The Brus by John Barbour


[The Scots win a great battle at Connor]

	Quhen thai within has sene sua slayn
	Thar men and chassyt hame agayn
	Thai war all wa, and in gret hy
	'Till armys!' hely gan thai cry.
5	Than armyt thaim all that thai war
	And for the bataill maid thaim yar
	Thai ischyt out all wele arayit
	Into the bataill baner displayit
	Bowne on thar best wis till assaile
10	Thar fayis into fell bataill.
	And quhen Schyr Philip the Mowbra
	Saw thaim ische in sa gud aray
	Till Schyr Edward the Bruys went he
	And said, 'Schyr, it is gud that we
15	Schap for sum slycht that may availe
	To help us into this bataill.
	Our men ar quhoyne, bot thai haf will
	To do mar than thai may fulfill,
	Tharfor I rede our cariage
20	Foroutyn ony man or page
	Be thaimselvyn arayit be
	And thai sall seyme fer ma than we,
	Set we befor thaim our baneris,
	Yone folk that cummys out of Coigneris
25	Quhen thai our baneris thar may se
	Sall trow traistly that thar ar we
	And thidder in gret hy sall thai rid.
	Cum we than on thaim at a sid
	And we sall be at avantag,
30	For fra thai in our cariag
	Be entryt thai sall combryt be,
	And than with all our mycht may we
	Lay on and do all that we may.'
	All as he ordanyt done haf thai,
35	And thai that come out of Coigneris
	Addressyt thaim to the baneris
	And smate with spuris the hors in hy
	And ruschit thaim sudandly.
	The barell-ferraris that war thar
40	Cumbryt thaim fast that ridand war,
	And than the erle with his bataill
	Come on and sadly gan assaill,
	And Schyr Edward a litill by
	Assemblit sua rycht hardely
45	That mony a fey fell undre fete,
	The feld wox sone of blud all wete.
	With sa gret felny thar thai faucht
	And sic routis till other raucht
	With stok with stane and with retrete
50	As ather part gan other bet
	That it wes hidwys for to se.
	Thai mantemyt that gret melle
	Sa knychtlik apon ather sid
	Giffand and takand routis rid
55	That pryme wes passyt or men mycht se
	Quha mast at thar abov mycht be,
	Bot sone eftre that prime wes past
	The Scottismen dang on sa fast
	And schot on thaim at abandoun
60	As ilk man war a campioun
	That all thar fayis tuk the flycht,
	Wes nane of thaim that wes sa wicht
	That evyr durst abid his fer
	Bot ilk man fled thar wayis ser.
[Slaughter in Connor; the prisoners and wounded]

65	To the toun fled the mast party,
	And Erle Thomas sa egrely
	And his route chassyt with swerdis bar
	That amang thame mellyt war
	That all togidder come in the toun.
70	Than wes the slauchter sa felloune
	That all the ruys ran of blud,
	Thaim that thai gat to ded all yhud
	Sua that than thar weill ner wer dede
	Als fele as in the bataill-stede.
75	The fys Warine wes takyn thar,
	Bot sua rad wes Richard of Clar
	That he fled to the south countre,
	All that moneth I trow that he
	Sall haf na gud will for to fycht.
80	Schyr Jhone Stewart a noble knycht
	Wes woundyt throu the body thar
	With a sper that scharply schar,
	Bot to Monpeller went he syne
	And lay thar lang intill helyne
85	And at the last helyt wes he.
	Schyr Edward than with his menye
	Tuk in the toun thar herbery,
	That nycht thai blyth war and joly
	For the victour that thai had thar.
[Siege of Carrickfergus Castle; a truce is broken by ships from Dublin]

