John Barbour Poems >>
The Brus Book XIII

[Douglas's division attacks]
Quhen thir twa fyrst bataillis wer
Assemblyt as I said you er,
The Stewart Walter that than was
And the gud lord als of Douglas
In a bataill, quhen that thai saw
The erle foroutyn dred or aw
Assembill with his cumpany
On all that folk sa sturdely
For till help him thai held thar way
And thar bataill in gud aray,
And assemblyt sa hardely
Besid the erle a litill by
That thar fayis feld thar cummyn wele,
For with wapynnys stalwart of stele
Thai dang apon with all thar mycht.
Thar fayis resavyt weile Ik hycht
With swerdis speris and with mase,
The bataill thar sa feloune was
And sua rycht gret spilling of blud
That on the erd the flousis stud.
The Scottismen sa weill thaim bar
And sua gret slauchter maid thai thar
And fra sa fele the lyvis revyt
That all the feld bludy wes levyt.
That tyme thar thre bataillis wer
All syd be sid fechtand weill ner,
Thar mycht men her mony dynt
And wapynnys apon armuris stynt,
And se tumble knychtis and stedis
And mony rich and reale wedis
Defoullyt foully under fete,
Sum held on loft sum tynt the suet.
A lang quhill thus fechtand thai war
That men na noyis mycht her thar,
Men hard nocht bot granys and dintis
That slew fyr as men slayis on flyntis,
Thai faucht ilk ane sa egerly
That thai maid nother moyis na cry
Bot dang on other at thar mycht
With wapnys that war burnyst brycht.
The arowys als sua thyk thar flaw
That thai mycht say wele that thaim saw
That thai a hidwys schour gan ma,
For quhar thai fell Ik undreta
Thai left efter thaim taknyng
That sall ned as I trow leching.

[Sir Robert Keith's cavalry disperses the English archers]

The Inglis archeris schot sa fast
That mycht thar schot haff ony last
It had bene hard to Scottismen
Bot King Robert that wele gan ken
That thar archeris war peralous
And thar schot rycht hard and grevous
Ordanyt forouth the assemble
Hys marschell with a gret menye,
Fyve hunder armyt into stele
That on lycht hors war horsyt welle,
For to pryk amang the archeris
And sua assaile thaim with thar speris
That thai na layser haiff to schut.
This marschell that Ik off mute
That Schyr Robert of Keyth was cauld
As Ik befor her has you tauld
Quhen he saw the bataillis sua
Assembill and togidder ga
And saw the archeris schoyt stoutly,
With all thaim off his cumpany
In hy apon thaim gan he rid
And ourtuk thaim at a sid,
And ruschyt amang thaim sa rudly
Stekand thaim sa dispitously
And in sic fusoun berand doun
And slayand thaim foroutyn ransoun
That thai thaim scalyt everilkane,
And fra that tyme furth thar wes nane
That assemblyt schot to ma.
Quhen Scottis archeris saw that thai sua
War rebutyt thai woux hardy
And with all thar mycht schot egrely
Amang the horsmen that thar raid
And woundis wid to thaim thai maid
And slew of thaim a full gret dele.
Thai bar thaim hardely and wele
For, fra thar fayis archeris war
Scalyt as I said till you ar
That ma na thai war be gret thing
Sua that thai dred nocht thar schoting
Thai woux sa hardy that thaim thocht
Thai suld set all thar fayis at nocht.

