John Barbour (c.1320 – 13 March 1395 / Aberdeenshire or Galloway, Scotland)
The Brus Book IV
[English harshness to prisoners]
In Rawchryne leve we now the king
In rest foroutyn barganyng,
And off his fayis a quhile speke we
That throu thar mycht and thar powste
5 Maid sic a persecucioune
Sa hard, sa strayt and sa feloune
On thaim that till hym luffand wer
Or kyn or freynd on ony maner
That at till her is gret pite.
10 For thai sparyt off na degre
Thaim that thai trowit his freynd wer
Nother off the kyrk na seculer,
For off Glaskow Byschop Robert
And Marcus off Man thai stythly speryt
15 Bath in fetrys and in presoune,
And worthy Crystoll off Seytoun
Into Loudoun betresyt was
Throu a discipill off Judas
Maknab, a fals tratour that ay
20 Wes off his dwelling nycht and day
Quhom to he maid gud cumpany.
It wes fer wer than tratoury
For to betreys sic a persoune
So nobill and off sic renoune,
25 Bot tharoff had he na pite,
In hell condampnyt mocht he be.
For quhen he him betrasyt had
The Inglismen rycht with him rad
In hy in Ingland to the king,
30 That gert draw him and hede and hing
Foroutyn pete or mercy.
It wes gret sorow sekyrly
That so worthy a persoune as he
Suld on sic maner hangyt be,
35 Thusgat endyt his worthynes.
Off Crauford als Schyr Ranald wes
And Schyr Bryce als the Blar
Hangyt intill a berne in Ar.
The queyn and als Dame Marjory,
40 Hyr dochter that syne worthily
Wes coupillyt into Goddis band
With Walter Stewart off Scotland,
That wald on na wys langar ly
In the castell off Kyldromy
45 To byd a sege, ar ridin raith
With knychtis and squyeris bath
Throu Ros rycht to the gyrth off Tayne.
Bot that travaill thai maid in vayne,
For thai off Ros that wald nocht ber
50 For thaim na blayme na yeit danger
Out off the gyrth thame all has tayne
And syne has send thaim everilkane
Rycht intill Ingland to the king,
That gert draw all the men and hing,
55 And put the ladyis in presoune
Sum intill castell sum in dongeoun.
It wes gret pite for till her
The folk be troublyt on this maner.
[The siege of Kildrummy Castle]
That tyme wes in Kyldromy
60 Wyth men that wycht and hardy
Schyr Neile the Bruce and I wate weile
That thar the erle was off Adheill.
The castell weill vittalyt thai
And mete and fuell gan purvay
65 And enforcyt the castell sua
That thaim thocht na strenth mycht it ta.
And quhen it to the king was tauld
Off Ingland how thai schup till hauld
That castell, he wes all angry
70 And callyt his sone till hym in hy
The eldest and aperand ayr
A young bacheler and stark and fayr
Schyr Edward callyt off Carnauerane,
That wes the sterkast man of ane
75 That men fynd mycht in ony countre
Prynce of Walys that tyme wes he.
And he gert als call erlys twa
Glosyster and Harfurd war tha
And bad thaim wend into Scotland
80 And set a sege with stalwart hand
To the castell off Kyldromy.
And all the halderis halyly
He bad distroy for-owtyn ransoun
Or bryng thaim till him in presoune.
85 Quhen thai the commaundment had tane
Thai assemblyt ane ost onane
And to the castell went in hy
And it assegyt vigorusly
And mony tyme full hard assaylyt.
90 Bot for to tak it yeit thai failyt
For thai within war rycht worthy
And thaim defendyt douchtely
And ruschyt thair fayis oft agayne
Sum beft sum woundyt sum alslayne
95 And mony tymys ische thai wald
And bargane at the barrais hald
And wound thar fayis oft and sla.
Schortly thai thaim contenyt sua
That thai withoute disparyt war
100 And thocht till Ingland for to far
For thai sa styth saw the castell
And with that it wes warnyst weill
And saw the men defend thaim sua
That thai nane hop had thaim to ta,
105 Nane had thai done all that sesoune
Gyff it ne had bene fals tresoun
For thar with thaim wes a tratour.
