John Barbour (c.1320 – 13 March 1395 / Aberdeenshire or Galloway, Scotland)
The Brus Book V
The king goes to Carrick; he upbraids Cuthbert]
Thys wes in ver quhen wynter tid
With his blastis hidwys to bid
Was ourdryvyn and byrdis smale
As turturis and the nychtyngale
5 Begouth rycht sariely to syng
And for to mak in thar singyng
Swete notis and sounys ser
And melodys plesand to her
And the treis begouth to ma
10 Burgeans and brycht blomys alsua
To wyn the helynd of thar hevid
That wykkyt wynter had thaim revid,
And all gressys beguth to spryng.
Into that tyme the nobill king
15 With his flote and a few mengye
Thre hunder I trow thai mycht be,
Is to the se oute off Arane
A litill forouth evyn gane.
Thai rowit fast with all thar mycht
20 Till that apon thaim fell the nycht
That woux myrk apon gret maner
Sua that thai wyst nocht quhar thai wer
For thai na nedill had na stane,
Bot rowyt alwayis intill ane
25 Sterand all tyme apon the fyr
That thai saw brynnand lycht and schyr.
It wes bot aventur thaim led
And thai in schort tyme sa thaim sped
That at the fyr aryvyt thai
30 And went to land but mair delay.
And Cuthbert that has sene the fyr
Was full of angyr and off ire,
For he durst nocht do it away
And wes alsua doutand ay
35 That his lord suld pas to se.
Tharfor thar cummyng waytit he
And met thaim at thar aryving.
He wes wele sone brocht to the kimg
That speryt at him how he had done,
40 And he with sar hart tauld him sone
How that he fand nane weill luffand
Bot all war fayis that he fand,
And that the lord the Persy
With ner thre hunder in cumpany
45 Was in the castell thar besid
Fullfillyt of dispyt and prid
Bot ma than twa partis off his rowt
War herberyt in the toune without,
'And dyspytyt you mar, schyr king,
50 Than men may dispyt ony thing.'
Than said the king in full gret ire,
'Tratour, quhy maid thou than the fyr?'
'A schyr,' said he, 'Sa God me se
The fyr wes nevyr maid for me,
55 Na or the nycht I wyst it nocht,
Bot fra I wyst it weill I thocht
That ye and haly your menye
On hy suld put you to the se,
For-thi I come to mete you her
60 To tell perellys that may aper.'
[The king decides to stay to attack Percy's men in a village by Turnberry]
The king wes off his spek angry
And askyt his pryve men in hy
Quhat at thaim thocht wes best to do.
Schyr Edward fryst answert tharto
65 His brodyr that wes sua hardy,
And said, 'I say you sekyrly
Thar sall na perell that may be
Dryve me eftsonys to the se.
Myne aventur her tak will I
70 Quhethir it be esfull or angry.'
'Brother,' he said, 'sen thou will sua
It is gud that we samyn ta
Dissese or ese or payne or play
Eftyr as God will us purvay.
75 And sen men sayis that the Persy
Myn heritage will occupy,
And his menye sa ner us lyis
That us dispytis mony wys,
Ga we and venge sum off the dispyte,
80 And that may we haiff done als tite
For thai ly traistly but dreding
Off us or off our her-cummyng,
And thocht we slepand slew thaim all
Repruff tharoff na man sall
85 For werrayour na fors suld ma
Quhether he mycht ourcum his fa
Throu strenth or throu sutelte,
Bot that gud faith ay haldyn be.'
Quhen this wes said thai went thar way,
90 And to the toune sone cummyn ar thai
Sa prevely but noyis making
That nane persavyt thar cummyng.
Thai skalyt throu the toun in hy
And brak up duris sturdely
95 And slew all that thai mycht ourtak,
And thai that na defence mocht mak
Full petously gan rar and cry,
And thai slew thaim dispitously
As thai that war in full gud will
100 To venge the angyr and the ill
That thai and thairis had thaim wrocht.
Thai with sa feloun will thaim soucht
That thai slew thaim everilkan
Owtane Makdowell him allan
105 That eschapyt throu gret slycht
And throu the myrknes off the nycht.
