John Barbour

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

The Brus Book XVIII

Only Berwick remains in English hands; a burgess offers to betray it] 

The lordis off the land war fayne 
Quhen thai wist he wes cummyn agan 
And till him went in full gret hy, 
And he ressavit thaim hamlyly 
5 And maid thaim fest and glaidsum cher, 
And thai sa wonderly blyth wer 
Off his come that na man mycht say, 
Gret fest and fayr till him maid thai. 
Quharever he raid all the countre 
10 Gaderyt in daynte him to se, 
Gret glaidschip than wes in the land. 
All than wes wonnyn till his hand, 
Fra the Red Swyre to Orknay 
Wes nocht off Scotland fra his fay 
15 Outakyn Berwik it allane. 
That tym tharin wonnyt ane 
That capitane wes of the toun, 
All Scottismen in suspicioun 
He had and tretyt thaim tycht ill. 
20 He had ay to thaim hevy will 
And held thaim fast at undre ay, 
Quhill that it fell apon a day 
That a burges Syme of Spalding 
Thocht that it wes rycht angry thing 
25 Suagate ay to rebutyt be. 
Tharfor intill his hart thocht he 
That he wald slely mak covyne 
With the marchall, quhays cosyne 
He had weddyt till him wiff, 
30 And as he thocht he did belyff. 
Lettrys till him he send in hy 
With a traist man all prively, 
And set him tym to cum a nycht 
With leddrys and with gud men wicht 
35 Till the kow yet all prively, 
And bad him hald his trist trewly 
And he suld mete thaim at the wall, 
For his walk thar that nycht suld fall. 

[The marischal shows the letter to the king, 
who seeks to avoid jealousy between Douglas and Moray] 

Quhen the marchell the lettre saw 
40 He umbethocht him than a thraw, 
For he wist be himselvyn he 
Mycht nocht off mycht no power be 
For till escheyff sa gret a thing, 
And giff he tuk till his helping 
45 Ane, other suld wrethit be. 
Tharfor rycht to the king yeid he 
And schawyt him betwix thaim twa 
The letter and the charge alsua. 
Quhen that the king hard that this trane 
50 Spokyn wes intill certayne 
That him thocht tharin na fantis 
He said him, 'Certis thou wrocht as wis 
That has discoveryt the fryst to me, 
For giff thou had discoveryt the 
55 To my nevo the Erle Thomas 
Thou suld disples the lord Douglas, 
And him alsua in the contrer, 
Bot I sall wyrk on sic maner 
That thou at thine entent sall be 
60 And haff of nane of thaim mawgre. 
Thou sall tak kep weill to the day, 
And with thaim that thou purches may 
At evyn thou sall enbuschit be 
In Duns Park, bot be preve, 
65 And I sall ger the Erle Thomas 
And the lord alsua of Douglas 
Ather with a soume of men 
Be thar to do as thou sall ken.' 
The marchell but mar delay 
70 Tuk leve and held furth on his way 
And held his spek preve and still 
Quhill the day that wes set him till. 
Than of the bast of Lothiane 
He with hym till his tryst has tane 
75 For schyrreff tharoff than wes he. 

[The Scots take the wall of Berwick, but discipline breaks down] 

To Duns Park with his menye 
He come at evyn prively, 
And syne with a gud cumpany 
Sone eftyr come the Erle Thomas 
80 That wes met with the lord Douglas. 
A rycht fayr cumpany thai war 
Quhen thai war met togidder thar, 
And quhen the marchell the covyn 
To bath the lordis lyne be lyne 
85 Had tauld, thai went furth on thar way. 
Fer fra the toun thar hors left thai, 
To mak it schort sua wrocht thai then 
That but seyng off ony men 
Outane Sym of Spaldyn allane 
90 That gert that deid be undertane 
Thai set thar leddrys to the wall, 
And but persaving come up all 
And held thaim in a nuk preve 
Quhill that the nycht suld passit be, 
95 And ordanyt that the maist party 
Off thar men suld gang sarraly 
With thar lordis and hald a stale, 
And the remanand suld all hale 
Skaill throu the toun and tak or sla 
100 The men that thai mycht ourta. 
Bot sone this ordynance brak thai, 
For alsone as it dawyt day 
The twa partis off thar men and ma 
All scalyt throu the toun gan ga. 
105 Sa gredy war thai to the gud 
That thai ran rycht as thai war woud 
And sesyt housis and slew men, 
And thai that saw thar fayis then 
Cum apon thaim sa suddanly 
110 Throu-out the toun thai raissyt the cry 
And schot togidder her and thar, 
As ay as thai assemblyt war 
Thai wald abid and mak debate. 
Had thai bene warnyt wele I wate 
115 Thai suld haiff sauld thar dedis der 
For thai war gud men and thai wer 
Fer ma than thai were that thaim socht, 
Bot thai war scalyt that thai mocht 
On na maner assemblyt be. 
120 Thar war gret melleys twa or thre, 
Bot Scottismen sa weile thaim bar 
That thar fayis ay ruschyt war 
And contraryit at the last war sua 
That thai haly the bak gan ta, 
125 Sum gat the castell bot nocht all 
And sum ar slydyn our the wall 
And sum war intill ha