A fals lourdane a losyngeour
Hosbarne to name maid the tresoun,
110 I wate nocht for quhat enchesoun
Na quham with he maid that conwyn
Bot as thai said that war within
He tuk a culter hate glowand
That yeit wes in a fyr brynnand
115 And went him to the mekill hall
That then with corn wes fyllyt all
And heych up in a mow it did,
Bot it full lang wes nocht thar hid
For men sayis oft that fyr na prid
120 But discovering may na man hid,
For the pomp oft the prid furth schawis
Or ellis the gret boist that it blawis,
Na thar may na man fyr sa covyr
Than low or rek sall it discovyr.
125 Sa fell it her, for fyr all cler
Son throu the thak-burd gan apper
Fyrst as a stern syne as a mone
And weill bradder tharefter sone
The fyr out syne in bles brast
130 And the rek rais rycht wondre fast.
The fyr our all the castell spred
That mycht na force of man it red.
Than thai within drew to the wall
That at that tyme wes bataillit all
135 Within rycht as it wes withoute
That bataillyne withoutyn dout
Savit thar lyvis, for it brak
Bles that thaim wald ourtak.
And quhen thar fayis the myscheiff saw
140 Till armys went thai in a thraw
And assaylyt the castell fast
Quhar thai durst come for fyris blast,
Bot thai within that myster had
Sa gret defence and worthy mad
145 That thai full oft thar fayis rusit
For thai nakyn perall refusyt,
Thai travaillyt for to sauff thar lyffis
Bot werd that till the end ay dryvis
The warldis thingis sua thaim travaillyt
150 That thai on twa halfys war assailyt,
In with fyr that thaim sua broilyit
And utouth with folk that thaim sua toilyit
That thai brynt magre thaim the yat
That, for the fyre that wes sua hate
155 Thai durst nocht entyr sua in hy,
Tharfor thar folk thai gan rely
And went to rest for it wes nycht
Till on the morn that day wes lycht.
[The surrender of Kildrummy and the death of Edward I]
At sik myscheiff as ye her say
160 War thai within, the-quhethyr ay
Thai thaim defendyt douchtely
And contenyt thaim sa manlily
That or day throu mekill payn
Thai had muryt up thar yat agayn.
165 But on the morn quhen day wes lycht
And sone wes ryssyn schynand brycht
Thai without in hale bataill
Come purvayt redy till assaill,
Bot thai within that sua war stad
170 That thai vitaill na fewell had
Quhar-with thai mycht the castell hald
Tretyt fyrst and syne thaim yauld
To be in-till the kingis will,
Bot that to Scottis men wes ill
175 As sone eftyr weill wes knawin
For thai war hangyt all and drawyn.
Quhen this cunnand thus tretyt wes
And affermyt with sekyrnes
Thai tuk thaim of the castell sone
180 And in-till schort tyme has done
That all a quarter of Snawdoun
Rycht till the erd thai tummyllyt doun
Syne towart Ingland went thar way.
Bot quhen the king Edward hard say
185 How Neill the Bruce held Kildromy
Agayne his sone sa stalwartly,
He gadryt gret chevalry
And towart Scotland went in hy,
And as in-till Northummyrland
190 He wes with his gret rout ridand
A sekness tuk him in the way
And put him to sa hard assay
That he mycht nocht ga na ryd.
Him worthit magre his abid
195 In-till ane hamillet tharby
A litill toun and unworthy,
With gret payne thidder thai him brocht.
He wes sa stad that he ne mocht
His aynd bot with gret paynys draw
200 Na spek bot giff it war weill law
The-quhether he bad thai suld him say
Quhat toun wes that that he in lay.
'Schyr,' thai said, 'Burch-in-the-sand
Men callis this toun in-till this land.'
205 'Call thai it Burch, als,' said he.
My hop is now fordone to me
For I wend never to thole the payne
Of deid till I throu mekill mayn
The burch of Jerusalem had tane,
210 My lyff wend I thar suld be gayne.
In burch I wyst weill I suld de
Bot I wes nother wys na sle
Till other burch kep to ta.
Now may I na wis forther ga.'
