The Brus Book XII
[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 thar.sa 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
John Barbour's Other Poems
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