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The Brus Book XI

[Criticism of the compact about Stirling Castle]

And quhen this connand thus wes mad
Schir Philip intill Ingland raid
And tauld the king all haile his tale,
How he a tuelf moneth all hale
5 Had as it writyn wes in thar taile
To reskew Strevillyne with bataill.
And quhen he hard Schyr Philip say
That Scottismen had set a day
To fecht and that sic space he had
10 To purvay him he wes rycht glaid,
And said it wes gret sukudry
That set thaim apon sic foly,
For he thocht to be or that day
Sa purvayit and in sic aray
15 That thar suld nane strenth him withstand,
And quhen the lordis off Ingland
Herd that this day wes set planly
Thai jugyt all to gret foly,
And thoucht to haiff all thar liking
20 Giff men abaid thaim in fechting,
Bot oft faillys the fulis thocht
And yeit wys mennys ay cummys nocht
To sic end as thai wene allwayis.
A litill stane oft, as men sayis,
25 May ger weltyr a mekill wayn,
Na mannys mycht may stand agayn
The grace off God that all thing steris,
He wate quhat till all thing afferis
And disponys at his liking
30 Efter his ordynance all thing.

[King Robert criticises his brother]

Quhen Schyr Edward, as I you say,
Had gevyn sa outrageous a day
To yeld or reskew Strevillyne,
Rycht to the king he went him syne
35 And tauld quhat tretys he had mad
And quhat day he thaim gevyn had.
The king said quhen he hard the day,
'That wes unwisly doyn, perfay.
Ik herd never quhar sa lang warnyng
40 Wes gevyn to sa mychty a king
As is the king off Ingland,
For he has now intill hand
Ingland, Ireland and Walis alsua
And Aquitayngne yeit with all tha,
45 And off Scotland yeit a party
Dwellis under his senyoury,
And off tresour sa stuffyt is he
That he may wageouris haiff plente,
And we are quhoyne agayne sa fele.
50 God may rycht weill oure werdys dele,
Bot we ar set in juperty
To tyne or wyn then hastely.'
Schyr Edward said, 'Sa God me rede,
Thocht he and all that he may led
55 Cum, wes sall fecht, all war thai ma.'
Quhen the king hard his broder sua
Spek to the bataile sa hardyly
He prisyt him in hys hart gretumly
And said, 'Broder, sen sua is gane
60 That this thing thus is undretane
Schap we us tharfor manlely,
And all that luffis us tenderly
And the fredome off this countre
Purvay thaim at that time to be
65 Boune with all mycht that ever thai may,
Sua giff that our fayis assay
To reskew Strevilline throu bataill
That we off purpos ger thaim faill.'

[Both sides prepare for an English invasion; King Edward's resources]

To this thai all assentyt ar
70 And bad thar men all mak thaim yar
For to be boun agayne that day
On the best wis that ever thai may.
Than all that worthi war to fycht
Off Scotland set all hale thar mycht
75 To purvay thaim agane that day,
Wapynnys and armouris purvayit thai
And all that afferis to fechting.
And in Ingland the mychty king
Purvayit him in sa gret aray
80 That certis hard I never say
That Inglismen mar aparaile
Maid than did than for bataill,
For quhen the tyme wes cummyn ner
He assemblit all his power,
85 And but his awne chevalry
That wes sa gret it wes ferly
He had of mony ser countre
With him gud men of gret bounte.
Of Fraunce worthi chevalry
90 He had intill his cumpany,
The erle off Henaud als wes thar
And with him men that worthi war,
Off Gascoyne and off Almany
And off the duche of Bretayngny
95 He had wycht men and weill farand
Armyt clenly bath fute and hand,
Off Ingland to the chevalry 97
He had gaderyt sa clenly 98
That nane left that mycht wapynnys weld 97
100 Or mycht war to fecht in feild, 98
All Walis als with him had he
And off Irland a gret mengne,
Off Pouty Aquitane and Bayoun
He had mony off gret renoune,
105 And off Scotland he had yeit then 103
A gret menye of worthy men. 104

[The appearance of the English host]

