John Barbour

Here you will find the Long Poem The Brus Book I of poet John Barbour

The Brus Book I

This book the true story of King Robert and Sir James Douglas 

Storys to rede ar delatibill 
Suppos that thai be nocht bot fabill, 
Than suld storys that suthfast wer 
And thai war said on gud maner 
5 Have doubill plesance in heryng. 
The first plesance is the carpyng, 
And the tother the suthfastnes 
That schawys the thing rycht as it wes, 
And suth thyngis that ar likand 
10 Till mannys heryng ar plesand. 
Tharfor I wald fayne set my will 
Giff my wyt mycht suffice thartill 
To put in wryt a suthfast story 
That it lest ay furth in memory 
15 Swa that na tyme of lenth it let 
Na ger it haly be foryet. 
For auld storys that men redys 
Representis to thaim the dedys 
Of stalwart folk that lyvyt ar 
20 Rycht as thai than in presence war. 
And certis thai suld weill have prys 
That in thar tyme war wycht and wys 
And led thar lyff in gret travaill, 
And oft in hard stour off bataill 
25 Wan gret price off chevalry 
And war voydyt off cowardy, 
As wes King Robert off Scotland 
That hardy wes off hart and hand, 
And gud Schir James off Douglas 
30 That in his tyme sa worthy was 
That off hys price and hys bounte 
In ser landis renownyt wes he. 
Off thaim I thynk this buk to ma, 
Now God gyff grace that I may swa 
35 Tret it and bryng till endyng 
That I say nocht bot suthfast thing. 

[Alexander III's death; the dispute over the succession 
submitted to Edward I's arbitration] 

Quhen Alexander the king wes deid 
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid, 
The land sex yer and mayr perfay 
40 Lay desolat eftyr hys day 
Till that the barnage at the last 
Assemblyt thaim and fayndyt fast 
To cheys a king thar land to ster 
That off auncestry cummyn wer 
45 Off kingis that aucht that reawté 
And mayst had rycht thair king to be. 
Bot envy that is sa feloune 
Maid amang thaim gret discencioun, 
For sum wald haiff the Balleoll king 
50 For he wes cummyn off the offspryng 
Off hyr that eldest syster was, 
And other sum nyt all that cas 
And said that he thair king suld be 
That war in als ner degre 
55 And cummyn war of the neyst male 
And in branch collaterale. 
Thai said successioun of kyngrik 
Was nocht to lawer feys lik, 
For thar mycht succed na female 
60 Quhill foundyn mycht be ony male 
How that in lyne evyn descendand. 
Thai bar all otherwayis on hand, 
For than the neyst cummyn off the seid 
Man or woman suld succeid. 
65 Be this resoun that part thocht hale 
That the lord off Anandyrdale 
Robert the Bruys erle off Carryk 
Aucht to succeid to the kynryk. 
The barounys thus war at discord 
70 That on na maner mycht accord 
Till at the last thai all concordyt 
That thar spek suld be recordyt 
Till Edward off Yngland king 
And he suld swer that but fenyeyng 
75 He suld that arbytre disclar 
Off thir twa that I tauld off ar 
Quhilk succeid to sic a hycht, 
And lat him ryng that had the rycht. 
This ordynance thaim thocht the best, 
80 For that tyme wes pes and rest 
Betwyx Scotland and Ingland bath, 
And thai couth nocht persave the skaith 
That towart thaim wes apperand. 
For that at the king off Ingland 
85 Held swylk freyndschip and cumpany 
To thar king that wes swa worthy, 
Thai trowyt that he as gud nychtbur 
And as freyndsome compositur 
Wald have jugyt in lawté 
90 But othir-wayis all yheid the gle. 

[Edward I's ambitions] 

A! Blind folk full off all foly, 
Haid ye umbethocht you enkrely 
Quhat perell to you mycht apper 
Ye had nocht wrocht on that maner. 
95 Haid ye tane keip how at that king 
Alwayis foroutyn sojournyng 
Travayllyt for to wyn senyhory 
And throu his mycht till occupy 
Landis that war till him marcheand 
100 As Walis was and als Ireland, 
That he put to swylk thrillage 
That thai that war of hey parage 
Suld ryn on fute as rebaldaill 
Quhen he wald our folk assaill. 
105 Durst nane of Walis in bataill ride 
Na yhet fra evyn fell abyd 
Castell or wallyt toune within 
That he ne suld lyff and lymmys tyne, 
Into swilk thrillage thaim held he 
110 That he ourcome throu his powste. 
Ye mycht se he suld occupy 
Throu slycht that he ne mycht throu maistri. 
Had ye tane kep quhat was thrillag 
And had consideryt his usage 
115 That gryppyt ay but gayne-gevyng, 
Ye suld foroutyn his demyng 
Haiff chosyn you a king that mycht 
Have haldyn weyle the land in rycht. 
Walys ensample mycht have bene 
120 To you had ye it forow sene, 
And wys men sayis he is happy 
That be other will him chasty, 
For unfayr thingis may fall perfay 
Als weill to-morn as yhisterday. 
125 Bot ye traistyt in lawté 
As sympile folk but mavyté, 
And wyst nocht quhat suld efter tyd. 
For in this warld that is sa wyde