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John Barbour

(c.1320 – 13 March 1395 / Aberdeenshire or Galloway, Scotland)

The Brus Book 20


King Robert in Northumberland]

Sone eftre that the erle Thomas
Fra Wardaill thus reparyt was
The king assemblyt all his mycht
And left nane that wes worth to fycht,
5 A gret ost than assemblit he
And delt his ost in partis thre.
A part to Norame went but let
And a stark assege has set
And held thaim in rycht at thar dyk,
10 The tother part till Anwyk
Is went and thar a sege set thai,
And quhill that thir assegis lay
At thir castellis I spak off ar,
Apert eschewys oft maid thar war
15 And mony fayr chevalry
Eschevyt war full douchtely.
The king at thai castellis liand
Left his folk, as I bar on hand
And with the thrid ost held hys way
20 Fra park to park hym for to play
Huntand as all hys awn war,
And till thaim that war with him thar
The landis off Northummyrland
That neyst to Scotland war liand
25 In fe and heritage gave he,
And thai payit for the selys fe.

[The peace with England]

On this wys raid he destroyand
Quhill that the king of Ingland
Throu consaill of the Mortymar
30 And his moder that that tym war
Ledaris of him that than young wes
To King Robert to tret off pes
Send messyngeris, and sua sped thai
That thai assentyt on this way
35 Than a perpetuale pes to tak,
And thai a mariage suld mak
Off the King Robertis sone Davy
That than bot fyve yer had scarsly
And off Dame Jhone als off the Tour
40 That syne wes of full gret valour,
Systre scho wes to the ying king
That had Ingland in governyng,
That than of eild had sevyn yer.
And monymentis and lettrys ser
45 That thai of Ingland that tyme had
That oucht agayn Scotland maid
Intill that tretys up thai gaff,
And all the clame that thai mycht haff
Intill Scotland on ony maner,
50 And King Robert for scaithis ser
That he to thaim off Ingland
Had done off wer with stalwart hand
Full twenty thousand pund suld pay
Off silver into gud monay.
55 Quhen men thir thingis forspokyn had
And with selis and athis maid
Festnyng off frendschip and of pes
That never for na chaunc suld ces,
The mariage syne ordanyt thai
60 To be at Berwik and the day
Thai haff set quhen that this suld be,
Syne went ilk man till his countre.
Thus maid wes pes quhar wer wais ar
And thus the segis raissyt war.

[The marriage of the king's son, David]

65 The King Robert ordanyt to pay
The silver, and agane the day
He gert wele for the mangery
Ordane quhen that his sone Davy
Suld weddyt be, and Erle Thomas
70 And the gud lord of Douglas
Intill his steid ordanyt he
Devisouris of that fest to be,
For a malice him tuk sa sar
That he on na wis mycht be thar.
75 His malice off enfundeying
Begouth, for throuch his cald lying
Quhen in his gret myscheiff wes he
Him fell that hard perplexite.
At Cardros all that tyme he lay,
80 And quhen ner cummyn wes the day
That ordanyt for the weddyn was
The erle and the lord of Douglas
Come to Berwik with mekill far
And brocht young Davy with thaim thar,
85 And the queyn and the Mortymer
On other part cummyn wer
With gret affer and reawte,
The young lady of gret bewte
Thidder thai brocht with rich affer.
90 The weddyn haf thai makyt thar
With gret fest and solempnyte,
Thar mycht men myrth and glaidschip se
For rycht gret fest thai maid thar
And Inglismen and Scottis war
95 Togidder in joy and solace,
Na fellouné betwix thaim was.
The fest a wele lang tym held thai,
And quhen thai buskyt to far away
The queyn has left hyr douchter thar
100 With gret riches and reale far,
I trow that lang quhile na lady
Wes gevyn till hous sa richely,
And the erle and the lord Douglas
Hyr in daynte ressavyt has
105 As it war worthi sekyrly
For scho wes syne the best lady
And the fayrest that men thurft se.
Eftre this gret solemnyte
Quhen of bath half levys war tane
110 The queyn till Ingland hame is gane
And had with hyr Mortymar.
The erle and thai that levyt war
Quhen thai a quhill hyr convoyit had
Towart Berwik again thai raid,
115 And syne with all thar cumpany
Towart the king thai went in hy,
And had with thaim the young Davy
And Dame Jhone als that young lady.