215 Thus pleynyeit he off his foly,
As he had mater sekyrly
Quhen he covyt certante
Off that at nane may certan be,
The-quhether men said enclosit he had
220 A spyryt that him answer maid
Off thingis that he wald inquer.
Bot he fulyt foroutyn wer
That gaiff throuth till that creatur,
For feyndys ar off sic natur
225 That thai to mankind has invy
For thai wate weill and witterly
That thai that weill ar liffand her
Sall wyn the sege quharoff thai wer
Tumblyt throuch thar mekill prid.
230 Quharthrou oft-tymys will betid
That quhen feyndys distrenyeit ar
For till aper and mak answar
Throu force of conjuracioun
That thai sa fals ar and feloun
235 That thai mak ay thar answering
Into doubill understanding
To dissaiff thaim that will thaim trow.
Insample will I set her now
Off a wer as I herd tell
240 Betwix Fraunce and the Flemyngis fell.
The erle Ferandis modyr was
Nygramansour, and Sathanas
Scho rasyt and him askyt syne
Quhat suld worth off the fechtyn
245 Betwix the Fraunce king and hyr sone,
And he, as all tyme he wes wone,
Into dissayt maid his answer
And said till hyr thir thre vers her,
'Rex ruet in bello tumilique carebit honore
250 Ferrandus comitissa tuus mea cara Minerva
Parisius veniet magna comitante caterva.'
This wes the spek he maid perfay
And is in Inglis toung to say,
'The king sall fall in the fechting
255 And sall faile honour off erding,
And thi Ferand Mynerve my der
Sall rycht to Parys went but wer,
Folowand him gret cumpany
Off nobill men and off worthy.'
260 This is the sentence off this saw
That the Latyn gan hyr schaw.
He callyt hyr his Mynerve
For Mynerve ay wes wont to serve
Him, till scho leffyt, at his divis
265 And for scho maid the samyn service
His Mynerve hyr callyt he,
And als throu his sutelte
He callyt hyr der hyr till dissaiff
That scho the tyttar suld consaiff
270 Off his spek the undyrstanding
That mast plesyt till hyr liking.
This doubill spek sua hyr dissavit
That throu hyr feill the ded ressavit,
For scho wes off hyr answer blyth
275 And till hyr sone scho tald it swyth,
And bad him till the batell sped
For suld victory haiff but dred.
And he that herd hyr sermonuyng
Sped him in hy to the fechting
280 Quhar he discomfyt wes and schent
And takin and to Paris sent,
Bot in the fechting nocht-forthi
The king, throu his chevalry,
Wes laid at erd and lawit bath,
285 Bot his men helpyt him weill rath.
And quhen Ferandis moder herd
How hyr sone in the bataill ferd
And at he wes sua discomfyt,
Scho rasyt the ill spyryt als tyt
290 And askyt quhy he gabyt had
Off the answer that he hyr mad,
And he said he had said suth all.
'I said ye that the king suld fall
In the bataill, and say did he,
295 And failyeid erding, as men may se.
And I said that thi sone suld ga
To Paris, and he did rycht sua,
Folowand sic a mengye
That never in his lyff-tyme he
300 Had sic a mengye in leding.
Now seis thou I maid na gabbing.'
The wyff confusyt wes perfay
And durst no mar than till him say
Thusgat throu doubill understanding
305 That bargane come till sic ending
That the ta part dissavyt was.
Rycht sagat fell yt in this cas.
At Jerusalem trowit he
Gravyn in the burch to be,
310 The-quhethyr at Burch-into-the-sand
He swelt rycht in his awn land.
And quhen he to the ded wes ner
The folk that at Kildromy wer
Come with presoneris that thai had tane,
315 And syne to the king ar gane
And for to comfort him thai tald
How thai the castell to thaim yauld
And how thai till his will war brocht,
To do off thame quhatever he thocht,
320 And askyt quhat men suld off thaim do.
Than lukyt he angyrly thaim to
And said grynnand, 'Hangis and drawys.'
That wes wonder off sik sawis,
That he that to the ded wes ner
325 Suld answer apon sic maner
Foroutyn menyng and mercy.
How mycht he traist on Hym to cry
That suthfastly demys all thing
To haiff mercy, for his criying,
330 Off him that throu his felony
Into sic point had na mercy.
