Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/267

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1314 A.D.]

The Battle of Bannockburn.


to the rear, and hidden in a glen on the ground still known as Gillies' Hill.[1]

While the Scottish divisions were taking up their positions, the English host came in view, making a magnificent and brilliant display in the morning sunlight. Edward's new favourite, Hugh le Despenser, was in his train; not better liked by the barons than the last one, if we may believe Sir Thomas de la More, who alludes to him as vecors ille milvus—that cowardly kite. There were in attendance also several bishops and other ecclesiastics. It is said that King Edward, when he saw the mean array opposed to him, lacking in all the gorgeous heraldry and splendid armour which blazed over his own columns, asked his attendants if these men really meant to fight. There were riding at his bridle the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Giles de Argentine, reputed the third knight in Christendom; but it was Sir Ingelram de Umfraville who made reply, saying that they assuredly would fight, and added the advice that the English should make a feint of retiring, so as to tempt the Scots into pursuit. He knew his countrymen too well to doubt that they would break away from their position as soon as they believed the English were in retreat, in spite of all their officers might do. Once get them out of the formidable "schiltrome" formation and they would be completely at the mercy of the better equipped and mounted English.

But King Edward would none of his advice; he was too proud even to affect to retire before such

  1. Meaning "the Servants' Hill"; from the Gaelic giola, a servant.