The Brus by John Barbour


[Edward Bruce goes to Ireland]

	The erle off Carrik Schyr Edward,
	That stoutar wes than a libard
	And had na will to be in pes,
	Thocht that Scotland to litill wes
5	Till his brother and him alsua,
	Tharfor to purpos gan he ta
	That he off Irland wald be king.
	Tharfor he send and had tretyng
	With the Irschery off Irland,
10	That in thar leawte tuk on hand
	Off all Irland to mak him king
	With-thi that he with hard fechting
	Mycht ourcum the Inglismen
	That in the land war wonnand then,
15	And thai suld help with all thar mycht.
	And he that hard thaim mak sic hycht
	Intill his hart had gret liking
	And with the consent of the king
	Gadryt him men off gret bounte
20	And at Ayr syne schippyt he
	Intill the neyst moneth of Mai,
	Till Irland held he straucht his wai.
	He had thar in his cumpany
	The Erle Thomas that wes worthi
25	And gud Schyr Philip the Mowbray
	That sekyr wes in hard assay,
	Schyr Jhone the soullis ane gud knycht
	And Schyr Jhone Stewart that wes wycht
	The Ramsay als of Ouchterhous
30	That wes wycht and chevalrous
	And Schyr Fergus off Ardrossane
	And other knychtis mony ane.
	In Wolringis Fyrth aryvyt thai
	Sauffly but bargan or assay
35	And send thar schippis hame ilkan.
	A gret thing have thai undretane
	That with sa quhoyne as thai war thar
	That war sex thousand men but mar
	Schup to werray all Irland,
40	Quhar thai sall se mony thousand
	Cum armyt on thaim for to fycht,
	But thocht thai quhone war thai war wicht,
	And forout drede or effray
	In twa bataillis tuk thar way
45	Towart Cragfergus it to se.
[The Scots defeat the lords of Ulster]

	Bot the lordis of that countre
	Mandveill, Besat and Logane
	Thar men assemblyt everilkane,
	The Savagis wes alsua thar,
50	And quhen thai assemblit war
	That war wele ner twenty thousand.
	Quhen thai wyst that intill thar land
	Sic a menye aryvyt war
	With all the folk that thai had thar
55	Thai went towart thaim in gret hi,
	And fra Schyr Edward wist suthly
	That ner till him cummand war thai
	His men he gert thaim wele aray,
	The avaward had the Erle Thomas
60	And the rerward Schyr Edward was.
	Thar fayis approchyt to the fechting
	And thai met thaim but abaysing.
	Thar mycht men se a gret melle,
	For Erle Thomas and his menye
65	Dang on thar fayis sa douchtely
	That in schort tym men mycht se ly
	Ane hunder that all blody war,
	For hobynys that war stekyt thar
	Relyt and flang and gret rowme mad
70	And kest thaim that apon thaim rad,
	And Schyr Edwardis cumpany
	Assemblyt syne sa hardely 
	That thai thar fayis ruschyt all.
	Quha hapnyt in that fycht to fall
75	It wes perell off his rysing.
	The Scottismen in that fechting
	Sua apertly and wele thaim bar
	That thar fayis sua ruschyt war
	That thai haly the flycht has tane.
80	In that bataill wes tane or slane
	All hale the flur off Ulsyster.
	The Erle off Murreff gret price had ther,
	For his worthi chevalry
	Comfort all his cumpany.
85	This wes a full fayr begynnyng,
	For newlingis at thar aryving
	In plane bataill thai discomfyt thar
	Thar fayis that four ay for ane war,
	Syne to Cragfergus ar thai gane
90	And in the toune has innys tane.
	The castell weill wes stuffyt then
	Off new with vittaill and with men,
	Thartill thai set a sege in hy.
	Mony eschewe full apertly
95	Wes maid quhill thar the sege lay
	Quhill trewys at the last tuk thai,
	Quhen that the folk off Hulsyster
	Till his pes haly cummyn wer,
	For Schyr Edward wald tak on hand
100	To rid furth forthyr in the land.
[Defeat of two Irish kings; the Lieutenant assembles an army at Dundalk]