His men his maundment has done
And he deyt thatefter sone
And syne wes brocht till berynes.
335 His sone syne king efter wes.
[Douglas and Boyd go from Rathlin to Arran]
To the King Robert agayne ga we
That in Rauchryne with his menye
Lay till wynter ner wes gane
And off that ile his mete has tane
340 James off Douglas wes angry
That thai langar suld ydill ly
And to Schyr Robert Boid said he,
'The pure folk off thys countre
Ar chargit apon gret maner
345 Off us that idill lyis her,
And ik her say that in Arane
Intill a styth castell off stane
Ar Inglis men that with strang hand
Haldys the lordschip off the land
350 Ga we thidder, and weill may fall
Anoy thaim in sum thing we sall.'
Schir Robert said, 'I grant thar-till,
Till her mar ly war litill skill.
Tharfor till Aran pas will we,
355 For I knaw rycht weill the countre
And the castell rycht sua knaw I
We sall cum thar sua prevely
That thai sall haiff na persavyng
Na yeit witting off our cummyng,
360 And we sall ner enbuschyt be
Quhar we thar outecome may se.
Sa sall it on na maner fall
Na scaith thaim on sum wis we sall.'
With that thai buskyt thaim on-ane
365 And at the king thar leiff has tane
And went thaim furth syne on thar way.
Into Kyntyr sone cummyn ar thai,
Syne rowyt alwayis by the land
Till that the nycht wes ner on hand,
370 Than till Arane thai went thar way
And saufly thar aryvyt thai,
And in a glen thar galay drewch
And syne it helyt weill ineuch.
Thar takyll ayris and thar ster
375 Thai hyde all on the samyn maner
And held thar way rycht in the nycht
Sua that or day wes dawyn lycht
Thai war enbuschyt the castell ner
Armyt apon thair best maner
380 And thoucht thai wate war and wery
And for lang fastyng all hungry
Thai thocht to hald thaim all preve
Till that thai weill thar poynt mycht se.
[Douglas plunders the provisions being brought to Brodick Castle]
Schir John the Hastingis at that tid
385 With knychtis off full mekill prid
And squyeris and yemanry,
And that a weill gret cumpany,
Wes in the castell off Brathwik
And oftsys quhen it wald him lik
390 He went huntyng with his menye
And sua the land abandounyt he
That durst nane warne to do his will.
He wes into the castell still
The tyme that James off Douglas
395 As Ik haiff tald enbuschit was.
Sa hapnyt that tyme throu chance
That with vittalis and purvyaunce
And with clething and with armyng
The day befor in the evynning
400 The undyr-wardane arivyt was
With thre batis weill ner the place
Quhar that the folk I spak off ar
Prevely enbuschyt war.
Syne fra tha batis saw thai ga
405 Off Inglismen thretty and ma
Chargit all with syndry thingis.
Sum bar wyne and sum armyngis,
The remanant all chargit wer
With thingis off syndry maner,
410 And other syndry yeid thaim by
As thai war maistrys ydilly.
Thai that enbuschyt war that saw
All foroutyn dreid or aw
Thar buschement on thaim thai brak
415 And slew all that thai mycht ourtak.
The cry rais hidwysly and hey
For thai that dredand war to dey
Rycht as bestis gan rar and cry.
Thai slew thaim foroutyn mercy.
420 Sua that into the samyne sted
Weill ner fourty thar war dede.
Quhen thai that in the castell war
Hard the folk sa cry and rar
Thai ischyt furth to the fechting,
425 Bot quhen the Douglas saw thar cummyng
His men till him he gan rely
And went till meit thaim hastily.
And quhen thai off the castell saw
Him cum on thaim foroutyn aw
430 Thai fled foroutyne mar debate
And thai thaim folowit to the yate
And slew of thaim as thai in past,
Bot thai thair yate barryt fast
That thai mycht do at thame na mar.
435 Tharfor thai left thaim ilkane thar
And turnyt to the se agayne
Quhar that the men war forouth slayn.