In the castell the lord the Persy
Hard weill the noyis and the cry,
Sa did the men that within wer
110 And full effraytly gat thar ger,
Bot off thaim wes nane sa hardy
That ever ischyt fourth to the cry.
In sic effray thai baid that nycht
Till on the morn that day wes lycht,
115 And than cesyt into party
The noyis the slauchtyr and the cry.
The king gert be departyt then
All hale the reff amang the men
And dwellyt all still thar dayis thre.
120 Syk hansell to that fokk gaiff he
rycht in the fyrst begynnyng
Newlingis at his aryvyng.
[A kinswoman gives him news and forty men]
Quhen that the king and his folk war
Aryvyt as I tauld you ar,
125 Aquhile in Karryk leyndyt he
To se quha freynde or fa wald be,
Bot he fand litill tendyrnes,
And nocht-forthi the puple wes
Enclynyt till him in party,
130 Bot Inglismen sa angrely
Led thaim with daunger and with aw
That thai na freyndschip durst him schaw.
Bot a lady off that cuntre
That wes till him in ner degre
135 Of cosynage wes wonder blyth
Off his aryvyng and alswyth
Sped hyr till him in full gret hy
With fourty men in cumpany
And betaucht thaim all to the king
140 Till help him in his werraying,
And he resavyt thaim in daynte
And hyr full gretly thankit he,
And speryt tythandis off the queyne
And off his freyndis all bedene
145 That he had left in that countre
Quhen that he put him to the se.
And scho him tauld sichand full sar
How that his brothyr takyn war
In the castell off Kyldromy
150 And destroyit sa velanysly
And the erle off Athall alsua
And how the queyn and other ma
That till his party war heldand
War tane and led in Ingland
155 And put in feloun presoune,
And how that Cristole off Setoun
Wes slayn, gretand scho tauld the king,
That sorowful wes off that tithing
And said quhen he had thocht a thraw
160 Thir wordis that I sall you schaw.
'Allace,' he said, 'For luff off me
And for thar mekill lawte
Thai nobill men and thai worthy
Ar destroyit sa velanysly
165 Bot and I leyff in lege-powyste
Thar deid rycht weill sall vengit be.
The king the-quhether off Ingland
Thocht that the kynrik off Scotland
Was to litill to thaim and me
170 Tharfor he will it myn all be.
Bot off gud Cristole off Setoun
That wes off sa nobill renoun
That he suld dey war gret pite
Bot quhar worschip mycht provyt be.'
[Percy is rescued from Turnberry castle]
175 The king sichand thus maid his mayn
And the lady hyr leyff has tayn
And went hyr hame till hyr wonnyng
And fele sys confort the king
Bath with silver and with mete
180 Sic as scho in the land mycht get.
And he oft ryot all the land
And maid all his that ever he fand
And syne drew him till the hycht
To stynt better his fayis mycht.
185 In all that tym wes the Persy
With a full sympill cumpany
In Turnberys castell lyand,
For the King Robert sua dredand
That he durst nocht isch furth to fayr
190 Fra thine to the castell off Ayr
That wes then full off Inglismen,
Bot lay lurkand as in a den
Tyll the men off Northummyrland
Suld cum armyt and with strang hand
195 Convoy him till his cuntre.
For his saynd till thaim send he,
And thai in hy assemblyt then
Passand I weyne a thousand men
And askyt avisement thaim amang
200 Quhether that thai suld dwell or gang,
Bot thai war skownrand wonder sar
Sa fer into Scotland for to far,
For a knycht, Schyr Gawter the Lile
Said it wes all to gret perile
205 Sua ner thai schavalduris to ga.
His spek discomfort thaim sua
That thai had left all thar vyage
Na war a knycht off gret corage
That Schyr Roger off Sanct Jhon hycht
210 That thaim confort with all his mycht,
And sic wordis to thaim gan say
That thai all samyn held thar way
Till Turnbery, quhar the Persy
Lap on and went with thaim in hy
215 In Ingland his castell till
Foroutyn distroublyne or ill.
