Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/296

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Robert the Bruce.

[1314 A.D.-

and uncertain, except its main outlines, for the Irish annalists are very contradictory, and the minute details given by Barbour are not to be received without reserve. But, under that reserve, two incidents described by the poet will bear repetition.

The English army was encamped on the borders of Leinster, to resist the entrance of the two kings into that province. The King of Scots, who seems to have assumed the chief command, succeeded in outmanœuvring the enemy, and continued to advance upon Dublin. But while the Scots were passing through a wood, their rear division, under the immediate command of King Robert, were attacked by a party of English, who galled them with a destructive discharge of arrows. Edward, in command of the vanguard, continued to advance, unaware of the presence of the enemy. The King of Scots, suspecting that the archers were the advance party of the English army, would not allow any attempt to be made to disperse them, but continued to move forward in "schiltrome." Sir Colin Campbell, irritated by the daring of a couple of sharpshooters who pressed nearer than their comrades, turned his horse, galloped after them, and slew one with his spear. But the other bowman let fly a shaft which killed Sir Colin's horse. King Robert then rode up, and dealt Sir Colin such a blow with his truncheon that it felled the knight to the ground.

Disobedience—"the breking of bidding"—might not be overlooked at such a time, for it might have turned to their undoing.[1]

  1. The Brus, cxx.