad he,[†] 440
The Erll of Murreff, with his menyhe,
Besyd the kirk till kepe the way,
That na man pass that gat away,[†]
For-out debat, to the castele.
And he said, that him-self suld wele 445
Kepe the entre with his battale,
Gif that ony wald thair assale.
And syne his brothir, Schir Edward,
And yhoung Waltir, the gud Steward,
And the lord Dowglas alsua, 450
With thair menyhe, gud tent suld ta,
Quhilk of thaim had of help mister,
And help with thame that with him weir.[†]
JUNE 23, 1314   The Scots are Encouraged
The King send than James of Douglas
And Schir Robert of Keth, that wes 455
Marshal of all the host of fee,
The Inglis mennys com to se.
And thai lap on and furth thai raid;
Weill horsit men with thame thai had:
And soyn the gret host haf thai seyne 460
Quhar scheldis schynand war so scheyne,
And basnetis weill burnyst bricht,
That gaf agane the sonne gret licht.
Thai saw so fele browdyn baneris,
Standartis, pennownys and speris, 465
And so feill knychtis apon stedis,
All flawamand in-to thair wedis,
[Pg 205] And so fele battalis and so braid,
That tuk so gret rowme as thai raid,
That the mast host and the stoutest 470
Of Crystyndome, and ek the best,
Suld be abasit for till se
Thair fais in-to sic quantite,
And swa arayit for to ficht.
Quhen the discurrowris has had sicht 475
Of thair fais, as I herd say,
Towart the King thai tuk the way,
And tald him, in gret prevate,
The multitude and the bewte
Of thair fais, that comme so braid, 480
And of the gret mycht at thai had.
Than the King bad thame thai suld ma
Na contynans that it war swa;
Bot bad thame in-to commoune say
That thai com in-till evill aray, 485
And confort his man on that wis.
For oftsis of ane word may ris
Discomfort and tynsall with-all.
And throu a word, als weill may fall,
Confort may ris and hardiment, 490
That gerris men cum to thair entent.
And on the sammyn wis it did her;
Thair comfort and thair hardy cher
Confortit thame so gretumly,
That of thar host the lest hardy 495
Be countinans, wald formast be
For till begin the gret melle.
How with a hundred the Earl Murray
To eight hundred battle gave.
Apon this wis the nobill King
Gaf all his men reconforting,
Throu hardy countynans and cher 500
That he maid on sa gud maner.
Thame thoucht that na myscheif mycht be
Sa gret with-thi thai him mycht se
[Pg 206] Befor thame, that suld swa engreiff,
That na hys worschip suld thame releif. 505
His worschip thame confortit swa,
And contenans that he can ma,
That the mast coward wes hardy.
On athir half, full stalwardly,
The Inglis men, in sic aray 510
As yhe haf herd me forouth say,
Com with thair battalis approchand,
The banerys to the wynd waffand.
And quhen thai cummyn war so neir,
That bot twa myle betuix thaim wer, 515
Thai chesit ane gud cumpany
Of men that wicht war and hardy,
On fair courseris armyt at rycht:
Thre banrentis of full mekill mycht[†]
War capitanys of all that rout: 520
The lord Clyffurd, that wes so stout,
Wes of thame all soverane ledeir,
Aucht hundreth armyt, I trow, thai weir.
Thai war all yhong men and joly,
And yharnand till do chevelry; 525
The best of all the host war thai
Off contenans and of aray:[†]
Thai war the farast cumpany
That men mycht find of sa mony.
JUNE 23, 1314   The English pass Murray
To the castell thai thoucht to fair: 530
For, gif that thai mycht weill cum thair,
Thai thoucht it suld reskewit be.
Furth on thair way held this menyhe,
And toward Strevilling tuk the way.
The New Park all eschewit thai, 535
For thai wist weill the King wes thair;
Beneth the New Park can thai fair,[†]
[Pg 207] Quhill neuth the kirk, in-till a rout.[†]
The Erll Thomas, that wes so stout,
Quhen he saw thame swa tak the playne, 540
In gret hye went he thame agane
With fif hundreth, forouten ma,
Anoyit in his hert and wa
That thai so fer war passit by.
For the King had said hym roydly, 545
That ane rose of his chaplet
Wes faldyn; for, quhar he wes set[†]
To kep the way, thai men war past.
Tharfor he hastit hym so fast
That cummyn in schort tyme wes he 550
To the playn feld with his menyhe.
For he thoucht that he suld amend
That he trespassit had, or than end.
And quhen the Inglis men him saw
Cum on, forouten dreid or aw, 555
And tak sa hardely the playne,
In hy thai sped thame him agane,
And strak with spuris the stedis stith,
That bar thame evyn hard and swith.
And quhen the Erll saw that menyhe 560
Cum so stoutly, tiil his said he;
“Beis nocht abasit for thair schor,
“Bot settis speris yhow befor,
“And bak to bak set all yhour rout
“And all the speris poyntis out; 565
“Swagat defend us best may we,
“Enveronyt with thame gif we be.”
JUNE 13, 1314   The Dusk darkens the Air
And as he bad thame thai haf done;
And the tothir come alsoyne.
Before thame all thair com prikand 570
A knycht, hardy of hert and hand;
He wes a weill gret lord at hame,
Schir Wilyhame Dencort wes his name;
He prekit on thame so hardely,
And thai him met so sturdely, 575
[Pg 208] That he and hors war born all doune
And slayne rycht thair for-out ransoune.
With Inglis men gretly wes he
Menyt that day, and his bountee.
The layffe com on thame sturdely; 580
Bot nane of thame so hardely
Ruschit emang thame as did he.
Bot with fer mair maturite,
Thai assemblit all in ane rout,
And enveronyt thame all about, 585
Assalyheand thame on ilka syde.
And thai with speris woundis wyde
Gaf to the hors that com thame neir:
And thai that rydand on thame weir,
That doune war born, lossit the lyvis. 590
And mony speris, dartis and knyvis,
And wapnys apon seir maneir,
Kest emang thame that fechtand weir,
That thame defendit so wittandly
That thair fayis had gret ferly. 595
For sum wald schut out of thar rout,
And of thame that assalyheit about,
Stryk stedis, and ber doune men.
The Inglis men so roydly then
Kest emang thame swerdis and mas, 600
That inwith thame ane montane was
Of wapnys, that war warpit thair.
The Erll and his thus fechtand war
At gret myscheiff, as I yhow say;
For quhenar, be full fer, war thai 605
Than thair fayis, and all about
Enveronyt war, quhar mony a rout
War roucht, and full dyspitfully—
Thair fayis demanit thaim rycht stratly.
On athir half thai war so stad, 610
For the rycht gret heit that thai had
Of fechting and of sonnys het,
That all thair flesche of swat wes wete.
And sic ane stew rais owth thame then
Of aynding, bath of hors and men, 615
[Pg 209] And of powdir, that sic myrknes
In-till the ayr abovyn thame wes,
That it wes woundir for till se:
Thai war in gret perplexite.
Bot with gret travale nocht-for-thi 620
Thai thame defendit manfully,
And set bath will and strenth and mycht
Till rusch thair fais in that ficht,
That than demanit thame angrely.
Bot gif God help thame hastely, 625
Thai sall thar fill haf of fechtyng!

How good James of Douglas asked of King Robert the Bruce Leave to go to support Earl Thomas Randolph.

Bot quhen the nobill renownyt Kyng,
With othir lordis that war hym by,
Saw how the Erll abaundonly
Tuk the playn feld, James of Douglas 630
Come to the Kyng richt quhar he was,
And said; “A Schir! Sanct Mary!
“The Erll of Murreff oppynly
“Takis the playne feld with his menyhe.
“He is in perell bot giff he be 635
“Soyne helpit, for his fayis ar ma
“Than he, and horssit weill alsua.
“And, with yhour leif, I will me speid
“To help him, for that he has neid;
“All enveronyt with fayis is he.” 640
The King said; ‘Sa our Lord me se,
‘A fut till hym thou sall nocht ga.
‘Giff he weill dois, let him weill ta.
‘Quhethir him happin to win or los,
‘I will nocht for him brek purpos.’ 645
“Certis,” he said, “I will no wis
“Se that his fayis him suppris,
“Quhen that I may set help thar-till.
“With yhour leiff, sekirly I will
“Help hym, or de in-to the payne.” 650
‘Do than, and speid the soyn agane,’
[Pg 210] The King said: and he held his way.
Gyff he may cum in tyme, perfay,
I trow he sall hym help so weill,
That of his fayis sum sall it feill![†] 655

BOOK XII.

How the King slew Sir Henry Boune,
With his handaxe, and struck him down.
Now Douglas furth his wayis tais,
And in that self tyme fell, throu cas,
That the Kyng of Ingland, quhen he
Wes cummyn with his gret menyhe
Neir to the place, as I said air, 5
Quhar Scottis men arayit war,
He gert arest all his battale
At othir als to tak consale,
Quhethir thai wald herbery thame that nycht,
Or than, but mair, ga to the ficht. 10
The vaward, that wist no kyn thing
Of this arest na thair duelling,
Raid to the Park all straucht thar way,
Forout styntyng, in gude aray.
And quhen the Kyng wist at thai weir 15
In haill battale cummand so neir,
His battale gert he weill aray.
He raid apon ane gray palfray,[†]
Litill and joly, arayande
His battall, with ane ax in hande; 20
And on his basnet hye he bar
Ane hat off quyrbolle ay-quhar,
And thar-upon, in-to taknyng,
Ane hye croune, that he wes ane kyng.
JUNE 23, 1314   Bruce and De Boune
And quhen Glowcister and Herfurd wer,[†] 25
With thair battalis, approchand ner,
[Pg 211] Befor thame all thar com rydand,
With helme on hed and sper in hand,
Schir Henry of Boune, the worthy,
That wes ane gud knycht and hardy, 30
And to the Erll of Herfurd cosyne,
Armyt in armys gude and fyne;
Com on a steid, a merk-schote neir[†]
Before all othir that thair wer,
And knew the King, for that he saw 35
Hym swa araynge his men on raw,
And be the croun that wes set
Abovin his hed on the basnet;
And toward him he went in hy.
And quhen the Kyng so apertly 40
Saw hym cum forrouth all his feris,
In hy till hym his hors he steris;
And quhen Schir Henry saw the Kyng
Cum on for-outen abaysyng,
Till him he raid in full gret hy. 45
He thoucht that he suld weill lichtly
Wyn him, and haf hym at his will,
Sen he hym horsit saw so ill.
Than sprent thai sammyn in-till a lyng;
Schir Henry myssit the nobill Kyng; 50
And he, that in his sterapis stude,
With ax that wes bath hard and gude
With so gret mayn roucht hym ane dynt,
That nouthir hat no helm mycht stynt
The hevy dusche that he him gaf, 55
That he the hed till harnys claf.
The hand-ax-schaft frushcit in twa,[†]
And he doune till the erd can ga
All flatlyngis, for hym falyheit mycht;
This wes the first strak of the ficht 60
That wes perfornyst douchtely.
And quhen the Kingis men so stoutly
Saw him, richt at the first metyng,
For-outen dout or abaysing,
[Pg 212] Have slayn ane knycht swa at ane strak, 65
Sic hardyment than can thai tak,
That thai com on richt hardely.
Quhen Inglis men saw thame stoutly
Cum on, thai had gret abaysyng;
And specialy, for that the Kyng 70
So smertly that gud knycht had slayne;
Than thai with-drew thaim evir-ilkane,
And durst nocht than abyde to ficht,
Sa dred thai the Kyngis mycht.
And quhen the Kyngis men thame saw 75
Swa in haill battale thame withdraw,
A gret schot till thame can thai mak,
And thai in hy tuk all the bak,
And thai, that followit thame, has slayne
Sum of thame that thai haf our-tane. 80
Bot thai war few, forsuth to say;
Thar hors fete had ner all away.
Bot, how sa quheyn deit thair,
Rebotyt fellely thai war,
And raid thair gait with weill mair schame, 85
Be full fer, than thai com fra hame.
Qwhen at the King reparit was,[†]
That gert his men leif all the chas,
The lordis of his cumpany
Blamyt him, as thai durst, gretly, 90
That he hym put in aventure
To mete so stith a knycht and sture,
In sic poynt as he than wes seyn;
For thai said, weill it mycht haf beyne
Caus of thair tynsale evirilkane.
The King thame answer maid he nane, 95
Bot menyt his hand-ax-schaft, that swa
Wes with ane strak brokyn in twa.
JUNE 23, 1314   Randolph’s Success
The Erll Thomas wes yheit fechtand
With fayis apon athyr hand, 100
[Pg 213] And slew of thame ane quantite,
Bot wery war his men and he.
The-quhethir with wapnys sturdely
Thai thame defendit manfully,
Quhill that the lord Dowglas come neir, 105
That sped hyme apon gret maneir.
The Inglis men, that war fechtand,
Quhen thai the Douglas saw at hand,
Thai wayndist and maid ane opnyng.
Schir James Dowglas, be thair relyng, 110
Knew at thai war discumfit neir:
Than bad he thame that with him weir
Stand still, and pres no forthirmar;
“For thai that yhondir fechtand ar,”
He said, “ar of sa gret bounte, 115
“That thair fayis weill soyn sall be
“Discumfit throu thair awn mycht,
“Thouch no man help thaim for to ficht.
“And cum we now in-to fechting,[†]
“Quhen thai ar at discumfyting, 120
“Men suld say we thame ruschit had,[†]
“And swa suld thai, that caus has mad
“With gret travaill and hard fechting,
“Leis ane part of thair lovyng.
“And it war syn to leis his prys, 125
“That of sa soverane bounte is,
“That he, throu playn and hard fechting,
“Has heir eschewit unlikly thing;
“He sall haf that he wonnyn has.”
The Erll with thame that fechtand was, 130
Quhen he his fayis saw brawll swa,
In hy apon thame can he ga,
And pressit thame so woundir fast
With hard strakis, quhill, at the last,[†]
Thai fled and durst nocht byde no mar. 135
Bath men and horse slayn left thai thar,
And held thair way in full gret hy,
Nocht all to-gidder bot syndrely,
[Pg 214] And thai that war ourtane war slayne.
The layff went to thair host agane, 140
Off thair tynsall sary and wa.
The Erll, that had hym helpit swa,
And his men als that war wery,
Hynt of thair basnetis in-till hy
Till avent thame, for thai war hat, 145
Thai war all helit in-to swat.
Thame semyt men forsuth, I hicht,
That had fayndit thair fayis in ficht;
And swa thai did full douchtely.
Thai fand of all thair cumpany 150
That thar wes bot ane yheman slayn,
Than lovit thai God and war full fayn,
And blith that thai eschapit swa.
Toward the King than can thai ga,
And till him soyne weill cumin ar. 155
He askit thame of thair weill-fair,
And gladsum cher to thame he maid,
For thai so weill than born thame had.
Than all ran in-to gret dantee
The Erll of Murreff for till se; 160
For his hye worschip and valour
All yharnit till do him honour.
So fast thai ran till se hym thair,
That neir all sammyn assemblit war.
And quhen the gud King can thaim se 165
Befor him swa assemblit be,
Blith and glad that thair fayis war
Sa reboytit, as said wes ar,[†]
A litill quhil he held him still,
Syne on this wis he said thame till. 170
Lordyngis,” he said, “we aucht to luf
“Almychty God that sittis abuf,
“That sendis us so fair begynnyng.
“It is ane gret disconfortyng
“Till our fais, that on this wis 175
“Sa soyn reboytit has beyn twis.
[Pg 215]
JUNE 23, 1314   The Scots determine to Fight
“For quhen thai of thair host sall heir,
“And knaw suthly on quhat maneir
“Thair avaward, that wes so stout,
“And syne yhon othir joly rout, 180
“That I trow of the best men war
“That thai mycht get emang thame thar,
“War reboytit so suddandly,
“I trow, and knawis it all cleirly,
“That mony ane hert sall waverand be 185
“That semyt ere of gret bounte.
“And fra the hert be discumfite,
“The body is nocht worth a myt.
“Thar-for I trow that gud ending
“Sall follow till our begynnyng. 190
“The-quhethir I say nocht this yhow till,
“For that yhe suld follow my will
“To ficht, for in yhow sall all be.
“For gif yhe think spedfull that we
“Fecht, we sall ficht; and gif yhe will, 195
“We leiff, yhour liking to fulfill.
“I shall consent on alkyn wis
“Till do richt as yhe will devis;
“Tharfor sais on yhour will planly.”
Than with ane voce all can thai cry; 200
‘Gud King, forouten mair delay,
‘To-morn als soyn as yhe se day,
‘Ordane yhow haill for the battale,
‘For dout of ded we sall nocht fale;
‘Na nane payn sall refusit be 205
‘Quhill we have maid our cuntre fre!’[†]
JUNE 23, 1314   Bruce’s Address to his Men
Qwhen the King herd thaim so manly
Spek to the ficht and hardely,
In hert gret gladschip can he ta,[†]
And said; “Lordyngis, sen yhe will sa, 210
[Pg 216] “Schapis us tharfor in the mornyng
“Swa that we, be the sonne-rysing, *212
“Haf herd mes, and be buskit weill
“Ilk man in-till his awne yscheill,[†]
“Without the palyhownys arayit 215
“In battales with baneris displayit.[†]
“And luk yhe na way brek aray;
“And, as yhe luf me, I yhow pray
“That ilk man for his awne honour
“Purvay hym a gud baneour. 220
“And quhen it cummys to the ficht,
“Ilk man set his hert and mycht
“To stynt our fais mekill pryd.
“On hors thai sall arayit ryd,
“And cum on yhow in weill gret hy; 225
“Meit thame with speris hardely,
“And wreik on thame the mekill ill
“That thai and tharis has done us till,
“And ar in will yheit for till do,
“Gif thai haf mycht till cum thar-to. 230
“And, certis, me think weill that we,
“Forout abasyng, aucht till be
“Worthy and of gret vassalage;
“For we have thre gret avantage.[†]
“The first is, that we haf the richt; 235
“And for the richt ay God will ficht.
“The tothir is, thai ar cummyn heir
“For lypnyng in thair gret power,
“To seik us in our awne land;
“And has broucht her, richt till our hand, 240
“Riches in-to so gret plentee,
“That the pouerest of yhow sall be
“Bath rych, and mychty thar-with-all,
“Gif that we wyn, as weill may fall.
[Pg 217] “The thrid is, that we for our lyvis 245
“And for our childer and our wyvis,[†]
“And for the fredome of our land,
“Ar strenyheit in battale for to stand.
“And thai for thair mycht anerly,
“And for thai leit of us lichtly, 250
“And for thai wald distroy us all,
“Mais thame to ficht: bot yhet ma fall
“That thai sall rew thar barganyng.
“And, certis, I warne yhow of a thing,
That happyn thame (as God forbeid).[†] 255
“Till fynd fantis in-till our deid,[†]
“Swa that thai wyn us opynly,
“Thai sall haf of us no mercy.
“And, sen we knaw thar felloune will,
“Me think it suld accorde till skill 260
“To set stoutnes agane felony,
“And mak swagat ane juperdy.
“Quharfor I yhow requeir and pray,
“That, with all mycht that evir yhe may,
“Yhe pres yhow at the begynnyng, 265
“But cowardis or abaysing,
“To meit thame that first sall assemmyll
“So stoutly that the henmast trymmyll.
“And menys on yhour gret manheid,
“Yhour worschip, and yhour douchty deid, 270
“And of the joy that yhe abyd,
“Giff that us fallis, as weill may tyd,
“Hap to vencus the gret battale.
“In-till yhour handis, forouten faill
“Yhe ber honour, pris, and riches, 275
“Fredome, welth, and gret blithnes,
“Gif yhe conteyn yhow manfully;
“And the contrar all halely
“Sall fall, gif yhe let cowardis
“And wikkidness yhour hertis surpris. 280
[Pg 218] “Yhe mycht haf lifit in-to thrildome,
“Bot, for yhe yharnyt till haf fredome,
“Yhe ar assemblit heir with me;
“Tharfor is neidful that yhe be
“Worthy and wicht but abaysing. 285
“I warne yhow weill yheit of a thing,
“That mair myscheif may fall us nane
“Than in thair handis to be tane:
“For thai suld slay us, I wat weill,
“Richt as thai did my brothir Neill. 290
“Bot quhen I meyn of yhour stoutnes,
“And on the mony gret prowes
“That yhe have done so worthely,
“I trast and trowis sekirly
“Till have playne victor in this ficht. 295
“For thouch our fayis have mekill mycht,
“Thai haf the wrang, and succudry
“And covatis of senyhory
“Amovis thame forouten mor.
“Na us thar dreid thame bot befor; 300
“For strynth of this place, as yhe se,
“Sall let us enveronyt to be.
“And I pray yhow als specialy,
“Both mor and les all comonly,
“That nane of yhow for gredynes 305
“Haf e till tak of thair riches,
“Na presoners yheit for till ta,
“Quhill yhe se thame cumrayit swa,
“That the feld planly ouris be.
“And than, at yhour liking, may yhe 310
“Tak all the riches that thar is.
“Gif yhe will wirk apon this wis,
“Yhe sall haf victor sekirly.
“I wat nocht quhat mar say sall I;
“Yhe wat weill all quhat honour is, 315
“Conteyn yhow tharfor on sic wis
“That yhour honour ay savit be.
“And I hecht heir, in my lawte,
“Gif ony deis in this battaill,
“His air, but ward, releif, or taill, 320
[Pg 219] “On the first day his land sall weild,
“All be he nevir so yhoung of eild.
“Now makis yhow reddy till the ficht.
“God help us, that is mast of mycht!
“I red armyt all nycht yhe be, 325
“Purvait in battale, sa that we
“To meit our fais ay be boune.”
Than ansuerd thai all with a sowne,
‘As yhe devis sa sall be done.’
Than till thair innys went thai soyne, 330
And ordanit thame for the fichting;
Syne assemblit in the evynnyng,
And swa-gat all the nycht baid thai
Till on the morn that it wes day.
JUNE 23, 1314   The English are Discouraged
Qwhen the Cliffurd, as I sayd air, 335
And all his rowt reboytit war,
And thar gret vaward alsua
Wes distrenyheit the bak till ta,
And thai haf tald thair reboyting,
Thai of the vaward, how the King 340
Slew at a strak, sa apertly,
A knycht that wycht wes and hardy;[†]
And how all haill the Kyngis battaill
Schupe thame richt stoutly till assaill,
And Schir Edward the Brus alsua, 345
Quhen thai all haill the bak can ta:
And how thai lessit off thair men:
And Cliffurd had tald alsua then,
How Thomas Randall tuk the playne
With few folk, and how he has slayne 350
Schir Wilyhame Dancort the worthy;
And how the Erll faucht manfully,
That, as ane hyrcheoune, all his rout
Gert set out speris all about;
And how at thai war put agane, 355
And part of thair gud men wes slane:
The Inglis men sic abaysing
Tuk, and sik dreid of that tithing,
[Pg 220] That in fyve hundreth placis and ma
Men mycht thame sammyn se rownand ga, 360
Sayand; “Our lordis, for thar mycht,
“Will all-gat ficht agane the richt.
“Bot quha sa warrayis wrangwisly,
“Thai faynd God all too gretumly,
“And thai may happin to mysfall; 365
“And sa may tyd that her we sall.”
And quhen thir lordis had persaving
Of the discomford, and the rownyng,
That thai held sammyn twa and twa,
Throu-out the hoost soyne gert thai ga 370
Heraldis, for till mak ane crye,[†]
That nane discomford suld it be;
For in punyheis is oft hapnyne
Quhill for to wyne, and quhill to tyne;
And that, in-to the gret battale, 375
That apon na maner may fale;
Bot, gif the Scottis flee away,
Sall all amendit be, perfay.
Tharfor thai monyst thame to be
Of gret worschip and of bounte, 380
And stithly in the battale stand,
And tak amendis at thair hand.
Thai may weill monyss as thai will,
And thai may als hecht till fulfill
With stalwart strakis thair byddingis all; 385
Bot nocht-for-thi I trow thai sall
In-till thair hertis dredande be.
The King, with his consell preve,
Has tane to rede that he wald nocht
Fecht or the morne, bot he war socht. 390
JUNE 24, 1314   The English encamp on the Carse
Thair thai herbryit thame that nycht
Doune in the Kers, and gert all dicht,
And mak reddy ther apparale,
Agane the morne for the battale.
And, for in the Kers pulis war,[†] 395
Howsis and thak thai brak, and bar
[Pg 221] To mak bryggis quhar thai mycht pas.[†]
And sum sais yheit, the folk that wes
In the castell, quhen nycht can fall,
For at thai knew thair myscheiff all, 400
Thai went furth neir all at thai war,
And durys and wyndowis with thaim bar,
Swa that thai had befor the day
Briggit the pollis, swa that thai
War passit our evir-ilkane,[†] 405
And the hard feld on hors has tane[†] *406
All reddy for till gif battale, *407
Arayit in till thair apparaill.

