Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BRUCE: HOW THE BRUCE CROSSED LOCH LOMOND, by JOHN BARBOUR



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BRUCE: HOW THE BRUCE CROSSED LOCH LOMOND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The king, he would no longer stay
Last Line: Till all had safely passed the flood.
Subject(s): Robert I. King Of Scotland (1274-1329); Bruce, Robert; The Bruce


THE king, he would no longer stay,
But to Loch Lomond took his way,
The third day to their goal they came,
But found no vessel at that same,
Which might them o'er the waters bear
I trow right woeful then they were.
The loch was broad they well must know,
At heart they feared them much, also,
To meet their foes, who spread full wide;
Therefore, along the water's side,
Full eagerly about they cast,
Till James of Douglas, at the last,
A little boat, half-sunken, found,
And drew it with all speed to ground.
But 't was so small, that boat, that ne'er
More than three men at once 't would bear.
They tell the king thereof, and he,
I trow, was glad exceedingly;
He first into the boat hath gone,
Douglas with him, the third was one
Who rowed them swift that water o'er,
And set them dry upon the shore.
He rowed so often to and fro
Fetching them over, two by two,
That in the space of night and day
Safely across the loch were they;
For some of them could swim full fair,
And on their back a burden bear,
By force of swimming, and of oar,
They and their goods across they bore.
The king, the while, right merrily,
Read to his men, who sat him nigh,
The tale of valiant Fierabras,
How that in strife vanquished he was,
In doughty wise, by Olivere;
And how, one while, the douze peres,
Were fast besieged in Egrimore --
When King Lavyne, the walls before,
With many thousands round them lay --
And but eleven then were they,
One woman with them -- Sore bestead,
They wist not where to look for bread,
Save what they from their foes might take,
And yet such brave defence did make
That they the tower held manfully,
Until Richard of Normandy,
Maugre his foes, might warn the king,
Who was right joyful of this thing,
For that he deemed they had been slain --
Wherefore he turned him back again,
Won Mantrybill, passed Flagote's flood,
Lavyne and all his host withstood,
And vanquished them right manfully!
And in this wise his knights set free,
And won the Nails, and eke the Spear,
And Crown of Thorns, as ye may hear;
And of the Cross, a portion fair
He won him by his valour there.
In this wise did the Scottish king,
To his men's hearts, fresh courage bring
With knightly game, and solace good,
Till all had safely passed the flood.





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