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The Brus Book I

John Barbour 1320 – 1395 (Aberdeen)

This book the true story of King Robert and Sir James Douglas

Storys to rede ar delatibill
Suppos that thai be nocht bot fabill,
Than suld storys that suthfast wer
And thai war said on gud maner
5 Have doubill plesance in heryng.
The first plesance is the carpyng,
And the tother the suthfastnes
That schawys the thing rycht as it wes,
And suth thyngis that ar likand
10 Till mannys heryng ar plesand.
Tharfor I wald fayne set my will
Giff my wyt mycht suffice thartill
To put in wryt a suthfast story
That it lest ay furth in memory
15 Swa that na tyme of lenth it let
Na ger it haly be foryet.
For auld storys that men redys
Representis to thaim the dedys
Of stalwart folk that lyvyt ar
20 Rycht as thai than in presence war.
And certis thai suld weill have prys
That in thar tyme war wycht and wys
And led thar lyff in gret travaill,
And oft in hard stour off bataill
25 Wan gret price off chevalry
And war voydyt off cowardy,
As wes King Robert off Scotland
That hardy wes off hart and hand,
And gud Schir James off Douglas
30 That in his tyme sa worthy was
That off hys price and hys bounte
In ser landis renownyt wes he.
Off thaim I thynk this buk to ma,
Now God gyff grace that I may swa
35 Tret it and bryng till endyng
That I say nocht bot suthfast thing.

[Alexander III's death; the dispute over the succession
submitted to Edward I's arbitration]

Quhen Alexander the king wes deid
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid,
The land sex yer and mayr perfay
40 Lay desolat eftyr hys day
Till that the barnage at the last
Assemblyt thaim and fayndyt fast
To cheys a king thar land to ster
That off auncestry cummyn wer
45 Off kingis that aucht that reawté
And mayst had rycht thair king to be.
Bot envy that is sa feloune
Maid amang thaim gret discencioun,
For sum wald haiff the Balleoll king
50 For he wes cummyn off the offspryng
Off hyr that eldest syster was,
And other sum nyt all that cas
And said that he thair king suld be
That war in als ner degre
55 And cummyn war of the neyst male
And in branch collaterale.
Thai said successioun of kyngrik
Was nocht to lawer feys lik,
For thar mycht succed na female
60 Quhill foundyn mycht be ony male
How that in lyne evyn descendand.
Thai bar all otherwayis on hand,
For than the neyst cummyn off the seid
Man or woman suld succeid.
65 Be this resoun that part thocht hale
That the lord off Anandyrdale
Robert the Bruys erle off Carryk
Aucht to succeid to the kynryk.
The barounys thus war at discord
70 That on na maner mycht accord
Till at the last thai all concordyt
That thar spek suld be recordyt
Till Edward off Yngland king
And he suld swer that but fenyeyng
75 He suld that arbytre disclar
Off thir twa that I tauld off ar
Quhilk succeid to sic a hycht,
And lat him ryng that had the rycht.
This ordynance thaim thocht the best,
80 For that tyme wes pes and rest
Betwyx Scotland and Ingland bath,
And thai couth nocht persave the skaith
That towart thaim wes apperand.
For that at the king off Ingland
85 Held swylk freyndschip and cumpany
To thar king that wes swa worthy,
Thai trowyt that he as gud nychtbur
And as freyndsome compositur
Wald have jugyt in lawté
90 But othir-wayis all yheid the gle.

[Edward I's ambitions]

A! Blind folk full off all foly,
Haid ye umbethocht you enkrely
Quhat perell to you mycht apper
Ye had nocht wrocht on that maner.
95 Haid ye tane keip how at that king
Alwayis foroutyn sojournyng
Travayllyt for to wyn senyhory
And throu his mycht till occupy
Landis that war till him marcheand
100 As Walis was and als Ireland,
That he put to swylk thrillage
That thai that war of hey parage
Suld ryn on fute as rebaldaill
Quhen he wald our folk assaill.
105 Durst nane of Walis in bataill ride
Na yhet fra evyn fell abyd
Castell or wallyt toune within
That he ne suld lyff and lymmys tyne,
Into swilk thrillage thaim held he
110 That he ourcome throu his powste.
Ye mycht se he suld occupy
Throu slycht that he ne mycht throu maistri.
Had ye tane kep quhat was thrillag
And had consideryt his usage
115 That gryppyt ay but gayne-gevyng,
Ye suld foroutyn his demyng
Haiff chosyn you a king that mycht
Have haldyn weyle the land in rycht.
Walys ensample mycht have bene
120 To you had ye it forow sene,
And wys men sayis he is happy
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:03 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,222
Words 809
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 1, 36, 2, 54, 1, 31

John Barbour

John Barbour, was a Scottish poet and the first major named literary figure to write in Scots. more…

All John Barbour poems | John Barbour Books

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