The Battle of Bannockburn.

The Scottis men, quhen it wes day,
Thair mes devotly herd thai say,
Syne tuk a sop, and maid thame yhar.
And quhen thai all assemblit war, 410
And in thair battalis all purvait,
With thair braid baneris all displayit,
Thai maid knychtis, as it afferis
To men that oysis thai mysteris.
The Kyng maid Walter Stewart knycht, 415
And James of Douglas, that wes wicht,
And othir als of gret bounte
He maid, ilkane in thair degre.
Quhen this wes done, that I yhou say,
Thai went all furth in gud aray, 420
And tuk the playne full apertly.
Mony wicht man, gud and hardy,
That wer fulfillit of gret bounte,
In-till thair rowtis men mycht se.
The Inglis men in othir party, 425
That richt as angelis schane brichtly,
War nocht arayit on sic maner;
For all thair batalis sammyn wer
In a schiltrum; bot quhethir it wes
Throu the gret stratnes of the plas 430
[Pg 222] That thai war in, till byd fichting,[†]
Or that it wes for abaysing,
I wat nocht; bot in a schiltrum
It semyt thai war all and some,
Outane the vaward anerly, 435
That with ane richt gret cumpany
Be thame-selvin arayit war.
Quha had bene by mycht have sene thar[†]
That folk ourtak ane mekill feld
On breid; quhar mony a schynand scheld, 440
And mony a burnyst bricht armour,
And mony man of gret valour,
And mony a baner bricht and scheyne,
Micht in that gret schiltrum be seyne.
JUNE 24, 1314   The Scots kneel in Prayer
And quhen the Kyng of Ingland 445
Saw Scottis men saw tak on hand
To tak the hard feild sa opynly,[†]
And apon fut, he had ferly,
And said, “Quhat! will yhon Scottis ficht?”
‘Yhaa sekirly, Schir!’ than said a knycht, 450
Schir Ingerame the Umphrevell hat he,
And said, ‘Forsuth, Schir, now I se
‘All the mast ferlifull sycht
‘That evir I saw, quhen for to ficht
‘The Scottis men has tane on hand, 455
‘Agane the gret mycht of Ingland,
‘In plane hard feild to gif battale.
‘Bot and yhe will trow my consale,
‘Yhe sall discomfit thame lichtly.
‘Withdraws yhow hyne suddanly,[†] 460
‘With battalis, baneris and pennownys,
‘Quhill that we pas our palyheownys;
‘And yhe sall se als soyne at thai,
‘Magre thair lordis, sall brek aray,
‘And scale thame our harnes to ta. 465
‘And, quhen we se thame scalit swa,
[Pg 223] ‘Prik we than on thame hardely,
‘And we sall haf thame weill lichtly.
‘For than sall nane be knyt to ficht,
‘That may withstand our mekill mycht.’ 470
“I will nocht,” said the King, “perfay,
“Do sa: for ther sall no man say,
“That I suld eschewe the battale,[†]
“Na withdraw me for sic rangale.”
Quhen this wes said that er said I, 475
The Scottis men full devotly
Knelyt all doune, till God to pray,
And a schort prayer thair maid thai
Till God, till help thame in that ficht.
And quhen the Inglis King had sicht 480
Of thame kneland, he said in hy—
“Yhon folk knelis till ask mercy.”
Schir Ingerame said; ‘Yhe say suth now;
‘Thai ask mercy, bot nocht at yhow:
‘For thair trespas to God thai cry. 485
‘I tell yhow a thing sekirly,
‘That yhon men will wyn all or de,
‘For dout of ded thar sall nane fle.’
“Now be it swa,” than said the Kyng.
And than, but langar delaying,[†] 490
Thai gert trump up to the assemble.
On athir syd than men mycht se
Full mony wycht men and worthy,
All ready till do chevelry.
Thus war thai boune on athir syde; 495
And Inglis men, with mekill prid,
That war in-till thar avaward,
Till the battall that Schir Edward
Governyt and led, held straucht thair way.
The hors with spuris hardnyt thai, 500
And prikit apon thame sturdely;
And thai met thame richt hardely:
[Pg 224] Swa that, at the assemble thair,
Sic a frusching of speris wair
That fer away men mycht it her. 505
At thar metyng, for outen wer,
Wer stedis stekit mony ane;
Mony gud man borne doune and slane,
And mony ane hardyment douchtely
Wes thair eschevit full hardely. 510
Thai dang on othir with wapnys ser;
Sum of the hors, that stekit wer,
Ruschit and relit rycht roydly.
Bot the remanant, nocht-for-thi,
That mycht cum to the assembling, 515
For that lat maid rycht no stynting,
Bot assemblit full hardely.
And thai met thame full sturdely,
With speris that wer scharp to scher,
And axis that weill grundyn wer, 520
Quhar-with wes roucht full mony rout.
The ficht wes thair so fell and stout,
That mony worthy men and wicht
Throu fors wes fellit in that ficht,
That had no mycht to rys agane. 525
The Scottis men fast can thame payne
Thair fais mekill mycht to rus.[†]
I trow thai sall no payne refus,
Na perell, quhill thar fais be
Set in-till herd proplexite. 530
JUNE 24, 1314   The Earl of Murray attacks
And quhen the Erll of Murref sa
Thair avaward saw stoutly ta
The way to Schir Edward all straucht,
That met thame with full mekill maucht.
He held his way with his baner 535
Till the gret rout, quhar sammyn wer
The nyne battales that wes so braid,
That so feill baneris with thame had,
And of men sa gret quantite,
That it war wonder for to se. 540
[Pg 225] The gud Erll thiddir tuk the way
With his battale in gud aray,
And assemblit so hardely,
That men mycht her, that had beyn by,[†]
A gret frusche of the speres that brast. 545
For thair fais assalyheit fast,
That on stedis, with mekill prid,
Com prikand as thai wald our-ryd
The Erll and all his cumpany.
Bot thai met thame so sturdely, 550
That mony of thame till erd thai bar.
For mony a steid wes stekit thar,
And mony gud man fellit undir feit
That had no power to ris yheit.
Ther men mycht se ane hard battale, 555
And sum defend and sum assale,
And mony a riall rymmyll ryde
Be roucht thair, apon athir syde,
Quhill throu the byrneis brist the blud,
That till the erd doune stremand yhud. 560
The Erll of Murreff and his men
So stoutly thame contenit then,
That thai wan plas ay mair and mair
On thair fais; the-quhethir thai war
Ay ten for ane, or ma, perfay; 565
Swa that it semyt weill that thai
War tynt emang so gret menyhe,
As thai war plungit in the se.
And quhen the Inglis men has seyne
The Erll and all his men be-deyne 570
Fecht sa stoutly, but effraying,
Rycht as thai had nane abaysing,
Thai pressit thame with all thar mycht.
And thai, with speris and suerdis brycht,
And axis that rycht scharply schar, 575
In-myd the visage met thame thar.
Thar men mycht se a stalwart stour,
And mony men of gret valour
[Pg 226] With speris, macys, and with knyvis,
And othyr wapnys, vissill thair lyvis, 580
Swa that mony fell doune all ded;
The gyrs wox with the blude all red.
The Erll, that wicht wes and worthy,
And his men faucht so manfully,
That quha sa had seyne thaim that day, 585
I trow forsuth that thai suld say
That thai suld do thair devour wele,
Swa that thair fayis suld it feill.

BOOK XIII.

How Walter Stewart and Douglas
Came with their battle that worthy was.
Qwhen that thir twa first batellis wer
Assemblit, as I said yhow er,
The Steward, Walter that than was,[†]
And the gud lord als of Douglas,
In a battale quhen that thai saw 5
The Erll, for outen dreid or aw,
Assemmyll with his cumpany
On all the folk so sturdely,
For till help him thai held thar way
With thar battale in gud aray, 10
And assemmyllit so hardely
Besyd the Erll a litill by,
Thair fais feld thair cummyng weill;
For with wapnys stalwart of steill
Thai dang on thame with all thar mycht. 15
Thar fayis resavit them weill, I hycht,
With swerdis, speris, and with macys.
The battale thair so felloune was,
And sua richt gret spilling of blud,
That on the erd the flus it stud. 20
The Scottis men so weill thame bar,
And sua gret slauchtir maid thai thar,
[Pg 227] And fra so feill the livis revit,
That all the feild wes bludy levit.
That tym thir three battalis wer 25
All syde be syde fechtand weill neir.
Thar mycht man her richt mony dynt,
And wapnys apon armour stynt,
And see tummyll knychtis and stedis,
With mony rich and ryoll wedis 30
Defoulit roydly under feit.
Sum held on loft, sum tynt the suet.
A long quhill thus fechtand thai wer,
That men no noyis na cry mycht her;
Men hard nocht ellis bot granys and dyntis 35
That slew fire, as men dois on flyntis.
Sa faucht thai ilkane egirly,
That thai maid nouthir noyis no cry,
Bot dang on othir at thar mycht,
With wapnys that war burnyst brycht. 40
The arrows als so thik thai flaw,
That thai mycht say weill, at thaim saw,
That thai ane hydwis schour can ma:
For quhar thai fell, I undirta,
Thai left eftir thame taknyng 45
That sall neid, as I trow, lechyng.
JUNE 24, 1314   The English Archers dispersed
The Inglis archeris schot so fast,
That, mycht thar schot haf had last,
It had beyne hard to Scottis men.
Bot King Robert, that weill can ken 50
That the archeris war perelous,
And thar schot hard and richt grevous,
Ordanit forrouth the assemble
His Marschall with a gret menyhe,
Fiff hundreth armyt weill in steill 55
That on licht hors war horsyt weill,
For to prik emang the archeris,
And sua assailyhe thame with speris
That thai no laser haf to schute.
This Marschall that I of mut, 60
[Pg 228] That Schir Robert of Keth wes cald,
As I befor has to yhow tald,
Quhen that he saw the battalis swa
Assemmyll and to-giddir ga,
And saw the archeris schut stoutly, 65
With all thame of his cumpany
In hy apon thame can he ryde,
And our-tuk thame at a syde,
And rushit emang thame sa roydly,
Strikand thame sua dispitfully, 70
And in sic fusioune berand doune,
And slayand thame without ransoune,
That thai thame scalit evirilkane;
And fra that time furth ther wes nane
That assemlit sic schot till ma. 75
Quhen Scottis archeris saw at swa
Thai war rebutit, thai wox hardy,
With all thar mycht schot egirly
Emang the hors-men that thar raid,
And woundis wyde to thame thai maid, 80
And slew of thame a wele gret dele;
Thai bar thame hardely and weill.
For fra thair fais archeris were
Scalit, as I have said yhow ere,
That ma than thai war be gret thing, 85
Swa that thai dred nocht thar schuting,
Thai wox so hardy that thame thoucht
Thai suld set all thair fais at noucht.
JUNE 24, 1314   Bruce brings up his Reserve
The Marschall and his cumpany
Wes yheit, as to yhow ere said I, 90
Amang the archeris, quhar thai maid
With speris rowme quhar at thai raid,
And slew all that thai mycht ourta.
And thai weill lichtly mycht do swa,
For thai had nocht a strak to stynt, 95
Na for to hald agane a dynt.
And agane armyt men to ficht
May nakit men haff litill mycht.
[Pg 229] Thai scalit thame on sic maner,
That sum to thar gret battelis wer 100
Withdrawin thaim in full gret hy,
And sum war fled all utrely.
Bot the folk that behynd thame was,
That for thair awne folk had no space
Yheit than to cum to the assemblyng, 105
In agane smertly can thai ding
The archeris, that thai met fleand,
That than war maid so recryand,
That thair hertis war tynt cleirly,[†]
I trow thai sall nocht scath gretly 110
The Scottis men with schot that day.
And the gud King Robert, that ay
Was fillit of full gret bounte,
Saw how that his battellis thre
So hardely assemblit thar, 115
And so weill in the ficht thame bar,[†]
And so fast on thair fais can dyng
That him thoucht nane had abaysing,
And how the archeris war scalit then,
He was all blith, and till his men 120
He said; “Lordingis, now luk that yhe
“Worthy and of gud covyne be
“At this assemble, and hardy;
“And assemmyll so sturdely
“That no thing may befor yhow stand. 125
“Our men so freschly ar fechtand,
“That thai thair fais has cumrait swa[†]
“That, be thai presit, I undirta,
“A litill fastar, yhe sall se
“That thai discumfit soyn sall be.” 130
JUNE 24, 1314   The English Van driven back
Quhen this wes said, thai held thar way,[†]
And on a syde assemblit thai
[Pg 230] So stoutly, that at thar cummyng
Thair fais wer ruschit a gret thing.
Ther men mycht se men freschly ficht, 135
And men that worthy war and wycht
Do mony worthy vassalage;
Thai faucht as thai war in a rage.
For quhen the Scottis ynkirly
Saw thair fais sa sturdely 140
Stand in-to battale thame agane,
With all thar mycht and all thar mayne
Thai layd on, as men out of wit;
And quhar thai with full strak mycht hit,[†]
Thar mycht no armyng stynt thar strak; 145
Thai to-fruschit thame thai mycht our-tak,
And with axis sic duschis gaff
That thai helmys and hedis claff.
And thair fais richt hardely
Met thame, and dang on douchtely 150
With wapnys that war stith of steill:
Thar wes the battell strikyn weill.
So gret dynnyng ther wes of dyntis,
As wapnys apon armor styntis,
And of speris so gret bristing, 155
And sic thrawing and sic thristing,
[Pg 231] Sic gyrnyng, granyng, and so gret
A noyis, as thai can othir bet,
And cryit ensenyheis on everilk syd,
Gifand and takand woundis wyd, 160
That it wes hydwiss for till her
All four the bataillis wicht that wer
Fechtand in-till a front haly.
Almychty God! how douchtely[†]
Schir Edward the Brus and his men 165
Amang thair fais contenyt thame then!
Fechtand in-to sa gud covyne,
So hardy, worthy and so fyne,
That thar avaward ruschit was,
And, magre tharis, left the plas, 170
And to thar gret rowt to warrand
Thai went, that than had apon hand
So gret not, that thai war effrait,[†]
For Scottis men thame hard assait,
That than war in ane schiltrum all. 175
Quha hapnit in that ficht to fall,
I trow agane he suld nocht ris.
Ther men mycht se on mony wis
Hardyment eschevit douchtely,
And mony that wicht war and hardy 180
Doune under feit lyand all dede,
Quhar all the feild of blud wes red.
Armoris and quyntis that thai bare,[†]
With blud wes swa defowlit thar,
That thai mycht nocht discrivit be. 185
A! mychty God! quha than mycht se
The Steward, Walter, and his rout
And the gud Douglas that wes stout
Fechtand in-to that stalward stour,
He suld say that till all honour 190
Thai war worthy, that in that ficht
Sa fast presit thair fais mycht,
That thai thame ruschit quhar thai yheid.
[Pg 232] Thair mycht men se mony a steid
Fleand on stray, that lord had nane. 195
A! Lord! quha than gud tent had tane
To the gud Erll off Murreff
And his, that swa gret rowtis gaf,
And faucht sa fast in that battale,
Tholand sic payne and sic travale, 200
That thai and thairis maid sic debat,
That quhar thai come thai maid thaim gat.
Than mycht men heir ensenyheis cry,
And Scottis men cry hardely,
“On thame! On thame! On thame! Thai faill!” 205
With that so hard thai can assaill,
And slew all that thai mycht our-ta.
And the Scottis archeris alsua
Schot emang thame so sturdely,[†]
Ingrevand thame so gretumly, 210
That quhat for thame that with thame faucht
And swa gret rowtis to thame raucht,
And presit thame full egirly;
And quhat for arrowes that felly
Mony gret woundis can thame ma, 215
And slew fast of thair hors alsua,
That thai wayndist a litell we;
Thai dred so gretly thane till de
That thair covyne wes war than eir:
For thai that with thame fechtand weir, 220
Set hardyment and strynth and will
And hart and corage als, thar-till,
And all thair mayne, and all thar mycht,
To put thame fully to the flycht.[†]

How the Yeomen and the Poor Men made of Sheets the Manner of Banners in Support of King Robert the Bruce and his Folk.