	Off the kingis off that countre
	Thar come till him and maide fewte
	Weill ten or twelf as Ik hard say,
	Bot thai held him schort quhile thar fay,
105	For twa off thaim, ane Makgullane
	And ane other hat Makartane,
	Withset a pase intill his way
	Quhar him behovyt ned away
	With twa thousand off men with speris
110	And als mony of thar archeris,
	And all the catell of the land
	War drawyn thidder to warand.
	Men callys that plase Innermallane,
	In all Irland straytar is nane.
115	For Schyr Edward that kepyt thai,
	Thai thoucht he suld nocht thar away,
	Bot he his viage sone has tane
	And straught towart the pas is gane.
	The erle off Murreff Schyr Thomas  
120	That put him fyrst ay till assayis
	Lychtyt on fute with his menye
	And apertly the pase tuk he.
	Thir Ersch kingis that I spak off ar
	With all the folk that with thame war
125	Met him rycht sturdely, bot he
	Assaylyt sua with his menye
	That maugre tharis thai wan the pas.
	Slayne off thar fayis fele thar was,
	Throu-out the wod thaim chasyt thai
130	And sesyt in sic fusoune the pray
	That all the folk off thar ost war
	Refreschyt weill ane wouk or mar.
	At Kilsagart Schyr Edward lay,
	And wele sone he has hard say
135	That at Dundalk wes assemble
	Made off the lordis off that countre.
	In ost thai war assemblyt thar,
	Thar wes fyrst Schyr Richard of Clar
	That in all Irland lufftenande
140	Was off the king off Ingland
	The erle of Desmond wes thar
	And the erle alsua of Kildar,
	The Breman and the Wardoune
	That war lordis of gret renoune,
145	The Butler alsua thar was
	And Schyr Morys le fys Thomas,
	Thai with thar men ar cummyn thar,
	A rycht gret ost forsuth thai war.
[The two sides prepare for battle]

	And quhen Schyr Edward wyst suthly
150	That thar wes swilk chevalry
	His ost in hy he gert aray
	And thidderwartis tuk the way
	And ner the toune tuk his herbery,
	Bot for he wyst all witterly
155	That in the toune war mony men
	His bataillis he arayit then,
	And stud arayt in bataill
	To kep thaim gif thai wald assaile,
	And quhen that Schyr Rychard of Clar
160	And other lordis that thar war
	Wyst that the Scottis men sa ner
	With thar bataillis cummyn wer,
	Thai tuk to consaile that that nycht
	For it wes layt thai wald nocht fycht
165	Bot on the morne in the mornyng
	Weile sone aftre the sone-rysing
	Thai suld isch furth all that thar war,
	Tharfor that nycht thai did no mar
	Bot herbryit thaim on athyr party.
170	That nycht the Scottis cumpany
	War wachyt rycht weill all at rycht,
	And on the morn quhen day wes lycht
	In twa bataillis thai thaim arayit,
	Thai stud with baneris all displayit
175	For the bataill all redy boun.
	And thai that war within the toun
	Quhen sone wes rysyn schenand cler
	Send furth of thaim that within wer
	Fyfty to se the contenyng
180	Off Scottismen and thar cummyng,
	And thai raid furth and saw thaim sone,
	Syne come agayne withoutyn hone.
	And quhen thai samyn lychtyt war
	thai tauld thar lordis that wer thar
185	That Scottismen semyt to be
	Worthi and off gret bounte,
	'Bot thai ar nocht withoutyn wer
	Half-dell a dyner till us her.'
	The lordys had off this tithing
190	Gret joy and gret reconforting
	And gert men throu the cite cry
	That all suld arm thaim hastily.
[The Scots are victorious and take Dundalk; drunkenness in the army]

	Quhen thai war armyt and purvayit
	And for the fycht all hale arayit
195	Thai went thaim furth in gud aray,
	Sone with thar fayis assemblyt thai
	That kepyt thaim rycht hardely.
	The stour begouth thar cruelly
	For athyr part set all thar mycht
200	To rusche thar fayis in the fycht
	And with all mycht on other dang.
	The stalwart stour lestyt wele lang
	That men mycht nocht persave na se
	Qyha maist at thar above suld be,
205	For fra sone eftre the sone-rissing
	Quhill eftre mydmorne the fechting
	Lestyt intill swilk a dout.
	Bot than Schyr Edward that wes stout
	With all thaim of his cumpany
210	Schot apon thaim sa sturdely
	That thai mycht thole no mar the fycht,
	All in a frusche thai tuk the flycht
	And thai folowyt full egrely,
	Into the toun all commonaly
215	Thai entryt bath intermelle.
	Thar men mycht felloune slauchter se,
	For the rycht noble erle Thomas
	That with his rout folowyt the chas
	Maid swilk a slauchter in the toun
220	And sua felloune occisioun
	That the rewys all bludy war
	Off slayne men that war lyand thar,
	The lordis war gottyn all away.
	And quhen the toun as I you say
225	Wes throu gret force of fechting tane
	And all thar fayis fled or slayne
	Thai herbryit thaim all in the toun
	Quhar off vitaill wes sic fusoun
	And sua gret haboundance of wyne
230	That the gud erle had doutyne
	That off thar men suld drunkyn be
	And mak in drunkynnes sum melle.
	Tharfor he maid of wyne levere
	Till ilk man that he payit suld be,
235	And thai had all yneuch perfay.
	That nycht rycht weill at ese war thai
	And rycht blyth of the gret honour
	That thaim befell for thar valour.
	Eftyr this fycht thai sojornyt thar
240	Into Dundalk thre dayis but mar,
	Syne tuk thai southwartis thar way.
	The Erle Thomas wes forouth ay
	And as thai raid throu the countre
	Thai mycht apon the hillis se
245	Sua mony men it wes ferly,
	And quhen the erle wald sturdely
	Dres him to thaim with his baner
	Thai wald fle all that evir thai wer
	Sua that in fycht nocht ane abad.
250	And thai southwart thar wayis raid
	Quhill till a gret forest come thai,
	Kylrose it hat as Ik hard say,
	And thai tuk all thar herbery thar.
[The Lieutenant is defeated in another battle]

