Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE EVE OF BANNOCKBURN, by JOHN BARBOUR



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THE EVE OF BANNOCKBURN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: And when it comis to the ficht
Last Line: "that your honour aye savit be."
Variant Title(s): Bruce Addresses His Army


"AND when it comis to the ficht
Ilk man set his heart and mycht
To stynt our fayis mekill pride.
On horse they sall arrayit ride
And come on you in weill great hy:
Meet them with speris hardily,
And wreak on them the mekill ill
That they and theiris has done us till,
And are in will yet for to do,
Gif they have mycht till come there-to.
And, certis, me think weill that we
For-out abasing oucht till be,
Worthy and of great vassalage,
For we have three great avantage:
The first is that we have the richt;
And for the richt ilk man suld ficht.
The tothir is, they are comin here
For lypning in their great power,
To seek us in our awne land,
And has broucht here, rycht till our hand,
Riches into so great plenty,
That the poorest of you sall be
Baith rich and mychty therewithal
Gif that we win, as weill may fall.
The thrid is, that we for our lyvis
And for our children and our wivis,
And for the fredome of our land,
Are strenyeit in battail for to stand;
And they for their mycht anerly,
And for they leit of us lichtly,
And for they wald destroy us all,
Mais them to ficht; bot yet may fall
That they sall rue their barganing.

. . . . .

And menis on your great manheid
Your worship and your doughty deed,
And of the joy that ye abyde,
Gif that us fallisk, as weill may tide,
Hap to vanquish the great battail.
Intil your handis forouten fail
Ye bear honour, pryss and richess,
Fredome, wealth and great blythness,
Gif ye conteyn you manfully;
And the contrar all halely
Sall fall gif ye let cowardice
And wickedness your hertis surprise.
Ye micht have livit into thraldom
Bot, for ye yearnit till have fredome,
Ye are assemblit here with me;
Therefore is needful that ye be
Worthy and wicht, but abaysing.
I warn you weill yet of a thing,
That mair mischief may fall us nane
Than in their handis to be tane.

. . . . .

Bot when I meyn of your stoutness,
And on the mony great prowess
That ye have done so worthily,
I trust, and trowis siccarly,
Till have plain victor in this ficht;
For though our fais have mekill mycht,
They have the wrang, and succudry
And covatise of senyory
Amovis them forouten mor.

. . . . .

I wot nocht what mair say sall I?
Ye wot weill all what honour is:
Conteyn you therefore on sic wise
That your honour aye savit be."





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