JUNE 24, 1314   The Camp-followers appear
In this tyme that I tell of her, 225
That the battall on this maner
Wes strikin, quhar on athir party
Thai war fechtand richt manfully,
[Pg 233] Yhemen, swanys, and poueraill,
That in the Parc to yheyme vittale 230
War left; quhen thai wist but lesing
That thair lordis, with fell fichtyng,
On thair fais assemblit war,
Ane of them-selvyne that wes thar
Capitane of thame all thai maid; 235
And schetis, that war sum-deill braid,
Thai festnyt in steid of baneris
Apon lang treis and on speris,
And said that thai wald se the ficht,
And help thar lordis at thar mycht. 240
Quhen her-till all assentit war,
And in a rowt assemblit ar,
Fiften thousand thai war and ma.
And than in gret hy thai can ga
With thair baneris all in a rout, 245
As thai had men beyn stith and stout.
Thai com, with all that assemble,
Richt quhill thai mycht the battale se;
Than all at anys thai gaf ane cry,
“Sla! sla! Apon thaim hastily!”[†] 250
And thar-with all cumand ar thai:
Bot thai war yheit weill far away,
And Inglis men, that ruschit war
Throu fors of ficht, as I said air,
Quhen thai saw cum with sic a cry 255
Toward thame sic ane cumpany,
That thai thoucht weill als mony war
As at war fechtand with thame thar,
And thai befor had thame nocht seyne,
Than, wit yhe weill, withouten weyne, 260
Thai war abasit so gretumly,
That the best and the mast hardy
That war in-till the oost that day,
Wald with thair mensk have beyn away.
The King Robert be thair relyng, 265
Saw thai war neir discomfyting,
[Pg 234] And his ensenyhe can hely cry.
Than, with thame of his cumpany,
His fais presit so fast that thai
Wer than in-till sa gret effray, 270
That thai left place ay mar and mar.
For all the Scottis men that war thar,
Quhen thai saw thame eschew the ficht,
Dang on thame swa with all thar mycht,
That thai scalit in tropellis ser, 275
And till discumfitur war ner;
And sum of thame fled all planly.
Bot thai that wicht war and hardy,
That schame letit till ta the flicht,
At gret myschef mantemyt the ficht, 280
And stithly in the stour can stand.
And quhen the King of Ingland
Saw his men fle in syndry place,
And saw his fais rout, that was
Worthyn so wicht and so hardy, 285
That all his folk war halely
Swa stonayit, that thai had no mycht
To stynt thair fais in the ficht,
He was abaysit so gretumly
That he and all his cumpany, 290
Fif hundreth armyt weill at rycht,
In-till a frusche all tuk the flycht,
And till the castell held ther way.
And yheit, as I herd sum men say,
That of Vallanch Schir Amer, 295
Quhen he the feld saw vencust ner,
By the renyhe led away the King,
Agane his will, fra the fichting.
JUNE 24, 1314   Death of Argentine
And quhen Schir Gelis de Argente[†]
Saw the King thus and his menyhe 300
Schape thame to fle so spedely,
He com richt to the King in hy
And said; “Schir, sen that it is swa
“That yhe thusgat yhour gat will ga,
[Pg 235] “Haffis gud day! for agane will I: 305
“Yheit fled I nevir sekirly,
“And I cheis heir to byde and de
“Than till lif heir and schamfully fle.”[†]
His brydill than but mar abaid
He turnyt, and agane he raid, 310
And on Schir Edward the Brusis rout,[†]
That wes so sturdy and so stout,
As dreid of nakyn thing had he,
He prikit, cryand, “Argente!”
And thai with speris swa him met, 315
And swa feill speris on hym set,
That he and hors war chargit swa
That bath doune to the erd can ga:
And in that place than slayne wes he.
Of his ded wes rycht gret pite. 320
He wes the thrid best knycht, perfay,
That men wist liffand in his day:
He did mony a fair journe.
On Sarisenis thre derenyheis did he;
And in-till ilk derenyhe of thai, 325
He vencust Sarisenis twa;
His gret worschip tuk thar ending.
And fra Schir Amer with the King
Wes fled, wes nane that durst abyde,
Bot fled, scalit on ilka syde. 330
And thair fais thame presit fast,
Thai war, to say suth, all agast,
And fled swa, richt effrayitly,
That of thame a full gret party
Fled to the wattir of Forth; and thar 335
The mast part of thame drownit war.
And Bannokburn, betuix the brais,
Of hors and men so chargit was,
That apon drownit hors and men
Men mycht pass dry atour it then. 340
And laddis, swanys, and rangall,
Quhen thai saw vencust the battall,
[Pg 236] Ran emang thame, and swa can sla
Thai folk that na defens mycht ma,
That it war pite for to se. 345
I herd nevir quhar, in na cuntre,
Folk at swa gret myschef war stad;
On a syde thai thair fais had,
That slew thame doune without mercy,
And thai had on the tothir party 350
Bannokburne, that sa cummyrsum was
Of slyk and depnes, for till pas,
That thair mycht nane atour it ryde.
Thame worthit, magre tharis, abyde;
Swa that sum slayne, sum drownit war; 355
Micht nane eschap that evir com thar.
The-quhethir mony gat away,
That ellis-whar fled, as I herd say.
JUNE 24, 1314   The Flight of King Edward
The Kyng, with thame he with him had,
In a rout till the castell raid, 360
And wald have beyn tharin, for thai
Wist nocht quhat gat to get away.
Bot Philip the Mowbray said him till,
“The castell, Schir, is at yhour will;
“Bot, cum yhe in it, yhe sall se 365
“That yhe sall soyne assegit be.
“And thar sall nane of all Ingland
“To mak yhow rescours tak on hand.
“And, but rescours, may no castele
“Be haldin lang, yhe wat this wele. 370
“Tharfor confort yhow, and relye
“Your men about yhow richt straitlye,
“And haldis about the Park the way.
“Knyt yhow als sadly as yhe may,
“For I trow that nane sall haf mycht, 375
“That chassis, with so feill to ficht.”
And as he consalit thai have done;[†]
Beneth the castell went thai soyne,
Richt by the Rownde Tabill thair way,
And syne the Park enveronyt thai, 380
[Pg 237] And toward Lithkew held in hy.
But, I trow, thai sall hastely
Be convoyit with folk that thai,
I trow, mycht suffer weill away!
For Schir James, lord of Douglas, 385
Com till his Kyng and askit the chas,
And he gaf him leif but abaid.
Bot all to few of hors he hade;
He had nocht in his rowt sexty,
The-quhethir he sped him hastely 390
The way eftir the King to ta.
Now let him on his wayis ga,
And eftir this we sall weill tell
Quhat till hym in his chas byfell.

How Good Douglas chased the King of England after the Battles of Bannockburn.

Qwhen the gret battell on this wis 395
Wes discumfit, as I devis,
Quhar thretty thousand thar wes ded,
Or drownit in-to that ilk sted;
And sum war in-to handis tane;
And othir sum thair gat wes gane; 400
The Erll of Herfurd fra the melle
Departit, with a gret menyhe
And straucht to Bothwell tuk the vay,
That than at Inglis mennys fay
Wes, and haldin as place of wer. 405
Schir Walter Gilbertson wes ther[†]
Capitane, and it had in ward.
The Erl of Herfurde thiddirward
Held, and wes tane in our the wall,
And fyfty of his men with-all, 410
And sett in housis syndrely,
Swa that thai had thar no mastry.
The layff went toward Ingland.
Bot of that rout, I tak on hand,
[Pg 238] The thre parteis war tane or slayne: 415
The layff with gret payne hame ar gane.
Schir Moris alsua de Berclay[†]
Fra the gret battell held his way,
With a gret rout of Walis men;
Quhar-evir thai yheid men mycht tham ken; 420
For thai weill neir all nakid war,
Or lynyng clothis had but mair.
Thai held thair wayis in full gret hy;
Bot mony of thair cumpany,
Or thai till Ingland com, war tane, 425
And mony als of thame war slane.
Thai fled als othir wais ser,
Bot to the castell, that wes ner,
Of Strevilling fled sic a menyhe,
That it wes wonder for to se; 430
For the craggis all helit war
About the castell, heir and thar,
Of thame that, for strinth of that sted,
Thiddirward till warrande fled.
And for thai war sa feill that thair 435
Flede under the castell war,
The King Robert, that wes witty,
Held ay his gude men neir him by,
For dreid that ris againe suld thai.
This wes the caus, forsuth to say, 440
Quhar-throu the King of Ingland
Eschapit hame in-to his land.
Qwhen that the feld so cleyn wes maid
Of Inglis men, that nane abad,
The Scottis men soyne tuk in hand 445
Of tharis all that evir thai fand,
As silver, gold, clathis, and armyng,[†] *447
With vessel and all other thing
That evir thai mycht lay on thar hand;
So gret a riches thair thai fand, *450
That mony man wes mychty maid
Of the riches that thai thar had.
[Pg 239]
JUNE 24, 1314   The Knights who fell
Quhen this wes done that ere said I,
The King send a gret cumpany 450
Up to the crag, thame till assale
That war fled fra the gret battale;
And thai thame yhald for-out debat,
And in hand has thame tane fut-hat,
Syne to the Kyng thai went thar way. 455
Thai dispendit haly that day
In spoulyheing and riches taking,
Fra end wes maid of the fechting.
And quhen thai nakit spulyheit war
That war slayne in the battale thar, 460
It wes forsuth a gret ferly
Till se sammyn so feill dede ly.
Twa hundreth payr of spuris rede[†]
War tane of knychtis that war dede.
The Erll of Glowcister ded wes thar, 465
That men callit Schir Gilbert of Clar;
And Schir Gelis de Argente alsua,
And Payne Typtot, and othir ma,
That thair namys nocht tell can I.
And apon Scottis mennis party 470
Thar wes slayne worthy knychtis twa;
Wilyhame Vepownt wes ane of tha,
And Schir Walter the Ros ane othir,
That Schir Edward, the Kyngis brothir,
Lufit, and held in sic dante 475
That as him-self him lufit he.
And quhen he wist that he wes dede,
He wes so wa and will of rede,
That he said, makand full evill cher,
That him war levar that journye wer 480
Undone, than he swa ded had bene.
Outaken him, men has nocht seyn
Quhar he for ony man maid menyng;
And the caus wes of his lufing,
That he his sistir paramouris[†] 485
Lufit, and held all at rebouris
[Pg 240] His awyne wif dame Esobell.
And tharfor swa gret distans fell
Betwix him and the Erll Davy
Of Adell, brother to this lady,[†] 490
That he, apon Sanct Johnnis nycht,
Quhen bath the Kyngis war boune to ficht,
In Cambuskynneth the Kyngis vittale[†]
He tuk, and sadly gert assale
Schir Wilyham of Herth, and him slew,[†] 495
And with hym ma men than enew.
Quharfor syne in-till Ingland
He wes banyst, and all his land
Was sesit and forfalt to the Kyng,
That did tharof syne his likyng. 500
JUNE 25, 1314   Stirling Castle is surrendered
Qwhen the feld, as I said air,
Wes dispulyheit and left all bair,
The King and all his cumpany
Joyfull and blyth war and mery
Of the grace that thame fallyn was, 505
Towards thar innys thair wayis tais
Till rest thame; for thai wery war.
Bot for the Erll Gilbert of Clar,
That slayne wes in the battale-place,
The king somdeill anoyit was, 510
For till hym neir syb wes he.
Than till a kirk he gert hym be
Brocht, and walkit all that nycht.
And on the morn, quhen day wes licht,
The king rais, as his wille was; 515
Than till ane Inglis knycht, throu cas,[†]
Hapnyt that he yheid waverand,
Swa that na man laid on hym hand,
And in a busk hyd his armyng,
And waytit quhill he saw the Kyng 520
In the mornyng cum forth airly:
Till him than is he went in hy.
[Pg 241] Schir Marmeduk the Twengue he hecht.[†]
He rakit till the Kyng all richt,
And halsit hym apon his kne. 525
“Welcome, Schir Marmeduk,” said he,
“Tui quhat man art thou presoner?”
‘To nane,’ he said, ‘bot till yhow her
‘I yheld me at yhour will to be.’
“And I resaiff the, Schir,” saide he. 530
Than gert he trete hym curtasly.
He dwelt lang in his cumpany:
And syne in Ingland him send he
Arayit weill, but ransoune fre,
And gaf hym gret giftis thar-to; 535
A worthy man that wald swa do
Micht mak him gretly for to pris.
Quhen Marmeduk, apon this wis,
Wes yholden, as I to yhow say,
Than com Schir Philip the Mowbray, 540
And to the king yhald the castele;
His cunnand has he haldyne wele,
And with him tretit swa the King,
That he become of his duellyng;
And held him lelely his fay 545
Quhill the last end of his lyf-day.
Now will we of the Lord Dowglas
Tell, how that he followit the chas.
He had quheyne in his cumpany,
Bot he sped him in full gret hy, 550
And as he by the Torwode fur,
Sa met he, rydand on the mur
Schir Lowrens of Abyrnethy,
That, with four scor in cumpany,
Com for till help the Inglis men, 555
For he was Inglis man yheit then.
Bot quhen that he herd how it wes,
He left the Inglis mennys pes,
And till the lord Douglas richt thar
For till be leill and trew he swar; 560
[Pg 242] And than thai bath followit the chas.
And, or the Kyng of Ingland was
Passit Lythkew, thai com so neir,
With all the folk that with thame wer,
That weill emang thame schut thai mycht; 565
Bot thai thoucht thame our few to ficht
With the gret rowt that thai had thar,
For fif hundreth men armyt thai war.
To-giddir sarraly raid thai,
And held thame apon brydill ay. 570
Thai war governit full wittely;
For it semit ay thai war redy
For till defend thame at thar mycht,
Gif thai assalyheit war in ficht.
And the lord Douglas and his men 575
Thoucht thai wald nocht purpos then
For to ficht with thame all planly,
He convoyit thame so narrowly,
That of the henmast ay tuk he:
Micht nane behynd his fallowis be 580
Nocht a stane cast, bot he in hy[†]
Wes ded, or tane delyverly,
That nane rescours wald till hym ma,
All-thouch he lufit hym nevir swa.
1314   The English King escapes
On this wis thame convoyit he, 585
Quhill at the Kyng and his menyhe
To Wynchburch all cummyne ar.
Than lichtit thai, all that war thar,
Till bayt thar hors that war wery;
Then Douglas and his cumpany 590
Baytit alsua besyde thame neir.
Thai war so feill, withouten weir,
And in armys so clenly dicht,
And swa arayit ay to ficht,
And he so quheyne and but gadering;[†] 595
That he wald nocht in playne fichting,
Assaill thaim; bot ay raid thame by,
Waytand his poynt ay ythandly.
[Pg 243] A litill quhile thai baitit thar,
And syne lap on, and furth thai fair; 600
And he wes alwais by thame neir;
He leit thame nocht haf sic laseir
As anys wattir for to ma;
And gif ony stad war swa,
That behynd war left ony space, 605
Sesit all soyne in hand he was.
Thai convoit thame apon this wis,
Quhill that the King and his rout is
Cummyn to the castell of Dunbar,
Quhar he and sum of his men war 610
Resavit richt weill; for yheit than
The Erll Patrik wes Inglis man,
That gert with met and drink alsua
Refresche thame weill, and syne gert ta
A bate, and send the King by se, 615
Till Balmeburch in his awne cuntre.[†]
Thair hors thar left thai all on stray,
Bot sesit wele soyne I trow war thai:
The laiff, that levit war without,
Adressit thame in-till ane rout, 620
And till Berwik helde straucht the way
In rout; bot, and we suth sall say,
Thai levit of thair rout party,[†]
Or thai come thar; bot nocht for-thi,
Thai come till Berwik weill; and thar 625
In-till the toune resavit war;
Ellis at gret myscheiff had thai beyne.
And quhen the lord Douglas has seyne
That he had lesit thar his payne,
Toward the King he went agane. 630
The Kyng eschapit on this wis.
Lo! quhat falding in fortoune is!
That quhile apon a man will smyle,
And prik him syne ane othir quhile.
In na tyme stabilly can sche stande. 635
This mychty Kyng of Ingland
[Pg 244] Scho had set on her quheill on hicht,
Quhen, with so ferlifull a mycht,
Of men of armys and archeris,
And of fute men and hobleris, 640
He com rydand out of his land,
As I befor has borne on hand.
And in a nycht syne and a day,[†]
Scho set hym in so hard assay,
That he, with sevintene, in a bat,[†] 645
Wes fayne for to hald hame his gat!
Bot of this ilk quhelis turnyng
Kyng Robert suld mak no murnyng;
For on his syd the quheyle on hycht[†]
Raiss, quhen the tothyr doun gan lycht. 650
For twa contraris yhe may wit wele,[†] *651
*Set agane othir on a quhele;
*Quhen ane is hye, the tothir is law,
*And gif it fall that fortoune thraw
*The quheill about, it that on hicht
Was ere, on force it most doune lycht; *656
And it, that wondir lawch were ere,
Mon lowp on loft in the contrere.
So fure it of thir Kyngis twa;
Quhen that King Robert stad wes sua,[†]
That in his gret myscheiff wes he, 655
The tothir wes in his majeste.
And quhen the Kyng Edwardis mycht
Wes lawit, Kyng Robert lap on hicht:
And now sic fortoune fell hym till,
That he wes hye and at his will. 660
1314   The Exchange of Prisoners
At Strevilling wes he yheit lyand;
And the gret lordis that he fand
[Pg 245] Ded in the felde, he gert berye
In haly placis honorabilly;
And the laiff syne that dede war thar 665
In-to gret pittes erdit war.
The castell and the towrys syne
Richt to the grund doune gert he myne,
And syne to Bothwell send has he
Schyr Edward with a gret menyhe; 670
For thar wes fra thine send him worde
That the riche Erll of Herfurde,
And othir mychty als, wes thar.
Soyne tretit he with Schir Waltar,
That Erle and castell and the laiff 675
In-to Schir Edwardis hand he gaf.
And to the King the Erll send he,
That gert him richt weill yhemyt be,
Quhill at the last thai tretit swa
That he till Ingland hame suld ga 680
Without paying of ransoune, fre;
And that for hym suld changit be
Bischop Robert, that blynd wes maid,
With the queyne, that thai takin had
In presoune, as befor said I, 685
And hyr douchtir dame Marjory.
The Erll wes changit for thir thre;
And, quhen they cummyn hame war fre,
The Kyngis douchter, that wes fair,
And wes als his apperand air, 690
With Walter Stewart can he wed;
And thai weill soyne gat of thar bed
Ane knaiff child, throu our Lordis grace,
That eftir his gude eld-fadir was
Callit Robert, and syne wes King, 695
And had the land in governyng,
Eftir his worthy eyme, Davy,
That regnyt twa yher and fourty;
And in tyme of the compyling
Of this buk, this Robert wes Kyng. 700
And of his kynrik passit was
Fif yheir; and wes the yher of grace
[Pg 246] Ane thousand thre hundreth and sevinty
And fif, and of his elde sexty.
And that wes aftir that the gud King, 705
Robert, wes brocht till his ending,
Sex and fourty wyntir but mar.[†]
God grant that thai, that cummyne ar,
Of his ofspring, maynteyme the land,
And hald the folk weill to warrand; 710
And manteyme rycht and ek laute,
As weill as in his tyme did he!
1314-15   The Scots abound in Riches
Kyng Robert now wes weill at hycht,
For ilk day than grew mair his mycht.
His men war rich, and his cuntre 715
Aboundanit weill of corne and fee,
And of alkynd othir riches:
Myrth, solas and ek blithnes
Wes in the land all comonly,
For ilk man blith wes and joly. 720
The King, eftir the gret journee,
Throu consell of his folk preve,
In seir townys gert cry on hicht,
That quha so clamyt to haf richt
To hald in Scotland land or fe, 725
That in that tuelf moneth suld he
Cum and clayme it; and tharfor do
To the King that pertenyt thar-to.
And gif thai come nocht in that yher,
Than suld thai wit, withouten weir, 730
That herd thar-eftir nane suld be.
The King, that wes of gret bounte
And besynes, quhen this wes done,
Ane hoost gert summond eftir sone,
And went syne soyne in-till Ingland, 735
And our-raid all Northumbirland,
And brynt hous, and tuk the pray,
And syne went hame agane thar way.
I let it shortly pass for-by;
For thair wes done na chevelry 740
[Pg 247] Provit, that is till spek of heir.
The King went oft on this maneir
In Ingland, for till riche his men,
That in riches aboundanit then.

BOOK XIV.

How the Earl of Carrick passed into Ireland to win it, and with him Earl Thomas Randolph and Sir Philip the Mowbray, Sir John Stewart, Sir John Soulis, and Ramsay of Ochterhouse.

The Erll of Carrik, Schir Edward,
That stowtar wes than ane libbard,
And had no will till be in pes,
Thoucht that Scotland to litill wes
Till his brothir and him alsua; 5
Tharfor till purpos can he ta,
That he of Irland wald be kyng.
Tharfor he send and had treting
With the Erischry of Irland,
That in thar lawte tuk on hand 10
Of Irland for to mak hym king,
With-thi that he with hard fechting
Micht our-cum the Inglis men,
That in the land war wonnand then;
And thai suld help with all thair mycht. 15
And he, that hard thame mak sic hicht,
In-till his hert had gret liking:
And, with the consent of the King,
Gaderit hym men of gret bounte,
And at Air syne schippit he, 20
In-till the next moneth of Maii;
Till Irland held he straucht his way.
He had thair in his cumpany
The Erll Thomas that wes worthy,
And good Schir Philip the Mowbray, 25
That sekir wes in herd assay;
Schir Johne the Sowlis, a gude knycht,
And Schir Johne Steward that wes wicht;
[Pg 248] The Ramsay als of Ouchtirhous,
That wes richt wicht and chevelrous; 30
And Schir Fergus de Ardrossane,
And othir knychtis mony ane.
In Wokingis Fyrth arivit thai[†]
Saufly, but bargane or assay,
And send thair schippis home ilkane. 35
A gret thing have thai undertane,
That with sa quheyne as thai war thar,
That wes sex thousand men but mar,
Schupe for to warray all Irland,
Quhar thai sall se mony thousand 40
Cum armyt on thame for to ficht.
Bot thouch thai quheyne war, thai war wicht,
And, for-outen dreid or effray,
In twa battelis thai tuk the way
Toward Cragfergus it to se. 45
Bot the lordis of that cuntre,
Maundwell, Byset, and Logane,
Thar men assemblit evirilkane;
The Savagis wes alsua thair.[†]
And quhen thai all assemblit war, 50
Thai war weill neir tuenty thousand.
Quhen thai wist that in-till thar land
Sic a menyhe arivit war,
With all the folk that thai had thar
Thai went toward thame in gret hy. 55
And fra Schir Edward wist suthly
That neir till him cumand war thai,
His men he gert richt weill aray.
The vaward had the Erll Thomas,
And in the rerward Schir Edward was. 60
The first battle that Sir Edward
Won in Ireland, with fighting hard.
1315   The Flower of Ulster defeated
Thar fais approchit to the fichting,
And thai met thame but abaysing.
[Pg 249] Thar mycht men se a gret melle
For Erll Thomas and his menyhe
Dang on thair fais sa douchtely, 65
That in schort tym men mycht se ly
Ane hundreth that all bludy war.
For hobynis, that war stekit thar,
Rerit, and flang, and gret rowme maid,
And kest thame that apon thame raid. 70
And Schir Edwardis cumpany
Assemblit syne so hardely
That thai thar fais ruschit all.
Quha hapnyt in that ficht to fall,
It wes perell of his risyng. 75
The Scottis men in that fechting
Swa apertly and weille thame bar,
That thair fayis swa ruschit war,
That thai haly the flicht has tane.
In that battale wes tane or slane 80
All hale the flour of Ullister.
The Erll of Murreff gret pris had ther;
For his richt worthy chevelry
Confortit all his cumpany.
That wes a full fair begynnyng; 85
For, newlyngis at thair arivyng,
In playne ficht thai discomfit thar
Thar fais, that ay fowr for ane war.
Syne to Cragfergus ar thai gane,
And in the toune has innys tane. 90
The castell wele wes stuffit then
Of-new with vittale and with men;
Thar-till thai set ane sege in hy.
Mony ysche full apertly
Wes maid, quhill thar the sege lay, 95
Quhill trewis at the last tuk thai.