And quhen thai that war in the batis
Saw thar cummyng and wyst howgatis
440 Thai had discumfyt thar menye
In hy thai put thaim to the se
And rowyt fast with all thar mayne,
Bot the wynd wes thaim agayne
That sua hey gert the land-bryst rys
445 That thai moucht weld the se na wis.
Then thai durst nocht cum to the land,
Bot held thaim thar sa lang hobland
That off the thre batis drownyt twa
And quhen the Douglas saw it wes sua
450 He tuk armyng and cleything
Vittalis wyne and other thing
That thai fand thar and held thar way
Rycht glaid and joyfull off thar pray.
[The king comes to Arran and is joined by Douglas and Boyd]
Quhen this James off Douglas
455 And his menye throu Goddis grace
War relevyt with armyng
And with vittaill and clething
Syne till a strenth thai held thar way
And thaim full manly governyt ay
460 Till on the tend day that the king
With all that war in his leding
Aryvyt into that countre
With thretty small galayis and thre.
The king aryvyt in Arane
465 And syne to the land is gane
And in a toune tuk his herbery,
And speryt syne specially
Gyff ony man couth tell tithand
Off ony strang man in that land.
470 'Yhis,' said a woman, 'Schyr perfay
Off strang men I kan you say
That ar cummyn in this countre,
And schort quhile syne throu thar bounte
Thai haff discomfyt our wardane
475 And mony off his men has slane,
Intill a stalwart place her-by
Reparis all thar cumpany.'
'Dame,' said the king, 'wald thou me wis
To that place quhar thar repair is
480 I sall reward the but lesing,
For thai ar all off my dwelling
And I rycht blythly wald thaim se
And sua trow I that thai wald me.'
'Yhis,' said scho, 'Schir I will blythly
485 Ga with you and your cumpany
Till that I schaw you thar repair.'
'That is ineuch my sister fayr,
Now ga we forth-wart,' said the king.
Than went thai furth but mar letting
490 Folowand hyr as scho thaim led
Till at the last scho schawyt a sted
To the king in a wode glen
And said, 'Schir, her saw I the men
That yhe sper after mak logyng.
495 Her I trow be thar reparyng.'
The king then blew his horn in hy
And gert the men that wer him by
Hald thaim still and all preve
And syne agayn his horn blew he.
500 James off Douglas herd him blaw
And he the blast alsone gan knaw
And said, 'Sothly yon is the king,
I knaw lang quhill syne his blawyng.'
The thrid tym thar-with-all he blew
505 And then Schir Robert Boid it knew
And said, 'Yone is the king but dreid
Ga we furth till him better speid.'
Than went thai till the king in hy
And hm inclynyt curtasly,
510 And blythly welcummyt thaim the kimg
And wes joyfull of thar meting
And kissit thaim and speryt syne
How thai had farne in thar outyne,
And thai him tauld all but lesing.
515 Syne lovyt thai God off thar meting,
Syne with the king till his herbery
Went bath joyfull and joly.
[The king sends a man to Carrick to see if he might land there]
The king apon the tother day
Gan till his preve menye say,
520 'Ye knaw all weill and ye may se
How we are out off our cuntre
Banyst throu Inglismennys mycht
And that that suld be ouris of rycht
Throu thar maistrys thai occupy,
525 And wald alsua foroutyne mercy
Giff thai haid mycht destroy us all.
Bot God forbeid it suld sa fall
Till us as thai mak manassyng
For than war thar na recoveryng,
530 And mankind biddis us that we
To procur vengeance besy be.
For ye may se we haiff thre thingis
That makis us oft monestingis
For to be worthi wis and wycht
535 And till anoy thaim at our mycht.
Ane is our lyffis saufte
That on na wys suld sauft be
Gyff thai had us at thar liking
The tother that makys us eggyng
540 Is that thai our possessioune
Haldis strenthly agayn resoun.
The thrid is the joy that we abid
Giff that it happyn as weill may tid
That we wyn victour and maistry,
545 Till ourcum thar felony.
Therfor we suld our hartis rais
Sua that na myscheyff us abais
And schaip us alwayis to that ending
That beris in it mensk and loving.
550 And tharfor lordingis gyff ye se
Amang you giff that it speidfull be
I will send a man in Carrik
To spy and sper our kynrik
How it is led and freynd and fa.