90	And on the morn foroutyn mar
	Schyr Edward gert men gang and se
	All the vittaill of that cite,
	And thai fand sic foysoun tharin
	Off corne and flour and wax and wyn
95	That thai had of it gret ferly,
	And Schyr Edward gert halily
	Intill Cragfergus it caryit be,
	Syne thidder went his men and he
	And held the sege full stalwartly
100	Quhill Palme Sonday wes passit by.
	Than quhill the Twysday in Pays wouk
	On ather half thai trewys touk
	Sua that thai mycht that haly tid
	In pennance and in prayer bid.
105	Bot apon the Pasche evyn rycht
	To the castell into the nycht
	Fra Devillyne schippis come fyften
	Chargyt with armyt men bedene,
	Four thousand trow I weill thai war,
110	In the castell thai entryt ar.
	The Maundveill auld Schyr Thomas
	Capitane of that menye was.
	Intill the castell prively
	Thai entryt for thai had gert spy
115	That mony of Schyr Edwardis men
	War scalyt in the contre then,
	Tharfor thai thocht in the mornyng
	Till isch but langer delaying
	And to suppris thaim suddanly,
120	For thai thocht thai suld traistly
	For the trewys that takyn war,
	Bot I trow falset evermar 
	Sall have unfayr and evill ending.
[The new force attacks the besieging Scots; Sir Neil Campbell wounded]

	Schyr Edward wist of this nathing
125	For off tresoun had he na thoucht,
	Bot for the trew he levyt nocht
	To set wachis to the castell,
	Ilk nycht he gert men walk it wele
	And Nele Flemyng wachit that nycht
130	With sexty men worthi and wycht.
	And als sone as the day wes cler
	Thai that within the castell wer
	Had armyt thaim and maid thaim boun
	And sone thar brig avalit down
135	And ischit intill gret plente,
	And quhen Nele Flemyng gan thaim se
	He send ane to the king in hy
	And said to thaim that war him by,
	'Now sall men se, Ik undretak,
140	Quha dar dey for his lordis sak.
	Now ber you weill, for sekyrly
	With all this mengne fecht will I,
	Intill bargane thim hald sall we
	Quhill that our maister armyt be.'
145	With that word assemblyt thai,
	Thai war to few all-out perfay
	With sic a gret rout for to fycht,
	Bot nocht-forthi with all thar mycht
	Thai dang on thaim sa hardely
150	That all thar fayis had gret ferly
	That thai war all of swilk manheid
	As thai na drede had of thar dede.
	Bot thar fayis sa gane assaile
	That na worschip thar mycht availe,
155	Than thai war slayne up everilkane
	Sa clene that thar eschapyt nane
	And the man that went to the king 
	For to warne him of thar isching
	Warnyt him in full gret hy.
[Edward Bruce defeats the men from the castle; Neil Campbell dies]

