The Brus by John Barbour


[The king prepares his division]

	Now Douglas furth his wayis tais,
	And in that selff tyme fell throw cais
	That the king off Ingland quhen he
	Was cummyn with his gret menye
5	Ner to the place, as I said ar, 
	Quhar Scottismen arayit war,
	He gert arest all his bataill
	And other alsua to tak consaill
	Quhether thai wald herbry thaim that nycht
10	Or than but mar ga to the fycht.
	The vaward that wist na thing
	Off this arest na his dwelling
	Raid to the Park all straucht thar way
	Foroutyn stinting in gud aray,
15	And quhen the king wist that thai wer
	In hale bataill cummand sa ner
	His bataill gert he weill aray.
	He raid apon a litill palfray 
	Laucht and joly arayand
20	His bataill with ane ax in hand,
	And on his bassynet he bar
	Ane hat off quyrbolle ay-quhar,
	And thar-upon into taknyng 
	Ane hey croune that he wes king.
[The king kills Henry de Bohun]

25	And quhen Glosyster and Herfurd wer
	With thar bataill approchand ner
	Befor thaim all thar come ridand
	With helm on heid and sper in hand
	Schyr Henry the Boune the worthi,
30	That was a wycht knycht and a hardy
	And to the erle off Herfurd cusyne,
	Armyt in armys gud and fyne
	Come on a sted a bow-schote ner
	Befor all  other that thar wer,
35	And knew the king for that he saw
	Him sua rang his men on raw
	And by the croune that wes set
	Alsua apon his bassynet,
	And towart him he went in hy.
40	And quhen the king sua apertly
	Saw him cum forouth all his feris
	In hy till him the hors he steris.
	And quhen Schyr Henry saw the king
	Cum on foroutyn abaysing
45	Till him he raid in full gret hy,
	He thocht that he suld weill lychtly
	Wyn him and haf him at his will
	Sen he him horsyt saw sa ill.
	Sprent thai samyn intill a ling,
50	Schyr Hanry myssit the noble king
	And he that in his sterapys stud
	With the ax that wes hard and gud
	With sua gret mayne raucht him a dynt
	That nother hat na helm mycht stynt
55	The hevy dusche that he him gave
	That ner the heid till the harnys clave.
	The hand-ax schaft fruschit in twa,
	And he doune to the erd gan ga
	All flatlynys for him faillyt mycht.
60	This wes the fryst strak off the fycht
	That wes perfornyst douchtely,
	And quhen the kingis men sa stoutly
	Saw him rycht at the fyrst meting
	Foroutyn dout or abaysing
65	Have slayne a knycht sua at a strak
	Sic hardyment tharat gan thai tak
	That thai come on rycht hardely.
	Quhen Inglismen saw thaim sa stoutly
	Cum on tthai had gret abaysing
70	And specially for that the king
	Sa smartly that gud knycht has slayne
	That thai withdrew thaim everilkane
	And durst nocht ane abid to fycht
	Sa dred thai for the kingis mycht.
75	And quhen the kingis men thaim saw
	Sua in hale bataill thaim withdraw
	A gret schout till thaim gan thai mak
	And thai in hy tuk all the bak,
	And thai that folowit thaim has slane
80	Sum off thaim that thai haf ourtane
	Bot thai war few forsuth to say
	Thar hors fete had ner all away.
	Bot how-sa quhoyne deyt thar
	Rebutyt foulily thai war
85	And raid thar gait with weill mar schame
	Be full fer than thai come fra hame.
[Douglas admires the struggle of Moray and his men]

