John Barbour

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

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
5 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
10 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
15 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
20 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.
25 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
30 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,
35 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
40 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
45 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
50 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,
55 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.
60 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
65 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
70 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
75 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
80 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
85 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
90 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
95 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
100 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
105 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,
110 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
115 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,
120 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
125 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
130 That thai discumfyt sone sall be.'
Quhen this wes said t