160	Schyr Edward wes commonaly
	Callyt the king of Irland.
	And quhen he hard sic thing on hand
	In full gret hast he gat his ger,
	Twelff wycht men in his chawmer wer
165	That armyt thaim in full gret hy,
	Syne with his baner hardily
	The myddis of the toun he tays.
	Weill ner cummand war his fayis
	That had delt all thar men in thre,
170	The Maundvell with a gret menye
	Rycht throu the toun the way held doun,
	The lave on athyr sid the toun
	Held to mete thaim that fleand war,
	Thai thoucht that all that thai fand thar
175	Suld dey but ransoune everilkane.
	Bot uthyr-wayis the gle is gane,
	For Schyr Edward with his baner
	And his twelff I tauld you of er
	On all that route sua hardely
180	Assemblyt that it wes ferly,
	For Gib Harpar befor him yeid
	That wes the douchteast in deid
	That than wes livand off his state,
	And with ane ax maid him sic gat
185 	That he the fyrst fellyt to ground,
	And off thre in a litill stound
	The Maundveill be his armyng
	He knew and roucht him sic a swyng
	That he till erd yeid hastily.
190	Schyr Edward that wes ner him by
	Reversyt him and with a knyff 
	Rycht in that place him reft the liff.
	With that off Ardrossane Fergus
	That wes a knycht rycht curageous
195	Assemblyt with sexty and ma,
	Thai pressyt than thar fayis sua
	That thai that saw thar lord slayne
	Tynt hart and wald haf bene again,
	And ay as Scottismen mycht be
200	Armyt thai come to the melle
	And dang apon thar fayis sua
	That thai all the bak gan ta,
	And thai thaim chassyt to the yat,
	Thar wes hard fycht and gret debat.
205 	Thar slew Schyr Edward with his hand
	A knycht that of all Irland
	Was callit best and of maist bounte,
	To surname Maundveill had he,
	His awne name I can nocht say,
210	Bot his folk to sa hard assay
	War set as thai of the doungeoun
	Durst opyn na yhat na brig lat doun.
	And Schyr Edwarde, Ik tak on hand,
	Soucht thaim that fled thar to warand
215	Sa felly that of all perfay
	That ischyt apon him that day
	Thar eschapyt never ane
	That thai ne war other tane or slayn,
	For to the fycht Maknakill then
220	Come with twa hundreth spermen
	And thai slew all thai mycht to-wyn.
	This ilk Maknakill with a gyn
	Wan off thar schippis four or fyve
	And haly reft the men thar lif.
225	Quhen end wes maid of this fechting
	Yeit then wes lyffand Nele Fleming.
	Schyr Edward went him for to se,
	About him slayne lay his menye
	All in a lump on athyr hand
230	And he redy to dey throwand.
	Schyr Edward had of him pite
	And him full gretly menyt he
	And regratyt his gret manheid
	And his worschip and douchty deid,
235	Sic mayn he maid men had gret ferly
	For he wes nocht custummabilly 
	Wont for to meyne men ony thing
	Na wald nocht her men mak menyng.
	He stud tharby till he wes ded
240	And syne had him till haly sted
	And him with worschip gert he be
	Erdyt with gret solemnite.
[Surrender of Carrickfergus Castle]

	On this wis ischit Maundvill,
	Bot sekyrly falset and gyle
245	Sall allwayis haif ane ivill ending
	As weill is sene be this isching,
	In tyme of trewys ischit thai
	And in sic tyme as on Pasche day
	Quhen God rais for to sauf mankin
250	Fra wem of auld Adamys syne,
	Tharfor sa gret myschaunce thaim fell
	That ilkane as ye hard me tell
	War slayne up or takyn thar.
	And thai that in the castell war
255	War set intill sic fray that hour
	For thai couth se quhar na succour
	Suld cum to releyff, and thai
	Tretyt and till a schort day
	The castell till him yauld fre
260	To sauff thaim lyff and lym, and he
	Held thaim full weill his cunnand.
	The castell tuk he in his hand
	And vyttalyt weill and has set
	A gud wardane it for to get,
265	And a quhill tharin restyt he.
[King Robert sails to the Isles, is drawn between the Tarberts;
submission of the Islesmen]