Quhen all thir sammyn assemblit war 105
He had of fechtaris with him thar 106
Ane hunder thousand men and ma 103
110 And fourty thousand war of tha 104
Armyt on hors bath heid and hand,
And of thai yeit war thre thousand
With helyt hors in plate and mailye
To mak the front off the batailye,
115 And fyfty thousand off archeris 109
He had foroutyn hobeleris,
And men of fute and small rangale
That yemyt harnays and vittaile
He had sa fele it wes ferly.
120 Off cartis als thar yeid thaim by 114
Sa fele that, but all thai that bar
Harnays and als that chargyt war
With pailyounys and veschall with-all
And aparaile of chambyr and hall
125 And wyne and wax schot and vittaile, 119
Aucht scor wes chargyt with pulaile.
Thai war sa fele quhar that thai raid
And thar bataillis war sa braid
And sua gret roume held thar chare
130 That men that mekill ost mycht se 124
Ourtak the landis largely.
Men mycht se than that had bene by
Mony a worthi man and wycht
And mony ane armur gayly dycht
135 And mony a sturdy sterand stede 129
Arayit intill ryche wede,
Mony helmys and haberjounys
Scheldis and speris and penounys, 132*
And sa mony a cumbly knycht 132
140 That it semyt that into fycht 133
Thai suld vencus the warld all haile.

[The dispositions of the English host; the march from Berwick]

Quhy suld I mak to lang my taile?
To Berwik ar thai cummyn ilkane
And sum tharin has innys tane
145 And sum logyt without the town ys 138
In tentis and in pailyounys.
And quhen the king his ost has sene
So gret and sa gud men and clene
He wes rycht joyfull in his thocht
150 And weile supposyt that thar wes nocht 143
In warld a king mycht him withstand,
Him thocht all wonnyn till his hand,
And largly amang his men
The land of Scotland delt he then,
155 Off other mennys thing larg wes he. 148
And thai that war off his menye
Manausyt the Scottismen hely
With gret wordis, bot nocht-forthi
Or thai cum all to thar entent
160 Howis in haile claith sall be rent. 153
The king throu consaile of his men
His folk delt in bataillis ten,
In ilkane war weile ten thousand
That lete thai stalwartly suld stand
165 In the bataile and stythly fycht 158
And leve nocht for thar fayis mycht.
He set ledaris till ilk bataile
That knawin war of gud governaile,
And till renownyt erlis twa
170 Off Glosyster and herfurd war tha 163
He gaf the vaward in leding
With mony men at thar bidding
Ordanyt into full gud aray.
Thai war sa chevalrous that thai
175 Trowyt giff thai come to fycht 168
Thar suld na strenth withstand thar mycht.
And the king quhen his mengne wer
Divisit intill bataillis ser
His awyne bataill ordanyt he
180 And quha suld at his bridill be, 173
Schyr Gilis Argente he set
Apon a half his reyngye to get,
And off Valence Schyr Amery
On other half that wes worthy,
185 For in thar soverane bounte 178
Out-our the lave affyit he.
Quhen the king apon this kyn wys
Had ordanyt as Ik her divis
His bataillis and his stering
190 He rais arly in a mornyng 183
And fra Berwik he tuk the way.
Bath hillis and valis hely thai
As the bataillis that war braid
Departyt our the feldis raid.
195 The sone wes brycht and schynand cler 188
And armouris that burnysyt wer
Sua blomyt with the sonnys beme
That all the land wes in a leme,
Baneris rycht fayrly flawmand
200 And penselys to the wynd wavand 193
Sua fele thar wer of ser quentis
That it war gret slycht for to divise,
And suld I tell all thar affer
Thar con tenance and thar maner
205 Thoucht I couth I suld combryt be. 198
The king with all that gret menye
Till Edinbyrgh he raid him rycht,
Thai war all-out to fele to fycht
With few folk of a symple land,
210 Bot quhar God helpys quhat ma withstand. 203

[Muster of the Scottish army; its size and commanders]

