The Brus Book Viii Poem by John Barbour

The Brus Book Viii

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[The king in Kyle]

The king fra Schyr Aymer wes gane
Gadryt his menye everilkan
And left bath woddis and montanys
And held hys way strak till the planys
5 For he wald fayne that end war maid
Off that that he begunnyn had,
And he wyst weill he mycht nocht bring
It to gud end but travalling.
To Kyle went he fryst and that land
10 He maid all till him obeysand,
The men maist force come till his pes.
Syne efterwart or he wald ses
Of Conyngayme the maist party
He gert held till his senyoury.
15 In Bothweill then Schyr Aymer was
That in hys hart gret angre has
For thai off Cunyngame and Kile
That war obeysand till him quhile
Left Inglismennys fewte.
20 Tharoff fayne vengyt wald he be,
And send Philip the Mowbray
With a thousand as Ik herd say
Off men that war in his leding
To Kile for to werray the king.

[Douglas defeats Sir Philip Mowbray at Edirford]

25 Bot James of Douglas that all tid
Had spyis out on ilka sid
Wyst off thar cummyng and that thai
Wald hald doune Makyrnokis way.
He tuk with him all prevely
30 Thaim that war off his cumpany
That war fourty withoutyn ma,
Syne till a strait place gan he ga
That is in Makyrnokis way,
The Edirford it hat perfay,
35 It lyis betwix marrais twa
Quhar that na hors on lyve may ga.
On the south halff quhar James was
Is ane upgang, a narow pas,
And on the north halff is the way
40 Sa ill as it apperis today.
Douglas with thaim he with him had
Enbuschyt him and thaim abaid,
He mycht weile fer se thar cummyng
Bot thai mycht se of hym na thing.
45 Thai baid in buschement all the nycht,
And quhen the sone was schynand brycht
Thai saw in bataillyng cum arayit
The vaward with baner displayit,
And syne sone the remanand
50 Thai saw weile ner behind cummand.
Then held thai thaim still and preve
Till the formast off that mengye
War entryt in the ford thaim by,
Then schot thai on thaim with a cry
55 And with wapnys that scharply schar
Sum in the ford thai bakwart bar,
And sum with arowis barblyt braid
Sa gret martyrdome on thaim has maid
That thai gan draw to voyd the place,
60 Bot byhynd thaim sa stoppyt was
The way that thai fast mycht nocht fle,
And that gert mony off thaim de,
For thai on na wys mycht away
Bot as thai come bot giff that thai
65 Wald throu thar fayis hald the gat,
Bot that way thocht thaim all to hat.
Thar fayis met thaim sa sturdely
And contenyt the fycht sa hardily
That thai sa dredand war that thai
70 That fyrst mycht fle fyrst fled away,
And quhen the rerward saw thaim sua
Discumfyt and thar wayis ga
Thai fled on fer and held thar way.

[The flight of Sir Philip Mowbray to Inverkip]

Bot Schyr Philip the Mowbray
75 That with the formast ridand was
That entryt wes in the place,
Quhen that he saw how he wes stad
Throu the gret worschip that he had
With spuris he strak the steid off pryce
80 And magre all his ennymys
Throu the thikkest off thaim he raid,
And but challance eschapyt had
Ne war ane hynt him by the brand,
Bot he the gud steid that wald nocht stand
85 Lansyt furth deliverly.
Bot the tother sa stalwartly
Held that the belt braist off the brand
And swerd and belt left in hys hand,
And he but swerd his wayis raid
90 Weill otouth thaim and thair abaid,
And beheld how that his menye fled
And how his fayis clengyt the steid
That war betwix him and his men.
Tharfor furth the wayis tuk he then
95 To Kylmarnok and Kilwynnyne
And till Ardrossane eftre syne,
Syne throu the Largis him allane
Till Ennirkyp the way has tane
Rycht to the castell that wes then
100 Stuffyt all with Inglismen
That him resaiffyt in daynte,
And fra thai wyst howgat that he
Sa fer had rydin him allane
Throu thaim that war his fayis ilkan
105 Thai prisyt him full gretumly
And lovyt fast his chevalry.

