John Barbour Poems >>
The Brus Book 19

[The conspiracy against King Robert; its discovery]

Than wes the land a quhile in pes,
Bot covatys, that can nocht ces
To set men apon felony
To ger thaim cum to senyoury,
5 Gert lordis off full gret renoune
Mak a fell conjuracioun
Agayn Robert the douchty king,
Thai thocht till bring him till ending
And to bruk eftre his dede
10 The kynrik and to ryng in hys steid.
The lord the Soullis, Schyr Wilyam,
Off that purches had mast defame,
For principale tharoff was he
Off assent of that cruelte.
15 He had gottyn with him sindry,
Gilbert Maleherbe, Jhone of Logy
Thir war knychtis that I tell her
And Richard Broun als a squyer,
And gud Schyr Davy off Breichyn
20 Wes off this deid arettyt syne
As I sall tell you forthermar.
Bot thai ilkane discoveryt war
Throu a lady as I hard say
Or till thar purpos cum mycht thai,
25 For scho tauld all to the king
Thar purpose and thar ordanyng,
And how that he suld haf bene ded
And Soullis ryng intill his steid,
And tauld him werray taknyng
30 This purches wes suthfast thing.
And quhen the king wist it wes sua
Sa sutell purches gan he ma
That he gert tak thaim everilkan,
And quhar the lord Soullis was tane
35 Thre hunder and sexty had he
Off squyeris cled in his lyvere
At that tyme in his cumpany
Outane knychtis that war joly.
Into Berwik takyn wes he
40 That mycht all his mengne se
Sary and wa, bot suth to say
The king lete thaim all pas thar way
And held thaim at he takyn had.

[The trial in parliament; the fate of the conspirators]

The lord Soullis sone eftre maid
45 Plane granting of all that purchas.
A parlement set tharfor thar was
And brocht thidder this mengne war.
The lord the Soullis has grantyt thar
The deid into plane parleament,
50 Tharfor sone eftre he wes sent
Till his pennance to Dunbertane
And deit thar in a tour off stane.
Schyr Gilbert Maleherbe and Logy
And Richard Broune thir thre planly
55 War with a sys thar ourtane,
Tharfor thai drawyn war ilkane
And hangyt and hedyt tharto
As men had dempt thaim for to do.
And gud Schyr Davy off Breichyn
60 Thai gert chalance rycht straitly syne,
And he grauntyt that off that thing
Was wele maid till him discovering
Bot he thartill gaf na consent,
And for he helyt thar entent
65 And discoveryt it nocht to the king
That he held of all his halding
And maid till him his fewte
Jugyt till hang and draw wes he.
And as thai drew him for to hing
70 The pepill ferly fast gan thring
Him and his myscheyff for to se
That to behald wes gret pite.

[Sir Ingram Umfraville's reaction and decision to leave Scotland]

Schyr Ingrahame the Umfravill that than
Wes with the king as Scottisman,
75 Quhen he that gret myscheiff gan se
He said, 'Lordingis, quharto pres ye
To se at myscheiff sic a knycht
That wes sa worthi and sa wicht
That Ik haff sene ma pres to se
80 Him him for his rycht soverane bounte
Than now doys for to se him her.'
And quhen thir wordis spokyn wer
With sary cher he held him still
Quhill men had done of him thar will,
85 And syne with the leve of the king
He brocht him menskly till erding.
And syne to the king said he,
'A thing I pray you graunt me,
That is that ye off all my land
90 That is intill Scotland liand
Wald giff me leve to do my will.'
The king that sone has said him till,
'I will wele graunt that it sua be,
Bot tell me quhat amovis the.'
95 He said agane, 'Schyr, graunt mercy
And I sall tell you planely,
Myne hart giffis me na mar to be
With you dwelland in this countre,
Tharfor bot that it nocht you greve
100 I pray you hartly of your leve.
For quhar sua rycht worthi a knycht
An sa chevalrous and sa wicht
And sa renownyt off worschip syne
As gud Schyr David off Brechyn
105 And sa fullfyllyt off all manheid
Was put to sa velanys a ded,
Myn hart forsuth may nocht gif me
To dwell for na thing that may be.'
The king said, 'Sen that thou will sua
110 Quhenever the likys thou may ga,
And thou sall haiff gud leve tharto
Thi liking off thi land to do.'
And he thankyt him gretumly
And off his land in full gret hy
115 As hym thocht best disponyt he,
Syne at the king of gret bounte
Befor all thaim that with him war
He tuk his leve for evermar,
And went in Ingland to the king
120 That maid him rycht fayr welcummyng
And askyt him of the north tithing.
And he him tauld all but lesing
How thai knychtis destroyit war
And as I tauld till you ar,
125 And off the kingis curtassy
That levyt him debonarly
To do off his land his liking.
In that tyme wes send fra the king
Off Scotland messyngeris to trete
130 Off pes giff that thai mycht it get,
As thai befor oft-sys war send
How that thai coutht nocht bring till end.
For the gud king had in entent,
Sen God sa fayr grace had him lent
135 That he had wonnyn all his land
Throu strenth off armys till his hand,
That he pes in his tyme wald ma
And all landis stabill sua
That his ayr eftre him suld be
140 In pes, gif men held lawte.

