Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/276

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Robert the Bruce.

[1314 A.D.

where the Earl of March opened his friendly gates, and received the King into safety.[1] From Dunbar Edward escaped in a small boat to Berwick,[2] whence he published a humiliating document on June 27th, announcing the loss of his signet, of which the keeper, Roger de Northburgh, with his two clerks, had been taken prisoner, and warning all persons against obeying orders issued under it. The King of Scots, however, was a foe too chivalrous to take unfair advantage of his opportunity; he returned the seal to Edward, on condition that it should not be used.

In like manner as Fordun attributed the victory of the Scots to the piety of their King, "who put his trust, not in a host of people, but in the Lord God," and conquered through the help of Him to whom it belongeth to give the victory," so Sir Thomas de la More ascribed King Edward's escape to the direct intervention of the Virgin, "for," says he, "it was not the speed of a horse nor craft of man that delivered the King from his enemies, but the Mother of God whom he invoked. He vowed to her and her Son that, if he escaped, he would build a house for poor Carmelites, dedicated to the Mother of God, to be used by twenty-four students of theology.

  1. Barbour describes the closeness of the pursuit in language so vivid, that Lord Hailes took refuge in Latin to convey the poet's illustration. Perhaps it is obscure enough in its antique English to endure quotation in the original.

    "And he was alwais by them ner,
    He let tham nocht haf sic laser
    As anis water for to ma."—The Brus, cix., 55.

  2. Lanercost, 227.