[The reactions of Valence and King Robert]

Schyr Philip thus eschapyt was,
And Douglas yet wes in the place
Quhar he sexty has slayne and ma,
110 The layff fouly thar gat gan ga
And fled to Bothwell hame agayne
Quhar Schyr Aymer wes na thing fayn
Quhen he herd tell on that maner
That his mengne discumfyt wer.
115 Bot quhen to King Robert wes tauld
How that the Douglas that wes bauld
Vencussyt sa fele with fewe menye
Rycht joyfull in his hart wes he,
And all his menye confortyt war
120 For thaim thocht weille bath les and mar
That thai suld less thar fayis dreid
Sen thar purpos sa with thaim yeid.

[Valence challenges the king to open battle at Loudoun hill]

The king lay in Galliston
That is evyn rycht anent Loudoun
125 And till his pes tuk the cuntre.
Quhen Schyr Aymer and his menye
Hard how he ryotyt the land
And how that nane durst him withstand
He wes intill his hart angry,
130 And with ane off his cumpany
He send him word and said giff he
Durst him into the planys se
He suld the tend day of May
Cum under Loudoun hill away,
135 And giff that he wald meyt him thar
He said his worschip suld be mar,
And mar be turnyt in nobillay,
To wyn him in the playne away
With hard dintis in evyn fechtyng
140 Then to do fer mar with skulking.
The king that hard his messynger
Had dispyt apon gret maner
That Schyr Aymer spak sa heyly,
Tharfor he answeryt irusly
145 And to the messynger said he,
'Say to thi lord giff that I be
In lyfe he sall me se that day
Weyle ner giff he dar hald the way
That he has said, for sekyrly
150 Be Loudoun hill mete him sall I.'
The messinger but mare abaid
Till his maistre the wayis raid
And his answer him tauld alswith
Quharof he wes bath glaid and blyth,
155 For he thocht throu his mekill mycht
Gyff the king durst cum to fycht
That throu the gret chevalry
That suld be in his cumpany
He suld sua ourcum the king
160 That thar suld be na recovering.

[The king chooses and prepoares a battle field]

And the king on the tother party
That was all wis and averty
Raid for to se and cheis the place,
And saw the hey gat liand was
165 Apon a fayr feild evyn and dry,
Bot apon athir sid tharby
Wes a gret mos mekill and braid
That fra the way wes quhar men raid
A bow-draucht weile on ather sid,
170 And that place thocht him all to wyd
Till abyd men that horsyt war.m
Tharfor thre dykys our-thwort he schar
Fra baith the mossis to the way
That war sa fer fra other that thai
175 War ytwyn a bow-draucht or mar.
So holl and hey the dykys war
That men mycht nocht but mekill pane
Pas thaim thocht nane war thaim agan,
Bot sloppys in the way left he
180 Sa large and off sic quantite
That fyve hunder mycht samyn rid
In at the sloppis sid be sid.
Thar thocht he bataile for to bid
And bargane thaim, for he na drede
185 Had that thai suld on sid assaile
Na yeit behind giff thaim battaile,
And befor thocht him weill that he
Suld fra thar mycht defendyt be.
Thre dep dykys he gert thar ma,
190 For gyff he mycht nocht weill ourta
To mete thaim at the fyrst, that he
Suld havve the tother on his pouste,
Be than the thrid gyff it war sua
That thai had passyt the tother twa.
195 On this wys him ordanys he,
And syne assemblit his mengne
That war sex hunder fechtand men,
But rangale that wes with him then
That war als fele as thai or ma.
200 With all that mengne gan he ga
The evyn or that the bataill suld be
Till litill Loudoun quhar that he
Wald abid to se thar cummyng,
Syne with the men of his leding
205 He thocht to sped him sua that he
Suld at the dyk befor thaim be.