[Douglas decides to visit his lands]
Now in Ingland is the Persy
Quhar I trow he a quhile sall ly
Or that he schap hym for to fayr
220 To werray Carryk ony mar,
For he wyst he had na rycht
And als he dreid the kyngys mycht
That in Carrik wes travailland
In the maist strenth off the land,
225 Quhar Jamys off Douglas on a day
Come to the king and gan him say,
'Schyr, with your leyve I wald ga se
How that thai do in my contre
And how my men demanyt ar,
230 For it anoyis me wonder sar
That the Clyffurd sa pesabylly
Brukys and haldys the senyoury
That suld be myn with alkyn rycht
Bot quhile I lyff and may haiff mycht
235 To lede a yowman or a swayne
He sall nocht bruk it but bargayne.'
The king said, 'Certis I can nocht se
How that thou yeit may sekyr be
Into that countre for to far
240 Quhar Inglismen sa mychty ar
And thou wate nocht quha is thi freynd.'
He said, 'Schyr, nedways I will wend
And tak that aventur will giff
Quhether-sa it be to dey or lyff.'
245 The king said, 'Sen it is sua
That thou sic yarning has to ga
Thou sall pas furth with my blyssing,
And giff the hapnys ony thing
That anoyis or scaithfull be
250 I pray the sped the sone to me
And tak we samyn quhatever may fall.'
'I grante,' he said and thar-with-all
He lowtyt and his leve has tane
And towart his countre is he gane.
[Douglas meets Tom Dickson; he acquires a following]
255 Now takis James his viage
Towart Douglas his heritage
With twa yemen foroutyn ma.
That wes a symple stuff to ta
A land or castell to wyn,
260 The-quhether he yarnyt to begyn
Till bring purpos till ending
For gud help is in gud begynnyng
For gud begynnyng and hardy
Gyff it be folowit wittily
265 May ger oftsys unlikly thing
Cum to full conabill ending.
Sua did it her, bot he wes wys
And saw he mycht on nakyn wys
Werray his fa with evyn mycht
270 Tharfor he thocht to wyrk with slycht,
And in Douglasdaile his countre
Apon ane evynnyng entryt he.
And than a man wonnyt tharby,
That wes off freyndis weill mychty
275 And ryche off mobleis and off cateill
And had bene till his fadyr leyll,
And till himselff in his youthed
He haid done mony a thankfull deid,
Thom Dicson wes his name perfay.
280 Till him he send and gan him pray
That he wald cum all anerly
For to spek with him prevely,
And he but daunger till him gais.
Bot fra he tauld him quhat he wais
285 He gret for joy and for pite
And him rycht till his hous had he,
Quhar in a chambre prevely
He held him and his cumpany,
That nane of him had persaving.
290 Off mete and drynk and other thing
That mycht thaim eys thai had plente.
Sa wrocht he throu sutelte
That all the lele men off that land
That with his fadyr war dwelland
295 This gud man gert cum ane and ane
And mak him manrent everilkane,
And he himselff fyrst homage maid.
Douglas in hart gret glaidschip haid
That the gud men off his cuntre
300 Wald suagate till him bundyn be.
He speryt the convyne off the land
And quha the castell had in hand
And thai him tauld all halily,
And syne amang thaim prevely
305 Thai ordanyt that he still suld be
In hiddillis and in prevete
Till Palme Sonday that wes ner-hand
The thrid day efter folowand
For than the folk off that countre
310 Assemblyt at the kyrk wald be,
And thai that in the castell wer
Wald als be thar thar palmys to ber
As folk that had na dreid off ill
For thai thocht that all was at thar will.
315 Than suld he cum with his twa men,
Bot for that men suld nocht him ken
He suld ane mantill have auld and bar
And a flaill as he a thresscher war.
Under the mantill nocht-forthi
320 He suld be armyt prevely,
And quhen the men off his countre
That suld all boune befor him be
His ensenye mycht her hym cry,
Then suld thai full enforcely
325 Rycht ymyddys the kirk assaill
The Inglismen with hard bataill
Sua that nane mycht eschap thaim fra,
For thar-throuch trowyt thai to ta
The castell that besid wes ner.