[Sir Ingram Umfraville advises a long truce, which is made]

Intill this tyme that Umfravill
As I bar you on hand er quhill
Come till the king of Ingland
The Scottis messingeris thar he fand
145 Of pes and rest to haiff tretis.
The king wist Schyr Ingrahame wes wis
And askyt consaile tharto
Quhat he wald rede him for to do,
For he said him thocht hard to ma
150 Pes with the King Robert his fa
Quhill that he off him vengit war.
Schyr Ingrahame maid till him answar
And said, 'He delt sa curtasly
With me that on na wis suld I
155 Giff consaill till his nethring.'
'The behovis nedwayis,' said the king,
'To this thing her say thine avis.'
'Schyr,' said he, 'sen your willis is
That I say, wit ye sekyrly
160 For all your gret chevalry
To dele with him yhe haf na mycht.
His men all worthyn ar sa wicht
For lang usage of fechting
That has bene nuryst in swilk thing
165 That ilk yowman is sa wicht
Off his that he is worth a knycht.
Bot, and ye think your wer to bring
To your purpos and your liking,
Lang trewys with him tak ye.
170 Than sall the mast off his menye
That ar bot simple yumanry
Be dystrenyit commonaly
To wyn thar mete with thar travaill,
And sum of thaim nedis but faill
175 With pluch and harow for to get
And other ser crafftis thar mete,
Sua that thar armyng sall worth auld
And sall be rottyn stroyit and sauld,
And fele that now of wer ar sley
180 Intill the lang trew sall dey
And other in thar sted sall rys
That sall conn litill of that mastrys.
And quhen thai disusyt er
Than may ye move on thaim your wer
185 And sall rycht well as I suppos 185
Bring your entent to gud purpos.' 186
Till this assentyt thai ilkane, 185
And eftre sone war trewis tane
Betwix the twa kingis that wer
190 Tailyeit to lest for thretten yer 188
And on the marchis gert thaim cry.
The Scottismenn kepyt thaim lelely,
Bot the Inglismen apon the se
Distroyit throu gret inyquyte
195 Marchand schippis that sailand war 193
Fra Scotland till Flaundris with war,
And destroyit everilkane
And to thar oys the gud has tane.
The king send oft till ask redres,
200 Bot nocht off it redressyt wes 198
And he abaid all tyme askand,
The trew on his half gert he stand
Apon the marchis stabilly
And gert men kep thaim lelely.

[The death of Walter the Steward]

205 In this tyme that trewis war 203
Lestend on marchis as I said ar
Schyr Walter Stewart that worthi was
At Bathgat a gret seknes tas.
His ivill ay woux mar and mar
210 Quhill men persavit be his far 208
That him worthit nede to pay the det
That na man to pay may let,
Schryvyn and als repentit weill
Quhen all wes doyn him ilkdeill
215 That Crystyn man nedyt till have 213
As gud Crystyn the gast he gave.
Then men mycht her men gret and cry
And mony a knycht and mony a lady
Mak in apert rycht evill cher,
220 Sa did thai all that ever thai war, 218
All men him menyt commounly
For off his eild he wes worthy.
Quhen thai lang quhill thar dule had maid
The cors to Paslay haiff thai haid,
225 And thar with gret solempnyte 223
And with gret dule erdyt wes he,
God for his mycht his saule bring
Quhar joy ay lestis but ending.