555 And giff he seis we land may ta
On Turnberys snuke he may
Mak a fyr on a certane day
And mak takynnyng till us that we
May thar aryve in saufte.
560 And giff he seis we may nocht sua,
Luk on na wys the fyr he ma.
Sua may we thar-throu haiff wittring
Off our passage or our dwelling.'
To this spek all assentyt ar,
565 And than the king withoutyn mar
Callyt ane that wes till him preve
And off Carrik his countre,
And chargyt him in les and mar
As ye hard me divis it ar
570 And set him certane day to mai
The fyr giff he saw it war sua
That thai had possibilite
To maynteyme wer in that cuntre.
And he that wes rycht weill in will
575 His lordis yharnyng to fullfill
As he that worthy wes and leile
And couth secreis rycht weill conseil
Sad he wes boune intill all thing
For to fulfill his commaunding,
580 And said he suld do sa wisely
That na repruff suld efter ly
Syne at the king his leiff has tane
And furth apon his way is gane.
[Cuthbert the spy discovers that Percy, in Turnberry Castle,
Now gais the messynger his way
585 That hat Cuthbert as I herd say.
In Carrik sone aryvyt he
And passyt throu all the countre,
Bot he fand few tharin perfay
That gud wald off his maister say,
590 For fele off thaim durst nocht for dreid,
And other sum rycht into deid
War fayis to the nobill king,
That rewyt syne thar barganyng.
Baith hey and law the land wes then
595 All occupyit with Inglismen
That dispytyt atour all thing
Robert the Bruce the douchty king.
Carrik wes giffyn then halyly
To Schir Henry the lord Persy
600 That in Turnberyis castell then
Was with weill ner three hunder men,
And dauntyt sagat all the land
That all wes till him obeysand.
This Cuthbert saw thar felony,
605 And saw the folk sa halely
Be worthyn Inglis baith rich and pur
That he to nane durst him discur,
But thocht to leve the fyr unmaid,
Syne till his maister went but baid
610 And all thar convyne till him tell,
That wes sa angry and sa fell.
[The king thinks he sees a fire; he prepares to cross to Carrick; his hostess
predicts his ultimate success, and gives him her two sons]
The king that intill Arane lay
Quhen that cummyn wes the day
That he set till his messinger
615 As Ik divisit you lang er
Eftyr the fyr he lokyt fast
And als sone as the none wes past
Him thocht weill he saw a fyr
Be Turnbery byrnand weill schyr,
620 And till his menye it gan schaw.
Ilk man thocht weill that he it saw,
Then with blyth hart the folk gan cry,
'Gud king, speid you deliverly
Sua that we sone in the evynnyng
625 Aryve foroutyn persayving.'
'I grant,' said he. 'Now mak you yar,
God furthyr us intill our far.'
Then in schort time men mycht thaim se
Schute all thar galayis to the se
630 And ber to se baith ayr and ster
And other thingis that myster wer,
And as the king apon the sand
Wes gangand up and doun, bidand
Till that his menye redy war,
635 His ost come rycht till him thar,
And quhen that scho him halyst had
A preve spek till him scho made
And said, 'Takis gud kep till my saw,
For or ye pas I sall you schaw
640 Off your fortoun a gret party,
Bot our all specially
A wyttring her I sall you ma
Quhat end that your purpos sall ta,
For in this land is nane trewly
645 Wate thingis to cum sa weill as I.
Ye pas now furth on your viage
To venge the harme and the outrag
That Inglismen has to you done,
Bot ye wat nocht quhat-kyne forton
650 Ye mon drey in your werraying.
Bot wyt ye weill withoutyn lesing
That fra ye now haiff takyn land
Nane sa mychty na sa strenththi of hand
Sal ger you pas out off your countre
655 Till all to you abandounyt be.
Within schort tyme ye sall be king
And haiff the land at your liking
And ourcum your fayis all,
Bot fele anoyis thole ye sall
660 Or that your purpos end haiff tane,
Bot ye sall thaim ourdryve ilkane.
And that ye trowis this sekyrly
My twa sonnys with you sall I
Send to tak part of your travaill,
665 For I wate weill thai sall nocht faill
To be rewardyt weill at rycht
Quhen ye are heyit to your mycht.'
