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The Brus Book XII

John Barbour 1320 – 1395 (Aberdeen)

[The king prepares his division]

Now Douglas furth his wayis tais,
And in that selff tyme fell throw cais
That the king off Ingland quhen he
Was cummyn with his gret menye
5 Ner to the place, as I said ar,
Quhar Scottismen arayit war,
He gert arest all his bataill
And other alsua to tak consaill
Quhether thai wald herbry thaim that nycht
10 Or than but mar ga to the fycht.
The vaward that wist na thing
Off this arest na his dwelling
Raid to the Park all straucht thar way
Foroutyn stinting in gud aray,
15 And quhen the king wist that thai wer
In hale bataill cummand sa ner
His bataill gert he weill aray.
He raid apon a litill palfray
Laucht and joly arayand
20 His bataill with ane ax in hand,
And on his bassynet he bar
Ane hat off quyrbolle ay-quhar,
And thar-upon into taknyng
Ane hey croune that he wes king.

[The king kills Henry de Bohun]

25 And quhen Glosyster and Herfurd wer
With thar bataill approchand ner
Befor thaim all thar come ridand
With helm on heid and sper in hand
Schyr Henry the Boune the worthi,
30 That was a wycht knycht and a hardy
And to the erle off Herfurd cusyne,
Armyt in armys gud and fyne
Come on a sted a bow-schote ner
Befor all other that thar wer,
35 And knew the king for that he saw
Him sua rang his men on raw
And by the croune that wes set
Alsua apon his bassynet,
And towart him he went in hy.
40 And quhen the king sua apertly
Saw him cum forouth all his feris
In hy till him the hors he steris.
And quhen Schyr Henry saw the king
Cum on foroutyn abaysing
45 Till him he raid in full gret hy,
He thocht that he suld weill lychtly
Wyn him and haf him at his will
Sen he him horsyt saw sa ill.
Sprent thai samyn intill a ling,
50 Schyr Hanry myssit the noble king
And he that in his sterapys stud
With the ax that wes hard and gud
With sua gret mayne raucht him a dynt
That nother hat na helm mycht stynt
55 The hevy dusche that he him gave
That ner the heid till the harnys clave.
The hand-ax schaft fruschit in twa,
And he doune to the erd gan ga
All flatlynys for him faillyt mycht.
60 This wes the fryst strak off the fycht
That wes perfornyst douchtely,
And quhen the kingis men sa stoutly
Saw him rycht at the fyrst meting
Foroutyn dout or abaysing
65 Have slayne a knycht sua at a strak
Sic hardyment tharat gan thai tak
That thai come on rycht hardely.
Quhen Inglismen saw thaim sa stoutly
Cum on tthai had gret abaysing
70 And specially for that the king
Sa smartly that gud knycht has slayne
That thai withdrew thaim everilkane
And durst nocht ane abid to fycht
Sa dred thai for the kingis mycht.
75 And quhen the kingis men thaim saw
Sua in hale bataill thaim withdraw
A gret schout till thaim gan thai mak
And thai in hy tuk all the bak,
And thai that folowit thaim has slane
80 Sum off thaim that thai haf ourtane
Bot thai war few forsuth to say
Thar hors fete had ner all away.
Bot how-sa quhoyne deyt thar
Rebutyt foulily thai war
85 And raid thar gait with weill mar schame
Be full fer than thai come fra hame.

[Douglas admires the struggle of Moray and his men]

Quhen that the king reparyt was
That gert his men all leve the chas
The lordis off his cumpany
90 Blamyt him as thai durst gretumly
That he him put in aventur
To mete sa styth a knycht and sture
In sic poynt as he than wes sene,
For thai said weill it mycht haiff bene
95 Cause off thar tynsaill everilkan.
The king answer has maid thaim nane
Bot menyt hys handax schaft that sua
Was with the strak brokyn in twa.
The Erle Thomas wes yete fechtand
100 With fayis apon athyr hand
And slew off thaim a quantite,
Bot wery war his men and he
The-quhether with wapynnys sturdely
Thai thaim defendyt manlely
105 Quhill that the Douglas come ner
That sped him on gret maner,
And Inglismen that war fechtand
Quhen thai the Douglas saw ner-hand
Thai wandyst and maid ane opynnyng.
110 James of Douglas be thar relying
Knew that thai war discumfyt ner,
Than bad thaim that with him wer
Stand still and pres na forthyrmar.
'For thai that yonder fechtand ar,'
115 He said, 'ar off sa gret bounte
That thar fayis weill sone sall be
Discumfyt throu thar awne mycht
Thocht na man help thaim for to fycht,
And cum we now to the fechting
120 Quhen thai ar at discumfiting
Men suld say we thaim fruschit had,
And sua
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:08 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,226
Words 829
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 1, 24, 1, 62, 1, 36

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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