[The truce is given up; Moray and Douglas harry Weardale]

Efftre his dede as I said ar
230 The trewys that sua takyn war 228
For till haff lestyt thretten yer,
Quhen twa yer of thaim passyt wer
And ane halff as I trow allsua
The King Robert saw men wald nocht ma
235 Redres of schippys that war tane 233
And off the men als that war slane,
Bot contynowyt thar mavtye
Quhenever thai met thaim on the se.
He sent and acquit him planly
240 And gave the trewis up opynly, 238
And in the vengeance of this trespas
The gud erle of Murreff Thomas
And Donald erle of Mar alsua
And James of Douglas with thai twa,
245 And James Stewart that ledar wes 243
Efter his gud brotheris disceis
Off all his bruderys men in wer,
He gert apon thar best maner
With mony men bowne thaim to ga
250 In Ingland for to bryn and sla, 248
And thai held furth till Ingland.
Thai war of gud men ten thousand,
Thai brynt and slew intill thar way,
Thar fayis fast destroyit thai
255 And suagat southwart gan thai far 253
To Wardaill quhill thai cummyn war.
That tyme Edward off Carnaverane
The king wes ded and laid in stane,
And Edward his sone that wes ying
260 In Ingland crownyt wes to king 258
And surname off Wyndyssor.
He had in France bene thar-befor
With his moder Dame Ysabell,
And wes weddyt as Ik herd tell
265 With a young lady fayr of face 263
That the erlis douchter was
Off Hennaud, and off that cuntre
Brocht with him men of gret bounte,
Schyr Jhone the Hennaud wes thar leder
270 That was wys and wycht in wer. 268
And that tyme that Scottismen wer
At Wardaile, as I said you er,
Intill York wes the new-maid king,
And herd tell of the destroying
275 That Scottismen maid in his countre. 273
A gret ost till him gaderyt he,
He wes wele ner fyfty thousand,
Than held he northwart in the land
In haill battaill with that mengne,
280 Auchtene yer auld that tyme wes he. 278
The Scottismen a day Cokdaile
Fra end till end had heryit haile
And till Wardaile again thai raid.

[Edward III's army approaches; Douglas prepares an ambush;
the skirmish by the Wear]

Thar discourriouris that sycht has haid
285 Off cummyn of the Inglismen 283
To thar lordis thai tauld it then.
Than the lord Douglas in a ling
Raid furth to se thar cummyng
And saw that sevyn bataillis war thai
290 That cum ridand in gud aray, 288
Quhen he that folk behaldyn had
Towart his ost agayn he rad.
The erle speryt gif he had sene
That ost. 'Ya, schyr,' he said, 'but wene.'
295 'Quhat folk ar thai?' 'Schyr, mony men.' 293
The erle his ayth has sworn then,
'We sall fecht with thaim thocht thai war
Yeit ma eftsonys than thai ar.'
'Schyr, lovyt be God,' he said agayn,
300 'That we haiff sic a capitayn 298
That sua gret thing dar undreta,
Bot, be saynct Bryd, it beis nocht sua
Giff my consaill may trowyt be,
For fecht on na maner sall we
305 Bot it be at our avantage, 303
For methink it war na outrage
To fewar folk aganys ma
Avantage quhen thai ma to ta.'
As thai war on this wis spekand
310 Our ane hey rig thai saw ridand 308
Towart thaim evyn a battaill braid,
Baneris displayit inew thai haid,
And a nothyr come eftre ner
And rycht apon the samyn maner
315 Thai come quhill sevin bataillis braid 313
Out-our that hay rig passyt haid.
The Scottismen war than liand
On north halff Wer towart Scotland.
The dale wes strekyt weill Ik hycht,
320 On athyr sid thar wes ane hycht 318
And till the water doune sumdeill stay.
The Scottismen in gud aray
On thar best wis buskyt ilkane
Stud in a strenth that thai had tane,
325 And that wes fra the water of Wer 323
A quartar of a myle weill ner,
Thar stud thai battaill till abid,
And Inglismen on athyr sid
Come ridand dounwart quhill thai wer
330 To Weris water cummyn als ner 328
As on other halff thar fayis war.
Than haf thai maid a rest rycht thar
And send out archerys a thousand
With hudis off and bowys in hand
335 And gert thaim drink weill of the wyn, 333
And bad thaim gang to bykker syne
The Scottis ost in abandoun
And ger thaim cum apon thaim doun,
For mycht thai ger thaim brek aray
340 To haiff thaim at thar will thocht thai. 338
Armyt men doune with thaim thai send
Thaim at the water to defend.
The lord Douglas has sene thar fer,
And men that rycht weill horsyt wer
345 And armyt a gret cumpany 343
Behind the bataillis prevely
He gert howe to bid thar cummyng,
And quhen he maid to thaim taknyng
Thai suld cum prekand fast and sla
350 With sperys that thai mycht ourta, 348
Donald off Mar thar chiftane was
And Archebald with hym of Douglas.