The king Robert quhen he hard say
That Inglismen in sic aray
And into sua gret quantite
Come in his land, in hy gert he
215 His men be somound generaly, 208
And thai come all full wilfully
To the Torwod quhar that the king
Had ordanyt to mak thar meting.
Schir Edward the Bruce the worthi
220 Come with a full gret cumpany 213
Off gud men armyt weill at rycht
Hardy and forsy for to fycht,
Walter Stewart of Scotland syne
That than wes bot a berdles hyne
225 Come with a rout of noble men, 218
That men mycht be contynence ken.
The gud lord of Douglas alsua
Brocht with him men Ik underta
That weile war usit in fechting,
230 Thai sall the les haiff abaysimg 223
Giff thaim betid in thrang to be,
Avantage thai sall tittar se
For to stonay thar fayis mycht
Than men that usis nocht to fycht.
235 The erle off Murreff with his men 228
Arayit weile come alsua then
Into gud covyne for to fycht
And gret will for to manteym thar mycht
Outakyn other mony barounys
240 And knychtis that of gret renowne is 233
Come with thar men full stalwartly.
Quhen thai war assemblyt halely
Off fechtand men I trow thai war
Thretty thousand and sumdele mar,
245 Foroutyn cariage and pettaill 238
That yemyt harnayis and vittaill.
Our all the ost than yeid the king
And beheld to thar contenyng
And saw thaim of full fayr affer.
250 Off hardy contenance thai wer, 243
Be liklynes the mast cowart
Semyt full weill to do his part.
The king has sene all thar having
That knew him weile into sic thing,
255 And saw thaim all commounaly 248
Off sic contenance and sa hardy
Forout effray or abaysing.
In his hart had he gret liking
And thoucht that men of sa gret will
260 Giff thai wald set thar will thartill 253
Suld be full hard to wyn perfay.
Ay as he met thaim in the way
He welcummyt thaim with glaidsum far
Spekand gud wordis her and thar,
265 And thai that thar lord sa mekly 258
Saw welcum thaim and sa hamly
Joyfull thai war, and thocht that thai
Aucht weill to put thaim till assay
Off hard fechting or stalwart stur
270 For to maynteyme hys honur. 263

[King Robert proposes the division of his host]

The worthi king quhen he has sene
Hys ost assemblit all bedene
And saw thaim wilfull to fulfill
His liking with gud hart and will
275 And to maynteyme weill thar franchis 268
He wes rejosyt mony wys
And callyt all his consaile preve
And said thaim, 'Lordis, now ye se
That Inglismen with mekill mycht
280 Has all disponyt thaim for the fycht 273
For thai yone castell wald reskew.
Tharfor is gud we ordane now
How we may let thaim of thar purpos
And sua to thaim the wayis clos
285 That thai pas nocht but gret letting. 278
We haiff her with us at bidding
Weile thretty thousand men and ma,
Mak we four bataillis of tha
And ordane us on sic maner
290 And quhen our fayis cummys ner 283
We to the New Park hald our way,
For thar behovys thaim nede away
Bot giff that thai will beneuth us ga
And our the merrais pass, and sua
295 We sall be at avantage thar. 288
And me think that rycht spedfull war
To gang on fute to this fechting
Armyt bot in litill armyng,
For schup we us on hors to fycht
300 Sen our fayis ar mar off mycht 293
And bettyr horsyt than ar we
We suld into gret perell be,
And gyff we fecht on fute perfay
At a vantage we sall be ay,
305 For in the park amang the treys 298
The horsmen alwayis cummerit beis,
And the sykis alssua that ar thar-doun
Sall put thaim to confusioune.'

[The four divisions and their commanders]

All thai consentyt till that saw
310 And than intill a litill thraw 303
Thar four bataillis ordanyt thai,
And till the Erle Thomas perfay
Thai gaiff the vaward in leding
For in his noble governyng
315 And in his hey chevalry 308
Thai assoueryt rycht soveranly,
And for to maynteyme his baner
Lordis that off gret worschip wer
Wer assygnyt with thar mengne
320 Intill his bataill for to be. 313
The toother bataill wes gevyn to led
Till him that douchty wes of deid
And prisyt off hey chevalry,
Thar wes Schyr Edward the worthy,
325 I trow he sall maynteyme it sua 318
That howsaever the gamyn ga
His fayis to plenye sall mater haf.
And syne the thrid bataill thai gaff
Till Walter Stewart for to leid
330 And to Douglas douchty of deid 323
Thai war cosyngis in ner degre
Tharfor till him betaucht wes he
For he wes young, bot nocht-forthi
I trow he sall sa manlily
335 Do his devour and wirk sa weill 328
That him sall nede ne mar yemseill.
The ferd bataile the noble king
Tuk till his awne governyng,
And had intill his cumpany
340 The men of Carrik halely 333
And off Arghile and of Kentyr
And off the Ilis quharof wes syr
Angus of Ile, and but all tha
He off the plane land had alsua
345 Off armyt men a mekill rout, 338
His bataill stalwart wes and stout.
He said the rerward he wald ma
And evyn forrouth him suld ga
The vaward, and on ather hand
350 The tother bataillis suld be gangand 343
Besid on sid a litill space,
And the king that behind thaim was
Suld se quhar thar war mast myster
And releve thar with his baner.

