The Brus Book XV
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.
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Comments about this poem (The Brus Book XV by John Barbour )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
Isabella Valancy Crawford
(25 December 1850 – 12 February 1887)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
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(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
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