The Withletting of the Pass of Endnellan

Quhen that the folk of Ullister
Till his pes haly cummyn wer,
For Schir Edward wald tak on hand
Till ryde forthirmar in the land, 100
[Pg 250] Thair come till hym and maide fewte
Sum of the kyngis of that cuntre,
Weill ten or tuelf, as I herd say:
Bot thai held hym schort quhile thar fay.
For twa of thame, ane Makfulchiane, 105
And ane othir hat Makartane,
With-set ane place in-till his way,
Quhar him behufit neyd away,
With twa thousand of men with speris,
And als mony of thair archeris; 110
And all the cattale of the land
War drawin thidder to warrand.
Men callis that place Endwillane:
In all Irland strater is nane.
For Schir Edward that kepit thai; 115
Thai thoucht he suld nocht thar away.
Bot he his viage soyne has tane,
And straucht toward the plas is gane.
The Erll of Murreff, Schir Thomas,
That put hym ay first till assayis, 120
Lichtit on fut, with his menyhe,
And apertly the plas tuk he.
Thir Erische kyngis I spak of ar,
With al the folk that with thame war,
Met him richt sturdely; bot he 125
Assalyheit swa with his menyhe,
That, magre thairis, thai wan the plas:
Slayne of thair fayis fele thar was.
Throu-out the wod thame chasit thai,
And sesit in sic fusione thar pray, 130
That all the folk of thar host war
Refreschit weill ane owk or mair.
1315   Edward Bruce marches to Dundalk
At Kilsaggart Schir Edward lay;
And thar weill soyne he has herd say,
That at Dundawk wes ane assemble 135
Maid of the lordis of that cuntre;
In host thai war assemblit thar.
Thar wes first Schir Richard of Clare,
[Pg 251] That in all Irland luf-tenand
Was off the King of Ingland. 140
The Erll of Desmownt als wes thar,
And the Erll alsua of Kyldare;
The Bremayne with the Wardoune;
Thir war lordis of gret renoune.
The Butler alsua thair was, 145
And Schir Moris le Fyss-Thomas.
Thir with thair men ar cummyn thar,
A rycht gret hoost forsuth thai war.[†]
And quhen Schir Edward wist suthly
That thar wes sic ane chevelry, 150
His host in hy he gert aray,
And thiddirwardis he tuk the way;
And neir the toune he tuk herbery.
Bot for he wyst all utirly
That in the toune wes mony men, 155
His battalis he arrayit then,
And stude arayit in battale
To kep thame, gif thai wald assale.
And quhen that Schir Richard of Clare,
And othir lordis that war thare, 160
Wist at the Scottis men so neir
With thar battellis than cummyne weir,
Thai tuk to consell at that nycht,
For it wes layt, thai wald nocht ficht:
Bot on the morne in the mornyng, 165
Weill soyn eftir the sone-rysing,
Thai suld ysch furth all that war thair;
Therfor that nycht thai did no mair:
Bot herbreyt thame on athir party.
That nycht the Scottis cumpany 170
War wachit rycht weill, all at richt;
And on the morn, quhen day wes licht,
In twa battellis thai thame arayit;
Thai stude with baneris all displayit,
For the battell all reddy boune. 175
And thai that war within the toune,
[Pg 252] Quhen sone wes rysyn schynand clere,
Send furth of thame that within were[†]
Fifty, till se the contenyng
Of Scottis men and thar cummyng. 180
And thai raid furth and saw thaim soyne,
Syne come agane forouten hoyne.
And quhen thai sammyn lichtit war,
Thai tald thair lordis that wes thar,
That Scottis men semyt to be 185
Worthye and of full gret bounte,
“Bot thai ar nocht, withouten wer,
Half-deill ane dyner till us here!”
The lordis had of this tithyng
Gret joy and gret reconforting; 190
And gert men throu the cité cry
That all suld arme thame hastely.
JUNE 29, 1315   The Scots enter Dundalk
Quhen thai war armyt and purvayit,
And for to ficht all haill arayit,
Than went thai furth in gude aray; 195
Soyn with thair fayis assemblit thai,
That kepit thame richt hardely.
The stour begouth thair cruelly;
For athir part set all thair mycht
Till rusche thair fayis in the ficht; 200
And with all mycht on other dang.
The stalward stour lestit weill lang,
That men mycht nocht persave, no se,
Quha mast at thar abovin mycht be.
For fra soyn eftir the sone-rysyng, 205
Quhill eftir mydmorne, the fichting
Lestit in-till sic ane dout;
Bot than Schir Edward, that wes stout,
With all thame of his cumpany,
Schot apon thame so sturdely, 210
That thai mycht thole no mar the ficht.
All in a frusche thai tuk the flicht,
And thai followit full egirly:
In-to the toune all comonly
[Pg 253] Thai enterit bath intermelle. 215
Thair mycht men felloune slauchtir se;
For the richt nobil Erll Thomas,
That with his rout followit the chas,
Maid sic a slauchtir in the toune,
And swa felloune occisioune, 220
That the rewis all bludy war
Of slayne men that war liand thar.
The lords war gottin all away.
And quhen the toune, as I yhow say,
Wes throu gret fors of fechting tane, 225
And all thair fayis fled or slane,
Thai herbryit thame all in the toune,
Quhar of vittale was sic fusione,
And swa gret aboundans of wyne,
That the gud Erll had gret dowtyne 230
That of thair men suld dronken be,
And mak in drunkynnes sum melle.
Tharfor he maid of wyne lufre
Till ilk man, that he payit suld be;
And thai had all yneuch, perfay. 235
That nycht rycht weill at eis war thai,
And richt blith of the gret honour
That thame befell for thair valour.
The third battle in Ireland
That good Sir Edward took on hand.
Eftir this ficht thai sojornyt thair,
In-to Dundawk, thre dayis and mar; 240
Syne tuk thai southwardis thar way.
The Erll Thomas wes forrouth ay.
And, as thai raid throu the cuntre,
Thai mycht apon the hillis se
Sa mony men, it wes ferly. 245
And quhen the Erll wald sturdely
Dress him to thame with his baner,
Thai wald fle all that evir thai wer,
Swa that in ficht nocht ane abaid.
And thai southwardis thair wais raid, 250
[Pg 254] Quhill till a gret forest come thai;
Kilros it hat, as I herd say:
And thai tuk all thar herbiry thair.
In all this tyme Richard of Clare,
That wes the Kyngis luf-tenand, 255
Of all of the barnage of Irland
A gret hoost he assemblit had.
Thai war fyve bataillis, gret and braid,
That soucht Schir Edward and his men;
Weill neir him war thai cummyn then. 260
He gat soyne wittyng that thai weir
Cumand on him, and war so neir.
His men addressit he thame agane,
And gert thame stoutly tak the plane;
And syne the Erll thar come to se, 265
And Schir Philip the Mowbra send he,
And Schir Johne Steward went alsua,
Furth till discovir thair way thai ta.
Thai saw the host cum soyne at hand;
Thai war, to ges, fiffty thousand. 270
Haym to Schir Edward raid thai then,
And said weill thai war mony men.
He said agane, “The ma thai be,
“The mair honour allout have we,
“Gif that we beir us manfully. 275
“We are set heir in juperdy
“Till wyn honour, or for till de.
“We ar fra hayme to fer to fley,
“Tharfor let ilk man worthy be.
“Yhone ar gadering of the cuntre; 280
“And thai sall fle, I trow, lichtly,
“And men assail thaim manfully.”
All said thai than, thai weill suld do.
With that approchand neir thame to,
The battellis come, reddy to ficht; 285
And thai met thame with mekill mycht,
That war ten thousand worthy men.
The Scottis all on fut war then,
And thai on stedis trappit weill,
Sum helyt all in irne and steill. 290
[Pg 255]
1315   The Scots make merry in the Forest
Bot Scottis men, at thair metyng,
With speris perssit thar armyng,
And stekit hors, and men doune bar.
Ane felloune fechting wes than thair.
I can nocht tell thair strakis all, 395
Na quha in ficht gert othir fall;
Bot in schort tyme, I undirta,
Thai of Irland war cummyrrit swa
That thai durst nane abyde no mar,
Bot fled scalit, all that thai war, 300
And levit in the battell-stede
Weill mony of thar gud men ded.
Of wapnys, armyng, and ded men
The feld wes haly strewit then.
That gret hoost roydly ruschit wes; 305
Bot Schir Edward leit no man chas;
Bot with presoners, that thai had tane,
Thai till the wod agane ar gane,
Quhar that thair harnes levit wer.
That nycht thai maid thame mery cher, 310
And lovit God fast of his grace.
This gud knycht, that so worthy was,
Till Judas, Machabeus that hicht,
Micht liknyt weill be in that ficht;
Na multitud he forsuk of men, 315
Quhill he hade ane aganis ten.
Thus, as I said, Richard of Clare
And his gret hoost rebutit war.
Bot he about him nocht-for-thi
Wes gaderand men ay ythandly: 320
For he thoucht yheit to covir his cast.
It angerit him richt ferly fast,
That twis in-to battell wes he
Discumfit with ane few menyhe.
And Scottis men, that in the forest 325
War ryddin, for till tak thair rest,
All thai twa nychtis thair thai lay,
And maid thame myrth, solace, and play.
[Pg 256] Toward Odymsy syne thai rayde,
Ane Erische kyng, that ayth had mayd 330
Till Schir Edwarde of fewte.
For forrouth that him prayit he
To se his land, and na vittale,
Na nocht that mycht him help, suld fale.
Schir Edward trowit in his hicht, 335
And with his rout raid thiddir richt.
A gret revar he gert hym pas;
And in a richt fair place, that was
Lawch by a brym, he gert thame ta[†]
Thair herbry, and said he wald ga 340
To ger men vittale to thame bring.
He held his way but mair duelling:
For till betrais thame wes his thoucht.
In sic ane place he has thame broucht,
Quhar of journeis weill twa and mair 345
All the cattell withdrawin war.
Swa that thai in that land mycht get
No thing that worth war for to et.
With hungyr he thoucht thaim to feblis,
Syne bring on thame thair enymys. 350
1315   Thomas of Dun rescues the Scots
This fals tratour his men had maid,
A litell owth quhar he herbryit hade
Schir Edward and the Scottis men,
The ysche of a louch to den;[†]
And leit it out in-to the nycht. 355
The wattir than, with sic a mycht,
On Schir Edwardis men come doune,
That thai in perell war till droune;
For, or thai wist, on flot war thai;
With mekill payne thai gat away, 360
And held thar livis, as God gaf gras,
Bot of thair harnes tynt ther was.
He maid thame na gud fest, perfay,
And nocht-for-thi yneuch had thai.
For thouch thame failit of the met, 365
I warne yhow weill thai war weill wet.
[Pg 257] In gret distres thair war thai stad,
For gret defalt of mete thai had;
For thai betuix thai riveris tway
War set, and mycht pas nane of thai. 370
The Bane, that is ane arme of se,
That with hors may nocht passit be,
Wes betuix thame and Ullister.
Thai had beyn in grett perell ther,
Ne war ane scummar of the se, 375
Thomas of Dun hattyn wes he,[†]
Herd that the host so stratly than
Wes stad, and salyt up the Ban,
Quhill he com weill neir quhar thai lay.
Thai knew him weill, and blith war thai. 380
Than, with four schippes that he had tane,
He set thame our the Ban ilkane.
And quhen thai come in biggit land,
Vittale and mete yneuch thai fand:
And in a wode thame herbryit thai. 385
Nane of the land wist quhar thai lay;
Thai esyt thame and maid gud cher.
In-till that tyme, besyde thame ner,
With a gret host, Richarde of Clar,
And othir gret of Irlande, war 390
Herbryit in-till a forest syde.
And ilke day thai gert men ryde
To bring vittalis, on ser maneris,
Till thame fra the toune of Coigneris,
That weill ten gret myle wes thaim fra. 395
Ilk day, as thai wald cum and ga,
Thai come the Scottis host so ner,
That bot twa myle betuix thaim wer.
How Sir Thomas of Randell
Won from the Irish their Vittell.
And quhen Erll Thomas had persaving
Of thair come and thair gaderyng, 400
[Pg 258] He gat him a gud cumpany,
Thre hundreth on hors, wycht and hardy.
Thar wes Schir Philip the Mowbray,
And Sir Johne Stewart als, perfay,
With Schir Alane Stewart alsua, 405
Schir Robert Boyde, and other ma.[†]
Thai raid till meit the vittelleris,
That with ther vittale fra Coigneris
Com, haldand to the host the way.
So suddanly on thame schot thai, 410
That thai war sa abaysit all,
That thai leit all thair wapnys fall,
And mercy pitwysly can cry.
And thai tuk thame in thair mercy,
And has thame up so clenly tane, 415
That of thame all eschapit nane.
The Erll of thame gat wittering
That of thair host, in the evynnyng,
Wald cum out at the woddis syde
And aganis thair vittale ryde. 420
He thoucht than on a juperdy,
And gert his menyhe halely
Dicht thame in the presoners aray;
Thair pennownys als with thame tuk thai.
And quhill the nycht wes neir thai baid, 425
And syne toward the host thai raid.
Sum of thair mekill host has seyne
Thair come, and wende weill thai had beyne
Thair vittelouris; tharfor thai raid
Agane thame scalit, for thai hade 430
Na dreid that thai thair fayis wer;
And thame hungerit alsua weill sair;
Tharfor thai come abandonly.
And quhen thai neir war, in gret hy
The Erll, and all that with him war, 435
Ruschit on thame with wapnys bar,
And thair ensenyheis hye can cry;
Than thai, that saw so sudandly
[Pg 259] Thair fayis dyng on thame, wes rad,
That thai no hert till help thame had; 440
Bot to thar host the way can ta;
And thai chasit, and feill can sla,
That all the feldis strowit war;
Ma than ane thowsand ded wes thar.
Rycht to thar hoost thai can thame chass, 445
And syne agane thair wayis tais.
1315   Irish Spies are captured
On this wiss wes the vittal tane,
And of the Erysche men mony slane.
The Erll syne, with his cumpany,
Presoners and vittalis halely 450
Has brocht till Schir Edward als swith;
And he wes of thair cummyng blith.
That nycht thai maid thame merye cher;
Richt all than at thair eis thai wer.
Thai war all wachit sekyrly, 455
And thair fais, on the tothir party,
Quhen thai herd how thar men was slane,
And how thar vittal all wes tane,
Thai tuk to consell at thai wald
Thair wayis towart Coigneris hald, 460
And herbry in the cite ta.
And in gret hye thai have done swa;
And raid on nycht to the cite.
Thai fand thair vittale of gret plente,
And maid thame merely gud cher; 465
For all trast in the toune thai wer.
Apon the morn thai send to spy
Quhar Scottis men had tane herbery.
Bot thai war met with all, and tane,
And brocht richt till the hoost agane. 470
The Erll of Murreff richt mekly
Sperit at ane of thar cumpany,
Quhar thar host wes, and quhat thai thoucht
Till do; and said him, gif he moucht
Fynd that till hym the suth said he, 475
He suld gang hame but ransoune fre.
[Pg 260] “Forsuth,” he said, “I sall yhow say,
“Thai thynk, the morn, quhen it is day,[†]
“To seik yhow with all thair menyhe,
“Giff thai may get wit quhar yhe be. 480
“Thai haf gert throu the cuntre cry,
“On payne of liff, full felounly,
“That all the men of this cuntre
“This nycht in-to the cite be.
“And trewly thai sall be so feill, 485
“That yhe sall no wis with thame deill.”
‘De pardew,’ said he, ‘weill may be!’
To Schir Edward with that yheid he,
And tald hym utrely this taill.
Than haf thai tane for consell haill, 490
That thai wald ryde to the cite
That ilk nycht, swa that thai mycht be
Betuix the toune, with all thar rout,
And thame that war the toune without.
1315   A Great Gathering against the Scots
As thai devisit swa have thai done; 495
Befor the toune thai come alsoyne:
And bot half deill a myle of way
Fra the cite, thar rest tuk thai.
And quhen the day wes dawin licht,
Fifty on hobynis, that war wicht, 500
Com till a litill hill, that was[†]
Bot fra the toune a litill spas,
And saw Schir Edwardis herbery,
And of the sicht had gret ferly,
That sa quheyn durst on ony wis 505
Undertak sa hye empris,
As for till cum sa hardely
Apon all the gret chevelry
Of Irland, for till byde battale.
And swa it wes, forouten fale; 510
For agane thame war gaderit thair,
With the wardane Richard of Clar,
[Pg 261] The Butler, with the Erllis twa,
Of Desmund and Kildar war tha,
Bruman, Wardun, and Fiz-Waryn;[†] 515
And Schir Pascalle a Florentyn,
That wes ane knycht of Lumbardy,
And wes full of gret chevelry.
The Maundvilis war thar alsua,
Besatis, Loganys, and othir ma; 520
Savagis als; and yheit wes ane,
Hat Schir Nycholl of Kylkenane.[†]
And with thir lordis so feill wes then,
That, for ane of the Scottis men,
I trow that thai war fiff or ma. 525
Quhen thair discurrowris seyne has swa
The Scottis host, thai went in hy
And tald thair lordis all opynly,
How thai till thaim wer cummand ner;
To seik thame fer wes na myster. 530
And quhen the Erll Thomas had seyne
That thai men at the hill had beyne,
He tuk with him a gude menyhe,
On hors ane hundreth thai mycht be,
And till the hill thai tuk the way. 535
In a slak thame enbuschit thai:
And, in schort tyme, fra the cite
Thai saw cum rydand a menyhe,
For till discovir, to the hill.
Than war thai blith, and held thame still 540
Quhill thai war cummyn to thame ner;
Than in a frusche, all that thar wer,
Thai schot apon thame hardely.
And thai that saw so suddandly
That folk cum on, abaysit war. 545
And nocht-for-thi sum of thame thar
Abaid stoutly to mak debat;
And othir sum ar fled thar gat.
And in-to weill schort tyme war thai,
That maid arest, cumrayit swa, 550
[Pg 262] That thai fled halely thair gat;
And thai thame chassit richt to the yhate,
And a gret part of thame has slane,
And syne went till thar host agane.

BOOK XV.

The fourth battle in Ireland
That Sir Edward won with strong hand.
Qwhen thai within has seyn swa slane
Thair men, and chassit hame agane,
Thai war all wa, and in gret hy
“Till armys!” hely can thai cry.
Than armyt thame all at thar war, 5
And for the battale maid thame yhar.
Thai yschit out, all weill arayit,
In battale with baneris displayit;
Bowne on thar best wis till assale
Thair fayis in-to fell battale. 10
And quhen Schir Philip the Mowbray
Saw thame ysche in sa gud aray,
Till Schir Edward the Brus went he
And said, “Schir, it is gude that we
“Schape for sum slicht that may availl 15
“Till help us in this gret battaill.
“Our men ar quheyn, bot thai haf will
“Till do mair than thai may fullfill.
“Tharfor I rede, our caryage,
“Forouten ony man or page, 20
“By thame-selvyne arayit be;
“And thai sall seyme fer ma than we.
“Set we before thame our baneris;
“Yhon folk that cummys out of Coigneris,
“Quhen thai our baneris thair may se, 25
“Sall trow trastly that thair ar we,
“And thidder in gret hy sall ryde.
“Cum we than on thame at a syde,
“And we sall be at avantage;
“For, fra thai in our caryage 30
[Pg 263] “Be enterit, thai sall cummyrrit be;
“And than with all our mycht may we
“Lay on, and do all that we may.”
All as he ordanit done haf thai.[†]
And thai that com out of Coigneris 35
Adressit thame to the baneris;
And smat with spures the hors in hy,
Ruschand emang thame sodanly.
The barell-ferraris that war thar
Cumrayd thame fast that rydand war. 40
SEPT. 1315   Battle of Connor
And than the Erll, with his battale,
Com on, and sadly can assale.
And Schir Edward, a litill by,
Assemblit swa richt hardely,
That mony fey fell under feit; 45
The felde wox soyne of blud all weit.
With so gret felony thar thai faucht,
And sic rowtis till othir raucht,
With stok, with stane, and with retrete,
As athir part can othir bet, 50
That it wes hidwys for to se
How thai mantemyt that gret melle
So knychtlik apon athir syde,
Giffand and takand woundis wyde,[†]
That pryme wes passit, or men mycht se 55
Quha mast at thair abovin mycht be.
Bot soyne eftir that pryme wes past,
The Scottis men dang on so fast,
And schot on thame at abandoune,
As ilk man war a campioun, 60
That all thar fayis tuk the flicht.
Wes nane of thame that wes so wicht,
That evir durst abyde his fere;
Bot ilkane fled thair wayis sere.
Till the toune fled the mast party. 65
And Erll Thomas sa ynkirly,
And his rout, chassit with swerdis bar,
That all emang thame mellit war,
[Pg 264] And all to-gidder come in the toune.
Than wes the slauchter so felloune, 70
That all the rewis ran of blude.
Thame that thai gat to dede all yhude,
Swa that than thar weill neir wes ded
Als feill as in the battell-sted.
The Fizwaryne wes taken thar; 75
Bot so rad wes Richard of Clar,
That he held to the sowth cuntre.
All that moneth I trow that he
Sall haf no gret will for to ficht.
Schir Johne Steward, ane nobill knycht, 80
Wes woundit throu the body thair
With a sper that richt scharply schair.
To the Mont-peleris went he syne,
And lay thair lang in-to helyne,
And at the last helit wes he. 85
Schir Edward than, with his menyhe,
Tuk in the toune thair herbery.
That nycht thai blith war and joly
For the victory that thai had thar.
And on the morn, forouten mar, 90
Schir Edward gert men gang and se
All the vitalis of that cite.
And thai fand sic fusioune thar-in
Of corn and flour and wax and wyne,
That thai had of it gret ferly; 95
And Schir Edward gert halely
To Cragferguss it cartit be.
Syne thidder went his men and he,
And helde the sege full stalwardly,
Quhill Palme Sonday wes passit by. 100
Than, quhill the Tysday in Pask-owk,
On athir half thai trowis tuk;
Swa that thai mycht that haly tyd
In pennance and in prayer byd.
APRIL 10-11, 1316   Attempt to surprise the Scots
Bot apon Paske evin all richt 105
To the castell, in-till the nycht,
[Pg 265] Fra Devilling come schippis fyftene,
Chargit with armit men bedeyne;
Four thousand, trow I weill, thai war:
In the castell thai enterit thair. 110
The Mawndvell, ald Schir Thomas,
Capitane of that menyhe he was.
In the castell all prevaly
Thai enterit, for that thai gert spy
That mony of Schir Edwardis men 115
War scalit in the cuntre then.
Tharfor thai thoucht in the mornyng
Till ysche, but langer delaying,
And till suppris thame suddanely;
For thai thoucht thai suld traistly ly, 120
For the trewis that taken war.
Bot I trow falsat evirmar
Sall have unfair and evill ending.
Schir Edward wist of this na thing,
For of tresoune had he na thoucht. 125
Bot for the trewis he lefit noucht
Wachis till set to the castele;
Ilk nycht he gert men wach it wele.
And Neyll Flemyng wachit that nycht
With sexty men worthy and wicht. 130
And als soyne as the day wox cleir,
Thai that within the castell weir
Had armyt thame, and maid thame boune,
And syne the bryg avaled doune,
And yschit in-till gret plente. 135
And quhen Neyll Flemyng can thaim se,
He send ane till the Kyng in hy;
And said to thame that war hym by,
“Now sall men se, I undirtak,
“Quha dar de for his lordis sak! 140
“Now beir yhow weill, for sekirly
“With all thir menyhe fecht will I.
“In-till bargane thame hald sall we,
“Quhill that our mastir armyt be.”
And with that worde assemblit thai; 145
Thai war to few all out, perfay,
[Pg 266] With sic a gret rout for to ficht.
Fot nocht-for-thi with al thar mycht
Thai dang on thame so hardely,
That all thair fayis had gret ferly, 150
That thai war all of sic manheid,
That thai no dreid had of thar dede.
Bot thar fell fayis sa can assaill,
That thar mycht no worschip availl
That thai ne war slayn evirilkane 155
So cleyn, that thar eschapit nane.