[Coronation of David, settlement of the succession]

The king maid thaim fair welcumyng
120 And efter but langer delaying
He has gert set a parleament
And thidder witth mony men is went,
For he thocht he wald in his lyff
Croun his young sone and his wyff
125 And at that parleament sua did he.
With gret fayr and solemnyte
The King Davy wes crownyt thar,
And all the lordis that thar war 127
And als off the comynyte 128
130 Maid him manredyn and fewte. 129
And forouth that thai crownyt war 130
The King Robert gert ordane thar, 128
Giff it fell that his sone Davy
Deyit but ayr male off his body
135 Gottyn, Robert Stewart suld be 131
Kyng and bruk all the realte
That hys douchter bar Marjory,
And at this tailye suld lelely
Be haldyn all the lordis swar
140 And it with selys affermyt thar. 136
And gyff it hapnyt Robert the king
To pas to God quhill thai war ying,
The gud erle of Murreff, Thomas,
And the lord alsua off Douglas
145 Suld haiff thaim into governyng 141
Quhill thai had wyt to ster thar thing,
And than the lordschip suld thai ta.
Her-till thar athys gan thai ma
And all the lordis that thar war
150 To thir twa wardanys athis swar 146
Till obey thaim in lawte
Giff thaim hapnyt wardanys to be.

[The king's illness and last will]

Quhen all this thing thus tretit wes
And affermyt with sekyrnes
155 The king to Cardros went in hy, 151
And thar him tuk sa fellely
The seknes and him travailit sua
That he wyst him behovyt to ma
Off all this liff the commoun end
160 That is the dede quhen God will send, 156
Tharfor his lettrys sone send he
For the lordis off his countre
And thai come as thai biddyng had.
His testament than has he maid
165 Befor bath lordis and prelatis, 161
And to religioun of ser statis
For hele of his saule gaf he
Silver in gret quantite.
He ordanyt for his saule weill,
170 And quhen this done wes ilkadele 166
He said, 'Lordingis, sua is it gayn
With me that thar is nocht bot ane,
That is the dede withoutyn drede
That ilk man mon thole off nede.
175 And I thank God that has me sent 171
Space in this lyve me to repent,
For throuch me and my werraying
Off blud has bene rycht gret spilling
Quhar mony sakles men war slayn,
180 Tharfor this seknes and this payn 176
I tak in thank for my trespas.
And myn hart fichyt sekyrly was
Quhen I wes in prosperite
Off my synnys to sauffyt be
185 To travaill apon Goddis fayis, 181
And sen he now me till him tayis
Sua that the body may na wys
Fullfill that the hart gan devis
I wald the hart war thidder sent
190 Quharin consavyt wes that entent. 186
Tharfor I pray you everilkan
That ye amang you ches me ane
That be honest wis and wicht
And off his hand a noble knycht
195 On Goddis fayis my hart to ber 191
Quhen saule and cors disseveryt er,
For I wald it war worthily
Brocht thar, sen God will nocht that I
Haiff power thidderwart to ga.'

[Douglas is chosen to take the king's heart against God's enemies]

