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The Brus Book IX

John Barbour 1320 – 1395 (Aberdeen)



[The king goes to Inverurie and falls ill]

Now leve we intill the Forest
Douglas that sall bot litill rest
Till the countre deliveryt be
Off Inglis folk and thar powste,
5 And turne we till the noble king
That with the folk off his leding
Towart the Month has tane his wai
Rycht stoutly and intill gud array,
Quhar Alysander Frayser him met
10 And als his broder Symonet
With all the folk thai with thaim had.
The king gud contenance thaim made
That wes rycht blyth off thar cummyne.
Thai tauld the king off the convyne
15 Off Jhone Cumyn erle of Bouchane
That till help him had with him tane
Schyr Jhon Mowbray and other ma,
Schyr David off Brechyn alsua,
With all the folk off thar leding,
20 'And yarnys mar na ony thing
Vengeance off you, schyr king, to tak
For Schyr Jhone the Cumyn his sak
That quhylum in Drumfres wes slayn.'
The king said, 'Sa our Lord me sayn,
25 Ik had gret caus him for to sla,
And sen that thai on hand will ta
Becaus off him to werray me
I sall thole a quhile and se
On quhat wys that thai pruve thar mycht,
30 And giff it fall that thai will fycht
Giff thai assaile we sall defend,
Syne fall eftre quhat God will send.'
Eftre this spek the king in hy
Held straucht his way till Enrowry,
35 And thar him tuk sik a seknes
That put him to full hard distress.
He forbar bath drynk and mete,
His men na medicyne couth get
That ever mycht to the king availe,
40 His force gan him halyly faile
That he mycht nother rid na ga.
Then wyt ye that his men war wa,
For nane wes in that cumpany
That wald haiff bene halff sa sary
45 For till haiff sene his broder ded
Lyand befor him in that steid
As thai war for his seknes,
For all thar confort in him wes.
Bot gud Schyr Edward the worthy
50 His broder that wes sa hardy
And wys and wycht set mekill payn
To comfort thaim with all his mayn,
And quhen the lordis that thar war
Saw that the ill ay mar and mar
55 Travaillyt the king, thaim thocht in hy
It war nocht spedfull thar to ly,
For thar all playne wes the countre
And thai war bot a few menye
To ly but strenth into the playne.
60 Forthi till that thar capitane
War coveryt off his mekill ill
Thai thocht to wend sum strenthis till.

[A reflection on leadership; the king goes to Slioch]

For folk foroutyn capitane
Bot thai the better be apayn
65 Sall nocht be all sa gud in deid
As thai a lord had thaim to leid
That dar put him in aventur
But abaysing to tak the ure
That God will send, for quhen that he
70 Off sic will is and sic bounte
That he dar put him till assay
His folk sall tak ensample ay
Off his gud deid and his bounte,
And ane off thaim sall be worth thre
75 Off thaim that wikkyt chifftane hais,
His wrechytnes sa in thaim gais
That thai thar manlynes sall tyn
throu wrechitnes of his convyn.
For quhen the lord that thaim suld leid
80 May do nocht bot as he that war ded
Or fra his folk haldis his way
Fleand, trow ye nocht than that thai
Sall vencusyt in thar hartis be.
Yis sall thai, as I trow per de,
85 Bot giff thar hartis be sa hey
That thai na will for thar worschip flei,
And thaocht sum be of sic bounte
Quhen thai the lord and his menye
Seys fley, yeit sall thai fley apayn
90 For all men fleis the deid rycht fayne.
Se quhat he dois that sua foully
Fleys thus for his cowardy,
Bath him and his vencusys he
And gerris his fayis aboune be.
95 Bot he that throu his gret noblay
Till perallis him abandounys ay
To recomfort his menye
Gerris thame be off sa gret bounte
That mony tyme unlikly thing
100 Tha bring rycht weill to gud ending.
Sa did this king that Ik off reid,
And for his utrageous manheid
Confortyt his on sic maner
That nane had radnes quhar he wer.
105 Thai wald nocht fecht till that he wes 105
Liand intill his seknes, 105
Tharfor in litter thai him lay
And till the Slevauch hald thar way
And thocht thar in that strenth to ly
110 Till passyt war his malady. 109

[The skirmishing at Slioch]

Bot fra the erle of Buchane
Wyst that thai war thidder gane
And wyst that sa sek wes the king
That men doutyt off his covering,
115 He sent eftre his men in hy 114
And assemblyt a gret cumpany,
For all his awine men war thar
And all his frendis with him war,
That wes Schir Jhonne the Mowbray
120 And his brodyr as Ik hard say 119
And Schyr David off Brechynge
Wit
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Barbour

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

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