[The armies before the battle of Loudoun]

Schyr Aymer on the tother party
Gadryt sua gret chevalry
That he mycht be thre thousand ner
210 Armyt and dycht on gud maner,
Than as man off gret noblay
He held towart his trist his way
Quhen the set day cummyn was.
He sped him fast towart the place
215 That he nemmyt for to fycht,
The sone wes ryssyn schynand brycht
thyat schawyt on the scheldis brade
In twa eschelis ordanyt he had
The folk that he had in leding.
220 The king weile sone in the mornyng
Saw fyrst cummand thar fyrst eschele
Arrayit sarraly and weile,
And at thar bak sumdeill ner-hand
He saw the tother folowand,
225 Thar bassynettis burnyst all brycht
Agayne the son glemand off lycht,
Thar speris pennonys and thar scheldis
Off lycht enlumynyt all the feldis,
Thar best and browdyn brycht baneris
230 And hors hewyt on ser maneris
And cot-armouris off ser colour
And hawbrekis that war quhyt as flour
Maid thaim gleterand as thai war lyk
Till angelys hey off hevynnys ryk.
235 The king said, 'Lordis now ye se
How yon men throu thar gret poweste
Wald, and thai mycht fulfill thar will,
Sla us, and makys sembland thartill,
And sen we knaw thar felny
240 Ga we mete thaim sa hardily
That the stoutest of thar mengye
Off our meting abaysit be,
For gyff the formast egrely
Be met ye sall se sodanly
245 The henmaist sall abaysit be.
And thoucht that thai be ma than we
That suld abays us litill thing,
For quhen we cum to the fechting
Thar may mete us no ma than we.
250 Tharfor lordingis, ilkan suld be
Off us worthi off gret valour
For to maynteyme her our honour.
Thynkis quhat glaidschip us abidis
Gyff that we may aqs weile betidis
255 Haff victour off our fayis her,
For thar is nane than fer na ner
In all thys land that us thar doute.'
Then said thai all that stud about,
'Schyr gyff God will we sall sa do
260 That na reprov sall fall tharto.'
'Now ga we furth than,' said the king,
'Quhar He that maid off nocht all thing
Lede us and saiff us for his mycht
And help us for till hald our rycht.'
265 With that thai held thar way in hy
Weill sex hunder in cumpany
Stalwart and stout, worthi and wycht
Bot thai war all to few Ik hycht
Agayne sa fele to stand in stour
270 Ne war thar utrageous valour.

[The battle at Loudoun]

Now gais the nobill king his way
Rycht stoutly and in gud aray,
And to the formast dyk is gane
And in the slop the feld has tane.
275 The cariage and the povyrall
That war nocht worth in the bataill
Behynd him levyt he all still
Syttand all samyn on the hyll.
Schyr Aymer the king has sene
280 With his men that war cant and kene
Come to the playne doune fra the hill
As him thocht in full gud will
For to defend or to assaile
Gyff ony wald him bid bataill.
285 Tharfor his men confortit he
And bad thaim wycht and worthi be,
For gyff that thai mycht wyne the king
And haiff victour off his fechting
Thai suld rycht weile rewardyt be
290 And ek gretly thar renomme.
With that thai war weill ner the king
And he left his amonesting
And gert trump to the assemble,
And the formest off his mengne
295 Enbrasyt with the scheldis braid
And rycht sarraly togydder raid
With heid stoupand and speris straucht
Rycht to the king thar wayis raucht,
That met thaim with sa gret vigour
300 That the best and off maist valour
War laid at erd at thar meting
Quhar men mycht her sic a breking
Off speris that to-fruschyt war
And the woundyt sa cry and rar
305 That it anoyus wes to her
For thai that fyrst assemblyt wer
Fwyngyt and faucht full sturdely.
The noyis begouth then and the cry.