How the King of Ireland called Edward came upon the Scotsmen

And the man that went till the Kyng,
For till warn hym of thair ysching,
Warnit him in-till full gret hy.
Schir Edward wes comonly 160
Callit the Kyng of Irland,
Quhen that he herd sic hy on hand,
In full gret hast he gat his ger.
Tuelf wicht men in his chalmer wer
That armyt thame in full gret hy. 165
Syne with his baneris hardely
The myddis of the toune he tais.
With that neir cummand war his fais,
That had delt all thar men in thre.
The Mawndvell, with a gret menyhe, 170
Richt throu the toune his way held doune;
The layff on athir syde the toune
Held to meit thame that fleand war;
Thai thoucht that all that thai fand thar
Suld de but ransoune evirilkane: 175
Bot othir wayis the gle is gane.
For Schir Edward, with his baner,
And his men that I tald of ere,
On all that rout so hardely
Assemblit, that it wes ferly. 180
For Gib Harpar befor him yheid,
That wes the douchtyest of deid
[Pg 267] That than wes liffand of his stat,
And with ane ax maid him sic gat
That he the first fellit to the grounde; 185
And eftir, in a litill stounde,
The Mawndvell be his armyng[†]
He knew, and roucht him sic a swyng
That he till erd yheid hastely.
Schir Edward, that wes neir hym by, 190
Reversit hym, and with a knyff
Richt in that place him reft the liff.
APRIL 11, 1316   The Maundevilles are slain
With that of Ardrossane Fergus,
That wes ane knycht rycht curageous,
Assemblit with sexty and ma. 195
Thai pressit than thair fayis swa,
That thai, that saw thair lord slayne,
Tynt hert, and wald have beyn agane.
And ay, as Scottis men mycht be
Armyt, thai come to the melle; 200
And dang apon thai fayis swa,
That thai all hale the bak can ta,
And thai thame chassit to the yhat;
Thar wes hard ficht and gret debat.
Thar slew Schir Edward, with his hand 205
A knycht, that of all Irland
Wes callit best, and of mast bounte,
To surname Mawndvell hecht he,
His propir nayme I can nocht say.
Bot his folk till so hard assay 210
War set, that thai of the dungeoune
Durst oppyn no yhat, na bryg let doune.
And Schir Edward, I tak on hand,
Soucht thame that fled thar to warrand,
So felly, that of all, perfay, 215
That yschit apon hym that day,
Eschapit of thaim nevir ane,
That thai ne war outhir tane or slane.
For to the ficht Maknakill then
[Pg 268] Come with twa hundreth of gude sper-men, 220
And slew all they mycht to wyn.[†]
This ilk Maknakill, with a gyn,
Wan of thair schippes four or fiff,
And halely reft the men thair liff.
Quhen end wes maid of this fechting, 225
Yheit then wes liffand Neill Fleming.
Schir Edward went him for to se;
About him slayne lay his menyhe
All in a lump, on athyr hand,
And he, redy to dey, throwand. 230
Schir Edward had of him pite,
And him full gretly menyt he,
And regratit his gret manhede,
And his worschyp with douchty dede.
Sic mayn he maid, thai had ferly; 235
For he wes nocht custumabilly
Wount for till meyne ony thing,
Na wald nocht heir men mak menyng.
He stude thar by quhill he wes ded,
And syne had him till haly sted, 240
And him with worschip gert he be
Erdit, with gret solempnite.

How King Robert Bruce passed through the Tarbats, and won the Isles.

1315   King Robert is drawn Overland
On this wis yschit the Mawndvele;
Bot sekirly falsat and gyle
Sall evir have ane evill ending, 245
As weill wes seyn be this ysching.[†]
In tyme of trewis yschit thai,
And in sic tyme as on Paske day,
Quhen God rais for to sauf mankyne
Fra wem of ald Adammis syne. 250
Tharfor sic gret myschans thame fell,
That ilkane, as yhe herd me tell,
War slane up, or than takyn thar.
And thai that in the castell war
[Pg 269] War set in-till sic fray that hour, 255
For thai couth se quhar na succour
Suld come to releif thame, that thai
Shortly swa tretit, and on a day
The castell till him yhald thai fre,
Till sauf thame thair liffis; and he 260
Held thame full well all his cunnand.
The castell tuk he in his hand,
And vittalit it weill, and has set
A gud wardane it for to get;
And a quhile thair than restit he. 265
Of him no mair now spek will we,
Bot till King Robert will we gang,
That we haf left unspokyn of lang.
Quhen he convoyit had to the se
His brothir Edward, and his menyhe, 270
With his shippes he maid him yhar[†] *271
*In-till the Ilis for till fare.
*Walter Steward with hym tuk he,
His mawch, and with him gret menyhe; *274
And othir men of gret nobillay.
Till the Tarbard thai held thar way
In galayis ordanit for thair fair.
Bot thame worthit draw thar schippes thar:
And a myle wes betuix the seis, 275
Bot that wes lownyt all with treis.[†]
The Kyng his schippis thar gert draw,
And for the wynd can stoutly blaw
Apon thair bak, as thai wald ga,
He gert men rapis and mastis ta, 280
And set thame in the schippis hye,
And salys to the toppis te,
And gert men gang thar-by drawand.
The wynd thame helpit, that wes blawand;
Swa that, in-till a litill spas, 285
Thar flot all weill our-drawyn was.
And quhen thai that in the Ilis war,
Herd tell how the gud Kyng had thar
[Pg 270] Gert schippis with the salys ga
Out-our betuix the Tarbartis twa, 290
Thai war abasit all utrely.
For thai wist throu ald prophesy
That he that suld ger schippis swa
Betuix the seis with salis ga,
Suld wyn the Ilis swa till hand, 295
That nane with strynth suld him withstand.
Tharfor thai come all to the Kyng;
Wes nane that withstude his biddyng,
Outaken Johne of Lorne alane.
Bot Weill soyne eftir he wes tane, 300
And presentit wes to the Kyng.
And thai that war of his leding,
That to the King had brokyn fay,
War all ded, and distroyit away.
The Kyng this Johne of Lorne has tane, 305
And send soyne him till Dumbertane,
A quhile in presone thair till be,
And to Louchlevin syne send wes he,
Quhar he wes lang tyme in festnyng:
Thair-in, I trow, he maid endyng. 310
The King, quhen all the Iles war
Brocht till his liking, les and mar,
Still all that sesoune thar duelt he
At huntyng, and gammyne, and gle.

The Battle betwixt the Lord Douglas and the Lord Nevill of England.

FEB. 14, 1316   Douglas attacks the Forayers
Qwhen the King on this maner 315
Dantit the Iles, as I tell her,
The gud Schir James of Dowglas
In-till the Forest duelland was,
Defendand worthely the land.
That tyme in Berwik wes wonnand 320
Edmound de Cailow, a Gascoune,[†]
That wes a knycht of gret renoune;
[Pg 271] And in-till Gascone, his cuntre,
Lord of gret senyheroy wes he.
He had than Berwik in keping, 325
And maid ane preve gaddering,
And gat him a gret cumpany
Of wicht men armit jolely.
And the nethir end of Tevydaill
He prayit doune till him all haill, 330
And of the Mers ane gret party;
Syne toward Berwik went in hy.
Schir Adam of Gordoune, that than
Wes becummyne a Scottis man,
Saw thame swa drif away thar fe, 335
And wend thai had beyn quheyn, for he
Saw bot the fleand scaill, perfay,[†] *337
*And thame that sesyt on the pray.
*Than till Schir James of Douglas
In-to gret hye the way he tais; *340
*And tald how Inglis men thair pray
*Had tane; and syne went thar way
*Toward Berwik with all thar fee,
*And said they quheyn war; and gif he
Wald speid him, he suld weill lichtly
Wyn thame, and reskew all the ky.[†]
Schir James richt soyne gaf his assent *345
*Till follow thame, and furth is went,
*Bot with the men that he had thair,[†]
*And met hym by the gat but mair.
*Thai followit thame in full gret hy,
And com weill neir thame hastely; *350
*For, or thay mycht thame fully se,
*Thai come weill neir with thair menyhe.
*And than bath the forreouris and the scaill
*In-till a childrome knyt all haill,
*And wes a richt fair cumpany.
Befor thame gert thai driff the ky *356
[Pg 272] With knavis and swanys, that na mycht
Had for till stand in feild to ficht. 340
The laiff behynd thame maid a staill.[†]
The Dowglass saw thair purpos haill,
And saw thame of sa gud covyne,
And at thai war sa mony syne,
That thai for ane of his war twa. 345
“Lordingis,” he said, “sen it is swa
“That we haff chassit on sic maner,
“That we now cummyn ar so ner
“That we may nocht eschewe the ficht
“Bot gif we fowly tak the flicht, 350
“Lat ilk man on his luf than meyne,[†]
“And how he mony tyme has beyne
“In grat thrang, and come weill away.
“Think we till do richt swa this day;
“And tak we of this furde heir-by 355
“Our avantage, for in gret hy
“Thai sall come on us for to ficht.
“Set we than will, and strynth, and mycht
“For till meyt thame richt hardely.”
And, with that word, full hastely, 360
He hes displayit his baner;
For his fayis war cumand neir,
That, quhen thai saw he wes so quhoyne,
Thai thoucht with thame soyne till haf done,
And assemblit full hardely. 365
Thar men mycht se men fecht felly,[†]
And richt ane cruell melle mak,
And mony strakis giff and tak.
1316   Neville is jealous of Douglas
The Douglass thair weill hard wes stad,
Bot the gret hardyment that he had 370
Comfort his men apon sic wis,[†]
That no man thoucht on cowardis;
Bot faucht so fast with all thar mayne,
That thai feill of thair fayis has slayne.
[Pg 273] And thouch thai wer be fer full ma 375
Than thai, yheit ure demanyt thaim swa,
That Edmound de Cailow wes ded[†]
Richt in that ilk fechting-sted.
And all the lave, fra he wes done,
War planly thair discumfit sone; 380
And thai that chassit sum has slayne,
And turnyt the prayis haill agane.
The hardest fechting forsuth this wes
That evir the gud lord of Dowglas
Wes in, as of sa few menyhe. 385
For, had nocht beyne his gret bounte
That slew thair chiftane in the ficht,
His men till ded had all beyne dicht.
He had in-till custum all-way,
Quhen evir he com till hard assay, 390
To press hym the chiftane to sla;
And hap him fell that he did swa,
That gert him victor have feill sis.
Quhen Schir Edmound apon this wis
Wes ded, the gud lord of Douglas 395
Till the Forest his way he tais.
His fayis gretly can hym dreid;
The word weill fer sprang of this deid,
Swa that in Ingland neir thar-by
Men spak of it weill comonly. 400
Schir Robert de Nevell in that tyde
Wonnyt at Berwyk, neir besyde
The marchis, quhar the lord Dowglas
In the Forest reparande was,
And had at him full gret invy, 405
For he him saw so manfully
Mak his boundis ay mar and mar.
He herd the folk that with him war
Spek of the lorde Dowglasis mycht,
And how forsy he wes in fycht, 410
And how hym oft fell fayr fortoune.
He wrethit him thar-at all soyne,
[Pg 274] And said, “Quhat weyn yhe, is thar nane
“That evir is worth bot hym alane?
“Yhe set hym as he war but peir: 415
“But I avow, befor yhow heir,
“Gif evir he cum in-till this land,
“He sall fynd me neir at his hand.
“And giff I evir his baneir
“May see displayit apon wer, 420
“I sall assembill on hym but dout,
“All thouch yhe hald him nevir sa stout.”
Of this avow soyne bodword was
Brocht till Schir James of Douglas,
That said, “Giff he will hald his hicht, 425
“I sall do swa he sall haf sicht
“Of me and of my cumpany,
“Yheit or oucht lang, weill neir hym by.”
His reten new than gaderit he,
That war gud men of gret bounte, 430
And to the marchis in gud aray
Apon ane nycht he tuk the way;
Swa that, in the mornyng airly,
He wes, with all his cumpany,
Before Berwyk; and thair he maid 435
Men to display his baner braid.
And of his menyhe sum send he
For till burne townys twa or thre,
And bad thame soyn agane thame speid;
Swa that on hand, gif thar com neyd, 440
Thai mycht be for the ficht redy.
The Nevell that wist verraly.
That Dowglas cummyn wes so neir,
And saw all braid stand his baneir,
Than with the folk that with hym wer, 445
(And he had a gret menyhe thar;
For all the gud of that cuntre
In-till that tyme with hym had he;
Swa that he with hym thar had then
Weill may then wes the Scottis men) 450
[Pg 275] He held his way up till ane hill,
And said; “Lordyngis, it war my will
“Till mak end of the gret deray
“That Dowglass makis us ilk day.
“Bot me think it speidful that we 455
“Abyde, quhill his men scalit be
“Throu the cuntre to tak the pray:
“Than fersly schute on hym we may,
“And we sall have thame at our will.”
Thus all thai gaiff consent thar-till, 460
And on the hill abaid huvande.
The men fast gadderit of the land,
And drew till hym in full gret hy.
The Douglas than, that wes worthy,
Thoucht it wes foly mair till byde. 465
Toward the hill than can he ryde;
And quhen the Nevell saw at thai
Wald nocht pass furth to the forray,
Bot pressit till thame with thar mycht,
He wist weill than that thai wald ficht, 470
And till his menyhe can he say;
“Lordingis, now hald we furth our way.
“Heir is the flour of this cuntre,
“And ma than thai alsua ar we.
“Assemmyll we than hardely: 475
“For Douglas with yhon yhemanry,
“Sall haf no mycht till us, perfay.”
Than in a frusche assemblit thai.
Than mycht men heir the speris brast,
And men dyng apon othir fast, 480
And blude brist out at woundis wyde.
Thai faucht fast apon athir syde;
For athir party can thame payne
Till put thair fais on-bak agane.
1316   The Fight between Douglas and Neville
The lordis of Nevell and Douglas, 485
Quhen that the fichting fellest was,
Met to-giddir richt in the pres.
Betuix thame than gret bargane wes;
[Pg 276] Thai faucht felly with all thair maucht,
Gret rowtis athir till othir raucht. 490
Bot Douglas sterkar wes, I hicht,
And mair usit alsua to ficht,
And he set hert, and will alsua,
For till delyver him of his fa;
Quhill at the last, with mekill mayne, 495
Throu fors the Nevell has he slayne.
Than his ensenyhe he can hye cry,
And on the laiff so hardely
He ruschit, with all his menyhe,
That in-till schort tym men mycht se 500
Thair fayis tak on thame the flicht.
And thai thame chassit with all thar mycht.
Schir Ralf the Nevell, in the chas,
And the Baroun of Hiltoun was
Takin, and othyr of mekill mycht. 505
Thar wes fele slayne in-to that fycht,[†]
That worthy in thar tyme had beyn.
And quhen the feld wes clengit cleyn,
Swa that thair fayis evirilkane
War slayn, or chassit away or tane, 510
Than gert he forray all the land,
And sessit all that evir he fand,
And brynt the townys in thar way;
Syne haill and feir haym cummyn ar thai.
The pray soyne emang his menyhe, 515
Eftir thar meritis, delit he,
And held no thing till his behuf.
Sic dedis aucht till ger men luf
Thair lorde, and swa thai did, perfay.
He tretit thame so wisly ay, 520
And with so mekill luf alsua,
And sic a countenans wald ma
Of thair deid, that the mast coward
Stoutar he maid than a libard;
With cherising thusgat maid he 525
His men wicht, and of gret bounte.
[Pg 277]
1316   The English dread of Douglas
Qwhen Nevell thus wes broucht to ground,
And of Cailow Schir Edmound,[†]
The dreid of the lorde Dowglas,
And his renoun, swa scalit was 530
Throu-out the marchis of Ingland,
That all that war thar-in duelland
Thai dred him as the devill of hell.
And yheit haf I herd oftsis tell,
That he so gretly dred wes than 535
That quhen wiffis wald thar childir ban,
Thai wald with rycht ane angry face,
Beteche thaim “to the blak Dowglas.”
*For, with thair taill, he wes mair fell
*Than wes ony devill in hell.
Throu his gret worschip and bounte,[†]
Swa with his fayis dred wes he 540
That thaim growyt till heir his name.[†]
He may at eis now duell at hame
A quhile, for I trow he sall nocht
With fais all a quhile be socht.
Now let him in the Forest be: 545
Of him no mair spek will we.
Bot of Schir Edward the worthy,
That with all his gude chevelry,
Wes at Cragfergus yheit liand,
To spek mair will we tak on hand. 550

BOOK XVI.

Here passed in Ireland the noble King
To his brother with great gathering.
Quhen Schir Edward, as I tald air,
Had discumfit Richard of Clair,
And of Irland all the barnage
Thris, throu his worthy vassalage,
[Pg 278] And syne with all his men of mayne 5
Till Cragfergus wes cummyn agayn,
The gud Erll of Murreff, Thomas,
Tuk leiff in Scotland for till pas.
And he hym levit with a gruching,
And syne him chargit to the King, 10
Till pray him specialy that he
Suld cum in Irland him to se.
For, war thai bath in-to that land,
Thai suld fynd nane suld thaim withstand.
The Erll furth than his way has tane, 15
And till his schippes is he gane,[†]
And salit out weill our the se,
In Scotland soyne arivit he.
Syne to the king he went in hy:
And he resavit hym gladsumly; 20
And sperit of his brotheris fair,
And of journeis that he had thair;
And he him tald all but lesyng.
Quhen the King had left spering,
His charge to the gud king tald he. 25
And he said, he wald blithly se
His brothir, and als all the effeire
Of that cuntre and of thar were.
A gret menyhe than gaderit he:
And twa lordis of gret bounte, 30
The tane the Steward Walter was,
The tothir, James of Dowglas,
Wardanis in his absens maid he,
For till manteym weill the cuntre.
Syne to the se he tuk his way; 35
And at Lowchryan in Galloway
He schippit, with all his menyhe;
Till Cragfergus soyne cummyn is he.
Schir Edward of his com wes blith,
And went down for to meit him swith, 40
And welcummyt him with gladsum cher:
Sa did he all that with him wer;
[Pg 279] And specialy the Erll Thomas
Of Murreff, that his nevo was.
Syne to the castell went thai thar, 45
And maid thame mekill fest and far.[†]
Thai sojournyt thair dayis thre[†]
In gret myrth and in rialte.[†]

How King Robert the Bruce passed in Ireland with his brother Edward.

