The Battle of Bannockburn

SIR ROBERT the Bruce at Bannockburn
Beat the English in every wheel and turn,
And made them fly in great dismay
From off the field without delay.

The English were a hundred thousand strong,
And King Edward passed through the Lowlands all along.
Determined to conquer Scotland, it was his desire,
And then to restore it to his own empire.

King Edward brought numerous waggons in his train,
Expecting that most of the Scottish army would be slain,
Hoping to make the rest prisoners, and carry them away
In waggon-loads to London without delay.

The Scottish army did not amount to more than thirty thousand strong;
But Bruce had confidence he’d conquer his foes ere long;
So, to protect his little army, he thought it was right
To have deep-dug pits made in the night;

And caused them to be overlaid with turf and brushwood
Expecting the plan would prove effectual where his little army stood,
Waiting patiently for the break of day,
All willing to join in the deadly fray.

Bruce stationed himself at the head of the reserve,
Determined to conquer, but never to swerve,
And by his side were brave Kirkpatrick and true De Longueville,
Both trusty warriors, firm and bold, who would never him beguile.

By daybreak the whole of the English army came in view;
Consisting of archers and horsemen, bold and true;
The main body was led on by King Edward himself,
An avaricious man, and fond of pelf.

The Abbot of Inchaffray celebrated mass,
And all along the Scottish lines barefoot he did pass,
With the crucifix in his hand, a most beautitul sight to see,
Exhorting them to trust in God, and He would set them free.

Then the Scottish army knelt down on the field,
And King Edward he thought they were going to yield,
And he felt o’erjoyed, and cried to Earl Percy
“See! See! the Scots are crying for mercy.”

But Percy said, “Your Majesty need not make such a fuss,
They are crying for mercy from God, not from us;
For, depend upon it, they will fight to a man, and find their graves
Rather than yield to become your slaves.”

Then King Edward ordered his horsemen to charge,
Thirty thousand in number, it was very large;
They thought to o’erwhelm them ere they could rise from their knees,
But they met a different destiny, which did them displease;
For the horsemen fell into the spik’d pits in the way,
And, with broken ranks and confusion, they all fled away,
But few of them escap’d death from the spik’d pits,
For the Scots with their swords hack’d them to bits;
De Valence was overthrown and carried off the field,
Then King Edward he thought it was time to yield.

And he uttered a fearful cry
To his gay archers near by,
Ho! archers! draw your arrows to the head,
And make sure to kill them dead;
Forward, without dread, and make them fly,
Saint George for England, be our cry!

Then the arrows from their bows swiftly did go,
And fell amongst them as thick as the flakes of snow;
Then Bruce he drew his trusty blade,
And in heroic language said,
Forward! my heroes, bold and true!
And break the archers’ ranks through and through!
And charge them boldly with your swords in hand,
And chase these vultures from off our land,
And make King Edward mourn
The day he came to Bannockburn.

So proud Edward on his milk-white steed,
One of England’s finest breed,
Coming here in grand array,
With horsemen bold and archers gay,
Thinking he will us dismay,
And sweep everything before him in his way;
But I swear by yon blessed sun
I’ll make him and his army run
From off the field of Bannockburn.

By St. Andrew and our God most high,
We’ll conquer these epicures or die!
And make them fly like chaff before the wind
Until they can no refuge find;
And beat them from the field without delay,
Like lions bold and heroes gay
Upon them! — charge! — follow me,
Scotland’s rights and liberty!

Then the Scots charged them with sword in hand,
And made them fly from off their land;
And King Edward was amazed at the sight,
And he got wounded in the fight;
And he cried, Oh, heaven! England’s lost, and I’m undone,
Alas ! alas! where shall I run?
Then he turned his horse, and rode on afar,
And never halted till he reached Dunbar

Then Bruce he shouted, Victory!
We have gained our rights and liberty;
And thanks be to God above
That we have conquered King Edward this day,
A usurper that does not us love.

Then the Scots did shout and sing
Long live Sir Robert Bruce our King’
That made King Edward mourn
The day he came to Bannockburn!

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Comments (1) »

  1. John McMillan
    In the year 2013, on the 8th day of July at 4:53 pm

    This is probably the finest poem ever written that uses the phrase “without delay” three times.

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