200 Than war thar hartis all sa wa 196
That nane mycht hald him fra greting.
He bad thaim leve thar sorowing
For it he said mycht not releve
And mycht thaim rycht gretly engreve,
205 And prayit thaim in hy to do 201
The thing that thai war chargit to.
Than went thai furth with drery mode,
Amang thaim thai thocht it gode
That the worthi lord of Douglas
210 Quham in bath wit and worschip was 206
Suld tak this travaill apon hand, 207
Heir-till thai war all accordand, 208
Syne till the king thai went in hy 209
And tald hym at thai thocht trewly 210
215 That the douchty lord Douglas 211
Best schapyn for that travaill was. 206
And quhen the king hard that thai sua
Had ordanyt him his hart to ta
That he mast yarnyt suld it haff
220 He said, 'Sa God himself me saiff 210
Ik hald me rycht weill payit that yhe
Haff chosyn him, for his bounte
And his worschip set in my yarnyng
Ay sen I thocht to do this thing
225 That he it with him thar suld ber, 215
And sen ye all assentit er
It is the mar likand to me.
Lat se now quhat thar-till sayis he.'
And quhen the gud lord of Douglas
230 Wist that thing thus spokyn was 220
He come and knelit to the king
And on this wis maid him thanking.
'I thank you gretly lord,' said he,
'Off the mony larges and gret bounte
235 That yhe haff done me fel-sys 225
Sen fyrst I come to your service,
Bot our all thing I mak thanking
That ye sa dyng and worthy thing
As your hart that enlumynyt wes
240 Off all bounte and all prowes 230
Will that I in my yemsall tak.
For you, schyr, I will blythly mak
This travaill, gif God will me gif
Layser and space sua lang to lyff.'
245 The king him thankyt tendrely, 235
Than wes nane in that cumpany
That thai na wepyt for pite,
Thar cher anoyis wes to se.

[The death of King Robert; his burial at Dunfermline]

Quhen the lord Douglas on this wis
250 Had undretane sa hey empris 240
As the guid kyngis hart to ber
On Goddis fayis apon wer
Prissyt for his empris wes he.
And the kingis infirmyte
255 Woux mar and mar quhill at the last 245
The dulfull dede approchit fast,
And quhen he had gert till him do
All that gud Crystyn man fell to
With verray repentance he gaf
260 The gast, that God till hevyn haiff 250
Amang his chossyn folk to be
In joy solace and angell gle.
And fra his folk wist he wes ded
The sorow rais fra steid to steid,
265 Thar mycht men se men ryve thar har 255
And commounly knychtis gret full sar
And thar newffys oft samyn dryve
And as woud men thar clathis ryve,
Regratand his worthi bounte
270 His wyt his strenth his honeste 260
And our-all the gret cumpany
That he maid thaim oft curtasly.
'All our defens,' thai said, 'allace
And he that all our comford was
275 Our wit and all our governyng 265
Allace is brocht her till ending.
His worschip and his mekill mycht
Maid all that war with him sa wycht
That thai mycht never abaysit be
280 Quhill forouth thaim thai mycht him se. 270
Allace! what sall we do or say,
For on lyff quhill he lestyt ay
With all our nychtbouris dred war we,
And intill mony ser countre
285 Off our worschip sprang the renoun 275
And that wes all for his persoune.'
With swilk wordis thai maid thar mayn
And sekyrly wounder wes nane,
For better governour than he
290 Mycht in na countre fundyn be. 280
I hop that nane that is on lyve
The lamentacioun suld discryve
That that folk for thar lard maid.
And quhen thai lang thus sorowit had,
295 And he debowaillyt wes clenly 285
And bawmyt syne richly,
And the worthi lord of Douglas
His hart as it forspokyn was
Has ressavyt in gret daynte
300 With gret fayr and solemnyte, 290
Thai haiff had hym to Dunferlyne
And him solemply erdyt syne
In a fayr tumb intill the quer.
Byschappys and prelatis that thar wer
305 Assoilyeit him quhen the service 295
Was done as thai couth best devis
And syne on the tother day
Sary and wa ar went thar way.