[The digging of pots by the roadside]

355 The king thus that wes wycht and wys 348
And rych avisé at divis
Ordanyt his men for the fechting
In gud aray in alkyn thing.
And on the morn on Setterday
360 The king hard his discourouris say 353
That inglismen with mekill mycht
Had lyin at Edinburgh all nycht.
Tharfor withoutyn mar delay
He till the New Park held his way
365 With all that in his leding war 358
And in the Park thaim herberyt thar,
And in a plane feld be the way
Quhar he thoucht ned behovyd away
The Inglismen, gif that thai wald
370 Throu the Park to the castell hald 363
He gert men mony pottis ma
Off a fute-breid round, and al tha
War dep up till a mannys kne,
Sa thyk that thai mycht liknyt be
375 Till a wax cayme that beis mais. 368
All that nycht travailland he wais
Sua that or day he has maid
Thai pottis, and thaim helit haid
With stykkis and with gres all grene
380 Sua that thai moucht nocht weil be sen. 373

[Sunday; the Scots prepare for combat with mass and by arming themselves]

On Sonday than in the mornyng
Weile sone after the sone rising
Thai hard thar mes commounaly
And mony thaim schraiff full devotly
385 That thocht to dey in that melle 378
Or than to mak thar contre fre.
To God for thar rycht prayit thai,
Thar dynit nane of thaim that day
Bot for the vigil off Sanct Jhane
390 Thai fastyt water and breid ilkan. 383
The king quhen that the mes wes don
Went furth to se the pottis sone
And at his liking saw thaim mad,
On ather sid rycht weill braid
395 It wes pittyt as Ik haif tauld. 388
Giff that thar fayis on hors wald hald
Furth in that way I trow thai sall
Nocht weill eschaip foroutyn fall.
Throu-out the ost thar gert he cry
400 That all suld arme thaim hastily 393
And busk thaim on thar best maner,
And quhen thai assemblyt wer
He gert aray thaim for the fycht,
And syne gert cry our-all on hycht
405 That quha-sa-ever he war that fand 398
Hys hart nocht sekyr for to stand
To wyn all or dey with honur
For to maynteyme that stalwart stour
That he betyme suld hald his way,
410 And suld duell with him bot thai 403
That wald stand with him to the end
And tak the ure that God wald send.
Than all answerd with a cry
And with a voce said generaly
415 That nane for dout off deid suld faile 408
Quhill discumfyt war the gret bataile.

[Disposition of the small folk; preparations for the English advance]

Quhen the gud king has hard his men
Sa hardely answer him then
Sayand that nother dede na dreid
420 Till sic discomfort suld thaim leid 413
That thai suld eschew the fechting
In hart he had gret rejosing,
For him thocht men off sic covyn
Sa gud and hardy and sa fyne
425 Suld weile in bataill hald thar rycht 418
Agayne men off full mekill mycht.
Syne all the smale folk and pitall
He send with harnays and with vitaill
Intill the Park weill fer him fra
430 And fra the bataillis gert thaim ga 423
And als he bad thai went thar way,
Twenty thousand weile ner war thai.
Thai held thar way till a vale,
The king left with a clene mengne
435 The-quhethir thai war thretty thousand 428
That I trow sall stalwartly stand
And do thar devour as thai aw.
Thai stud than rangyt all on a raw
Redy for to gyff hard bataill
440 Giff ony folk wald thaim assaile. 433
The king gert thaim all buskit be
For he wyst in certante
That his fayis all nycht lay
At the Fawkyrk, and syne that thai
445 Held towart him the way all straucht 438
With mony men of mekill maucht.
Tharfor till his nevo bad he
The erle off Murreff with his menye
Besid the kyrk to kepe the way
450 That na man pas that gat away 443
For to debate the castell,
And he said himself suld weill
Kepe the entre with his bataill
Giff that ony wald assale,
455 And syne his broder Schyr Edward 448
And young Walter alsua Steward
And the lord of Douglas alsua
With thar mengne gud tent suld ta
Quhilk off thaim had of help myster
460 And help with thaim that with him wer. 453