[The king addresses his division and commits it to the battle]

The merschell and his cumpany
Wes yeit, as till you er said I,
Amang the archeris quhar thai maid
With speris roume quhar that thai raid
And slew all that thai mycht ourta,
And thai wele lychtly mycht do sua
For thai had nocht a strak to stynt
Na for to hald agayne a dynt,
And agayne armyt men to fycht
May nakyt men have litill mycht.
Thai scalyt thaim on sic maner
That sum to thar gret bataill wer
Withdrawyn thaim in full gret hy
And sum war fled all utrely,
Bot the folk that behind thaim was,
That for thar awne folk had na space
Yheyt to cum to the assembling
In agayn smertly gan thai ding
The archeris that thai met fleand
That then war maid sa recreand
That thar hartis war tyny clenly,
I trow thai sall nocht scaith gretly
The Scottismen with schot that day.
And the gud King Robert that ay
Wes fillyt off full gret bounte
Saw how that his bataillis thre
Sa hardely assemblyt thar
And sa weill in the fycht thaim bar
And sua fast on thair fayis gan ding
That him thocht nane had abaysing
And how the archeris war scalyt then,
He was all blyth and till his men
He said, 'Lordingis, now luk that ye
Worthy and off gud covyn be
At thys assemble and hardy,
And assembill sa sturdely
That na thing may befor you stand.
Our men ar sa freschly fechtand
That thai thar fayis has contrayit sua
That be thai pressyt, Ik underta,
A litill fastyr, ye sall se
That thai discumfyt sone sall be.'
Quhen this wes said thai held thar way
And on ane feld assemblyt thai
Sa stoutly that at thar cummyng
Thar fayis war ruschyt a gret thing.

[A further description of the fighting]

Thar mycht men se men felly fycht
And men that worthi war and wycht
Do mony worthi vasselage,
Thai faucht as thai war in a rage,
For quhen the Scottis ynkirly
Saw thar fayis sa sturdely
Stand into bataill thaim agayn
With all thar mycht and all thar mayn
Thai layid on as men out of wit
And quhar thai with full strak mycht hyt
Thar mycht na armur stynt thar strak.
Thai to-fruschyt that thai mycht ourtak
And with axis sic duschys gave
That thai helmys and hedis clave,
And thar fayis rycht hardely
Met thaim and dang on thaim douchtely
With wapmys that war styth of stele.
Thar wes the bataill strikyn wele.
Sa gret dyn tthar wes of dyntis
As wapnys apon armur styntis,
And off speris sa gret bresting
And sic thrang and sic thrysting,
Sic gyrnyng granyng and sa gret
A noyis as thai gan other beit
And ensenyeys on ilka sid
Gevand and takand woundis wid,
That it wes hydwys for to her.
All four thar bataillis with that wer
Fechtand in a frount halyly.
A! mycht God! how douchtely
Schyr Edward the Bruce and his men
Amang thar fayis contenyt thaim then
Fechtand in sa gud covyn
Sa hardy worthy and sa fyne
That thar vaward ruschyt was
And maugre tharis left the place,
And till thar gret rout to warand
Thai went that tane had apon hand
Sa gret anoy that thai war effrayit
For Scottis that thaim hard assayit
That than war in a schiltrum all.
Quha hapnyt into that fycht to fall
I trow agane he suld nocht rys.
Thar mycht men se on mony wys
Hardimentis eschevyt douchtely,
And mony that wycht war and hardy
Sone liand undre fete all dede
Quhar all the feld off blud wes red,
Armys and quyntys that thai bar
With blud war sa defoulyt thar
That thai mycht nocht descroyit be.
A! mychty God! quha than mycht se
That Stewart Walter and his rout
And the gud Douglas that wes sa stout
Fechtand into that stalwart stour,
He suld say that till all honour
Thai war worthi that in that fycht
Sa fast pressyt thar fayis mycht
That thaim ruschyt quhar thai yeid.
Thar men mycht se mony a steid
Fleand on stray that lord had nane.
A! Lord! quha then gud tent had tane
Till the gud erle of Murreff
And his that sua gret routis geff
And faucht sa fast in that battaill
Tholand sic paynys and travaill
That thai and tharis maid sic debat
That quhar thai come thai maid thaim gat.
Than mycht men her ensenyeis cry
And Scottismen cry hardely,
'On thaim, on thaim, on thaim, thai faile.'
With that sa hard thai gan assaile
And slew all that thai mycht ourta,
And the Scottis archeris alsua
Schot amang thaim sa deliverly
Engrevand thaim sa gretumly
That quhat for thaim that with thaim faucht
That sua gret routis to thaim raucht
And pressyt thaim full egrely
And quhat for arowis that felly
Mony gret woundis gan thaim ma
And slew fast off thar hors alsua,
That thai wandyst a litill wei.
Thai dred sa gretly then to dey
That thar covyn wes wer and wer,
For thaim that fechtand with thaim wer
Set hardyment and strenth and will
And hart and corage als thar-till
And all thar mayne and all thar mycht
To put thaim fully to flycht.