	Quhen that the king reparyt was
	That gert his men all leve the chas
	The lordis off his cumpany 
90	Blamyt him as thai durst gretumly
	That he him put in aventur
	To mete sa styth a knycht and sture
	In sic poynt as he than wes sene,
	For thai said weill it mycht haiff bene
95	Cause off thar tynsaill everilkan.
	The king answer has maid thaim nane
	Bot menyt hys handax schaft that sua
	Was with the strak brokyn in twa.
	The Erle Thomas wes yete fechtand
100	With fayis apon athyr hand
	And slew off thaim a quantite,
	Bot wery war his men and he
	The-quhether with wapynnys sturdely
	Thai thaim defendyt manlely
105	Quhill that the Douglas come ner
	That sped him on gret maner,
	And Inglismen that war fechtand
	Quhen thai the Douglas saw ner-hand
	Thai wandyst and maid ane opynnyng.
110	James of Douglas be thar relying
	Knew that thai war discumfyt ner,
	Than bad thaim that with him wer 
	Stand still and pres na forthyrmar.
	'For thai that yonder fechtand ar,'
115	He said, 'ar off sa gret bounte
	That thar fayis weill sone sall be
	Discumfyt throu thar awne mycht
	Thocht na man help thaim for to fycht,
	And cum we now to the fechting
120	Quhen thai ar at discumfiting
	Men suld say we thaim fruschit had,
	And sua suld thai that caus has mad
	With gret travaill and hard fechting
	Los a part of thar loving,
125	And it war syn to les thar prys
	That off sa soverane bounte is.
	And he throu plane and hard fechting
	Has her eschevyt unlikly thing
	He sall haff that he wonnyn has.'
[Moray's victory over Clifford's men]

130	The erle with that that fechtand was
	Quhen he hys fayis saw brawland sua
	And hy apon thaim gan he ga,
	And pressyt thame sa wonder fast
	With hard strakys quhill at the last
135	Thai fled that dust abid ne mar.
	Bath hors and men slane left thai thar
	And held thar way in full gret hy
	Nocht all togydder bot syndryly
	And thai that war ourtane war slayn,
140 	The lave went till thar ost agayne
	Off thar tynsall sary and wa.
	The erle that had him helpyn sua
	And his als that wer wery
	Hynt off thar bassynettis in hy
145	Till avent thaim for thai war wate,
	Thai war all helyt into swate.
	Thai semyt men forsuth Ik hycht
	That had fandyt thar force in fycht
	And sua did thai full douchtely.
150	Thai fand off all thar cumpany
	That thar wes bot a yuman slayne
	And lovyt God and wes full fayne
	And blyth that thai eschapyt sua.
	Towart the king than gan thai ga
155	And till him weill sone cummyn ar.
	He wyttyt at thaim of thar far
	And glaidsome cher to thaim mad
	For thai sa weile thaim borne had.
	Than pressyt into gret daynte
160	The erle off Murreff for to se,
	For his hey worschip and gret valour
	All yarnyt to do him honour,
	Sa fast thai ran to se him thar
	That ner all samyn assemblit ar.
165	And quhen the gud king gan thaim se
	Befor thaim sua assemblit be
	Blyth and glaid that thar fayis wer
	Rabutyt apon sic maner
	A litill quhill he held him still,
170	Syne on this wys he said his will.
[The king asks his men whether they should stay and fight]

	'Lordingis, we aucht to love and luff
	Allmychty God that syttis abuff
	That sendis us sa fayr begynnyng.
	It is a gret discomforting
175	Till our fayis that on this wis 
	Sa sone has bene rabutyt twis,
	For quhen thai off thar ost sall her
	And knaw suthly on quhat maner
	Thar vaward that wes sa stout,
180	And syne yone othyr joly rout
	That I trow off the best men war
	That thay mycht get amang thaim thar,
	War rebutyt sa sodanly,
	I trow and knawis it all clerly
185	That mony ane hart sall waverand be
	That semyt er off gret bounte,
	And fra the hart be discumfyt
	The body is nocht worth a myt,
	Tharfor I trow that gud ending
190 	Sall folow till our begynnyng.
	The-quhether I say nocht this you till
	For that ye suld folow my will
	To fycht, bot in you all sall be,
	For gyff you thinkis spedfull that we
195	Fecht we sall, and giff ye will
	We leve, your liking to fulfill.
	I sall consent on alkyn wis
	To do rycht as ye will dyvys,
	tharfor sayis off your will planly.'
200	And with a voce than gan thai cry,
	'Gud king, foroutyn mar delay
	Tomorne alsone as ye se day
	Ordane you hale for the bataill,
	For doute off dede we sall nocht faill
205	Na na payn sall refusyt be
	Quhill we haiff maid our countre fre.'
[The king's address to his men: the reasons for the fight]