	Off him no mar now spek will we
	Bot to King Robert will we gang
	That we haff left unspokyn of lang.
	Quhen he had convoyit to the se
270	His brodyr Edward and his menye
	With schippes he maid him yar	271*
	Intill the Ilis for till fare	272*
	Walter Steward with him tuk he	273*
	His mawch and with him gret menyhe	274*
275 	And other men off gret noblay.	271
	To Tarbart thai held thar way
	In galayis ordanyt for thar far,
	Bot thaim worthyt draw thar schippis thar,
	And a myle wes betwix the seys
280	Bot that wes lownyt all with treis.	276
	The king his schippis thar gert draw,
	And for the wynd couth stoutly blaw
	Apon thar bak as thai wald ga
	He gert men rapys and mastis ta
285	And set thaim in the schippis hey	281
	And sayllis to the toppis tey
	And gert men gang tharby drawand,
	The wyind thaim helpyt that wes blawand
	Sua that in a litill space
290	Thar flote all our-drawin was.	286
	And quhen thai that in the Ilis war
	Hard how the gud king had thar
	Gert his schippis with saillis ga
	Out-our betwix the Tarbartis twa
295	Thai war abaysit sa uterly	291
	For thai wyst throu auld prophecy
	That he that suld ger schippis sua
	Betwix thai seis with saillis ga
	Suld wyne the Ilis sua till hand
300	That nane with strenth suld him withstand.	296
	Tharfor thai come all to the king,
	Wes nane withstud his bidding
	Outakyn Jhone of Lorne allane,
	Bot weill sone eftre wes he tane
305	And present rycht to the king,	301
	And thai that war of his leding
	That till the king had brokyn fay
	War all dede and distroyit away.
	This Jhone of Lorne the king has tane
310	And send him furth to Dunbertane	306
	A quhill in presoun thar to be,
	Syne to Louchlevyn send wes he
	Quhar he wes quhill in festnyng,
	I trow he maid tharin ending.
315	The king quhen all the Ilis war	311
	Brocht till his liking les and mar,
	All that sesoun thar dwellyt he
	At huntyng gamyn and at gle.
[Edmund de Caillou plunders the Merse]

	Quhill the king apon this maner
320	Dauntyt the Ilis as I tell her	316
	The gud Schyr James of Douglas
	Intill the Forest dwelland was
	Defendand worthely the land.
	That tyme in Berwik wes dwelland
325	Edmound de Cailow a Gascoun	321
	That wes a knycht of gret renoune
	And intill Gascoune his contre
	Lord off gret senyoury wes he.
	He had Berwik in keping
330	And maid a prive gadering	326
	And gat him a gret cumpany
	Of wycht men armyt jolily,
	And the nethyr end of Tevidale
	He prayit doun till him all hale
335	And of the Mers a gret party,	331
	Syne towart Berwik went in hy.
	Schyr Adam of Gordoun that than
	Wes becummyn Scottisman
	Saw thaim dryf sua away thar fe
340	And wend thai had bene quhone for he	336
	Saw bot the fleand scaill perfay	337*
	And thaim that sesyt in the pray.	338*
	Than till Schyr James of Douglas	339*
	Into gret hye the way he tais	340*
345	And tauld how Inglismen thair pray	341*
	Had tane and syne went thar way	342*
	Toward Berwik with all thar fee,	343*
	And said thai quheyn war and gif he	344*
	Wald sped him he suld weill lichtly	337
350	Wyn thaim and reskew all the ky.	338
[Douglas pursues, catches and kills Caillou]