1316   The Month of May
King Robert, apon thiskyn wis,
In-till Irland arivit is: 50
And quhen in Cragfergus had he
With his men sojournyt dais thre,
Thai tuk to consell that thai wald,
With all thar folk, thar wayis hald
Throu all Irland, fra end to othir. 55
Schir Edward than, the Kingis brothir,
Befor in the avaward raid;
The Kyng him-self the reirward maid,
That had in-till his cumpany
The Erll Thomas, that wes worthy. 60
Thair wayis furthwarde haf thai tane,[†]
And soyne are passit Inderwillane.
This wes in the moneth of May,
Quhen byrdis syngis on the spray;[†]
Melland thair notys with sydry sowne,[†] 65
For softnes of that sweit sesoune;
And levis on the branchis spredis,
And blomys bricht besyd thame bredis
And feldis florist ar with flowris[†]
Well savourit, of seir colowris;[†] 70
[Pg 280] And all thing worthis blith and gay;
Quhen that this gud king tuk his way
To ryd furthward, as I said are.[†]
The wardane than, Richard of Clare,
Wist the Kyng wes arivit swa, 75
And wist that he schupe for till ta
His way toward the south cuntre.
Of all Irland assemblit he
Bath burges and chevalry[†]
And hobilleris and yhumanry; 80
Quhill he had neir fourty thousand.
Both he wald nocht yheit tak on hand
With all his fayis in field to ficht,
But umbethoucht him of a slicht;
That he with all that gret menyhe 85
Wald in a wode enbuschit be,
And prevely besyde the way,
Quhar at thar fayis suld pas away,
And let the vaward pas fer by,
And syne assemmyll hardely 90
On the reirward, with all thar men.
Thai did as thai devisit then.
In a wode thai enbuschit wer:
The Scottis hoost raid by thame nere;
For thai na schawing of thame maid. 95
Schir Edward weill fer forrouth raid
With thame that war of his menyhe;
To the reirward na tent tuk he.
And Schir Richard of Clare in hy,
Quhen Schir Edward wes passit by, 100
Send wicht yhomen, that weill couth schut,
To bikkir the reirward apon fut.
Than twa of thame that send furth war
At the wode-syde thame bykkirrit thar,
[Pg 281] And schot emang the Scottis men. 105
The King, that had thar with him then
Five thousand wicht and ek hardy,
Saw thai twa sa abaundonly
Schut emang thaim, and cum so neir;
He wist richt weill, withouten weir, 110
That thai weill neir suppowal had.
Tharfor a bydding has he mad,
That no man suld be so hardy
Till prik till thame, but sarraly
Ryde reddy ay in-till battale, 115
Till defend gif men wald assale.
“For we sall soyne, I undirta,”
He said, “haf for till do with ma.”
1317   Bruce strikes Sir Colin Campbell
Bot Schir Colyne Cammell, that ner
Wes by quhar thai twa yhomen wer, 120
Schutand emang thame hardely,
Prikit on thame in full gret hy,
And soyne the tane he has our-tane,
And with his sper him soyne has slayne.
The tothir turnyt and schot agayne, 125
And at a schot his hors has slayne.
With that the King come hastely,
And, in his gret malancoly,
With ane trunsione in-till his nave
To Schir Colyne sic dusche he gave, 130
That he dynnyt on his arsoune.
The King bad smertly tyt hym doune,
Bot othir lordis, that war him by,
Ameyssyt the King in sum party.[†]
He said, “The breking of bydding 135
“Micht caus be of discomfiting.
“Weyn yhe yhon rebaldis durst assale
“Us so neir, in-till our battale,
“Bot gif thai had suppowale neir?
“I wat richt weill, forouten weir, 140
That we sall have till do in hy;
“Tharfor luk ilk man be reddy.”
[Pg 282] With that weill neir thretty and ma
Of bowmen com, and bykkyrrit swa
That thai hurt of the Kyngis men. 145
The King has gert his archeris then
Schute for till put thaim than agayne.
With that thai enterit in ane playne,
And saw arayit agane thame stand,
In four battellis, fourty thousand. 150
1317   Success of the Scots
The king said, “Now, lordingis, lat se
“Quha worthy in this ficht sall be.
“On thame forouten mair abaid!”
So stoutly than on thame thai raid,
And assemblit so hardely 155
That of thair fayis a gret party
War laid at erd at thar meting.
Thar wes of speris sic bristing,
As athir apon othir raid,
That it a weill gret frusche has maid. 160
Hors com thair fruschand, hed for hed,
Swa that feill on the grund fell ded.
Mony a wycht and worthy man,
As athir apon othir ran,
War duschit ded doune to the ground; 165
The rede blude out of mony a wound
Ruschit in sa gret fusioune than,
That of the blude the stremes ran.
And thai, that wrath war and angry,
Dang on othir so hardely, 170
With wapnys that war bricht and bar,
That mony a wicht man ded wes thar.
For thai that hardy war and wicht,
And frontly with thar fayis can ficht,
Pressit thame formast for till be. 175
Thair mycht men cruell bargane se,
And hard battall, I tak on hand.[†]
In all the weir of Irland[†]
So hard ane fichting wes nocht seyne:
[Pg 283] The-quhethir of gret victoris nynteyne 180
Schir Edward had, withouten wer,
In-till les than in-to thre yheir;
And in syndry battelis off thai
He vencust twenty thousand and ma,[†]
With trappit hors richt to the feit. 185
Bot in all tymis he wes yheit
Ay ane for fyve, quhen lest wes he,
Bot the Kyng, in-to this melle,
Had allwayis aucht of his famen
For ane, bot he swa bar him then, 190
That his gud deid and his bounte
Confortit swa all his menyhe,
That the mast coward hardy wes.
For, quhar he saw the thykkest pres,
So hardely on thame he raid, 195
That ay about hym rowme he maid.
And Erll Thomas, the worthy,[†]
Wes in all tymis neir hym by,
And faucht as he war in a rage;
Swa that, throu thar gret vassalage, 200
Thar men sic hardyment can tak,
That thai no perell wald forsak;
Bot thame abaundonyt so stoutly,
And dang on thame so hardely,
That all thair fayis afrayit war. 205
And thai, that saw weill, be thair fair,[†]
That thai eschewit sumdeill the ficht,
Thai dang on thame with all thar mycht,
And pressit thame dyngand so fast,[†] *209
*That thai the bak gaf at the last,
*And thai, that saw thaim tak the flicht,
Pressit thame than with all thar mycht, *212
And in thair fleying feill can sla.
The Kingis men has chasit swa, 210
That thai war scalit evirilkane.
Richard of Clare the way has tane
[Pg 284] To Devillyng, in full gret hy,
With othir lordis that fled him by,
And warnyst bath castell and townys 215
That war in thair possessiownis.
Thai war so felly fleyit thar,
That, as I trow, Richard of Clar
Sall haf no will to faynd hys mycht
In battell, na in fors of fycht, 220
Quhill King Robert and his menyhe
Is duelland in-to that cuntre.
Thai stuffit strynthis on this wis;
And the King, that wes sa till pris,
Saw in the feild richt mony slayn. 225
And ane of thame that thar wes tane,
That wes arayit jolely,
He saw greit wondir tendirly,
And askit him quhy he maid sic cher:[†]
He said him, “Schir, forouten wer, 230
“It is no wonder thouch I grete,
“I se feill heir fellit to fete,[†]
“The flour of all north Irland,
“That hardyest wes of hert and hand,
“And mast doutit in hard assay.” 235
The King said, ‘Thou has wrang, perfay;
‘Thou has mair caus myrthis till ma,
‘For thou the ded eschapit swa.’
1317   The King and the Laundress
Rychard of Clare on this maner,
And all his folk, discumfit wer, 240
With few folk, as I to yhow tald.
And quhen Edward the Bruce so bald,
Wist at the King had fouchten swa,
With sa feill folk, and he thar-fra,
Micht no man se ane wrathar man. 245
Bot the gude King said till hym than,
That it wes in his awn foly,
For he raid sa unwittandly
[Pg 285] So fer befor, and no avaward
Maid to thame of the reirward, 250
For, he said, quha on were wald ryde
In the vaward, he suld na tyde
Press fra his rerward fer of sycht;
For gret perell so fall thair mycht.
Of this ficht will we spek no mair. 255
The King, and all that with him war,
Raid furthwarde in-to bettir aray,
And neir to-giddir than ere did thai.
Throu all the land planly thai raid;
Thai fand nane that thame warnyng maid.[†] 260
Thai raid evin forrouth Drouchyndra,
And forrouth Devilling syne alsua:
Bot to gif battale nane thai fand.
Syne thai went forthwarde in the land,[†]
And sowth till Lynrike held their way,[†][†] 265
That is the southmast toune, perfay,
That in Irland may fundyn be.
Thair lay thai dayis twa or thre,
And buskit syne agane to fare.
And quhen that thai all reddy war, 270
The King has herd ane woman cry,
He askit quhat that wes in hy.
“It is ane landar, schir,” said ane,
“That hir childyne richt now has tane;
“And mon leve now behynd us her, 275
“Tharfor scho makis yhon evill cher.”
The King said; ‘Certis, it war pite
‘That scho in that poynt left suld be;
‘For certis, I trow, thar is no man
‘That he ne will rew a woman than.’[†] 280
His host all than arestit he,
And gert ane tent soyne stentit be,
And gert her gang in hastely,
And othir women till be hir by,
[Pg 286] Quhill scho delyver wes, he bad; 285
And syne furth on his wayis raid;
And how scho furth suld caryit be,
Or evir he fure, than ordanit he.
This wes a full gret curtasy,
That sic a Kyng and swa mychty, 290
Gert his men duell on this maner
Bot for a full pouir laynder.
Northward agane thai tuk the way,[†]
Throu all Irland thus passit thai,
Throw Conage richt to Devilling,[†] 295
And throu all Myth, and Irell syne,[†]
And Monester, and Lenester,
And syne haly throu Ullister,
To Cragfergus, forout battell;
For thar wes nane durst thame assale. 300
The kingis than of the Eryschrye
Come to Schir Edwarde halely;
And thair manrent till him ma,
Bot gif that it war ane or twa.
Till Cragfergus thai come agane; 305
In all that way wes no bargane,
Bot gif that ony punyhe wer,
That is nocht for till spek of her.
The Erische kyngis than evirilkane
Hayme till thar awne repar ar gane, 310
And undirtuk in all-kyn thyng
For till obeys till the biddyng
Of Schir Edward, that thar king call thai.
He wes weill set now in gud way
To conquest the land all halely; 315
For he had apon his party
The Eryschry and Ullister,
And he wes swa furth of his wer
That he was passit throu all Irland,
Fra end till end throu strynth of hand. 320
Couth he haf governit hym throu skill,
And fallowit nocht to fast his will,
[Pg 287] Bot with mesour haf led his deid,
It wes weill lik, withouten dreid,
That he mycht haff conquerit weill 325
The land of Irland everilk deill.
Bot his outrageous succudry
And will, that mar wes than hardy,
Of purpos letit hym, perfay,
As I heir-eftir sall yhow say. 330

How the Good Douglas slew the Earl Richmond of England.

APRIL 1317   Douglas at Lintalee
Now leiff we heir the nobill King
All at his eis, and his liking,
And spek we of the lord Douglas,
That left to kep the marchis was.
He gert get wrichtis that wes sle, 335
And in the hawch of Lyntoun-le[†]
He gert thame mak a fair maner.
And quhen the housis biggit wer,
He gert purvay him richt weill thar;
For he thoucht for till make infair, 340
And till mak gud cher till his men.
In Rychmond wes thar wonnand then
Ane Erll men callit Schir Thomas.
He had invy at the Dowglas,
And said, gif that he his baner 345
Micht se displayit apon wer,
That soyn assemble on it suld he.
He herd how Dowglas thoucht to be
At Lyntoun-le ane fest till ma.
And he had wittyng weill alsua, 350
That the King and a gret menyhe,
War passit than of the cuntre,
And the Erll of Murref, Thomas.
Tharfor he thoucht the cuntre was
Febill of men for till withstand 355
Men that thame soucht with stalward hand:
And of the marchis than had he
The governale, and the pouste.
[Pg 288] He gaderit folk about hym then,
Quhill he wes neir ten thousand men, 360
And wode-axis gert with hym tak;
For he thoucht he his men wald mak
Till hew doune Jedward forest cleyne,
That na tre suld tharin be seyne.
APRIL, 1317   Douglas slays Richmond
Thai held thaim furthward on thar way; 365
Bot the gud lord of Dowglas ay
Had spyis out on ilka syde,
And had gud witting that thai wald ryde,
And cum apon hym suddanly.
Than gaderit he richt hastely 370
Thame that he mycht of his menyhe.
I trow that than with hym had he
Fifty, that worthy war and wicht,
At all poynt armyt weill and dicht;
And of archeris a gret menyhe 375
Assemblit als with hym had he.
A place thar was thar in the way,
Quhar he wist weill thai wald away,
That had wode apon athir syde;
The entre wes weill large and wyde; 380
And as ane schelde it narrowit ay
Quhill that, in-till ane place, the way
Wes nocht a penny-stane cast of breid.
The lord of Douglas thidder yheid,
Quhen he wist thai war neir cumand, 385
And in a clewch on the ta hand,
All his archeris enbuschit he,
And bad thame hald thame all preve
Quhill that thai herd him rais the cry,
And than suld thai schute hardely 390
Emang thar fayis, and hald thame thar[†]
Quhill that he throu thame passit war;
And syne with him furth hald suld thai.
Than byrkis on athir syde the way,
That yhoung and thik wes growand ner, 395
He knyt to-giddir on sic maner,
[Pg 289] That men mycht nocht weill throu thame ryde.
Quhen this wes done, he can abyde
Apon the tothir half the way:
And Richmond in-till gude aray 400
Com rydand in the first escheill.[†]
The lorde Dowglas has seyn him weill,[†]
And gert his men all hald thame still,
Quhill richt at hand thai com thame till
And enterit in the narrow way. 405
Than with a schout on thame schot thai,
Cryand on hicht, “Douglas! Douglas!”
Than Richmonde, that rycht worthy was,[†]
Quhen he has herd sa ris the cry,
And Dowglas baner saw planly, 410
He dressit him thiddir-ward in hy.
And thai come on sa hardely,
That thai throu thame maid thame gud way;
All at thai met till erd bar thai.
The Richmond borne doune thar was; 415
On hym arestit the Dowglas,
And him reversit, syne with a knyff
Richt in that place hym reft the liff.
Ane hat apon his helm he bare,
And that tuk Douglas with him thar 420
In taknyng, for it furrit was.
And syne in hy his way he tais,
Quhill in the wode thai enterit war.
The archeris weill has borne thame thar;
For weill and hardely schot thai. 425
The Inglis rout in gret effray
War set, for Douglas suddandly,
With all thame of his cumpany,
Or evir thai wist, war in thar rout,
And thrillit thame weill neir throuout; 430
And had almast all done his deid,
Or thai till help thame couth take hede.
And quhen thai saw thar lord wes slayne,
[Pg 290] Thai tuk him up, and turnyt agayne[†]
Till draw thame fra the schot away. 435
Than in ane playne assemblit thai;
And, for thar lord that thar wes ded,
Thai schupe thame in that ilke sted
For till take herbery all that nycht.
And than the Douglas, that wes wicht, 440
Gat wittering that ane clerk, Elys,
With weill thre hundreth enymys,
All straucht till Lyntoun-le war gane,
And herbery for thair host had tane.
Than thiddir is he went in hy, 445
With all thame of his cumpany,
And fand clerk Elis at the met,
And all his rout about him set.
And thai com on thaim stoutly thair,[†]
And with suerdis that scharply schar 450
Thai servit thame full egyrly.
Thai war slayn doune so halely,
That thar weill neir eschapit nane;
Thai servit thame in sa gret wayne
With scherand swerdis and with knyvis, 455
That weill neir all lesyt thar livis.
Thai had ane felloune entremas,
For that surcharge to chargeand was!
Thai that eschapit thair throu cas
Richt till thar host thar wayis tais, 460
And tald how that thar men war slayne
So cleyne that neir eschapit nane.
And quhen thai of the host has herd
How that the Dowglas with thame ferd,
That had thar herbreouris all slayne, 465
And ruschit als thame-self agane,
And slew thar lord in-myd thar rowt,
Ther wes nane of thame all sa stowt,
That mair will had than till assale
The Dowglas; tharfor till consale 470
[Pg 291] Thai yheid, and till purpos has tane
Till wend hamward, and haym ar gane;
And sped thame swa apon thair way,
That in Ingland soyne cummyn ar thai.
The forest left thai standand still; 475
Till hew it than thai had no will:
And specialy quhill the Dowglas
So neir hand by thair nychtbour was.
And he, that saw thame turn agane,
Persavit weill thar lord wes slane, 480
And by the hat that he had tane
He wist alsua weill; for ane,
That takyn wes, said him suthly,
That the Richmond commonly
Wes wount that furrit hat to were. 485
Than Dowglas blithar wes than ere;
For he weill wist that the Richmond,
His felloune fa, wes broucht to ground.
1317   Three Feats by Fifty Men
Schir James of Dowglas, on this wis,
Throu his worschip and gret empris, 490
Defendit worthely the land.
This poynt of weir, I tak on hand,
Wes undirstane so apertly,
And eschevit richt hardely.
For he stonayit, withouten weir, 495
The folk that weill ten thousand weir,
With fifty armyt men but ma.
I can als tell yhow othir twa
Poyntis, that weill eschevit weir
With fifty men; and, but all weir, 500
Thai war done swa richt hardely,[†] *501
*That thai war prisit soveranly,
*Atour all othir poyntis of wer
That in thar tym eschevit wer. *504
This wes the first, that sa stoutly
Wes broucht till end weill with fifty.
In Galloway the tothir fell;
Quhen, as yhe forrouth herd me tell,
[Pg 292] Schir Edward the Bruys, with fifty,[†] 505
Vencust of Saint Johne Schir Amery,
And fifteene hundreth men be tale.[†]
The thrid fell in-to Eske-dale,
Quhen that Schir Jhone the Sowlis was
The governour of all that plas, 510
That to Schir Androu the Herdclay
With fifty men withset the way,
That had thar in his cumpany
Thre hundreth horsit jolely.
This Schir Jhone in-to plane melle, 515
Throu hardyment and soverane bounte
Vencust thame sturdely ilkane,
And Schir Androu in hand has tane.
I will nocht rehers all the maner;
For quha sa likis, thai may heir 520
Yhoung women, quhen thai will play,
Syng it emang thame ilke day.
Thir war the worthy poyntis thre,
That, I trow, evirmar sall be
Prisit, quhill men may on thaim meyn. 525
It is weill worth, forouten weyn,
That thar namys for evirmar,
That in thar tyme so worthy war
That men till heir yheit has dantee
Of thair worschip and gret bounte, 530
Be lestand ay furth in lovyng:
Quhare he, that is of hevyn the king,
Bring thame hye up till hevynnis blis,
Quhar alway lestand loving is!
1317   An English Fleet in the Forth
In-till this tyme that the Rychmond 535
Was on this maner broucht to ground,
Men of the cost of Ingland,
That duelt on Hummyr or neirhand,
Gaderit thame a gret menyhe,
And went with schippes to the se, 540
And toward Scotland went in hy,
And in the Firth com hastely.
[Pg 293] Thai wend till haf all thar liking:
For thai wist richt weill at the King
Wes than fer out of the cuntre, 545
And with him mony of gret bounte.
Tharfor in-to the Firth com thai
And endlang it up held thai thar way,[†]
Quhill thai, besyde Enverkethyne,[†]
On west half, toward Dunfermlyne,[†] 550
Tuk land, and fast begouth to reif.
The Erll of Fiff and the schirreff
Saw till thar cost schippes approachand:
Thai gaderit till defend thair land,
And ay forgane the schippis ay, 555
As thai salit, thai held thar way,
And thoucht till let thame land to tak,
And quhen the schipmen saw thame mak
Sie contenans in sic aray,
Thai said emang thaim all, that thai 560
Wald nocht let for thame land to ta,
Than to the land thai sped thame swa,
That thai com thair in full gret hy
And arivit full hardely.
The Scottis men saw thair cummyng, 565
And had of thame sic abasyng,
That thai all sammyn raid thame fra,
And the land letles leit thame ta.
Thai durst nocht fecht with thame, for-thi
Thai withdrew thame all halely; 570
The-quhethir thai war fyve hundreth ner.
Quhen thai away thus ridand wer,
And na defens begouth to schop,
Of Dunkelden the gude bischop,
That men callit Willyhame Syncler 575
Com with a rout in gud manere,
I trow on hors thai war sexty.
Hym-self wes armyt jolely,
[Pg 294] And raid apon a stalward steid.
A chemeyr, for till heill his weid, 580
Above his armyng had he then;
And als weill armyt wes his men.
The Erll with the schirreff met he,
Awayward with thar gret menyhe:
And askyt thame weill soyn, quhat hy 585
Maid thame till turne so hastely.
Thai said, thair fais with stalward hand
Had in sic fusioune takyne land,
That thai thoucht thame allout to fele,
And thame to few with thame to dele. 590
Quhen the bischop herd it wes sa,
He said; “The King aucht weill to ma
“Of yhow, that takis sa weill on hand
“In his absens till wer the land.
“Certis, gif he gert serve yhow weill, 595
The gilt spuris, richt by the heill,
“He suld in hy ger hew yhow fra;
“Richt wald with cowardis men did swa.
“Quha lufis his lord and his cuntre,
“Turne smertly now agane with me!” 600
With that he kest of his chemer,
And hynt in hand a stalward sper,
And raid toward his fayis in hy.
All turnyt with hym halely;
For he had thame reprevit swa, 605
That of thame all nane went him fra.
He raid befor thame sturdely,
And thai hym followyt sarraly,
Quhill that thai com neir approchand
To thar fais that had tane land. 610
And sum war knyt in gud aray,
And sum war set to the forray.
1317   The Wonderful Feat of an Englishman
The gud bischop, quhen he thame saw,
He said; “Lordingis, but dreid or aw,
“Prek we apon thame hardely, 615
“And we sall haf thame weill lichtly,
[Pg 295] “Se thai us cum but abaysing,
“Swa that we mak heir na stynting,
“Thai sall weill soyne discumfit be.
“Now dois weill; for men sall se, 620
“Quha lufis the Kyngis mensk to-day.”
Than all to-giddir in gud aray
Thai prekit apon thame sturdely.
The bischop, that wes richt hardy
And mekill and stark, raid forrouth ay. 625
Than in a frusche assemblit thai.
And thai that, at the first metyng
Of speris, feld so sair sowing,
Wayndist and wald haf beyn away;
Toward thar schippis in hy held thai, 630
And thai com chassand felonly,
And slew thame sa dispitfully,
That all the feldis strowit war
Of Inglis men that slayn wes thar.
And thai that yheit held unslayn, 635
Pressit thame to the se agane.
And Scottis men, that chassit swa,
Slew all that thai mycht our-ta.
Bot thai that fled yheit, nocht-for-thi,
Swa till thar schippis can thame hy, 640
And in sum bargis sa feill can ga,
And thair fais thame chasit swa,
That thai ourtummyllit, and the men
That war thar-in all drownit then.
Thar did ane Inglis man, perfay, 645
A weill gret strynth, as I herd say.
For quhen he chassit wes to the bat,
A Scottis man, that him handlyt hat,
He hynt than by the armys twa;
And, war him weill or war him wa, 650
He evin apon his bak hym flang,
And with hym till the bat can gang,
And kest him in, all magre his.
This wes ane weill gret strynth, i-wis.
The Inglis men, that wan away, 655
Till thair schippes in hy went thai.
[Pg 296] And salit hayme, angry and wa
That thai had beyn reboytit swa.