330 And quhen this that I tell you her
Wes divisyt and undertane
Ilkane till his hous hame is gane
And held this spek in prevete
Till the day off thar assemble.
[The garrison are attacked and many slain in kirk;
the castle is taken; the Douglas Lardner; slighting of the castle]
335 The folk apon the Sonounday
Held to Saynct Bridis kyrk thar way,
And thai that in the castell war
Ischyt out bath less and mar
And went thar palmys for to ber,
340 Outane a cuk and a portere.
James off Douglas off thar cummyng
And quhat thai war had witting,
And sped him till the kyrk in hy,
Bot or he come, to hastily
345 Ane of his cryit, 'Douglas, Douglas.'
Thomas Dikson, that nerrest was
Till thaim that war off the castell
That war all innouth the chancell,
Quhen he 'Douglas' sua hey hard cry
350 Drew out his swerd and fellely
Ruschyt amang thame to and fra,
Bot ane or twa foroutin ma
Than in hy war left lyand,
Quhill Douglas come rycht at hand
355 And then enforcyt on thaim the cry,
Bot thai the chansell sturdely
Held and thaim defendyt wele
Till off thar men war slayne sumdell.
Bot the Douglace sa weill him bar
360 That all the men that with him war
Had confort off his wele-doyng,
And he him sparyt nakyn thing
Bot provyt sua his force in fycht
That throu his woschip and his mycht
365 His men sa keynly helpyt than
That thai the chansell on thaim wan.
Than dang thai on sua hardyly
That in schort tyme men mycht se ly
The twa part dede or then deand,
370 The lave war sesyt sone in hand
Sua that off thretty levyt nane
That thaine war slayne ilkan or tane.
James off Douglas quhen this wes done
The presoneris has he tane alsone
375 And with thaim off his cumpany
Towart the castell went in hy
Or noyis or cry suld rys,
And for he wald thaim sone suppris
That levyt in the castell war
380 That war bot twa foroutyn mar,
Fyve men or sex befor send he
That fand all opyn the entre
And entryt and the porter tuk
Rycht at the yate and syne the cuk.
385 With that the Douglas come to the yat
And entryt in foroutyn debate
And fand the mete all redy graid
And burdys set and claithis laid
The yhattis then he gert sper
390 And sat and eyt all at layser,
Syne all the gudis turssyt thai
That thaim thocht thai mycht haiff away,
And namly wapnys and armyng
Silver and tresour and clethyng.
395 Vittalis that mycht nocht tursyt be
On this maner destroyit he,
Als quheyt and flour and meill and malt
In the wyne-sellar gert he bring
400 And samyn on the flur all flyng
And the presonaris that he had tane
Rycht tharin gert he heid ilkane,
Syne off the tounnys the hedis outstrak.
A foul melle thar gane he mak,
405 For meile and malt and blud and wyne
Rane all togidder in a mellyne
That was un semly for to se.
Tharfor the men off that countre
For sua fele thar mellyt wer
410 Callit it 'the Douglas lardner.'
Syne tuk he salt as Ic hard tell
And ded hors and fordid the well,
And brynt all outakyn stane,
And is furth with his menye gayne
415 Till his resett, for him thocht weill
Giff he had haldyn the castell
It had bene assegyt raith
And that him thocht to mekill waith,
For he had na hop of reskewyng.
420 And it is to peralous thing
In castell assegyt to be
Quhar want is off thir thingis thre,
Vittaill or men with thar armyng
Or than gud hop off rescuyng,
425 And for he dred thir thingis suld faile
He chesyt furthwart to travaill
Quhar he mycht at his larges be
And sua dryve furth his destane.
[Douglas withdraws; Clifford repairs the castle]
On this wise wes the castell tan
430 And slayne that war tharin ilkan.
The Douglas syne all his menye
Gert in ser placis departyt be,
For men suld les wyt quhar thai war
That yeid departyt her and thar.
435 Thaim that war woundyt gert he ly
Intill hiddillis all prevely,
And gert gud lechis till thaim bring
Quhill that thai war intill heling,
And himselff with a few menye
440 Quhile ane quhile twa and quhilis thre
And umquhill all him allane
In hiddillis throu the land is gane.