	Schyr James rycht soyne gaf his assent
	Till follow thame and furth is went
	Bot with the men that he had thair
	And met hym by the gat but mair.
355	Thai followit thame in full gret hy	343
	And com weill neir thame hastely
	For or thai mycht thame fully se
	Thai come weill ner with thair menye,
	And than bath the forreouris and the scaill
360	Intill a childrome knyt all haill	348
	And wes a rycht fair cumpany.
	Befor thame gert thai driff the ky
	With knavis and swanys that na mycht
	Had for to stand in feld and fycht,
365	The lave behynd thaim maid a stale.	353
	The Douglas saw thar lump all hale
	And saw thaim of sa gud covyn
	And saw thai war sa mony syne
	That thai for ane of his war twa.
370	'Lordingis,' he said, 'sen it is sua	358
	That we haf chassyt of sic maner  
	That we now cummyn ar sa ner
	That we may nocht eschew the fycht
	Bot gif we fouly ta the flycht,
375	Lat ilkane on his lemman mene	363
	And how he mony tyme has bene
	On gret thrang and weill cummyn away.
	Think we to do rycht sua today,
	And tak we of this furd her-by
380	Our avantage for in gret hy	368
	Thai sall cum on us for to fycht.
	Set we than will and strenth and mycht
	For to mete thaim rycht hardely.'
	And with that word full hastily
385	He displayit his baner	373
	For his fayis war cummand ner
	That quhen thai saw he wes sa quhoyne
	Thocht thai suld with thaim sone haf done
	And assemblit full hardely.
390	Thar men mycht se men fecht felly	378
	And a rycht cruell melle mak
	And mony strakys giff and tak.
	The Douglas thar weill hard wes stad,
	Bot the gret hardyment that he hade
395	Comfort hys men on sic a wys	383
	That na man thocht on cowardys
	Bot faucht sa fast with all thar mayn
	That thai fele of thar fayis has slayn,
	And thoucht thai be weill fer war ma
400	Than thai, yeit ure demanyt thaim sua	388
	That Edmound de Cailow wes ded
	Rycht in that ilk fechtyn-stede,
	And all the lave fra he wes done
	War planly discomfyt sone,
405	And thai that chassyt sum has slayn	393
	And turnyt the prayis all agayn.
	The hardast fycht forsuth this wes
	That ever the gud lord off Douglas
	Wes in as off sa few mengne,
410	For nocht had bene his gret bounte	398
	That slew thar chyftane in that fycht
	His men had all to dede bene dycht.
	He had intill custoume alway
	Quhenever he come till hard assay
415	To preys him the chiftane to sla,	403
	And her fell hap that he did sua,
	That gert him haff victour fele sys.
	Quhen Schyr Edmound apon this wis
	Wes dede the gud lord of Douglas
420	To the Forest his wayis tays.	408
	His fayis gretly gan him dred,
	The word sprang weile fer of his deid
	Sua that in Ingland ner tharby
	Men spak of it commonaly.
[The challenge of Sir Robert Neville is taken up by Douglas]

425	Schir Robert Nevile that tid	413
	Wonnyt at Berwik ner besid
	The march quhar the lord Douglas 
	In the forest repayrand was
	And had at him gret invy,
430	For he saw him sa manlyly	418
	Mak ay his boundis mar and mar.
	He hard the folk that with him war
	Spek off the lord Douglas mycht
	And how he forsye wes in fycht
435	And how him fell oft fayr fortoun.	423
	He wrethyt tharat all-soun
	And said, 'Quhat wene ye, is thar nane
	That ever is worth bot he allane.
	Ye set him as he wer but per,
440	Bot Ik avow befor you her	428
	Giff ever he cum intill this land
	He sall fynd me ner at his hand,
	And gif Ik ever his baner
	May se displayit apon wer
445	I sall assembill on him but dout	433
	All-thocht yhe hald him never sa stout.'
	Of this avow sone bodword was
	Brocht to Schyr James of Douglas
	That said, 'Gif he will hald his hycht
450	I sall do sa he sall haiff sycht	438
	Off me an my cumpany
	Yeyt or oucht lang wele ner him by.'
	Hys retenew than gaderyt he
	That war gud men of gret bounte,
455	And till the march in gud aray	443
	Apon a nycht he tuk the way
	Sua that into the mornyng arly
	He wes with all his cumpany
	Befor Berwik and thar he maid
460	Men to display his baner brad,	448
	And of his menye sum sent he
	For to bryn townys twa or thre,
	And bad thaim sone agayne thaim sped
	Sua that on hand giff thar come ned
465	Thai mycht be for the fycht redy.	453
[Neville waits then attacks Douglas's force]