	In all this tyme Rychard of Clar
255	That wes the kingis luftenand
	Off the barnagis of Irland
	A gret ost he assemblyt had,
	Thai war fyve bataillis gret and braid 
	That soucht Schir Edward and his men,
260	Weill ner him war thai cummyn then.
	He gat sone wittring that thai wer
	Cummand on him and war sa ner.
	His men he dressyt thaim agayn
	And gert thaim stoutly ta the playn
265	And syne the erle thar come to se
	And Schyr Philip the Mowbray send he,
	And Schyr Jhone Stewart went alsua.
	Furth to discover thar way thai ta,
	Thai saw the ost sone cum at hand
270	Thai war to ges fyfty thousand,
	Hame till Schyr Edward raid thai then
	And said weill thai war mony men.
	He said agayne, 'The ma thai be
	The mar honour all-out haff we
275	Giff that we ber us manlyly.
	We ar set her in juperty
	To wyn honour or for to dey,
	We ar to fer fra hame to fley
	Tharfor lat ilk man worthi be.
280	Yone ar gadryngis of this countre
	And thai sall fley I trow lychly
	And men assaile thaim manlyly.'
	All said than that thai weile suld do,
	With that approchand ner thaim to
285	The bataillis come redy to fycht,
	And thai met thaim with mekill mycht
	That war ten thousand worthi men.
	The Scottismen all on fute war then,
	And thai on stedys trappyt weile
290	Sum helyt all in irne and stele,
	Bot Scottismen at thar meting
	With speris persyt thar armyng
	And stekyt hors and men doun bar.
	A feloun fechting wes than thar,
295	I can nocht tell thar strakys all
	Na quha in fycht gert other fall
	Bot in schort tyme Ik underta
	Thai of Irland war contraryit sua
	That thai durst than abyd no mar
300	Bot fled scalyt all that thai war,
	And levyt in the bataill sted
	Weill mony off thar gud men dede,
	Off wapnys, armyng and of ded men
	The feld was haly strowyt then.
305	That gret ost rudly ruschyt was
	Bot Schyr Edward let na man chas
	Bot with presonaris that thai had tane
	Thai till the woud agayne ar gane
	Quhar that thar harnys levyt war.
310	That nycht thai maid thar men gud cher
	And lovyt God fast off his grace.
	This gud knycht that sa worthi was
	Till Judas Machabeus mycht
	Be lyknyt weill that into fycht
315	Forsuk na multitud off men
	Quhill he had ane aganys ten.
[The Scots go to O'Dempsy, who gives them quarters;
he seeks to starve and drown them]