[King Robert has the English host surveyed;
spreads a false account of its strength]

The king send than James of Douglas
And Schyr Robert the Keyth that was
Marschell off the ost of fe
The Inglismennys come to se,
465 And thai lap on and furth thai raid 458
Weile horsyt men with thaim thai haid,
And sone the gret ost haf thai sene
Quhar scheildis schynand war sa schene
And bassynetis burnyst brycht
470 That gave agayne the sone gret lycht. 463
Thai saw sa fele browdyne baneris
Standaris and pennounys and speris,
And sa fele knychtis apon stedis
All flawmand in thar wedis,
475 And sa fele bataillis and sa braid 468
That tuk sa gret roume as thai rqaid
That the maist ost and the stoutest
Off Crystyndome and the grettest
Suld be abaysit for to se
480 Thair fayis into sic quantite 473
And sua arayit for to fycht.
Quhen thar discourrouris has had sycht
Off thar fayis as I you say
Towart the king thai tuk thair way,
485 And tauld him intill prevete 478
The multitud and the beaute
Off thair fayis that come sa braid
And off the gret mycht that thai haid.
Than the king bad thaim thai suld ma
490 Na contenance that it war sua 483
Bot lat thaim into commoune say
That thai cum intill evyll aray
To confort his on that wys,
For oftsys throu a word may rys
495 Discomford and tynsaill with-all, 488
And throu a word als weill may fall
Comford may rys and hardyment
May ger men do thar entent.
On the samyn wys it did her,
500 Thar comford and thar hardy cher 493
Comford thaim sa gretumly
Off thar ost that the leyst hardy
Be contenance wald formast be
For to begyne the gret melle.

[The English send an advance party to rescue the castle]

505 Apon this wis the noble king 498
Gaff all his men recomforting
Throu hardy contenance of cher
That he maid on sa gud maner.
Thaim thocht that na myscheiff mycht be
510 Sa gret with-thi thai him mycht se 503
Befor thaim sua tha thaim suld greve
That ne his worschip suld thaim releve,
His worschip confort thaim sua
And contensnce that he gan ma
515 That the mast coward wes hardy. 508
On other half full sturdely
The Inglismen in sic aray
As ye haf herd me forouth say
Comed with thar bataillis approchand
520 The baneris to the wynd wavand, 513
And quhen thai cummyn war sa ner
That bot twa myle betwix thaim wer
Thai chesyt a joly cumpany
Off men that wicht war and hardy
525 On fayr courseris armyt at rycht, 518
Four banrentis off mekill mycht
War capitanys of that route,
The Syr the Clyffurd that wes stout
Wes off thaim all soverane leidar,
530 Aucht hunder armyt I trow thai war. 523
Thai war all young men and joly
Yarnand to do chevalry,
Off best of all the ost war thai
Off contenance and off aray.
535 Thai war the fayrest cumpany 528
That men mycht find of sa mony,
To the castell thai thocht to far
For giff that thai weill mycht cum thar
Thai thocht it suld reskewit be.
540 Forth on thar way held this menye 533
And towart Strevilline held thar way,
The New Park all eschewit thai
For thai wist weill the king wes thar
And newth the New Park gan thai far
545 Weill newth the kyrk intill a rout. 538

[The advance party is challenged by Moray; his force is surrounded]