	The Nevill that wyst witterly
	That Douglas cummyn wes sa ner
	And saw all braid stand his baner,
	Than with the folk that with him war
470	And he had a gret menye thar	458
	For all the gud off that countre
	Intill that tyme with him had he
	Sua that he thar with him had then
	Wele may then war the Scottismen,
475	He held his way up till a hill	463
	And said, 'Lordingis, it war my will
	To mak end off the gret deray
	That Douglas mayis us ilk day,
	Bot me think it spedfull that we
480	Abid quhill his men scalit be	468
	Throu the countre to tak thar pray,
	Than fersly schout on thaim we may
	And we sall haf thaim at our will.'
	Than all thai gaf assent thar-till
485	And on the hill abaid howand.	473
	The men fast gaderyt of the land
	And drew till him in full gret hy.
	The Douglas then that wes worthi
	Thoucht it wes foly mar to bid,
490	Towart the hill than gan he rid,	478
	And quhen the Nevill saw that thai
	Wald nocht pas furth to the forray
	Bot pressyt to thaim with thar mycht
	He wyst weill than that thai wald fycht
495	And till his mengye gan he say,	483
	'Lordingis, now hald we furth our way,
	Her is the flour of the countre
	And may then thai alsua ar we,
	Assembill we then hardely,
500	For Douglas with yone yhumanry	488
	Sall haf na mycht till us perfay.'
	Then in a frusch assemblyt thai,
	Than mycht men her the speris brast
	And ilkane ding on other fast,
505	And blude bryst out at woundis wid.	493
	Thai faucht fast apon athyr sid
	For athyr party gan thaim payn
	To put thar fayis on bak agayn.
[Douglas fights with and kills Neville; division of the spoils]

	The lordis off Nevill and Douglas
510	Quhen at the fechting fellast was	498
	Met togidder rycht in the preys,
	Betwix thaim than gret bargane wes.
	Thai faucht felly with all thar maucht,
	Gret routis ather othyr raucht,
515	Bot Douglas starkar wes Ik hycht	503
	And mar usyt alsua to fycht,
	And he set hart and will alsua
	For to deliver him of his fa
	Quhill at the last with mekill mayn
520	Off fors the Nevill has he slayn,	508
	Then his ensenye hey gan cry
	And the lave sa hardely
	He ruschyt with his menye
	That intill schort tym men mycht se
525	Thar fayis tak thaim to the flycht	513
	And thai thaim chassyt with all thar mycht
	Schir Rauff Nevill in the chas
	And the baron of Hiltoun was
	Takyn and other of mekill mycht.
530	Thar wes fele slayne into that fycht	518
	That worthi in thar tym had bene.
	And quhen the feld wes clengit clen
	Sua that thar fayis everilkane
	War slayne or chassyt awai or tan
535	Than gert he forray all the land	523
	And sesyt all that ever thai fand
	And brynt townys in thar way,
	Syne hale and fer cummyn ar thai.
	The prayis amang his menye
540	Eftre thar meritis delt he	528
	And held na thing till his behuff.
	Sic dedis aucht to ger men luff
	Thar lord, and sua thai did perfay.
	He tretyt thaim sa wisly ay
545	And with sa mekill luff alsua	533
	And sic avansement wald ma
	Off thar deid that the mast cowart
	He maid stoutar then a libart,
	With cherysing thusgat maid he
550	His men wycht and of gret bounte.	538
[The reputation of Douglas]

	Quhen Nevill thus was brocht to ground
	And of Cailow auld Schyr Edmound,
	The drede of the lord of Douglas
	And his renoune sa scalit was
555	Throu-out the marchis of Ingland	543
	That all that war tharin wonnand
	Dred him as the fell devill of hell,
	And yeit haf Ik hard otfsys tell
	That he sa gretly dred wes than
560	That quhen wivys wald childer ban	548
	Thai wald rycht with ane angry face
	Betech thaim to the blak Douglas.
562A	For with thair taill he wes mair fell	*
562B	Than wes ony devill in hell.	*
	Throu his gret worschip and bounte
	Sua with his fayis dred wes he
565	That thaim growyt to her his name.	553
	He may at ese now dwell at hame
	A quhill for I trow he sall nocht
	With fayis all a quhile be socht.
	Now lat him in the Forest be,
570	Off him spek now no mar will we,	558
	Bot off Schyr Edward the worthi
	That with all his chevalry
	Wes at Cragfergus yeit liand
	To spek mar we will tak on hand.

Book 16

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