[Douglas goes to Seville with the king's heart]

Quhen that the gud king beryit was
310 The erle of Mureff, Schyr Thomas, 300
Tuk all the land in governyng,
All obeyit till his bidding,
And the gud lord of Douglas syne
Gert mak a cas of silver fyne
315 Ennamylyt throu sutelte, 305
Tharin the kingis hart did he
And ay about his hals it bar
And fast him bownyt for to far.
His testament divisyt he
320 And ordanyt how his land suld be 310
Governyt quhill his gayn-cummyng
Off frendis, and all other thing
That till him pertenyt ony wis
With sik forsych and sa wys
325 Or his furth-passing ordanyt he 315
That na thing mycht amendyt be.
And quhen that he his leve had tane
To schip to Berwik is he gane,
And with a noble cumpany
330 Off knychtis and off squyery 320
He put him thar to the se.
A lang way furthwart saylit he,
For betwix Cornwaill and Bretaynne
He sayllyt, and left the Grunye of Spainye
335 On northalff him, and held thar way 325
Quhill to Sabill the Graunt com thai,
Bot gretly war his men and he
Travaillyt with tempestis of the se,
Bot thocht thai gretly travaillit war
340 Hale and fer ar thai cummyn thar. 330
Thai aryvyt at Gret Sabill
And eftre in a litill quhill
Thar hors to land thai drew ilkane
And in the toun has herbry tane,
345 He hym contenyt rychly 335
For he had a fayr cumpany
And gold ynewch for to dispend.
The King Alfons him eftre send
And hym rycht weill ressavyt he
350 And perofferyt him in gret plente 340
Gold and tresour hors and armyng,
Bot he wald tak tharoff na thing
For he said he tuk that vaiage
To pas intill pilgramage
355 On Goddis fayis, that his travaill 345
Mycht till his saule hele availl,
And sen he wyst that he had wer
With Saryzynys he wald dwell thar
And serve him at hys mycht lely.
360 The king him thankyt curtasly 350
And betaucht him gud men that war
Weill knawyn of that landis wer
And the maner tharoff alsua,
Syne till his innys gan he ga
365 Quhen that the king him levit had. 355

[The repute of Douglas in Spain]

A weill gret sojourne thar he mad,
Knychtis that come of fer countre
Come in gret hy him for to se
And honouryt him full gretumly,
370 And out-our all men fer soveranly 360
The Inglis knychtis that war thar
Honour and company him bar.
Amang thai strangeris was a knycht
That wes haldyn sa worthi and wicht
375 That for ane of the gud wes he 365
Prissyt off the Cristiante,
Sa fast till-hewyn was his face
That it our-all ner wemmyt was.
Or he the lord Douglas had sene
380 He wend his face had wemmyt bene 370
Bot never a hurt tharin had he.
Quhen he unwemmyt gan it se
He said that he had gret ferly
That swilk a knycht and sa worthi
385 And prissyt of sa gret bounte 375
Mycht in the face unemmyt be,
And he answerd tharto makly
And said, 'Love God, all tym had I
Handis my hed for to wer.'
390 Quha wald tak kep to this answer 380
Suld se in it understanding
That, and he that maid that asking
Had handis to wer, hys face
That for faute of defence sa was
395 To-fruschyt intill placis ser 385
Suld have may-fall left hale and fer.
The gud knychtis that than war by
Pryssyt hys answer gretumly,
For it wes maid with mek speking
400 And had rycht hey understanding. 390

[Douglas does battle with the Saracens]

Apon this maner still thai lay
Quhill throu the countre thai hard say
That the hey king of Balmeryne
With mony a mody Saryzine
405 Was entryt intill the land off Spanye 395
All hale the countre to manye.
The king off Spaynye on other party
Gaderyt his ost deliverly
And delt hym intill bataillis thre,
410 And to the lord Douglas gaff he 400
The avaward to led and ster,
All hale the strangeris with him wer,
And the gret maister off Saynct Jak
The tother bataill gert he tak,
415 The rerward maid himselvyn thar. 405
Thusgat divisyt furth thai far
To mete thar fayis that in bataill
Arayit redy till assaill
Come agayn thaim full sturdely.
420 The Douglas that wes sa worthi 410
Quhen he to thaim of his leding
Had maid a fayr monesting
To do weill and na deid to dred,
For hevynnys blys suld be thar mede
425 Gyff that thai deyt in Goddis service 415
Than as gud werrayouris and wis,
With thaim stoutly assemblit he.
Thar mycht men felloun fechtyn se,
For thai war all wicht and worthi
430 That war on the Cristyn party 420
And faucht sa fast with all thar mayne
That Saryzynys war mony slayne,
The-quhether with mony fele fachoun
Mony a Cristyn dang thai doun,
435 Bot at the last the lord Douglas 425
And the gret rout that with him was
Pressyt the Saryzynys sua
That thai haly the bak gan ta,
And thai chassyt with all thar mayn
440 And mony in the chas has slayn. 430
Sa fer chassyt the lord of Douglas
With few, that he passyt was
All the folk that war chassand then,
He had nocht with him our ten
445 Off all men that war with him thar. 435
Quhen he saw all reparyt war
Towart hys ost than turnyt he,
And quhen the Saryzynys gan se
That the chasseris turnyt agayn
450 Thai relyit with mekill mayn. 440

