John Barbour

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

The Brus Book XIV


[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.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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