[Douglas drives back the English; the two sides encamp; novelties seen]

The lord Douglas towart thaim raid,
A gowne on his armur he haid,
355 And traversyt all wayis up agayn 353
Thaim ner his bataillis for to trayn,
And thai that drunkyn had off the wyne
Come ay up lingand in a lyne
Quhill thai the battaill come sa ner
360 That arowis fell amang thaim ser. 358
Robert off Ogill a gud squyer
Come prikand than on a courser
And on the archeris criyt agane,
'Ye wate nocht quha mays you that trayn,
365 That is the lord Douglas that will 363
Off his playis ken sum you till,'
And quhen thai herd spek of Douglas
The hardyest effrayit was
And agayn turnyt halely.
370 His takyn maid he than in hy, 368
And the folk that enbuschit war
Sa stoutly prekyt on thaim thar
That weile thre hunder haiff thai slane
And till the water hame agane
375 All the remanand gan thai chas. 373
Schyr Wilyam off Erskyn that was
Newlyngis makyn knycht that day 375
Weill horsit intill gud aray 376
Chasyt with other that thar war 375
380 Sa fer furth that hys hors him bar 376
Amang the lump of Inglismen,
And with strang hand wes takyn then,
Bot off him wele sone chang wes maid
For other that men takyn haid.
385 Fra thir Inglis archeris wes slane 381
Thar folk raid till thar ost agane,
And rycht sua did the lord off Douglas.
And quhen that he reparyt was
Thai mycht amang thar fayis se
390 Thar pailyounys sone stentyt be, 386
And thai persavyt sone in hy
That thai that nycht wald tak herbery
And schup to do no mar that day,
Tharfor thaim alsua herbryit thay
395 And stent pailyounys in hy, 391
Tentis and lugis als tharby
Thai gert mak and set all on raw.
Twa novelryis that day thai saw
That forouth in Scotland had bene nene,
400 Tymmeris for helmys war the tane 396
That thaim thoucht thane off gret bewte
And alsua wondyr for to se,
The tother crakys war off wer
That thai befor herd never er,
405 Off thir twa thingis thai had ferly. 401
That nycht thai walkyt stalwartly,
The mast part off thaim armyt lay
Quhill on the morn that it wes day.

[Douglas foils an English ambush]

The Inglismen thaim umbethocht
410 Apon quhat mener that thai moucht 406
Ger Scottis leve thar avantage,
For thaim thocht foly and outrage
To gang up till thaim till assaill
Thaim at thar strenth in plane battaill,
415 Tharfor of gud men a thousand 411
Armyt on hors bath fute and hand
Thai send behind thar fayis to be
Enbuschit intill a vale,
And schup thar bataillis as thai wald
420 Apon thaim till the fechtyn hald, 416
For thai thocht Scottismen sic will
Had that thai mycht nocht hald thaim still,
For thai knew thaim off sic curage
That tharthrouch strenth and avantage
425 Thai suld leve and mete them planly. 421
Than suld thar buschement halily
Behind brek on thaim at the bak,
Sa thocht thai wele thai suld thaim mak
For to repent thaim off thar play.
430 Thar enbuschment furth send haiff thai 426
That thaim enbuschit prevely,
And on the morn sum-dele arly
Intill this ost hey trumpyt thai
And gert thar braid bataillis aray,
435 And all arayit for to fycht 431
Thai held towart the water rycht.
Scottismen that saw thaim do swa
Boune on thar best wis gan thaim ma
And in bataill planly arayit
440 With baneris till the wynd displayit 436
Thai left thar strenth, and all planly
Come doune to mete thaim hardely
In als gud maner as thai moucht
Rycht as thar fayis befor had thocht.
445 Bot the lord Douglas that ay was war 441
And set out wachis her and thar
Gat wyt off thar enbuschement,
Than intill gret hy is he went
Befor the bataillis and stoutly
450 He bad ilk man turn him in hy 446
Rycht as he stud, and turnyt sua
Up till thar strenth he bad thaim ga
Sua that na let thar thai maid,
And thai did as he biddyn haid
455 Quhill till thar strenth thai come agayne, 451
Than turnyt thai thaim with mekill mayn
And stud redy to giff battaill
Giff thar fayis wald thaim assaill.
Quhen Inglismen had sene thaim sua
460 Towart thar strenth agayne up ga 456
Thai criyt hey, 'Thai fley thar way.'
Schyr Jhone Hennaud said, 'Perfay
Yone fleyng is rycht degys