How Good King Robert the Bruce came Home again from Ireland.

1318   King Robert returns from Ireland
Qwhen that the schipmen on this wis
War discumfit, as I devis, 660
The bischop, that so weill hym bare
That he all hertit that was thar,
Wes yheit in-to the fechting-sted,
Quhar that fyve hundreth neir wes ded,
Forouten thame that drownyt war. 665
And quhen the feld wes spulyheit bare,
Thai went all hayme to thar repare.
To the bischop is fallen faire,
That, throu his pris and his bounte,
Has eschevit sa gret journee; 670
The Kyng tharfor, ay fra that day,
Hym lufit, honorit and prisit ay,
And held hym in-to sic daynte
That “his awne bischop” him callit he.
Thus thai defendit the cuntre 675
Apon bath halfis the Scottis Se,
Quhill that the King wes out of land,
That than, as I have borne on hand,
Throu all Irland his cours had maid,
And agane to Cragfergus raid. 680
And quhen his brothir, as he war King,
Had all Erischry at his bidding,
And halely Ulcister alsua,
He buskit hame his way to ta.
Of his men that war mast hardy 685
And prisit of all chevelry,
With his brothir gret part left he,
And syne he went on-to the se.
Quhen thair levis on athir party
Wes tane, he went to schip in hy. 690
[Pg 297] The Erll Thomas with him he had;
Thai rasit salys but abaid,
And in the land of Gallowa,
Forouten perell, arivit thai.

BOOK XVII.

The Winning of the Town of Berwick by the Scots Men, through the Means of Sim of Spalding.

The lordis of the land wes fayne
Quhen thai wist he wes cummyn agane,
And till him went in full gret hy,
And he resavit thame richt gladly,
And maid a fest and gladsum cher. 5
And thai so wondirly blith wer
Of his come, that na toung mycht say;
Gret fest and fair till him maid thai.
Quhar-evir he raid, all the cuntre
Gaderit in daynte him to se. 10
Gret gladschip than wes in the land;
All than wes wonnyne till his hand;
Fra Redis Swyr till Orkynnay
Wes nocht of Scotland fra his fay,
Outaken Berwik it allane. 15
That tyme thar-in wonnyt ane,
That capitane wes of the toune.
All Scottis men in suspicioune
He held, and tretit thame richt ill;
He had ay at thame hevy will, 20
And had thame fast at undir ay.
Quhill that it fell, apon a day,
That a burges, Sym of Spaldyng,
Thoucht it wes richt ane angry thing
Ay swagat till reboytit be; 25
Tharfor in-till his hert thoucht he,
That he wald slely mak covyne
With the marschall, quhais cosyne
[Pg 298] He had weddit on-till his wiff;
And as he thoucht he did beliff. 30
Letteris till him he send in hy
With a trast man all prevaly;
And set hym tym to cum a nycht[†]
With ledderis and gud men and wicht,
Till the Kow-yhet all prevely; 35
And bad him hald his trast treuly,
And he suld meit thame at the wall;
For his wach thar that nycht suld fall.
Quhen the marschall the letteris saw,
He umbethoucht him than a thraw; 40
For he wist, be him-selvin he
Micht nocht of mycht na power be
For till escheve so gret a thing:
And gif he tuk till his helping,
Ane or othir suld wrethit be. 45
Tharfor richt till the King yheid he,
And schawit him betuix thai twa
The lettir and the charge alsua.
Quhen that the King herd that this trane
Wes spokin in-to sic certane, 50
That him thoucht thar-in na fantys,
He said him; “Certis, thou wroucht has wis,
“That thou discoverit first till me;
“For gif thou had discoverit thee
“Till my nevo, the Erll Thomas, 55
“Thou suld disples the lord Douglas;
“And him alsua in the contrer.
“Bot I sall wirk on sic maner,
“That thou at thine entent sall be,
“And have of nane of thame magre. 60
“Thou sall tak kep weill to thi day,
“And with thame that thou purches may
“At evin thou sall enbuschit be
“In Duns park; bot be preve.
“And I sall ger the Erll Thomas, 65
“And the lord alsua of Dowglas,
[Pg 299] Athir with ane quheyne of men,
“Be thair till do as thou sall ken.”
APRIL, 1318   The Scots enter Berwick secretly
The marschall than but mair delay
Tuk lief, and held on furth his way; 70
And held the spek preve and still,
Quhill the day that wes set him till.
Than of the best of Lowdyane
He with him till his trist has tane;
For schirreff thar-off than wes he. 75
Till Duns park with his menyhe
He come at evyn all prevely.
And syne, with a gude cumpany,
Soyne eftir come the Erll Thomas,
That wes met with the lord Douglas. 80
A richt fair cumpany thai war,
Quhen thai war met to-giddir thar.
And quhen the marschall the covyne
Till bath the lordis, lyne be lyne,
Had tald, thai went on furth thar way; 85
Fer fra the toune thar hors left thai.
Till mak it schort, swa thai wroucht than
That, but seying of ony man,
Outane Sym of Spaldyne allane,
That gert the deid be undirtane, 90
Thai set thair ledderis to the wall,
And, but persaving, com up all;
And held thame in ane nuke preve,
Quhill at the nycht suld passit be.
And ordanit that the mast party 95
Of thair men suld gang sarraly
With thar lordis, and hald a staill,
And the remanand suld all haill
Scaill throu the toun, and tak and sla
The men that thai mycht our-ta. 100
APRIL, 1318   The Bravery of Sir William Keith
Bot soyn thar ordinans brak thai;
For, als soyn as it dawit day,
The twa part of thair men and ma,
All scalit, throu the toun to-ga;
[Pg 300] Sa gredy war thai till the gude, 105
That thai ran richt as thai war woude,
And sesit housis and slew men.
And thai that saw thair fais then
Cum apon thame suddanly,
Throu-out the toun thai rasit the cry, 110
And schot to-gidder heir and thair:
And ay, as thai assemblit war,
Thai wald abyde and mak debat.
Had thai beyn warnyt, weill I wat,
Thai suld haf sald thair dedis der; 115
For thai war gud men, and thai wer
Fer ma than thai war at thame soucht;
Bot thai war scalit sa at thai moucht
On na maner assemblit be.
Thar wes gret melleis twa or thre; 120
Bot Scottis men so weill thame bar
That thair fais ay ruschit war;
And cumrayit at the last war swa
That thai haly the bak can ta.
Sum gat the castell, bot nocht all; 125
And sum ar slyddin our the wall,
And sum war in-to handis tane,
And sum war in the bargane slane.
On this wis thame contenit thai,
Quhill it wes neir noyne of the day; 130
Than thai that in the castell war,
And othir that fled to thame thar,
That war a richt gret cumpany,
Quhan thai the baner saw sympilly
Swa standand, stuffit with sa quhoyn, 135
Thar yhettis haf thai opnyt soyn,
And yschit on thame hardely.
Than Erll Thomas, that wes worthy
And als the gude lord of Douglas,
With the few folk that with thame was, 140
Met thame stoutly with wapnys seir;
Thar men mycht se, that had beyn neir,
Men abaundoune thame hardely.
The Inglis men faucht cruelly,
[Pg 301] And with all mychtis can thame payne 145
Till rusche the Scottis men agane.
I trow thai had swa done, perfay,
For thai war fewar far than thai,
Gif it ne had beyn ane new maid knycht,
That till his name Schyr Wilyhame hicht 150
Of Keth, and of the Gawlistoune
He hecht, throu difference of sur-noune,
That bair him sa rycht weill that day,
And put him till sa hard assay,
And sic dyntis about him dang, 155
That, quhar he saw the thikast thrang,
He prikit with sa mekill mycht,
And sua enforsaly can ficht,
That he maid till his menyhe way:
And thai that neir war by him ay 160
Dang on thair fayis sa hardely,
That thai haf tane the bak haly
And till the castell held thair way.
And at gret myscheiff enterit thai,
For thai war pressit thair so fast, 165
That thai feill lesit of the last;
Bot thai that enterit, nocht-for-thi,
Sparit thair yhettis hastely;
And in hy to the wallis ran,
For thai war nocht all sekir than. 170
The toune wes takyn on this wis
Throu gret worschip and hye empris;[†]
And all the gud that thai thar fand
Wes sesit smertly in-till hand.
Vittaill thai fand in gret fusionne, 175
And all that fell till stuff of toune;
That kepit that fra distroying,
And syne has word send to the King.
And he wes of that tithing blith,
And sped him thiddirward full swith. 180
And as he throu the cuntre raid
Men gaderit till him, quhill he had
[Pg 302] A mekill rout of worthy men.
And the folk that war wonand then
In-till the Mers and Tevidaill, 185
And in the Forest als all haill,
And the est end of Lowdiane,
Befor that the King com, ar gane
To Berwik with a stalward hand,
That nane that wes that tyme wonand 190
On yhond half Tweid durst weill apeir.
And thai that in the castell weir,
Quhen thai thair fais in sic plente
Saw forrouth thame assemblit be,
And had na hope of reskewyng, 195
Thai war abasit in gret thing.
Bot thai the castell, nocht-for-thi,
Held thai fiff dayis sturdely,
Syne yhald it on the sext day,
And till thair cuntre syne went thai. 200
Here Walter Stewart took of the King
Both town and castle in keeping.
Thus wes the castell and the toune
Till Scottis mennys possessioun[†]
Broucht: and soyn eftir the King
Com ridand with his gadering
Till Berwik; and in the casteill 205
He herbryit is, bath fair and weill
And all his gret lordis hym by.
The remanand all comonly
Till herbry in the toun ar gane.
The King has than till consell tane, 210
That he wald nocht brek doune the wall,
Bot castell, and the toune with-all,
Stuff weill with men and with vittaill
And alkynd othir apparaill
That mycht availl, or yheit mysteir 215
Till hald castell or toune of wer.
[Pg 303]
And Walter, Steward of Scotland,
That than wes yhoung and avenand,
And sone-in-law wes to the King,
Had sa gret will and sic yharnyng, 220
Neirhand the marchis for till be,
At Berwik to yhemsall tuk he;
And resavit of the Kyng the toune,
Bath the castell and the dungeoune.
1318   Berwick prepared for Siege
The king gert men of gret nobillay 225
Ryde in-till Ingland for till pray,
That broucht out gret plente of fee;
And sum cuntreis trewit he
For vittale, that in gret foysoune
He gert bring smertly to the toune, 230
Swa that bath toune and castell war
Weill stuffit for ane yheir and mair.
The gude Steward of Scotland then
Send for his frendis and his men,
Quhill he had with him, but archeris, 235
But burges and botoblesteris,
Fiff hundreth men wicht and worthy,
That armys bar of ancistry.
Johne Crab, a Flemyne, als had he,
That wes of gret subtilite, 240
Till ordane till mak aparale
For till defend and till assale
Castell of wer or than cite,
That nane slear mycht fundin be.
He gert engynis and trammys ma,[†] 245
And purvait grec fyre alsua;[†]
Spryngaldis and schotis on seir maneris
That till defend castell afferis,
He purvait in-till full gret wane.
Bot gynis for crakkis had he nane; 250
[Pg 304] For in Scotland yheit than, but wene,
The oys of thame had nocht beyn sene
And quhen the toune apon this wis
Wes stuffit, as I heir devis,
The nobill King his way has tane 255
And ryddin toward Lowiane.
And Walter Steward, that wes stout,
He left in Berwik with his rout,
And ordanit fast for apparaill
Till defend gif men wald assaill. 260
AUG.-SEPT., 1319   Berwick beset by Land and Sea
Qwhen till the King of Ingland
Wes tald how that, with stalward hand,
Berwik wes tane, and stuffit syne
With men and vittale and armyne,
He wes anoyit gretumly; 265
And gert assembill hastely
His consale, and has tane to rede
That he his host wald thiddir leid,
And, with all mycht that he mycht get,
To the toune ane assege set, 270
And gert dik thame so stalwardly,[†]
That, quhill thame likit thair to ly,
Thai suld fer out the traster be.
And gif the men of the cuntre
With strynth of men wald thame assale, 275
At thair dykis in-to battale,
Thai suld avantage have gretly,
And thouch all suth, for gret foly
War till assaill in-to fechting
At his dikis so stark a thing. 280
Quhen his consell on this maneir
Wes tane, he gert bath fer and neir
His host haly assemblit be:
A gret folk than with him had he.
Of Lancister the Erll Thomas,[†] 285
That syne wes sanctit, as men sais,
[Pg 305] In-till his cumpany wes thar,
And all the erllis als that war
In Ingland worthy for to ficht,
And baronis als of mekill mycht, 290
With him to that assege had he:
And gert the schippes by the se
Bring schot and othir apparale,
With gret warnysing of vittale.
To Berwik with all this menyhe, 295
With his bataillis arayit, come he;[†]
And till gret lordis, ilkane syndri,
Ordanit ane felde for thar herbry.
That men mycht se soyne palyheonis
Be stentit on syndry fassownys, 300
So feill that thai a toune maid thair
Mair than bath toune and castell war.
On othir half syne, on the se,
The schippis com in sic plente,
With vittale, armyng, and with men, 305
That all the havyn wes stoppit then.
And quhen thai that war in the toune
Saw thair fais in sic foysoune
By land and se cum sturdely,
Thai, as wicht men and richt worthy 310
Schupe thame for till defend thar stede,
That thai in aventur of dede
Suld put thame, or than rusche agane
Thar fais; for thair capitane
Tretit thame sa lusumly, 315
And thar-with-all the mast party
Of thame that armyt with hym wer,
War of his blude and sib him ner,[†]
Or ellis thai war his allye.
Of sic confort men mycht thaim se, 320
And of sa richt fair contenyng,
As nane of thame had abasing.
[Pg 306] On dayis arayit weill war thai,
And on the nycht weill wachit ay.
Weill sex dais thai swa abaid, 325
That thai na full gret bargane maid.

How Walter Stewart was assailed in Berwick by the King of England.

