The Brus Book 18

John Barbour 1320 – 1395 (Aberdeen)

[Edward Bruce marches toward Dundalk; he debates whether to fight]

Bot he that rest anoyit ay
And wald in travaill be alway,
A day forouth thar aryving
That war send till him fra the king,
5 He tuk his way southwart to far
Magre thaim all that with him war,
For he had nocht than in that land
Of all men I trow twa thousand,
Outane the kingis off Irchery
10 That in gret routis raid him by.
Towart Dundalk he tuk the way,
And quhen Richard of Clar hard say
That he come with sa few menye
All that he mycht assemblit he
15 Off all Irland off armyt men,
Sua that he had thar with him then
Off trappyt hors twenty thousand
But thai that war on fute gangand,
And held furth northward on his way.
20 And quhen Schyr Edward has hard say
That cummyn ner till him wes he
He send discouriouris him to se,
The Soullis and the Stewart war thai
And Schyr Philip the Mowbray,
25 And quhen thai sene had thar cummyng
Thai went agayne to tell tithing,
And said weill thai war mony men.
In hy Schyr Edward answerd then
And said that he suld fecht that day
30 Thoucht tribill and quatribill war thai.
Schyr Jhone Stewart said, 'Sekyrly
I reid nocht ye fecht on sic hy,
Men sayis my brother is cummand
With fyften thousand men ner-hand,
35 And war thai knyt with you ye mycht
The traistlyer abid to fycht.'
Schyr Edward lukyt all angrely
And till the Soullis said in hy,
'Quhat sayis thou?' 'Schyr,' he said, 'Perfay
40 As my falow has said I say.'
And than to Schyr Philip said he.
'Schyr,' said he, 'sa our Lord me se
Me think na foly for to bid
Your men that spedis thaim to rid,
45 For we ar few, our fayis ar fele,
God may rycht weill our werdis dele,
Bot it war wondre that our mycht
Suld our-cum sa fele in fycht.'
Than with gret ire 'Allace,' said he,
50 I wend never till her that of the.
Now help quha will for sekyrly
This day but mar baid fecht will I,
Sall na man say quhill I may drey
That strenth of men sall ger me fley.
55 God scheld that ony suld us blam
Gif we defend our noble nam.'
'Now be it swagat than,' quod thai,
'We sall tak that God will purvai.'

[The Irish kings promise to remain and watch the fight]

And quhen the kingis of Irchery
60 Herd say and wyst sekyrly
That thar king with sa quhone wald fycht
Agane folk of sa mekill mycht
Thai come till him in full gret hy
And consaillyt him full tenderly
65 For till abid his men, and thai
Suld hald thar fayis all that day
Doand, and on the morn alsua
With thar ronnyngis that thai suld ma.
Bot thar mycht na consail availe,
70 He wald algat hav bataile.
And quhen thai saw he wes sa thra
To fycht, thai said, 'Ye ma well ga
To fycht with yone gret cumpany,
Bot we acquyt us uterly
75 That nane of us will stand to fycht.
Assuris nocht tharfor in our mycht,
For our maner is of this land
To folow and fecht fleand
And nocht to stand in plane melle
80 Quhill the ta part discomfyt be.'
He said, 'Sen that your custum is
Ik ask at you no mar bot this,
That is that ye and your menye
Wald all togidder arayit be
85 And stand on fer but departing
And se our fycht and the ending.'
Thai said weill that thai suld do sua,
And syne towart thar men gan thai ga
That war weill twenty thousand ner.

[The defeat and death of Edward Bruce; Philip Mowbray's fate]

90 Edward with thaim that with him wer
That war nocht fully twa thousand
Arayit thaim stalwartly to stand
Agayne fourty thousand and ma.
Schyr Edward that day wald nocht ta
95 His cot-armour, bot Gib Harper
That men held as withoutyn per
Off his estate, had on that day
All hale Schyr Edwardis aray.
The fycht abad thai on this wis,
100 And in gret hy thar ennymys
Come till assemble all redy
And thai met thaim hardely.
Bot thai sa few war, south to say,
That ruschyt with thar fayis war thai,
105 And thai that pressyt mast to stand
War slane doun, and the remanand
Fled till the Irche to succour.
Schyr Edward that had sic valour
Wes dede and Jhone Stewart alsua
110 And Jhone the Soullis als with tha
And other als off thar cumpany.
Thai war vancussyt sa suddanly
That few intill the place war slane,
For the lave has thar wayis tane
115 Till the Irsche kingis that war thar
And in hale bataill howand wer.
Jhone Thomas-sone that wes leder
Off thaim of Carrik that thar wer
Quhen he saw the discumfiting
120 Withdrew him til
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Barbour

John Barbour, was a Scottish poet and the first major named literary figure to write in Scots. more…

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