	Quhen the king had hard sa manlily
	Thai spak to fechting and sa hardely
	In hart gret gladschip can he ta
210	And said, 'Lordingis, sen ye will sua
	Schaip we us tharfor in the mornyng
	Sua that we be the sone-rysing
	Haff herd mes and buskyt weill
	Ilk man intill his awn eschell
215	Without the palyounys arayit
	In bataillis with baneris displayit,
	And luk ye na wis brek aray.
	And, as ye luf me, I you pray
	That ilk man for his awne honour
220	Purvay him a gud baneour,
	And quhen it cummys to the fycht
	Ilk man set hart will and mycht
	To stynt our fayis mekill prid.
	On hors thai will arayit rid
225	And cum on you in full gret hy,
	Mete thaim with speris hardely
	And think than on the mekill ill
	That thai and tharis has done us till,
	And ar in will yeit for to do
230	Giff thai haf mycht to cum tharto.
	And certis me think weill that ye
	Forout abasing aucht to be
	Worthy and of gret vasselagis
	For we haff thre gret avantagis
235	The fyrst is that we haf the rycht
	And for the rycht ay God will fycht.
	The tother is that thai cummyn ar
	For lyppynyng off  thar gret powar
	To sek us in our awne land,
240	And has brocht her rycht till our hand
	Ryches into sa gret quantite
	That the pourest of you sall be
	Bath rych and mychty tharwithall
	Giff that we wyne, as weill may fall.
245	The thrid is that we for our lyvis
	And for our childer and for our wyvis
	And for our fredome and for our land
	Ar strenyeit in bataill for to stand,
	And thai for thar mycht anerly
250	And for thai lat of us heychtly 
	And for thai wald distroy us all
	Mais thaim to fycht, bot yeit may fall
	That thai sall rew thar barganyng.
	And certis I warne you off a thing
255	That happyn thaim, as God forbed,
	Till fynd fantis intill our deid
	That thai wyn us opynly
	Thai sall off us haf na mercy,
	And sen we knaw thar felone will
260	Me think it suld accord to skill
	To set stoutnes agayne felony 
	And mak sa-gat a juperty.
	Quharfor I you requer and pray
	That with all your mycht that ye may
265	That ye pres you at the begynnyng
	But cowardys or abaysing
	To mete thaim at sall fyrst assemble
	Sa stoutly that the henmaist trymble,
	And menys of your gret manheid
270	Your worschip and your douchti deid
	And off the joy that we abid
	Giff that us fall, as weill may tid,
	Hap to vencus this gret bataill.
	In your handys without faile
275	Ye ber honour price and riches
	Fredome welth and blythnes
	Giff you contene you manlely,
	And the contrar all halily
	Sall fall giff ye lat cowardys
280	And wykytnes your hertis suppris.
	Ye mycht have lyvyt into threldome,
	Bot for ye yarnyt till have fredome
	Ye ar assemblyt her with me,
	Tharfor is nedfull that ye be
285	Worthy and wycht but abaysing.
[The king's address to his men: practical advice]

