John Barbour

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

The Brus Book III

The lord of Lorn attacks the king's men] 

The lord off Lorne wonnyt thar-by 
That wes capitale ennymy 
To the king for his emys sak 
Jhon Comyn, and thocht for to tak 
5 Vengeance apon cruell maner. 
Quhen he the king wyst wes sa ner 
He assemblyt his men in hy, 
And had intill his cumpany 
The barounys off Argyle alsua. 
10 Thai war a thousand weill or ma 
And come for to suppris the king 
That weill wes war of thar cummyng. 
Bot all to few with him he had 
The-quhethir he bauldly thaim abaid, 
15 And weill ost at thar fryst metyng 
War layd at erd but recoveryng. 
The kingis folk full weill thaim bar 
And slew and fellyt and woundyt sar, 
Bot the folk off the tother party 
20 Faucht with axys sa fellyly, 
For thai on fute war everilkane, 
That thai feile off thar hors has slayne, 
And till sum gaiff thai woundis wid. 
James off Douglas wes hurt that tyd 
25 And als Schyr Gilbert de le Hay. 
The king his men saw in affray 
And his ensenye can he cry 
And amang thaim rycht hardyly 
He rad that he thaim ruschyt all 
30 And fele off thaim thar gert he fall. 
Bot quhen he saw thai war sa feill 
And saw thaim swa gret dyntis deill 
He dred to tyne his folk, forthi 
His men till him he gan rely 
35 And said, 'Lordyngis, foly it war 
Tyll us for till assembill mar, 
For thai fele off our hors has slayn, 
And giff yhe fecht with thaim agayn 
We sall tyne off our small mengye 
40 And our selff sall in perill be. 
Tharfor me thynk maist avenand 
To withdraw us us defendand 
Till we cum out off thar daunger, 
For our strenth at our hand is ner.' 
45 Then thai withdrew thaim halely 
Bot that wes nocht full cowartly 
For samyn intill a sop held thai 
And the king him abandonyt ay 
To defend behind his mengye, 
50 And throu his worschip sa wrouch he 
That he reskewyt all the flearis 
And styntyt swagat the chassaris 
That nane durst out off batall chas, 
For alwayis at thar hand he was. 
55 Sa weile defendyt he his men 
That quha-sa-ever had seyne him then 
Prove sa worthely vasselage 
And turn sa oft-sythis the visage 
He suld say he aucht weill to be 
60 A king off a gret reawté. 

[Comparisons from Celtic and classical legends with the king's 
defence of his men] 

Quhen that the lord off Lorne saw 
His men stand off him ane sik aw 
That thai durst nocht folow the chase 
Rycht angry in his hart he was, 
65 And for wondyr that he suld swa 
Stot thaim him ane but ma 
He said, 'Me think Marthokys sone 
Rycht as Golmakmorn was wone 
To haiff fra Fyn all his mengne, 
70 Rycht swa all his fra us has he.' 
He set ensample thus mydlike, 
The-quhethir he mycht mar manerlik 
Lyknyt hym to Gaudifer de Larys 
Quhen that the mychty Duk Betys 
75 Assailyeit in Gadyrris the forrayours, 
And quhen the king thaim maid rescours 
Duk Betys tuk on him the flycht 
That wald ne mar abid to fycht. 
Bot Gaudifer the worthi 
80 Abandonyt him so worthyly 
For to reskew all the fleieris 
And for to stonay the chasseris 
That Alysander to erth he bar 
And alsua did he Tholimar 
85 And gud Coneus alsua 
Danklyne alsua and othir ma, 
Bot at the last thar slayne he wes. 
In that failyeit the liklynes, 
For the king full chevalrusly 
90 Defendyt all his cumpany 
And wes set in full gret danger 
And yeit eschapyt haile and fer. 

[The king kills the two Mac na Dorsair brothers and their fellow] 

Twa brethir war in that land 
That war the hardiest off hand 
95 That war intill all that cuntre, 
And thai had sworn iff thai mycht se 
The Bruys quhar thai mycht him our-ta 
That thai suld dey or then hym sla. 
Thar surname wes Makyne Drosser, 
100 That is al-so mekill to say her 
As the Durwarth sonnys perfay. 
Off thar covyne the thrid had thai 
That wes rycht stout ill and feloune. 
Quhen thai the king off gud renoune 
105 Saw sua behind his mengne rid 
And saw him torne sa mony tid, 
Thai abaid till that he was 
Entryt in ane narow place 
Betwix a louch-sid and a bra 
110 That wes sa strait Ik underta 
That he mycht nocht weill turn in his sted. 
Then with a will till him thai yede 
And ane him by the bridill hynt, 
Bot he raucht till him sic a dynt 
115 That arme and schuldyr flaw him fra. 
With that ane other gan him ta 
Be the lege and his hand gan schute 
Betwix the sterap and his fute, 
And quhen the king feld thar his hand 
120 In his sterapys stythly gan he stand 
And strak with spuris the stede in hy, 
And he lansyt furth delyverly 
Swa that the tother failyeit fete, 
And nocht-for-thi his hand wes yeit 
125 Undyr the sterap magré his. 
The thrid with full gret hy with this 
Rycht till the bra-syd he yeid 
And stert behynd hym on his ste