The Erle Thomas that wes sa stout
Quhen he saw thaim sa ta the plane
In gret hy went he thaim agane
With fyve hunder foroutyn ma
550 Anoyit in his hart and wa 543
That thai sa fer wer passit by,
For the king haid said him rudly
That a rose of his chaplete
Was fallyn, for quhar he wes set
555 To kep the way thai men war passit 548
And tharfor he hastyt him sa fast
That cummyn in schort tyme wes he
To the plane feld with his menye,
For he thocht that he suld amend
560 That he trespassit had or than end. 553
And quhen the Inglismen him saw
Cum on foroutyn dyn or aw
And tak sa hardely the plane
In hy thai sped thaim him agane
565 And strak with spuris the stedis stith 558
That bar thaim evyn hard and swith.
And quhen the erle saw that menye
Cum sa stoutly, till his said he
'Be nocht abaysit for thar schor,
570 Bot settis speris you befor 563
And bak to bak set all your rout
And all the speris poyntis out,
Suagate us best defend may we
Enveronyt with thaim gif we be.'
575 And as he bad thaim thai haif done, 568
And the tother come on alsone.
Befor thaim all come prikand
A knycht hardy off hart and hand
And a wele gret lord at hame
580 Schyr Gilyame Danecourt wes his nam 573
And prikyt on thaim hardely
And thai met him sturdely
That he and hors wes borne doune
And slayne rycht thar forout ransoun,
585 With Inglismen gretly wes he 578
Menyt that day and his bounte.
The lave come on rycht sturdely
Bot nane off thaim sa hardely
Ruschyt amang thaim as did he,
590 Bot with fer mar maturyte 583
Thai assemblyt all in a rout
And enveround thaim all about
Assailyeand thaim on ilka sid.

[The fight between Moray's force and the English]

And thai with speris woundis wyd
595 Gaff till the hors that come thaim ner, 588
And thai that ridand on thaim wer
That doune war borne losyt the lyvis,
And other speris dartis and knyffis
And wapynnys on ser maner
600 Kast amang thaim that fechtand wer 593
That thaim defendyt sa wittily
That thar fayis had gret ferly,
For sum wald schout out of thar rout
And off thaim that assaylyt about
605 Stekyt stedis and bar doun men. 598
The Inglismen sa rudly then
Kest amang thaim swerdis and mas
That ymyd thaim a monteyle was
Off wapynnys that war warpyt thar.
610 The erle and his thus fechtand war 603
At gret myscheiff as I you say,
For quhonnar be full far war thai
Than thar fayis and all about
War inveround, quhar mony rout
615 War roucht full dispitously. 608
Thar fayis demenyt thaim full starkly,
On ather half thai war sa stad
For the rycht gret heyt that thai had
For fechtyn and for sonnys het
620 That all thar flesche of swate wes wete, 613
And sic a stew rais out off thaim then
Off aneding bath of hors and men
And off powdyr that sic myrknes
Intill the ayr abovyne thaim wes
625 That it wes wondre for to se. 618
Thai war in gret perplexite
Bot with gret travaill nocht-forthi
Thai thaim defendyt manlily
And set bath will and strenth and mycht
630 To rusch thar fayis in that fycht 623
That thaim demanyt than angyrly.
Bot gyff God help thaim hastily
Thai sall thar fill have of fechting.

[Douglas proposes to help Moray]

Bot quhen the noble renownyt king
635 With other lordis that war him by 628
Saw how the erle abandounly
Tuk the plane feld, James of Douglas
Come to the king rycht quhar he was
And said, 'A! Schyr, Sanct Mary!
640 The erle off Murref opynly 633
Tays the plane feld with his mengne,
He is in perell bot he be
Sone helpyt for his fayis ar ma
Than he and horsyt weill alsua,
645 And with your leve I will me speid 638
To help him for he has ned,
All umbeveround with his fayis is he.'
The king said, 'Sa our Lord me se,
A fute till him thou sall nocht ga,
650 Giff he weile dois lat him weile ta. 643
Quhatever him happyn, to wyn or los,
I will nocht for him brek purpos.'
'Certis,' said James, 'I may na wis
Se that his fayis him suppris
655 Quhen that I may set help thartill, 648
With your leve sekyrly I will
Help him or dey into the payn.'
'Do than and speid the sone agayn,'
The king said, and he held his way.
660 Gyff he may cum in tyme perfay 653
I trow he sall him help sa weill
That off his fayis sall it feill.

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