[The men guarding supplies in the Park choose a leader
and move towareds the battle, dismaying the English]

In this tyme that I tell off her
At that bataill on this maner
Wes strykyn quhar on ather party
Thai war fechtand enforcely,
Yomen and swanys and pitaill
That in the Park to yeme vittaill
War left, quhen thai wist but lesing
That thar lordis with fell fechting
On thar fayis assemblyt wer,
Ane off thaimselvyn that war thar
Capitane off thaim all thai maid,
And schetis that war sumdele brad
Thai festnyt in steid of baneris
Apon lang treys and speris,
And said that thai wald se the fycht
And help thar lordis at thar mycht.
Quhen her-till all assentyt wer
In a rout thai assemblit er
Fyften thousand thai war or ma,
And than in gret hy gan thai ga
With thar baneris all in a rout
As thai had men bene styth and stout.
thai come with all that assemble
Rycht quhill thai mycht the bataill se,
Than all at anys thai gave a cry,
'Sla! sla! apon thaim hastily!'
And thar-withall cumand war thai,
Bot thai war wele fer yete away.
And Inglismen that ruschyt war
Throuch fors of fycht as I said ar
Quhen thai saw cummand with sic a cry
Towart thaim sic a cumpany
That thaim thocht wele als mony war
As that wes fechtand with thaim thar
And thai befor had nocht thaim sene,
Than wit ye weill withoutyn wene
Thai war abaysit sa gretumly
That the best and the mast hardy
That war intill thar ost that day
Wald with thar mensk haf bene away.

[The king presses the enemy harder and some flee]

The King Robert be thar relyng
Saw thai war ner at discomfiting
And his ensenye gan hely cry,
Than with thaim off his cumpany
His fayis he pressyt sa fast that thai
War intill sa gret effray
That thai left place ay mar and mar,
For the Scottismen that thar war
Quhen thai saw thaim eschew the fycht
Dang on thaim with all thar mycht
That thai scalyt thaim in troplys ser
And till discomfitur war ner
And sum off thaim fled all planly,
Bot thai that wycht war and hardy
That schame lettyt to ta the flycht
At gret myscheiff mantemyt the fycht
And stythly in the stour gan stand.

[King Edward abandons the battle, but Sir Giles d'Argentan
fights on and is killed]

And quhen the king of Ingland
Saw his men fley in syndry place,
And saw his fayis rout that was
Worthyn sa wycht and sa hardy
That all his folk war halyly
Sa stonayit that thai had na mycht
To stynt thar fayis in the fycht,
He was abaysyt sa gretumly
That he and his cumpany
Fyve hunder armyt all at rycht
Intill a frusch all tok the flycht
And to the castell held thar way,
And yeit haiff Ik hard som men say
That off Valence Schir Aymer
Quhen he the feld saw vencusyt ner
Be the reyngye led away the king
Agayne his will fra the fechting.
And quhen Schyr Gylis the Argente
Saw the king thus and his menye
Schap thaim to fley sa spedyly,
He come rycht to the king in hy
And said, 'Schyr, sen it is sua
That ye thusgat your gat will ga
Havys gud day for agayne will I,
Yeit fled I never sekyrly
And I cheys her to bid and dey
Than for to lyve schamly and fley.'
His bridill but mar abad
He turnyt and agayne he rade
And on Edward the Bruys rout
That wes sa sturdy and sa stout
As drede off nakyn thing had he
He prikyt, cryand, 'the Argent