[A discourse on prophecy]
The king that herd all hyr carping
Thankit hyr in mekill thing,
670 For scho confort him sumdeill,
The-quhethir he trowyt nocht full weill
Hyr spek, for he had gret ferly
How scho suld wyt it sekyrly,
As it wes wounderfull perfay
675 How ony mannys science may
Knaw thingis that ar to cum
Determinabilly, all or sum,
Bot giff that he inspyrit war
Off Him that all thing evermar
680 Seys in his presciens
As it war ay in presens, 680*
As was David and Jeremy 681
Samuell, Joell and Ysai,
That throu His haly grace gan tell
685 Fele thingis that efter fell, 684
Bot the prophetis sa thyn ar sawyn
That nane in erd now is knawin.
Bot fele folk ar sa curyous
And to wyt thingis covatous
690 That thai, throu thar gret clergy 689
Or ellys throu thar devilry,
On thir twa maneris makis fanding
Off thingis to cum to haiff knawing.
Ane of thaim is astrologi,
695 Quhar-throu clerkys that ar witty 694
May knaw conjunctiones of planetis,
And quhethir that thar cours thaim settis
In soft segis or in angry,
And off the hevyn all halyly
700 How that the dispositioun 699
Suld apon thingis wyrk her doun
On regiones or on climatis,
That wyrkys nocht ay-quhar agatis
Bot sumquhar les and sumquhar mar
705 Eftyr as thar bemys strekyt ar 704
Othir all evyn or on wry.
Bot me think it war gud maistri
Till ony astrolog to say
'This sall fall her and on this day.'
710 For thoucht a man his lyff haly 709
Studyit sua in astrology
That on sternys his hewid he brak,
The wys man sayis he suld nocht mak
All his lyff certane dayis thre,
715 And yeit suld he ay doute quhill he 714
Saw how that it come till ending.
Than is that na certane demyng.
Or gyff thai men that will study
In the craft off astrology
720 Knaw all mennys nacioun 719
And knew the constellacioun
That kyndlik maneris gyfis thaim till
For till inclyne to gud or ill,
How that thai throu science of clergi
725 Or throu slycht off astrology 724
Couth tell quhatkyn perell apperis
To thaim that haldys kyndlik maneris,
I trow that thai suld faile to say
The thingis that thaim happyn may.
730 For quhethir-sa men inclynyt be 729
To vertu or to mavyte,
He may rychtg weill refreynye his will
Othir throu nurtur or thru skill
And to the contrar turne him all.
735 And men has mony tyme sene fall 734
That men kyndly till ivill gevyn
Throu thar gret wit away has drevyn
Thar ill and worthin off gret renoun
Magre the constellacioun,
740 As Arestotill, giff as men redis 739
He had folowyt his kyndly dedis,
He had bene fals and covatous
Bot his wyt maid him vertuous.
And sen men may on this kyn wys
745 Wyrk agayne that cours that is 744
Principaill caus off thar demyng
Me think thar dome na certane thing.
Nygromancy the tother is
That kennys men on syndry wys
750 Throu stalwart conjuracionys 749
And throu exorcizacionys
To ger spyritis to thaim apper
And giff answeris on ser maner,
As quhilum did the Phitones
755 That quhen Saul abaysyt wes 754
Off the Felystynys mycht,
Raysyt throu hyr mekill slycht
Samuelis spyrite als tite,
Or in his sted the ivill spyrite
760 That gaiff rycht graith answer hyr to, 759
Bot off hyr selff rycht nocht wyst scho.
And man is into dreding ay
Off thingis that he has herd say,
Namly off thingis to cum, quhill he
765 Knaw off the end the certante. 764
And sen thai ar in sic wenyng
Foroutyne certante off witting,
Me think quha sayis he knawis thingis
To cum he makys gret gabingis.
770 Bot quhether scho that tauld the king 769
How his purpos suld tak ending
Wenyt or wist it witterly,
It fell efter halyly
As scho said, for syne king wes he
775 And off full mekill renommé 774.
Comments about this poem (The Brus Book IV by John Barbour )
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