Sa dred he Inglismennys mycht
That he durst nocht wele cum in sycht
445 For thai war that tyme all-weldand
As maist lordis our all the land.
Bot tithandis that scalis sone
Off this deid that Douglas has done
Come to the Cliffurd his ere in hy,
450 That for his tynsaill wes sary
And menyt his men that thai had slane,
And syne has to his purpos tane
To big the castell up agayne.
Tharfor as man off mekill mayne
455 He assemblit gret cumpany,
And till Douglas he went in hy
And biggyt up the castell swyth
And maid it rycht stalwart and styth
And put tharin vittalis and men.
460 Ane of the Thyrlwallys then
He left behind him capitane
And syne till Ingland went agayne.
[Umfraville finds a kinsman of the king willing to slay him]
Into Carrik lyis the king
With a full symple gadryng,
465 He passyt nocht twa hunder men.
Bot Schyr Edward his broder then
Wes in Galloway weill ner him by,
With him ane other cumpany
That held the strenthis off the land,
470 For thai durst nocht yeit tak on hand
Till our-rid the land planly.
For off Valence Schyr Amery
Was intill Edynburgh lyand
That yeyt was wardane of the land
475 Underneyth the Inglis king,
And quhen he herd off the cummyng
Off King Robert and his menye
Into Carryk and how that he
Had slain off the Persyis men
480 His consaile he assemblit then,
And with assent off his consaill
He sent till Ar him till assaill
Schyr Ingrame the Umfravill that wes hardy
And with him a gret cumpany.
485 And quhen Schyr Ingram cummyn wes thar
Him thocht nocht speidfull for till far
Till assaile him into the hycht,
Tharfor he thocht to wyrk with slycht
And lay still in the castell than
490 Till he gat speryng that a man
Off Carrik, that wes sley and wycht
And a man als off mekill mycht
As off the men off that cuntre,
Wes to the King Robert mast preve
495 As he that wes his sibman ner,
And quhen he wald foroutyn danger
Mycht to the kingis presence ga,
The-quhether he and his sonnys twa
War wonnand still in the cuntre
500 For thai wald nocht persayvit be
That thai war speciall to the king.
Thai maid him mony tyme warnyng
Quhen that thai his tynsaill mycht se,
Forthi in thaim affyit he.
505 His name can I nocht tell perfay,
Bot Ik haiff herd syndry men say
Forsuth that his ane e wes out 506
Bot he sa sturdy wes and stout 507
That he wes the maist doutit man 507
510 That in Carrik lyvyt than. 508
And quhen Schyr Ingrame gat wittering
Forsuth this wes na gabbing,
Efter him in hy he sent
And he come at his commandment.
515 Schyr Ingrame that was sley and wis 513
Tretyt with him than on sic wys
That he maid sekyr undertaking
In tresoun for to slay the king,
And he suld haiff for his service
520 Gyff he fullfillyt thar divice 518
Weill fourty pundis worth off land
Till him and till his ayris ay lestand.
[The traitor and his sons seek to kill the king but are killed]
The tresoun thus is undertane,
And he hame till his hous is gane
525 And wattyt opertunyte 523
For to fulfill his mavyte.
In gret perell than was the king
That off this tresoun wyst na thing,
For he that he traistit maist of ane
530 His ded falsly has undertane, 528
And nane may betreys tyttar than he
That man in trowis leawté.
The king in him traistyt, forthi
He had fullfillyt his felony
535 Ne war the king throu Goddis grace 533
Gat hale witting of his purchace,
And how and for how mekill land
He tuk his slauchter apon hand.
I wate nocht quha the warnyng maid,
540 Bot on all tym sic hap he had 538
That quhen men schup thaim to betrais
He gat witting tharoff allwayis
And mony tyme as I herd say
Throu wemen that he wyth wald play
545 That wald tell all that thai mycht her, 543
And sua myvht happyn that it fell her,
Bot how that ever it fell perdé
I trow he sall the warrer be.