[Douglas seeks to rescue another knight and is killed]

And as the gud lord of Douglas
As I said er, reparand was
Sa saw he rycht besid thaim ner
Quhar that Schyr Wilyam the Sanctecler
455 With a gret rout enveround was. 445
He was anoyit and said, 'Allace!
Yone worthy knycht will sone be ded
Bot he haff help, and our manheid
Biddys us help him in gret hy
460 Sen that we ar sa ner him by, 450
And God wate weill our entent is
To lyve or de in hys service,
Hys will in all thing do sall we.
Sall na perell eschewyt be
465 Quhill he be put out of yone payn 455
Or than we all be with him slayn.'
With that with spuris spedely
Thai strak the hors and in gret hy
Amang the Saryzynys thai raid
470 And roume about thaim haf thai maid, 460
Thai dang on fast with all thar mycht
And fele off thaim to ded has dycht.
Grettar defens maid never sa quhone
Agayne sa fele as thai haf done,
475 Quhill thai mycht last thai gaf battaill 465
Bot mycht na worschip thar availl
That thai ilkan war slayn doun thar,
For Saryzynys sa mony war
That thai war twenty ner for ane.
480 The gud lord Douglas thar was slane 470
And Schyr Wilyam the Sanct Cler alsua
And other worthy knychtis twa,
Schyr Robert Logane hat the tane
And the tother Schyr Walter Logane,
485 Quhar our Lord for his mekill mycht 475
Thar saulis haff till his hevynnys hycht.
The gud lord Douglas thus wes ded,
And Sarazynys in that sted
Abaid no mar bot held thar way,
490 Thai knychtis dede thar levyt thai. 480
Sum off the lord Douglas men
That thar lord ded has fundyn then
Yeid weill ner woud for dule and wa,
Lang quhill our him thai sorowit sua
495 And syne with gret dule hame him bar. 485
The kingis hart haiff thai fundyn thar
And that hame with thaim haf thai tane,
And ar towart thar innys gane
With gretyng and with ivill cher,
500 Thar sorow wes angry for till her. 490

[Sorrow at Douglas's death; his love of loyalty,
compared to that of Fabricius]