	And I warne you weill off a thing,
	That mar myscheff may fall us nane
	Than in thar handys to be tane,
	For thai suld sla us, I wate weill
290	Rycht as thai did my brothyr Nele.
	Bot quhen I mene off your stoutnes
	And off the mony gret prowes
	That ye haff doyne sa worthely
	I traist and trowis sekyrly
295	To haff plane victour in this fycht,
	For thoucht our fayis haf mekill mycht
	Thai have the wrang, and succudry
	And covatys of senyoury
	Amovys thaim foroutyn mor.
300	Na us thar dreid thaim bot befor
	For strenth off this place as ye se
	Sall let us enveronyt to be.
	And I pray you als specially
	Bath mar and les commonaly
305	That nane of you for gredynes
	Haff ey to tak of thar riches
	Ne presonaris for to ta
	Quhill ye se thaim contraryit sa
	That the feld anerly youris be,
310	And than at your liking may ye
	Tak all the riches that thar is.
	Giff ye will wyrk apon this wis
	Ye sall haff victour sekyrly.
	I wate nocht quhat mar say sall I
315	Bot all wate ye quhat honour is,
	Contene you than on sic a wis
	That your honour ay savyt be.
	And Ik hycht her in leaute
	Gyff ony deys in this bataille
320	His ayr but ward releff or taile
	On the fyrst day his land sall weld
	All be he never sa young off eild.
	Now makys you redy for to fycht,
	God help us that is maist of mycht.
325	I rede armyt all nycht that we be
	Purvayit in bataill sua that we
	To mete our fayis ay be boune.'
	Than answeryt thai all with a soune,
	'As ye dyvys all sall be done.'
330	Than till tha innys went thai sone
	And ordanyt thaim for the fechting
	Syne assemblyt in the evynnyng,
	And suagat all the nycht bad thai
	Till on the morn that it wes day.
[The English prepare: the night before the battle]

335	Quhen the Cliffurd, as I said ar,
	And all his rout rebutyt war
	And thar gret vaward alsua
	War distrenyeit the bak to ta
	And thai had tauld thar rebuting -
340	Thai off the vaward how the king
	Slew at a strak sa apertly
	A knycht that wycht wes and hardy,
	And how all haile the kingis bataill
	Schup thaim rycht stoutly till assaill
345	And Schyr Edward the Bruce alsua
	Quhen thai all haill the bak gan ta
	And how thai lesyt of thar men,
	And Cliffurd had tauld alsua then
	How Thomas Randell tuk the plane
350	With a few folk and how wes slane
	Schyr Gilyame Danecourt the worthi,
	And how the erle faucht manly
	That as ane hyrchoune all his rout
	Gert set out speris all about
355	And how that thai war put agayne
	And part off thar gud men slayne -
	The Inglismen sic abasing
	Tuk and sic drede of that tithing
	That in fyve hunder placis and ma
360	Men mycht se samyn routand ga
	Sayand, 'Our lordis for thar mycht
	Will allgate fecht agane the rycht,
	Bot quha-sa werrayis wranguysly
	Thai fend God all to gretumly
365	And thaim may happyn to mysfall,
	And swa may tid that her we sall.'
	And quhen thar lordys had persaving
	Off discomfort and rownnyng
	That thai held samyn twa and twa,
370	Throu-out the ost sone gert thai ga
	Heraldis to mak a crye
	That nane discomfort suld be,
	For in punye is oft hapnyne
	Quhile for to wyn and quhile to tyne,
375	And that into the gret bataill
	That apon na maner may faill
	Bot giff the Scottis fley thar way
	Sall all amendyt be perfay.
	Tharfor thai monest thaim to be
380	Off gret worschip and off bounte
	And stoutly in the bataill stand
	And tak amendis at thar hand.
	Thai may weill monys as thai will
	And thai may hecht als to fulfill
385	With stalwart hart thar bidding all
	Bot nocht-forthi I trow thai sall
	Intill thar hartis dredand be.
	The king with his consaill preve
	Has tane to rede that he wald nocht
390	Fecht or the morne bot he war socht,
	Tharfor thai herberyd thaim that nycht
	Doune in the Kers, and gert all dycht
	And maid redy thar aparaill
	Agayne the morne for the bataill,
395	And for in the Kers pulis war
	Housis thai brak and thak bar
	To mak briggis quhar thaim mycht pas,
	And sum sayis that yeit the folk that was
	In the castell quhen nycht gan fall
400	For that thai knew the myscheiff all
	Thai went full ner all that thai war
	And duris and wyndowys with thaim bar,
	Swa that thai had befor the day
	Briggyt the pulis swa that thai
405	War passyt our everilkane,
	And the hard feld on hors has tane	406*
	All reddy for till gif batale	407*
	Arayit intill thar apparaill.	406
[The Scottish and English preparations on the morning]