Nocht-forthi the tratour ay
550 Had in his thocht bath nycht and day 548
How he mycht best bring till ending
His tresonabill undretaking,
Till he umbethinkand him at the last
Intill his hart gan umbecast
555 That the king had in custome ay 553
For to rys arly ilk day
And pas weill fer fra his menye
Quhen he wald pas to the preve,
And sek a covert him allane
560 Or at the maist with him ane. 558
Thar thocht he with his sonnys twa
For to supprise the king and sla
And syne went to the wod thar way,
Bot yeit off purpos failit thai,
565 And nocht-forthi thai come all thre 563
In a covert that wes preve
Quhar the king oft wes wont to ga
His preve nedys for to ma.
Thair hid thai thaim till his cumming,
570 And the king into the mornyng 568
Rais quhen that his liking was
And rycht towart that covert gais
Quhar lyand war the tratouris thre
For to do thar his prevete.
575 To tresoun tuk he then na heid 573
Bot he wes wont quharever he yeid
His swerd about his hals to ber
And that availlyt him gretli ther
For had nocht God all thing weldand
580 Set help intill his awine hand 578
He had bene ded withoutyn dreid.
A chamber page thar with him yeid,
And sua foroutyn falowis ma
Towart the covert gan he ga.
585 Now bot God help the noble king 583
He is ner-hand till his ending,
For that covert that he yeid till
Wes on the tother sid a hill
That nane of his men mycht it se.
590 Thiddirwart went this page and he 588
And quhen he cummyn wes in the schaw
He saw thai thre cum all on raw
Aganys him full sturdely.
Than till his boy he said in hy,
595 'Yon men will slay us and thai may. 593
Quhat wapyn has thou?' 'Ha, Schyr, perfay
Ik haiff bot a bow and a wyr.'
'Giff thaim me smertly bath.' A, Schyr
Howgaite will ye that I do?'
600 'Stand on fer and behald us to. 598
Giff thou seis me abovyn be
Thou sall haiff wapynnys gret plente,
And giff I dey, withdraw the sone.'
With thai wordis foroutyn hone
605 He tyte the bow out off his hand, 603
For the tratouris war ner cummand.
The fader had a swerd but mar,
The tother bath swerd and hand-ax bar,
The thrid a swerd had and a sper.
610 The king persavt be thar affer 608
That all wes as men had him tauld.
'Tratour,' he said, 'thou has me sauld.
Cum na forthyr bot hald the thar.
I will thou cum na forthermar.'
615 'A, Schyr, umbethinkis you,' said he, 613
How ner that I suld to you be.
Quha suld cum ner you bot I?'
The king said, 'I will sekirly
That thou at this tyme cum nocht ner.
620 Thou may say quhat thou will on fer.' 618
Bot he with fals wordis flechand
Was with his twa sonnys cummand.
Quhen the king saw he wald nocht let
Bot ay come on fenyeand falset
625 He taisyt the wyre and leit it fley, 623
And hyt the fader in the ey
Till it rycht in the harnys ran
And he bakwart fell doun rycht than.
The brother that the hand-ax bar
630 Sua saw his fader liand thar, 628
A gyrd rycht to the king he couth maik
And with the ax hym our-straik,
Bot he that had his sword on hycht
Roucht him sic rout in randoun rycht
635 That he the hede till the harnys claiff 633
And dede downe till the erd him draiff.
The tother broder that bar the sper
Saw his brodyr fallin ther
And with the sper as angry man
640 With a rais till the king he ran. 638
Bot the king that him dred sumthing
Waytyt the sper in the cummyng
And with a wysk the hed off strak,
And or the tother had toyme to tak
645 His swerd the king sic swak him gaiff 643
That he the hede till the harnys claiff,
He ruschyt down off blud all reid.
And quhen the king saw thai war all ded
All thre lyand he wipit his brand,
650 With that his boy come fast rynnand 648
And said, 'Our Lord mot lovyt be
That grantyt you mycht and powste
To fell the felny and the prid
Off thir thre in sua litill tid.'
655 The king said, 'Sa our Lord me se 653
Thai had bene worthi men all thre
Had thai nocht bene full off tresoun,
Bot that maid thar confusioun.'
Comments about this poem (The Brus Book V by John Barbour )
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