And quhen of Keth gud Schyr Wilyam
That all that day had bene at hame,
For at sua gret malice wes he
That he come nocht to the journé
505 For his arme brokyn wes in twa, 495
Quhen he that folk sic dule saw ma
He askyt quhat it wes in hy
And thai him tauld all opynly
How that thar douchty lord wes slayn
510 With Sarazynys that releyt agayn, 500
And quhen he wyst that it was sua
Out-our all othyr him was wa
And maid sa wondyr yvill cher
That all wondryt that by him wer.
515 Bot to tell off thar sorowing 505
It noyis and helpis litill thing,
Men may weill wyt thoucht nane thaim tell
How angry for sorow and how fell
Is to tyne sic a lord as he
520 To thaim that war off his mengne, 510
For he wes swete and debonar
And weill couth trete hys frendis far,
And his fayis rycht fellounly
Stonay throu his chevalry
525 The-quhether off litill affer wes he. 515
Our all thing luffit he lawte,
At tresoun growyt he sa gretly
That na traytour mycht be him by
That he mycht wyt that he ne suld be
530 Weill punyst off his cruelte. 520
I trow the lele Fabricius
That fra Rome to werray Pyrrus
Wes send with a gret mengne
Luffyt tresoun na les than he,
535 The-quhether quhen Pirrus had 525
On him and on his mengne maid
Ane outrageous discumfitour
Quhar he eschapyt throu aventour
And mony off his men war slayne,
540 And he had gadryt ost agayne, 530
A gret maistre off medicyne
That had Pyrrus in governyne
Perofferyt to Fabricius
In tresoun to sla Pyrrus,
545 For intill his neyst potioun 535
He suld giff him dedly pusoun.
Fabricius that wonder had
Off that peroffre that he him maid
Said, 'Certis, Rome is welle off mycht
550 Throu strenth off armys into fycht 540
To vencus thar fayis, thocht thai
Consent to treusoun be na way,
And for thou wald do sic trewsoun
Thou sall to et a warysoun
555 Ga to Pyrrus and lat him do 545
Quhatever him lyis on hart tharto.'
Than till Pyrrus he send in hy
This maistre and gert opynly
Fra end till end tell him this tale.
560 Quhen Pyrrus had it hard all hale 550
He said, 'Wes ever man that sua
For leawte bar him till his fa
As her Fabricius dois to me.
It is als ill to ger him be
565 Turnyt fra way of rychtwisnes 555
Or ellis consent to wikkitnes
As at midday to turne agayn
The sone that rynnys his cours playn.'
Thus said he off Fabricius,
570 That syne vencussyt this ilk Pyrrus 560
In plane bataill throu hard fechting.
His honest leawte gert me bring
In this ensample her, for he
Had soverane price off leawte,
575 And sua had the lord of Douglas 565
That honest lele and worthy was
That wes ded as befor said we,
All menyt him strang and preve.

[The body of Douglas brought home and buried]

Quhen his men lang had mad murnyn,
580 Thai debowalyt him and syne 570
Gert seth him sua that mycht be tane
The flesch all haly fra the bane
And the carioune thar in haly place
Erdyt with rycht gret worschip was.
585 The banys have tha with thaim tane 575
And syne ar to thar schippis gane
Quhen thai war levit off the king
That had dule for thar sorowing.
To se thai went, gud wind thai had,
590 Thar cours till Ingland haiff thai maid 580
And thar sauffly aryvyt thai,
Syne towart Scotland held thar way
And thar ar cummyn in full gret hy,
And the banys honorabilly
595 Intill the kyrk off Douglas war 585
Erdyt with dule and mekill car.
Schyr Archebald his sone gert syn
Off alabast bath fair and fyne
Ordane a tumbe sa richly
600 As it behovyt to sua worthy. 590

[The death of Moray]

Quhen that on this wis Schyr Wilyam
Off Keth had brocht his banys hame
And the gud kingis hart alsua,
And men had richly gert ma
605 With fayr effer his sepultur, 595
The erle off Murreff that had the cur
That tyme off Scotland halely
With gret worschyp has gert bery
The kingis hart at the abbay
610 Off Melros, quhar men prayis ay 600
That he and his have paradys.
Quhen this wes done that I devys
The gud erle governyt the land
And held the power weill to warand,
615 The lawe sa weill mantemyt he 605
And held in pes sua the countre
That it wes never or his day
Sa weill, as Ik hard auld men say.
Bot syne, allace! pusonyt wes he,
620 To se his dede wes gret pite. 610
Thir lordis deyt apon this wis.
He that hey Lord off all thing is
Up till his mekill blis thaim bring
And graunt his grace that thar ofspring
625 Leid weill the land, and ententyve 615
Be to folow in all thar lyve
Thar nobill eldrys gret bounte.
Quhar afauld God in trinyte
Bring us hey till his mekill blis
630 Quhar alwayis lestand liking is. 620

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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