Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/428

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[1329 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

"Certes thou wrocht has wis,
That thou discoverit the first to me,
For, gif thou had discoverit the
Io my nevo the erl Thomas
Thou suld disples the lord Douglas,
And him alsua in the contrer;
Bot I sail wirk on sic maner
That thou at thyn entent sall be
And haf of nane of tham magre."[1]

The dying King may have reflected that, after he should pass away, there would be no one to keep these fiery spirits in harmony. Moray would at once, as Parliament had enacted, assume the Regency, and it might be well that Douglas should have his hands full elsewhere.

Lastly, and perhaps most pressing of all, there was the King's unfulfilled oath to make war on the Infidel. Official oaths of fealty might be broken without loss of honour, a doctrine in which King Robert had proved his belief; but a knight's vow must be fulfilled at all cost and hazard.

Thus widely different must we esteem the motives which guided him in his latest act from any that would influence a modern statesman.

In conformity with the Act of Settlement of 1318, the Earl of Moray entered upon the Regency of the kingdom, and applied himself to the affairs of government, leaving Douglas free to prepare for his expedition. This was set about leisurely, on a scale befitting such a renowned chevalier and such a solemn occasion.

The material interests of the Church, as was usual,

  1. Magre, displeasure (The Brus, cxxv., 88).