	Thus as I said Rychard of Clar
	And his gret ost rebutyt war,
	Bot he about him nocht-forthi
320	Wes gaderand men ay ythenly
	For he thocht yete to covyr his cast.
	It angyrryt him rycht ferly fast
	That twys intill batell wes he
	Discomfyt with a few mengne.
325	And Scottismen that to the forest
	War ridyn for to mak thar rest
	All thai twa nychtis thar thai lay
	And maid thaim myrth solace and play.
	Towart Ydymsy syne thai raid,
330	Ane Yrsche king that aith had maid
	To Schyr Edward of fewte,
	For forouth that him prayit he
	To se his land and na vittaill
	Na nocht that mycht thaim help suld faile.
335	Schyr Edward trowit in his hycht
	And with his rout raid thidder rycht
	A gret ryver he gert him pas
	And in a rycht fayr place that was
	Lauch by a bourne he gert thaim ta
340	Thar herbery, and said he wald ga
	To ger men vittaill to thaim bring,
	He held hys way but mar dwelling.
	For he betrais thaim wes his thocht,
	In sic a place he has them broucht
345	Quharof twa journais wele and mar
	All the cattell withdrawyn war,
	Swa that thai in that land mycht get
	Na thing that worth war for til ete,
	With hungyr he thocht thaim to feblis
350	Syne bring on thaim thar ennemys.
	This fals traytouris men had maid
	A litill outh quhar he herbryit had
	Schyr Edward and the Scottismen
	The ischow off a louch to den
355	And leyt it out into the nycht.
	The water than with a swilk a mycht
	On Schyr Edwardis men com doun
	That thai in perell war to droun
	For or thai wist on flot war thai.
360	With mekill payn thai gat away
	And held thar lyff as God gaff grace,
	Bot off thar harnayis tynt thar was.
	He maid thaim na gud fest perfay
	And nocht-forthi yneuch had thai,
365	For thoucht thaim faillyt of the mete
	I warn you wele thai war wele wet.
[The Scots are rescued; they camp near an enemy army,
seize its foragers and make a surprise attack]

	In gret distres thar war thai stad
	For gret defaut off mete thai hade,
	And thai betwix reveris twa
370	War set and mycht pas nane off tha,
	The Bane that is ane arme of the se
	That with hors may nocht passyt be
	Wes betwix thaim and Hulsyster.
	Thai had bene in gret perell ther
375	Ne war a scowmar of the se,
	Thomas of Downe hattyn wes he,
	Hard that the ost sa straytly than
	Wes stad, and salyt up the Ban
	Quhill he come wele ner quhar thai lay,
380	Thai knew him weil and blyth war thai,
	Than with four schippys that he had tane
	He set our the Ban ilkane.
	And quhen thai come in biggit land
	Vittaill and mete yneuch thai fand
385	And in a wod thaim herberyt thai,
	Nane of the land wist quhar thai lay,
	Thai esyt thaim and maid gud cher.
	Intill that tym besid thaim ner
	With a gret ost Schyr Richard of Clar
390	And othyr gret of Irland war
	Herberyt in a forest syde,
	And ilk day thai gert men rid
	To bring vittaill on ser manerys
	To thaim fra the toun off Coigneris
395	That wele ten gret myle wes thaim fra.
	Ilk day as thai wald cum and ga
	Thai come the Scottis ost sa ner
	That bot twa myle betwix thaim wer,
	And quhen the Erle Thomas persaving
400	Had off thar cummyng and thar ganging
	He gat him a gud cumpany,
	Thre hunder on hors wycht and hardy,
	Thar wes Schyr Philip the Mowbray
	And Schyr Jhone Stewart als perfay
405	And Schyr Alan Stewart alsua
	Schyr Robert Boid and other ma.
	Thai raid to mete the vittaleris
	That with thar vittaill fra Coigneris
	Come haldand to thar ost the way.
410	Sua sudanly on thaim schot thai
	That thai war sua abaysyt all
	That thai leyt all thar wapnys fall
	And mercy petously gan cry,
	And thai tuk thaim in thar mercy
415	And has thaim up sa clenly tane
	That off thaim all eschapyt nane.
	The erle of thaim gat wittering
	That off thar ost in the evynnyng 
	Wald cum out at the woddis sid
420	And agaynys thar vittail rid.
	He thocht than on ane juperty,
	And gert his menye halily
	Dycht thaim in the presoneris aray,
	Thair pennounys als with thaim tuk thai,
425	And quhill the nycht wes ner thai bad
	And syne towart the ost thai raid.
	Sum of thar mekill ost has sene
	Thar come and wend thai had bene
	Thar vittalouris, tharfor thai raid
430	Agaynys thaim scalyt, for thai haid
	Na dred that thai thar fayis war
	And thaim hungryt alsua weill sar,
	Tharfor thai come abandounly.
	And quhen thai ner war in gret hi
435	The erle and all that with him war
	Ruschyt on thaim with wapnys bar
	And thar ensenyeis hey gan cry.
	Than thai that saw sua sodanly
	Thar fayis dyng on thaim war sa rad
440	That thai na hart to help thaim had
	Bot to the ost thar way gan ta,
	And thai chassyt and sua fele gan sla
	That all the feldys strowyt war,
	Ma than a thousand ded war thar.
445	Rycht till thar ost thai gan thaim chas
	And syne agane thar wayis tais.
[The Lieutenant and his army occupy Connor and plan to attack the Scots]