In-till this tym that I tell here,
That thai withouten bargane wer,
The Inglis-men sa closit had
Thar host with dikis at thai maid, 330
That thai war strynthit gretumly.
Syne with all handis besaly
Thai schupe thame with thar apparale
Thame of the toune for till assale.
And of our Ladeis evin Mary, 335
That bare the byrth that all can by,
That men callis hir Nativite,
Soyn in the mornyng men mycht se
The Inglis host arme thame in hy,
And display baneris sturdely; 340
And assemmyll till thar baneris
With instrumentis on seir maneris,
As scaffaldis, ledderis, and coveryngis,[†]
Pykis, howis, and ek staff-slyngis;
Till ilk lord and his battale 345
Wes ordanit quhar he suld assale.
And thai within, quhen that thai saw
That menyhe raynge thame swa on raw,
Till thar wardis thai went in hy,
That war stuffit rycht stalwardly 350
With stanys, schot, and othir thing
That nedit till thair defending:
And in-to sic maner abaid
Thair fais that till assayl thame maid.
SEPT. 7, 1319   A Fierce Attack and Defence
Quhen thai without war all redy, 355
Thai trumpit till ane sawt in hy;
[Pg 307] And ilk man with his apparale,
Quhar he suld be, went till assaile.
Till ilk kyrneill that wes thair
Archeris till schute assignit war. 360
And quhen on this wis thai war boune,
Thai went in hy toward the toune,
And fillit dykis richt hastely,
Syne to the wallis hardely
Thai went with ledderis that thai haid; 365
Bot thai so gret defens has maid,
That war abovin apon the wall,
That oft ledderis, and men with-all,
Thai gert fall flatlynges to the grounde.
Than men mycht se in litill stound 370
Men assalyheand richt hardely,
Dressand up ledderis douchtely,
And sum on ledderis pressand war;
Bot thai that on the wall wes thar
Till all perellis can abandoune 375
Thame, till thair fais war doungyn doune.
At gret myschef defendit thai
Thair toune; for, gif we suth sall say,
The wallis of the toune than wer
Sa law, that a man with a sper 380
Micht strike ane othir up in the face.
And the schot als so thik thar was
That it wes wonder for till se.
Walter Steward, with a menyhe,
Raid ay about, for to se quhar 385
That for till help mast myster war:
And quhar men pressit mast, he maid
Succoure till his that myster had.
The mekill folk that wes without
Haid enveronyt the toune about, 390
Swa that na part of it wes fre.
Thar mycht men the assailyheouris se
Abandoune thame richt hardely;
And the defendouris douchtely
With all thar mychtis can thame payne 395
Till put thair fais fors agane.
[Pg 308]
SEPT. 7, 1319   The Assault is abandoned
On this wis thame contenit thai
Quhill noyne wes passit of the day.
Than thai that in the schippes war
Ordanit a schip with full gret far 400
Till cum with all hir apparale
Richt to the wall, for till assale.
Till myd-mast up thair bat thai drew,
With armyt men tharin inew:
A brig thai had for till lat fall 405
Richt fra the bat apon the wall.
With bargis by hir can thai row,
And pressit thame full fast to tow
Hir by the brighous to the wall:
On that entent thai set thame all. 410
Thai broucht hir quhill scho com weill neir:
Than mycht men se on seir maner
Sum men defend, and sum assale
Full besaly with gret travale.
Thai of the toune so weill thame bare, 415
That the schipmen sa handillit war,
That thai the schip on na maner
Mycht ger cum till the wall so neir,
That thar fall-brig mycht reik thar-till,
So lang abaid thai fechtand still[†] 420
Quhill that scho ebbit on the ground;
Than mycht men, in a litill stound,
Se thame be fer of war covyne
Than thai war eir, that war hir in.
And quhen the se wes ebbit sa, 425
That men all dry till hir mycht ga,
Out of the toune yschit in hy
Till hir a weill gret cumpany,
And fyre till hir has kendlyt soyne:
In-till schort tyme swa haf thai done, 430
That thai in fyre has gert hir bryn.
And sum war slayn that war hir in,
And sum fled and away are gane.
Ane engynour thair haf thai tane,
[Pg 309] That sleast wes of that mister 435
That men wist outhir fer or ner;
In-to the toun syne enterit thai.
It fell thame happely, perfay,
That thai gat in so hastely;
For thar come a gret cumpany 440
In full gret hy up by the se,
Quhen thai the schip saw byrnand be.
Bot or thai com, the tothir war past,
The yhet thai barrit and closit fast.
That folk assalyheit fast that day, 445
And thai within defendit ay
On sic a wis, that thai that war
With gret enfors assalyheand thar
Mycht do thar will on na maner.
And quhen that evynsang-tym wes neir, 450
The folk without, that wer wery,
And sum woundit full cruelly,
Saw thame within defend thaim swa;
And saw it wes nocht eyth till ta
The toune, with sic defens wes maid[†] 455
By thaim, that it in stering had.
The host saw that thar schip wes brynt,
And of thame that thar-in war tynt,
And thar folk woundit and wery;
Thai gert blaw the retret in hy. 460
Fra the schipmen reboytit war,
Thai let the tothir assale no mar;
For throu the schip thai wend ilkane
That thai the toune weill suld haf tane.
Men sais that ma schippis than swa 465
Pressit that tyme the toune till ta;
Bot for that thar wes brynt bot ane,
And the gynour tharin wes tane.
Now heir tharfor mencione maid I
Bot off a schip all anerly. 470
Qwhen thai had blawen the ratret,
Thai folk, that tholit had panys gret,
[Pg 310] Withdrew thame haly fra the wall;
The assalt haf thai levit all.
And thai within, that wery war, 475
And mony of thame woundit sar,
War blith and glad quhen at thai saw
Thair fais swagat thame withdraw.
And, fra thai wist suthly that thai
Held to thair palyheonys thair way, 480
Thai set gud wachis to thar wall;
Syne to thar innys went thai all,
And esyt thame that wery war.
And othir, that war woundit sar,
Had lechis gude forsuth, I hicht, 485
That helpit thame as thai best mycht.
On athir syde wery war thai;
That nycht thai did no mair perfay.
Fiff dayis thar-eftir thai war still,
That nane till othir did mekill ill. 490
1319   The Scots raid England
Now leiff we thir folk heir liand
All still, as I haf borne on hand,
And turn the cours of our carpyng
Till Schir Robert the douchty King,
That assemblit bath fer and neir, 495
Ane host, quhen that he wist, but weir,[†]
That the king swa of Ingland
Had assegit with stalward hand
Berwik, quhar Walter Steward was.
Till purpos with his men he tais, 500
That he wald nocht sa soyne assale
The King of Ingland with battale,
And at his dykis specially,
For it mycht weill turn to foly.
Tharfor he ordanit lordis twa, 505
The Erll of Murreff wes ane of tha,
The tothir wes the Lord Dowglas,
With fyftene thousand men to pas
In Ingland, for till burn and sla,
And swa gret ryot thar till ma, 510
[Pg 311] That thai that lay segande the toune,
Quhen thai herd the distructione,
That thai suld in-till Ingland ma,
Suld be sa dredand, and sa wa
For thair childir and for thair wiffis, 515
That thai suld dreid suld leis thar liffis,
And thar gudis alsua, that thai
Suld dreid than suld be had away,
That thai suld leif the sege in hy,
And wend to reskew hastely 520
Thair gude, thair frendis, and thair land.
Tharfor, as I haf borne on hand,
Thir lordis send he furth in hy;
And thai thair way tuk hastely,
And in Ingland gert byrn and sla, 525
And wroucht tharin so mekill wa
As thai forrayit the cuntre,
That it wes pite for to se
Till thame that wald it ony gude,
For thai distroyit all as thai yhude. 530
So lang thai raid distroyande swa,
As thai traversit to and fra,
That thai ar cummyne till Repoune,
And distroyit haly that toune.
At Burrow-brig syne thar herbry 535
Thai tuk, and at Mytoun thar-by.
And quhen the men of that cuntre
Saw thar land sa distroyit be,
Thai gaderit, in-till full gret hy,
Archeris, burges, with yhemenry, 540
Prestis, clerkis, monkis, and freris,
Husbandis, and men of all mysteris,
Quhill at thai sammyn assemmyllit war
Weill tuenty thousand men and mair.
Richt gud armyng eneuch thai had. 545
The archbischop of York thai maid
Thair capitane; and to consale
Has tane, that thai in playn battale
Wald assale the Scottis men,
[Pg 312] That fer fewar than thai war then. 550
Than he displayit his baneir,
And othir bischoppes, that thar wer,
Gert display baneris alsua.
All in a rout furth can thai ga
Toward Mytoune the reddy way; 555
And quhen that Scottis men herd say
That thai war till thame cumand neir,
Thai buskit thame on thar best maneir,
And delit thame in-till battellis twa.
Dowglas the vaward he can ma; 560
The reirward maid the Erll Thomas,
For chiftane of the host he was.
And, sua ordanit in gude aray,
Toward thair fais thai held their way.
Quhen athir had of othir sicht, 565
Thai pressit on bath halfis to ficht.
The Inglis men com on sadly
With gud contenans and hardy,
Rycht in a frount with a baner,
Quhill thai thair fayis com so neir, 570
That thai thar visage weill mycht se.
Thre sper-lynth, I trow weill, mycht be
Betuix thame, quhen sic abasing
Tuk thame, but mar, in-to a swyng,
Thai gaf the bak all, and to-ga. 575
Quhen Scottis men has seyn thame swa
Affrayitly fle all thar way,
In gret hy apon thame schot thai,
And slew and tuk a gret party.
The laiff fled full effrayitly 580
As thai best mycht, to seik warrand.
Thai war chassit so neir at hand,
That weill ane thousand deit thar;
And of thaim yheit thre hundreth war
Prestis, that deit in-to that chas. 585
Tharfor that bargane callit was
“The Chaptour of Mytoune;” for thare
Slayn sa mony prestis ware.
[Pg 313]
1319   The ‘Sow’ and the ‘Crane’
Qwhen thir folk thus discumfit was,
And Scottis men had left the chas, 590
Thai went thame furthwarde in the land
Slayand, distroyand, and byrnand,
And thai that at the sege lay,
Or it wes passit the fift day,
Had made thame syndry apparale 595
To gang eftsonis till assale.
Of gret gestis ane Sow thai maid,
That stalward heling owth it had,
With armyt men enew thar-in,
And instrumentis als for to myne. 600
Syndry scaffaldis thai maid with-all,[†]
That war weill hyar than the wall,
And ordanit als that by the se
The toune suld weill assalyheit be.
And thai within, that saw thame swa 605
So gret apparale schap till ma,
Throu Crabbis consale, that wes sle,
Ane cren thai haif gert dres up hey
Rynand on quhelis, that thai mycht bring
It quhar neid war of mast helping. 610
And pik and ter als haf thai tane,
And lynt and hardis with brynstane,
And dry treis that weill wald brin;
And mellit syne athir othir in:
And gret flaggatis tharof thai maid, 615
Gyrdit with irne bandis braid.
Of thai flaggatis mycht mesurit be
Till a gret tunnys quantite.
Thai flaggatis byrnand in a baill
With thair cren thoucht thai till availl. 620
And gif the Sow come to the wall,
Till lat thame byrnand on hir fall,
And with ane stark cheyne hald thame thar
Quhill all war brint up that thar war.
Engynys alsua for till cast 625
Thai ordanit, and maid redy fast,
[Pg 314] And set ilk man syne till his ward.
And Schir Walter, the gude Steward,
With armyt men suld ryde about,
And se quhar at thar war mast dout; 630
And succur thar with his menyhe.
And quhen thai in-to sic degre
Had maid thame for thair asaling,
On the Rude-evyn, in the dawing,
The Inglis host blew till assale. 635
Than mycht men with ser apparale
Se that gret host cum sturdely;
The toune enveremyt thai in hy,
And assalit with sa gud will,
For all thair mycht thai set thar-till, 640
That thai thame pressit fast of the toune.
Bot thai, that can thame abandoune
Till ded, or than till woundis sare,
Sa weill has thame defendit thare,
That ledderis to the ground thai flang, 645
And with stanys so fast thai dang
Thair fais, that feill thai left lyand,
Sum ded, sum hurt, and sum swonand.
SEPT. 13, 1319   The ‘Sow’ is smashed
Bot thai that held on fut in hy
Drew thame away deliverly, 650
And skunnyrrit tharfor na-kyn thing,
Bot went stoutly till assalyng.
And thai abovin defendit ay,
And set thame till so harde assay,
Quhill that feill of thame woundit war: 655
And thai so gret defens maid thar,
That thai styntit thair fais mycht.
Apon sic maner can thai ficht,
Quhill it wes neir noyne of the day;
Than thai without, in gret aray, 660
Pressit thair Sow toward the wall;
And thai within weill soyne gert call
The engynour that takyne was,
And gret manans till him mais;
And swoir that he suld de, bot he 665
Provit on the Sow sic sutelte,
[Pg 315] That he to-fruschyt hir ilke deill.
And he, that has persavit weill
That the dede wes weill neir hym till,
Bot gif he mycht fulfill thar will, 670
Thoucht that he all his mycht wald do;
Bendit in gret hy than wes scho,
And till the Sow wes evin set.
In hye he gert draw the cleket,
And smertly swappit out the stane 675
That evyn out-our the Sow is gane,
And behynd hir a litill we
It fell, and than thai cryit hey
That war in hir, “Furth to the wall.
“For dreidles it is ouris all!” 680
The engynour that deliverly
Gert bend the gyne in full gret hy,
And the stane smertly swappit out:
It flaw out, quhedirand, with a rout,
And fell richt evin befor the Sow. 685
Thair hertis than begouth till grow;
Bot yheit than, with thair mychtis all,
Thai pressit the Sow toward the wall,
And has hir set thar-to juntly.[†]
The gynour than gert bend in hy 690
The gyne, and wappyt out the stane,[†]
That evin toward the lift is gane,
And with gret wecht syne duschit doune
Richt by the wall, in a randoune,
And hyt the Sow in sic maner, 695
That it, that wes the mast summer
And starkast for till stynt a strak,
In-sundir with that dusche he brak.
The men ran out in full gret hy,
And on the wallis thai can cry, 700
That thair Sow ferryit wes thair.
Johne Crab, that had his geir all yhar,
In his fagattis has set the fyre,
And our the wall syne can thame vyre,
[Pg 316] And brynt the Sow till brandis bair. 705
With all this, fast assalyheand war
The folk without with felloune ficht,
And thai within with mekill mycht
Defendit manfully thar stede,
In-till gret aventur of dede. 710
The schipmen, with gret apparale,
Com with thair schippes till assale,
With top-castellis warnist weill,
And wicht men armyt in-till steill.
Thair batis up apon thair mastis 715
Drawyn weill hye and festnyt fast is,
And pressit with that gret atour
Toward the wall, bot the gynour
Hit in ane espyne with a stayne,
And the men that war thar-in gane, 720
Sum dede, sum dosnyt, come doun wyndland.
Fra thine-furth durst nane tak on hand
With schippes pres thame to the wall.
Bot the laiff war assalyheand all
On ilka syde sa egyrly, 725
That certis it wes gret ferly,
That thai folk sic defens has maid,
For the gret myscheif that they had.
For thair wallis so law than weir,
That a man richt weill with a sper 730
Micht strik ane othir up in the face,
As eir befor tald till yhow was.
And feill of thame war woundit sare,
And the layf so fast travaland war,
That nane had tume rest for till ta,[†] 735
Thair adversouris assailyheit swa.
SEPT. 13, 1319   The Drawbridge is burnt down
Thai war within sa stratly stad
That thar wardane, that with him had
Ane hundreth men in cumpany
Armyt, that wicht war and hardy, 740
[Pg 317] And raid about for till se quhar
That his folk hardest pressit war,
To relief thame that had mister,
Com syndry tymes in placis ser
Quhar sum of the defensouris war 745
All dede, and othir woundit sare;
Swa that he of his cumpany
Behufit to leiff thair party:
Swa that, be he a cours had maid
About, of all the men he had 750
Thar wes levit with him bot ane,
That he ne had thame left ilkane
To releve quhar he saw mister.
And the folk, that assalyheand wer
At Mary-yhet, to-hewyn had 755
The barras, and a fyre had maid
At the draw-brig, and brynt it doune;
And war thringand in gret foysoune
Rycht to the yhet ane fyre till ma.
Than thai within gert smertly ga 760
Ane to the wardane, for till say
How thai war set in hard assay.
And quhen Schir Walter Steward herd
How men sa stratly with thame ferd,
He gert cum of the castell then 765
All that war thar of armyt men,
For thar that day assalyheit nane,
And with that rout in hy is gane
To Mary-yhet, and till the wall
Is went, and saw the myscheif all: 770
And umbethoucht him suddandly
Bot gif gret help war set in hy
Thar-to, thai suld burne up the yhet
That fra the wall thai suld nocht let.[†]
Tharfor apon gret hardyment 775
He suddanly set his entent;
And gert all wyde set up the yhet,
And the fyre that he fand thar-at
[Pg 318] With strinth of men he put away.
He set him in full hard assay; 780
For thai that war assalyheand thar
Pressit on hym with wapnys bair,
And he defendit with all his mycht.
Thar mycht men se a felloune sicht,
With staffing, stoking, and striking.[†] 785
Thar maid thai sturdy defending;
For with gret strynth of men the yhet
Thai defendit, and stude thar-at,
Magre thair fais, quhill the nycht
Gert thame on bath halfis leif the ficht. 790
Thai of the host, quhen nycht can fall,
Fra the assalt with-drew thame all,
Woundit, and wery, and forbeft.
With mate cher the assalt thai left,
And till thar innys went in hy 795
And set thar wachis hastely.
The laif thame esit as thai mycht best;
For thai had gret myster of rest.
That nycht thai spak al comonly
Of thame within, and had ferly 800
That thai sa stout defens has maid
Agane the gret assalt thai had.
And thai within, on othir party,
Quhen thai thair fayis so halely
Saw thame withdraw, thai war all blith, 805
And wachis has ordanit swith;
And syne ar till thar innys gane.
Thar wes bot few of thame wes slaine,
Bot feill war woundit wikidly,[†]
The laiff our mesur war wery. 810
It wes ane hard assalt, perfay,
And certis, I hard nevir say[†]
Quhar quheyn men mair defens had maid,
That swa richt hard assalyheing had.
[Pg 319] And of a thing that thair befell 815
I haf ferly, that I of tell;
That is, that in-till all that day,
Quhen all thair mast assalyheit thai,
And the schot thikkest wes with-all,
Women with child and childir small 820
In arme-fullis gaderit up, and bair
Till thame that on the wallis war
Arowes, and nocht ane slayne wes thar,
Na yheit woundit; and that wes mar
The myrakill of God Almychty, 825
And to nocht ellis it set can I.
SEPT. 14, 1319   A Division in the English Council
On athir syde that nycht thai war
All still, and on the morne, but mar,
Thar come tithandis out of Ingland,
Till thame of the host, that bare on hand 830
How that by Borrow-brig and Mytoune
Thair men war slayne and dungin doune;
And at Scottis-men throu-out the land
Raid yheit byrnand and distroyand.
And quhen the King has herd this taill, 835
His consell he assemblit haill,
Till se quhethir farar war him till
Till ly about the toune all still,
And assaill quhill it wonnyne war,
Or than in Ingland for till fare 840
And reskew his land and men.
His consell fast discordit then;
For Southren men wald that he maid
Arest thar, quhill he wonnyn had
The toune and the castell alsua. 845
Bot Northir men wald no-thing swa,
That dred thar friendis for till tyne,
And mast part of thar gudis syne
Throu Scottis mennys cruelte;
Thai wald he leit the sege be 850
And raid for till reskew the land.
Of Longcastell, I tak on hand,
The Erll Thomas wes ane of thai
That consalit the King hame to ga.
[Pg 320] And, for that mair enclynit he 855
Till the folk of the south cuntre
Than till the northir mennys will,
He tuk it to sa mekill ill
That he gert turs his geir in hy,
And with his batall halely, 860
That of the host neir thrid part was,
Till Ingland hame his way he tais.
But leiff he hame has tane his gat:
Tharfor fell eftir sic debat
Betuix him and the King, that ay 865
Lestit quhill Androu Herdclay,
That throu the King wes on him set,
Tuk hym syne in-to Pomfret,
And on the hill besyde the toune
Strake of his hede but ransoune; 870
Tharfor syne drawin and hangit wes he,
And with him weill a fair menyhe.
Men said syne eftir, this Thomas,
That on this wis maid martir was,
Was sanctit and myraclis did, 875
Bot envy syne gert thame be hid.
Bot quhethir he haly wes or nane,
At Pomfret thusgat was he slane.
And syne the King of Ingland,
Quhen that he saw hym tak on hand 880
Till pass his way sa oppinly,
Hym thoucht it wes perell to ly
Thar with the laiff of his menyhe;
And his harnas tursit has he
And in-till Ingland hame can far. 885
SEPT., 1319   The Return of the Scots
The Scottis men, that distroyand war
In Ingland, herd soyne tell tithyng[†]
Of this gret sege the departing.
[Pg 321] Tharfor thai tuk westward the way,
And by Carlele hame went ar thai 890
With prayis and with presoneris,
And othir gudis on seir maneris.
The lordis till the King ar gane,
And the laiff has thar wayis tane;
Ilk man till his repair is gane. 895
The King, iwis, was woundir fayne
That thai war cummyn haile and feir,
And at thai sped on sic maner,
That thai thair fais discumfit had,
And, but tynsale of men, had maid 900
Reskowris to thame that in Berwik
War assegit richt till thar dik.
And quhen the Kyng had sperit tithand[†]
How thai had faryne in-till Ingland,
And thai haf tald hym all thar fair, 905
How Inglis men discumfit war,
Richt blith in-till his hert wes he,
And maid thame fest with gammyn and gle.
Berwik wes on this maner
Reskewit, and thai that thar-in wer. 910
He wes worthy ane prince till be,
Throu manheid and subtilite,
That couth throu wit sa hye a thyng,
But tynsale, bryng till gude ending.
Till Berwik syne the way he tais: 915
And quhen he herd thar how it was
[Pg 322] Defendit swa richt apertly,
He lovit thame that war thar gretly.
Walter Stewardis gret bounte
Atour the laif commendit he, 920
For the richt gret defens he maid
At the yhet, quhar men brynt had[†]
The brig, as yhe herd me devis.
And certis he wes weill till pris,
That sa stoutly with playne fecthing 925
At oppyn yhet maid defending.
Mycht he haf lifit quhill he had beyne
Of perfit elde, withouten weyne,
His renoune suld haf strekit fer.
Bot dede, that wachis ay to mar 930
With all hyr mycht waik and worthy,
Had at his worschip gret invy;
That in the flour of his yhoutheid
Scho endit all his douchty deid,
As I sall tell yhow forthirmar. 935
Quhen the King had a quhill beyne thar
He send for masonis fer and neir,
That sleast wes of that misteir,
And gert weill ten fute hye the wall
About Berwikis toune our all.[†] 940
And syne soyne toward Lowdyane
With his menyhe his gat has gane;
And syne he gert ordane in hy
Bath armyt men and yhemanry
In-till Irland in hy till fair 945
Till help his brothir that wes thair.

BOOK XVIII.

How Sir Edward the Bruce was slain in Ireland.

OCT. 14, 1318   Edward Bruce is bent on Fighting
Bot he, that rest anoyit ay,
And wald in travaill be all-way,
A day forrouth thair arivyng
That war send till hym fra the King,
[Pg 323] He tuk his way south-wart to fare[†] 5
Magre them all that with hym war.
For he had nocht than in that land
Of all men, I trow, twa thousand,
Outane the kyngis off Erischry
That in gret rowtis raid hym by. 10
Toward Dundawk he tuk the way:
And quhen Richard of Clare herd say
That he com with ane few menyhe,
All that he mycht assemblit he,
Of all Irland, of armyt men: 15
Swa that he had thar with him then
Of trappit hors tuenty thousand,
But thaim that war on fut gangand;
And held furth northwarde on his way.
And quhen Schir Edward has herd say 20
That cummyn neir till hym wes he,
He send discurrouris hym till se:
The Sowlis and the Steward war thai,
And als Schir Philip the Mowbray.
And quhen thai seyn had thar cummying, 25
Thai went agane to tell the King,
And said weill thai war mony men.
In hie Schir Edward ansuered then,
And said that he suld fecht that day
Thouch tryplit or quadruplit war thai.[†] 30
Schir Johne Steward said, “Sekirly,
“I red ye nocht ficht in sic hy.
Men sais my brothir is cumand
“With fyftene hundreth men neir hand;[†]
“And war thai knyt with yhow, yhe mycht 35
“The trastlyar abyde to ficht.”
Schir Edward lukit richt angrely,
And till the Sowlis said in hy,
‘Quhat sais thou?’ “Schir,” he said, “perfay,
“As my fallow has said, I say.” 40
And than till Schir Philippe than said he,
“Schir,” said he, “sa our Lord me se!
[Pg 324] “Me think it na foly to byde
“Yhour men, that spedis thame to ryde.
“For we ar few, our fais ar feill; 45
“God may rycht weill our weirdis deill;
“Bot it war woundir that our mycht
“Suld ourcum so feill in ficht.”
Than, with gret ire, ‘Allas,’ said he,
‘I wend nevir till here that of the! 50
‘Now help quha will, for sekirly
‘This day, but mair baid, fecht will I.
‘Sa na man say, quhill I may dre,
‘That strynth of men sall ger me fle!
‘God scheld that ony suld us blame, 55
‘That we defoull our noble name.’
“Now be it swagat than,” quod thai,
“We sall tak that God will purvay.”
OCT. 14, 1318   Edward Bruce is slain
And quhen the kyngis of Erischry
Herd say, and wist all sekirly, 60
That that King, with sa quheyn, wald ficht
Agane folk of sa mekill mycht,
Thai come till him in full gret hy,
And consalit hym full tendirly
For till abid his men; and thai 65
Suld hald thar fais all that day
Doand, and on the morne alsua,
With thar saltis that thai suld ma.
Bot thair mycht na consel availl,
He wald all-gat haff the battaill. 70
And quhen thai saw he wes so thra
To fecht, thai said; “Yhe may weill ga
“To ficht with yhon gret cumpany;
“Bot we acquyt us utirly,
“That nane of us will stand to ficht, 75
“Assuris nocht tharfor in our mycht.
“For our maner is of this land
“To follow and ficht, and ficht fleand,
“And nocht till stand in plane melle
“Quhill the ta part discumfit be.” 80
[Pg 325] He said; ‘Sen that your custum is,
‘Ik ask no mair at yhow bot this,
‘That is, that yhe and yhour menyhe
‘Wald all to-giddir arayit be,
‘And stand on fer, but departing, 85
‘And se our ficht and our endyng.’
Thai said weill at thai suld do swa,
And syne toward thair men can ga,
That war weill forty thousand neir.[†]
Edward, with thame that with him weir, 90
That war nocht fully twa thousand,
Arayit thame stalwardly till stand
Agane fourty thousand and ma.
Schir Edward that day wald nocht ta
His cot-armour; bot Gib Harper, 95
That men held als withouten peir
Of his estat, had on that day
All haill Schir Edwardis aray.
The ficht abaid thai on this wis;
And in gret hy thair enymys 100
Com, till assemmyll all reddy,
And thai met thame richt hardely.
Thai war sa few, forsuth to say,
That ruschit with thair fais war thai;
And thai that pressit mast to stand 105
War slane doune, and the remanand
Fled till Erischry for succour.
Schyr Edward, that had sic valour,
Wes ded, and Johne Steward alsua;
And Johne de Sowlis als with thai, 110
And othir als of thair cumpany.
Thai vencust war sa suddanly
That few in-till the place war slayne;
For the laif has thair wayis tane
Till the Erische kyngis that wes thar, 115
And in haill battale howand war.
Johne Tomassun, that wes leder[†]
Of thame of Carrik that thair wer,
[Pg 326] Quhen he saw the discumfiting,
With-drew him till ane Erische king 120
That of his acquyntans had he;
And he resavit him in lawte.
And quhen Johne cummyn wes to that king,
He saw be led fra the fechting
Schir Philipe the Mowbray, the wicht, 125
That had beyne doysnyt in the ficht.
And be the armys led was he
With twa men, apon the cawse
That wes betuix thame and the toune,
That strekit lang in a randoune. 130
Toward the toune thai held thair way,
And quhen in myd cawse war thai,
Schir Philip of his desynais
Ourcome, and persavit he wes
Tane, and swagat led with twa: 135
The tane he swappit soyne him fra,
And syne the tothir in gret hy;
Syne drew his suerde deliverly,