[The victory of King Robert]

A! mychty God quha thar had bene
310 And had the kingis worschip sene
And his brodyr that waine him by
That stonayit thaim sa hardely
That thair gud deid and thair bounte
Gaiff gret confort to thar mengye,
315 And how Douglas sa manlily
Confortyt thaim that war him by,
He suld weile say that thai had will
To wyn honour and cum thar-till.
The kingis men sa worthi war
320 That with speris that scharply schar
Thai stekit men and stedis baith
Till rede blud ran off woundis raith.
The hors that woundyt war gan fling
And ruschyt thar folk in thar flynging
325 Sua that thai that the formast war
War skalyt in soppys her and thar.
The king that saw thaim ruschyt sua
And saw thaim reland to and fra
Ran apon thaim sa egrely
330 And dang on thaim sa hardely
That fele gart off his fayis fall.
The feild wes ner coveryt all
Bath with the slane hors and with men,
For the gud king thar folowit then
335 With fyve hunder that wapnys bar
That wald thar fayis na thing spar.
Thai dang on thaim sa hardely
That in schort tyme men mycht se ly
At erd ane hunder and wele mar.
340 The remanand sa fleyit war
That thai begouth thaim to withdraw,
And quhen thai off the rerward saw
Thar vaward be sa discumfyt
Thai fled foroutyn mar respyt
345 And quhen Schyr Aymer has sene
His men fleand haly beden
Wyt ye weile him wes full way
Bot he moucht nocht ammonys sway
That ony for him walde torne agane,
350 He turnyt his bridill and to-ga,
For the gud king thaim presit sua
That sum war dede and sum war tane
And the laiff thar gat ar gane

[Valence resigns his keepership and returns to England]

355 The folk fled apon this maner
Forout arest and Schir Aymer
Agane to Boithweill is gane
Menand the scaith that he has tane
Sa schamfull that he vencusit wais
360 That till Ingland in hy he gais
Rycht to the king and schamfully
He gaff up thar his wardanry,
Na nevyr syne for nakyn thing
Bot giff he come rycht with the king
365 Come he to werray Scotland,
Sa hevyly he tuk on hand
That the king into set battaill
With a quhone lik to poverall
Vencusyt him with a gret menye
370 That war renonyt off gret bounte.
Sic anoy had Schyr Amery,
And King Robert that wes hardy
Abaid rycht still into the place
Till that his men had left the chace,
375 Syne with presonaris that thai had tane
Thai ar towart thar innys gane
Fast lovand God off thar weilfar.
He mycht haiff sene that had bene thar
A folk that mery wes and glaid
380 For thar victour, and als thai haid
A lord that sa swete wes and deboner
Sa curtais and off sa fayr effer
Sa blyth and als weill bourdand
And in bataill sa styth to stand
385 Sua wys and rycht sua avisé
That thai had gret cause blyth to be.
Sua war thai blyth withoutyn dout,
For fele that wynnyt thaim about
Fra thai the king saw help him sua
390 Till him thar homage gan thai ma.

[The king decides to go north across the Mounth]

Than woux his power mar and mar,
And he thoucht weile that he wald far
Oute-our the Mounth with his menye
To luk quha that his frend wald be.
395 Into Schyr Alexander Fraser
He traistyt for thai cosyngis wer
And his broder Symon, thai twa.
He had mystre weile of ma
For he had fayis mony ane.
400 Schir Jhon Cumyn erle off Bouchquhane
And Schyr Jhon the Mowbray syne
And gus Schyr David off Brechyne
With all the folk off thar leding
War fayis to the noble king,
405 And for he wyst thai war his fayis
His viage thidderwart he tais,
For he wald se quhatkyn ending
Thai wald set on thar manassing.
The king buskyt and maid him yar
410 Northwartis with his folk to far,
His brodyr gan he with him ta
And Schyr Gilbert de le Hay alsua,
The erle off Levenax als wes thar
That with the king was our-all-quhar,
415 Schyr Robert Boyd and other ma.