	On this wis wes that vittaill tane
	And of the Irche-men mony slane.
	The erle syne with his cumpany
450	Presoneris and vittalis halily
	Thai broucht till Schyr Edward alswith
	And he wes of thar cummyn blyth.
	That nycht thai maid thaim mery cher 
	For rycht all at thar eys thai wer,
455	Thai war ay walkyt sekyrly.
	And thar fayis on the tother party
	Quhen thai hard how thar men war slane
	And how thar vittalis als wes tane
	Thai tuk to consaill that thai wald
460	Thair wayis towart Coigneris hald
	And herbery in the cite ta,
	And than in gret hy thai haf don sua
	And raid be nycht to the cite,
	Thai fand thar of vittalis gret plente 
465	And maid thaim rycht mery cher
	For all traist in the toun thai wer.
	Apon the morne thai send to spy
	Quhar Scottismen had tane herbery,
	Bot thai war withall als tane
470	And brocht rycht till the ost ilkane.
	The erle of Murreff rycht mekly
	Speryt at ane of thar cumpany
	Quhar thar ost wes and quhat thai thocht
	To do, and said him gif he moucht
475	Fynd that till him the suth said he
	He suld gang hame but ransoun fre.
	He said, 'Forsuth I sall you say,
	Thai think to-morn, quhen it is day,
	To sek you with all thar menye
480	Giff thai may get wit quhar ye be.
	Thai haff gert throu the countre cry
	Off payne of lyve full felounly
	That all the men of this countre
	Tonycht into the cyte be,
485	And trewly thai sall be sa fele
	That ye sall na wis with thaim dele.'
	'De pardew,' said he, 'weill may be.'
	To Schyr Edward with that yeid he
	And tauld him utrely this tale.
[The Scots move camp; the enemy scouts survey them,
and decide to attack; Moray ambushes the enemy]

490	Than haf thai tane for consale hale
	That thai wald rid to the cite
	That ilk nycht sua that thai mycht be
	Betwix the toune with all thar rout
	And thaim that war to cum with-out.
495	Als thai devisyt thai haf done,
	Befor the toune thai come alsone
	And bot halfindall a myle of way
	Fra the cite arest tuk thai.
	And quhen the day wes dawyn lycht
500	Fyfty on hobynys that war wycht
	Come till a litill hill that was
	Bot fra the toun a litill space
	And saw Schyr Edwardis herbery,
	And off the sycht had gret ferly
505	That sua quhone durst on ony wis
	Undretak sa hey enprys
	As for to cum sa hardely
	Apon all the chevalry
	Off Irland for to bid battaill.
510	And sua it wes withoutyn faill,
	For agane thaim war gadryt thar
	With the wardane Richard of Clar
	The Butler and erlis twa,
	Off Desmound and Kildar war tha,
515	Bryman, Werdoune and fis Waryne
	And Schyr Paschall the Florentine
	That wes a knycht of Lumbardy
	And wes full of chevalry.
	The Maundveillis war thar alsua
520	Besatis Loganys and other ma
	Savages als, and yeit wes ane 
	Hat Schyr Nycholl of Kylkenane,
	And with thir lordis sa fele wes then
	That for ane of the Scottismen
525	I trow that thai war fyve or ma.
	Quhen thir discourouris seyne had sua
	The Scottis ost thai went in hy
	And tauld thair lordis opynly
	How thai to thaim war cummyn ner
530	To sek thaim fer wes na myster.
	And quhen the erle Thomas had sene
	That thai men at the hill had bene
	He tuk with him a gud menye
	On hors, ane hunder thai mycht be,
535	And till the hill thai tuk thar way.
	In a slak thaim enbuschyt thai
	And in schort tyme fra the cite
	Thai saw cum ridand a mengne
	For to discur to the hill.
540	Then war thai blyth and held thaim still
	Quhill thai war cummyn to thaim ner,
	Than in a frusche all that thai wer
	Thai schot apon thaim hardely,
	And thai that saw sa sudandly
545	That folk cum on abaysit war.
	And nocht-forthi sum of thaim thar
	Abad stoutly to ma debate,
	And other sum ar fled thar gate,
	And into wele schort tym war thai
550	That maid arest contraryit sua
	That thai fled halyly thar gat,
	And thai thaim chassyt rycht to the yat
	And a gret part off thaim has slayn,
	And syne went till thar ost agayn.

Book 15

Back to Contents Page