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The Brus Book III

John Barbour 1320 – 1395 (Aberdeen)

The lord of Lorn attacks the king's men]

The lord off Lorne wonnyt thar-by
That wes capitale ennymy
To the king for his emys sak
Jhon Comyn, and thocht for to tak
5 Vengeance apon cruell maner.
Quhen he the king wyst wes sa ner
He assemblyt his men in hy,
And had intill his cumpany
The barounys off Argyle alsua.
10 Thai war a thousand weill or ma
And come for to suppris the king
That weill wes war of thar cummyng.
Bot all to few with him he had
The-quhethir he bauldly thaim abaid,
15 And weill ost at thar fryst metyng
War layd at erd but recoveryng.
The kingis folk full weill thaim bar
And slew and fellyt and woundyt sar,
Bot the folk off the tother party
20 Faucht with axys sa fellyly,
For thai on fute war everilkane,
That thai feile off thar hors has slayne,
And till sum gaiff thai woundis wid.
James off Douglas wes hurt that tyd
25 And als Schyr Gilbert de le Hay.
The king his men saw in affray
And his ensenye can he cry
And amang thaim rycht hardyly
He rad that he thaim ruschyt all
30 And fele off thaim thar gert he fall.
Bot quhen he saw thai war sa feill
And saw thaim swa gret dyntis deill
He dred to tyne his folk, forthi
His men till him he gan rely
35 And said, 'Lordyngis, foly it war
Tyll us for till assembill mar,
For thai fele off our hors has slayn,
And giff yhe fecht with thaim agayn
We sall tyne off our small mengye
40 And our selff sall in perill be.
Tharfor me thynk maist avenand
To withdraw us us defendand
Till we cum out off thar daunger,
For our strenth at our hand is ner.'
45 Then thai withdrew thaim halely
Bot that wes nocht full cowartly
For samyn intill a sop held thai
And the king him abandonyt ay
To defend behind his mengye,
50 And throu his worschip sa wrouch he
That he reskewyt all the flearis
And styntyt swagat the chassaris
That nane durst out off batall chas,
For alwayis at thar hand he was.
55 Sa weile defendyt he his men
That quha-sa-ever had seyne him then
Prove sa worthely vasselage
And turn sa oft-sythis the visage
He suld say he aucht weill to be
60 A king off a gret reawté.

[Comparisons from Celtic and classical legends with the king's
defence of his men]

Quhen that the lord off Lorne saw
His men stand off him ane sik aw
That thai durst nocht folow the chase
Rycht angry in his hart he was,
65 And for wondyr that he suld swa
Stot thaim him ane but ma
He said, 'Me think Marthokys sone
Rycht as Golmakmorn was wone
To haiff fra Fyn all his mengne,
70 Rycht swa all his fra us has he.'
He set ensample thus mydlike,
The-quhethir he mycht mar manerlik
Lyknyt hym to Gaudifer de Larys
Quhen that the mychty Duk Betys
75 Assailyeit in Gadyrris the forrayours,
And quhen the king thaim maid rescours
Duk Betys tuk on him the flycht
That wald ne mar abid to fycht.
Bot Gaudifer the worthi
80 Abandonyt him so worthyly
For to reskew all the fleieris
And for to stonay the chasseris
That Alysander to erth he bar
And alsua did he Tholimar
85 And gud Coneus alsua
Danklyne alsua and othir ma,
Bot at the last thar slayne he wes.
In that failyeit the liklynes,
For the king full chevalrusly
90 Defendyt all his cumpany
And wes set in full gret danger
And yeit eschapyt haile and fer.

[The king kills the two Mac na Dorsair brothers and their fellow]

Twa brethir war in that land
That war the hardiest off hand
95 That war intill all that cuntre,
And thai had sworn iff thai mycht se
The Bruys quhar thai mycht him our-ta
That thai suld dey or then hym sla.
Thar surname wes Makyne Drosser,
100 That is al-so mekill to say her
As the Durwarth sonnys perfay.
Off thar covyne the thrid had thai
That wes rycht stout ill and feloune.
Quhen thai the king off gud renoune
105 Saw sua behind his mengne rid
And saw him torne sa mony tid,
Thai abaid till that he was
Entryt in ane narow place
Betwix a louch-sid and a bra
110 That wes sa strait Ik underta
That he mycht nocht weill turn in his sted.
Then with a will till him thai yede
And ane him by the bridill hynt,
Bot he raucht till him sic a dynt
115 That arme and schuldyr flaw him fra.
With that ane other gan him ta
Be the lege and his hand gan schute
Betwix the sterap and his fute,
And quhen the king feld thar his hand
120 In his sterapys stythly gan he stand
And strak with spuris the stede in hy,
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:10 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,221
Words 834
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 1, 60, 2, 32, 1, 29

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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