	The Scottismen quhen it wes day
410	Thar mes devotly gert thai say	408
	Syne tuk a sop and maid thaim yar,
	And quhen thai all assemblyt war
	And in thar bataillis all purvayit
	With thar braid baneris all displayit
415	Thai maid knychtis, as it afferis	413
	To men that usys thai mysteris.
	The king maid Walter Stewart knycht
	And James of Douglas that wes wycht,
	And other als of gret bounte
420	He maid ilkane in thar degre.	418
	Quhen this wes doyne that I you say
	Thai went all furth in gud aray
	And tuk the plane full apertly,
	Mony gud man wicht and hardy
425	That war fulfillyt of gret bounte	423
	Intill thai routis men mycht se.
	The Inglismen on other party
	That as angelis schane brychtly
	War nocht arayit on sic maner
430	For all thar bataillis samyn wer	428
	In a schilthrum, but quhether it was
	Throu the gret straitnes of the place
	That thai war in to bid fechting
	Or that it was for abaysing
435	I wate nocht, bot in a schiltrum	433
	It semyt thai war all and sum,
	Outane the avaward anerly
	That rycht with a gret cumpany
	Be thaimselvyn arayit war.
440	Quha had bene by mycht have sene thar	438
	That folk ourtak a mekill feild
	On breid quhar mony a schynand scheld
	And mony a burnyst brycht armur
	And mony man off gret valour
445	And mony a brycht baner and schene	443
	Mycht in that gret schiltrum be sene.
[Umfraville's advice to Edward II rejected]

	And quhen the king of Ingland
	Swa the Scottis saw tak on hand
	Takand the hard feyld sa opynly
450	And apon fute he had ferly	448
	And said, 'Quhat, will yone Scottis fycht?'
	'Ya sekyrly, schir,' said a knycht,
	Schyr Ingrame the Umfravill hat he,
	And said, 'Forsuth now, schyr, I se
455	It is the mast ferlyfull sycht 	453
	That evyre I saw quhen for to fycht
	The Scottismen has tane on hald
	Agayne the mycht of Ingland
	In plane hard feld to giff bataile.
460	Bot and ye will trow my consaill	458
	Ye sall discomfy thaim lychtly.
	Withdrawys you hyne sodandly
	With bataillis and with penounys
	Quhill that we pas our palyounys,
465	And ye sall se alsone that thai	463
	Magre thar lordys sall brek aray
	And scaile thaim our harnays to ta.
	And quhen we se thaim scalit sua
	Prik we than on thaim hardely
470	And we sall haf thaim wele lychtly	468
	For than sall nane be knyt to fycht
	That may withstand your mekill mycht.'
	I will nocht,' said the king, 'perfay
	Do sa, for thar sall na man say
475	That I sall eschew the bataill	473
	Na withdraw me for sic rangaile.'
	Quhen this wes said that er said I
	The Scottismen commounaly
	Knelyt all doune to God to pray
480	And a schort prayer thar maid thai	478  
	To God to help thaim in that fycht,
	And quhen the Inglis king had sycht
	Off thaim kneland he said in hy,
	'Yone folk knelis to ask mercy.'
485	Schyr Ingrahame said, 'Ye say suth now,	483
	Thai ask mercy bot nane at you,
	For thar trespas to God thai cry.
	I tell you a thing sekyrly,
	That yone men will all wyn or de,
490	For doute of dede thai sall nocht fle.'	488
	'Now be it sa,' than said the king,
	And than but langer delaying
	Thai gert trump till the assemble.
	On ather sid men mycht than se
495	Mony a wycht man and worthi	493
	Redy to do chevalry.
[The English attack Edward Bruce's division]