[Douglas returns to Douglasdale, to trick the
garrison of Douglas Castle]

The king gan furth his wayis ta,
And left James off Douglas
With all the folk that with him was
Behind him for to luk giff he
420 Mycht recover his countre.
He left into full gret perill,
Bot eftre in a litill quhile
Throu his gret worschip sa he wrocht
That to the kingis pes he brocht
425 The forest of Selcrik all hale,
And alsua did he Douglasdale
And Jedworthis forest alsua.
And quha-sa weile on hand couth ta
To tell his worschippis ane and ane
430 He suld fynd off thaim mony ane,
For in his tyme as men said me
Thretten tymys vencusyt wes he
And had victouris sevin and fyfty.
Hym semyt nocht lang ydill to ly,
435 Be his travaill he had na will,
Me think men suld him love with skill.
This James quhen the king wes gane
All prevely his men has tane
And went to Douglas daile agane,
440 And maid all prevely a trane
Till thaim that in the castell war.
A buschement slely maid he thar,
And off his men fourtene or ma
He gert as thai war sekkis ta
445 Fyllyt with gres, and syne thaim lay
Apon thar hors and hald thar way
Rycht as thai wald to Lanark far
Outouth quhar thai enbuschyt war.

[The garrison comes out]

And quhen thai off the castell saw
450 Sa fele ladys gang on raw
Off that sycht thai war wonder fayn
And tald it to thar capitane
That hate Schyr Jhone of Webetoun.
He wes baith yong stoute and felloun
455 Joly alsua and valageous,
And for that he wes amorous
He wald isch fer the blythlyar.
He gert his men tak all thar ger
And isch to get thaim vittaille,
460 For thar vittaile gan fast thaim faile.
Thai ischyt all abandounly
And prykkyt furth sa wilfully
To wyn the ladys that thai saw pas
Quhill that Douglas with his was
465 All betwix thaim and the castell.
The laid-men that persavyt weill,
Thai kest thar ladys doun in hy,
And thar gownys deliverly
That heylyt thaim thai kest away,
470 And in gret hy thar hors hint thai
And stert apon thaim sturdely
And met thar fayis with a cry
That had gret wonder quhen thai saw
Thaim that war er lurkand sa law
475 Cum apon thaim sa hardely.
Thai woux abaysit sodanly
And at the castell wald haiff bene,
Quhen thai on other halff has sene
Douglas brak his enbuschement
480 That agayne thaim rycht stoutly went.
Thai wyst nocht quhat to do na say,
Thar fayis on athir sid saw thai
That strak on thaim foroutyn sparing,
And thai mycht help thaim selvyn na thing
485 Bot fled to warrand quhar thai mocht,
And thai sa angryly thaim socht
That off thaim all eschapyt nane.

[The letter of Webiton, the taking of the castle and the freeing of its

Schyr Jhoun Webetoun thar wes slane,
And quhen he dede wes as ye her
490 Thai fand intill his coffeir
A lettyr that him send a lady
That he luffyt per drouery,
492a The letter spak on this maner 493
That said quhen he had yemyt a yer
In wer as a gud bachiller
494a And governit weill in all maner 495
495 The aventuris castell off Douglas
That to kepe sa peralus was
Than mycht he weile ask a lady
Hyr amouris and hyr drouery,
The lettyr spak on this maner.
500 And quhen thai slayne on this wyse wer
Douglas rycht to the castell raid
And thar sa gret debate he maid
That in the castell entryt he,
I wate nocht all the certante
505 Quhethyr it was throu strenth or slycht,
Bot he wrocht sua with mekill mycht
That the constabill and all the laiff
That war tharin, bath man and knav
He tuk and gaiff thaim dispending
510 And sent thaim hamr but mar greving
To the Cliffurd in thar countre.
And syne sa besily wrocht he
That he tumblyt doun all the wall
And destroyit the housis all,
515 Syne till the Forest held his way
Quhar he had mony ane hard assay
And mony fayr poynt off wer befell.
Quha couth thaim all rehers or tell
He suld say that his name suld be
520 Lestand into full gret renoune.

John Barbour

John Barbour

Aberdeenshire or Galloway, Scotland
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