The Bruce (Selections)

By John Barbour

Edited by Jack Lynch

Note on the text: TK.

Storys to rede ar delitabill
Suppos that thai be nocht bot fabill;
Than suld storys that suthfast wer,
And thai war said on gud maner,
Hawe doubill plesance in heryng. [5]
The first plesance is the carpyng,
And the tothir the suthfastnes,
That schawys the thing rycht as it wes;
And suth thyngis that ar likand
Till mannys heryng ar plesand.   [10]
Tharfor I wald fayne set my will,
Giff my wyt mycht suffice thartill,
To put in wryt A suthfast story,
That it lest ay furth in memory,
Swa that na lenth of tyme It let,   [15]
Na ger it haly be forȝet.
For aulde storys that men redys
Representis to thaim the dedys
Of stalwart folk that lyvyt ar
Rycht as thai than in presence war.   [20]
And, certis, thai suld weill hawe prys
That in thar tyme war wycht and wys,
And led thar lyff in gret trawaill,
And oft in hard stour off bataill
Wan [richt] gret price off chewalry,   [25]
And war woydyt off cowardy.
As wes King Robert off Scotland,
That hardy wes off hart and hand;
And gud Schyr Iames off douglas,
That in his tyme sa worthy was,   [30]
That off hys price & hys bounte
In fer landis renownyt wes he.
Off thaim I thynk this buk to ma;
Now god gyff grace that I may swa
Tret It and bryng till endyng,   [35]
That I say nocht bot suthfast thing!

A! fredome is A noble thing!   [225]
Fredome mays man to haiff liking;
Fredome all solace to man giffis:
He levys at es that frely levys!
A noble hart may haiff nane es,
Na ellys nocht that may him ples   [230]
Gyff fredome failȝhe; for fre liking
Is ȝharnyt our all othir thing.
Na he, that ay has levyt fre,
May nocht knaw weill the propyrte,
The angyr, na the wrechyt dome,   [235]
That is cowplyt to foule thyrldome.
Bot giff he had perquer he suld It wyt;
And suld think fredome mar to prys
Than all the gold in warld that Is.   [240]
Thus contrar thingis euir-mar
Discoweryngis off the tothir ar.