	Thus war thai boune on ather sid,
	And Inglismen with mekill prid
	That war intill thar avaward
500	To the bataill that Schyr Edward	498
	Governyt and led held straucht thar way
	The hors with spuris hardnyt thai
	And prikyt apon thaim sturdely,
	And thai met thaim rycht hardely
505	Sua that at thar assemble thar	503
	Sic a fruschyng of speris war
	That fer away men mycht it her.
	At that meting foroutyn wer
	War stedis stekyt mony ane
510	And mony gude man borne doune and slayne,	508
	And mony ane hardyment douchtely
	Was thar eschevyt, for hardely
	Thai dang on other with wapnys ser.
	Sum of the hors that stekyt wer
515	Ruschyt and relyt tycht rudlye,	513
	Bot the remanand nocht-forthi
	That mycht cum to the assembling
	For that led maid na stinting
`	Bot assemblyt full hardely,
520	And thai met thaim full sturdely	518
	With speris that wer scharp to scher
	And axys that weile groundyn wer
	Quhar-with was roucht mony a rout.
	The fechting wes fell and stout
525	That mony a worthi man and wicht	523
	Throu fors wes fellyt in that fycht
	That had na mycht to rys agane.
	The Scottismen fast gan thaim payn
	Thar fayis mekill mycht to rus,
530	I trow thai sall na payn refuse	528
	Na perell quhill thar fayis be
	Set in weill hard perplexite.
[Moray's men attack the main English host]

	And quhen the erle of Murref swa
	Thar vaward saw sa stoutly ga
535	The way to Schyr Edward all straucht	533
	That met thaim with full mekill maucht,
	He held hys way with his baner
	To the gret rout quhar samyn wer
	The nyne bataillis that war sa braid,
540	That sa fele baneris with thaim haid	538
	And of men sa gret quantite
	That it war wonder for to se.
	The gud erle thidder tuk the way
	With his battaill in gud aray
545	And assemblit sa hardily	543
	That men mycht her that had bene by
	A gret frusch of the speris that brast,
	For thar fayis assemblyt fast
	That on stedis with mekill prid
550	Come prikand as thai wald our-rid	548
	The erle and all his cumpany,
	Bot thai met thaim sa sturdely
	That mony of thaim till erd thai bar,
	For mony a sted was stekyt thar
555	And mony gud man fellyt under fet	553
	That had na hap to rys up yete.
	Thar mycht men se a hard bataill
	And sum defend and sum assaile
	And mony a reale romble rid
560	Be roucht thar apon ather sid	558
	Quhill throu the byrnys bryst the blud
	That till erd doune stremand yhude.
	The erle of Murreff and his men
	Sa stoutly thaim contenyt then
565	That thai wan place ay mar and mar	563
	On thar fayis the-quhether thai war
	Ay ten far ane or may perfay,
	Sua that it semyt weill that thai
	War tynt amang sa gret menye
570	As thai war plungyt in the se.	568
	And quhen the Inglismen has sene
	The erle and all his men bedene
	Faucht sa stoutly but effraying
	Rycht as thai had nane abasing
575	Thaim pressyt thai with all thar mycht	573
	And thai with speris and swerdis brycht
	And axis that rycht scharply schar
	Ymyddis the vesag met thaim thar.
	Thar mycht men se a stalwart stour
580	And mony men of gret valour	578
	With speris mas and knyffis
	And other wapynnys wyssyll thar lyvis
	Sua that mony fell doune all dede,
	The greys woux with the blud all reid
585	The erle that wycht wes and worthi	583
	And his men faucht sa manlyly
	That quha-sa had sene thaim that day
	I trow forsuth that thai suld say
	That thai suld do thar devor wele
590	Swa that thar fayis suld it fele.	588

Book 13

Back to Contents Page