miserable places of shelter, in which he could venture to take some repose after his disasters, he lay stretched upon a handful of straw, and abandoned himself to his melancholy meditations. He had now been defeated four times, and was upon the point of resolving to abandon all hopes of further opposition to his fate, and to go to the Holy Land. It chanced his eye, while he was thus pondering, was attracted by the exertions of a spider; who, in order to fix his web; endeavoured to swing himself from one beam to another above his head. Involuntarily he became interested in the pertinacity with which the insect renewed his exertions, after failing six times; and it occurred to him that he would decide his own course aecording to the success or failure of the spider. At the seventh effort the insect gained his object; and Bruce, in like manner, persevered and carried his own. Hence it has been held unlucky or ungrateful, or both, in one of the flame of Bruce to kill a spider.

The arch-deacon of Aberdeen, instead of the abbot of this tale, introduces an Irish Pythoness, who not only predicted his good fortune as he left the island of Rachrin, but sent her two sons along with him, to ensure her own family a share in it.

“ Then in short time men might them see
Shoot all their galleys to the sea,
And bear to sea both oar and steer,
And other things that mister' were.

[ocr errors]

And as the king upon the sand Was ganging up and down, bidand! Till that his men ready were, His host come right till him there, And when that she him halsed had, And privy speech till him she made; And said, “ Take good keep till my saw, “ For or ye påss I will ye show, « Off your fortoun a great party. " But our all specially

A wittering here I shall you ma, “ What end that your purposs shall ta. « For in this land is none trewly 6 Wots things to come so well as I. “ Ye pass now furth on your voyage, To avenge the harme, and the outrage, “ That Inglissmen has to you done; “But you wot not what kind fortune “ Ye mon drey in your warring. “ But wyt ye well, without lying, “ That from ye now have taken land, “ None so mighty, no so strenthle of hand, “ Sball make you pass out of your country « Till all to you abandoned be. “ Within short time ye shall be king, “ And have the land to your likeing, “ And overcome your foes all. “ But many anoyis thole ye sball, “• Or that your purpose end have tane ; “ But you shall them outdrire ilkane. “ And, that ye trow this sekyrly, “ My two sons with you shall I “ Send to take part of your labour; “ For I wote well they shall not fail


“ To be rewarded well at right,
“ When ye are heyit to your might."
BARBOUR'S BRUCE, Book IV., p. 120, edited by

J. Pinkerton, London, 1790.

Note XX.
A hunted wanderer on the wild.--St. XXXII. p. 77.
This is not metaphorical. The echoes of Scotland did



With the bloodhounds that bayed for her fugitive king.

A very curious and romantic tale is told by Barbour upon this
subject, which may be abridged as follows:-
-When Bruce had again got footing in Scotland in the spring
of 1306, he continued to be in a very weak and precarious
condition, gaining, indeed, occasional advantages, but obliged
to fly before his enemies whenever they assembled in force.
Upon one occasion, while he was lying with a small party in
the wilds of Cumnock, in Ayrshire, Aymer de Valence, Earl
of Pembroke, with his inveterate foe John of Lorn, came
against him suddenly with eight hundred highlanders, besides
a large body of men at arms. They brought with them a
slough-dog, or blood-hound, which, some say, had been once
a favourite with the Bruce himself, and therefore was least
likely to lose the trace. -
i Bruce, whose force was under four hundred men, continued

to make head against the cavalry, till the men of Lorn had nearly cut off his retreat. Perceiving the danger of his situation, he acted as the celebrated and ill-requited Mina is said to have done in similar circumstances. He divided his force into three parts, appointed a place of rendezvous, and commanded them to retreat by different routes. But when John of Lorn arrived at the spot where they divided, he caused the hound to be put upon the trace, which immediately directed him to the pursuit of that party which Bruce headed. This, therefore, Lorn pursued with his whole force, paying no atten. tion to the others. The king again subdivided his small body into three parts, and with the same result, for the pursuers attached themselves exclusively to that which he led in per, son. He then caused his followers to disperse, and retained only his foster-brother in his company. The slough-dog followed the trace, and, peglecting the others, attached himself and his attendants to pursuit of the king. Lorn became con. vinced that his enemy was nearly in his power, and detached five of his most active attendants to follow him, and interrupt his flight. They did so with all the agility of mountaineers. “What aid wilt thou make ??' said Bruce to his single attend ant, when he saw the five men gain ground on him, “The best I can,” replied his foster-brother. “Then," said Bruce, 6 here I make my stand." The five parsuers came up fast. The king took three to himself, leaving the other two to his foster-brother. He slew the first who encountered him; but observing his foster-brother hard pressed, he sprung to his

assistance, and dispatched one of his assailants. Leaving him to deal with the survivor, he returned upon the other two, both of whom he slew before his foster-brother had dispatched his single antagonista When this hard encounter was over, with a courtesy, which in the whole work marks Bruce's character, he thanked his foster-brother for his aid. “ It likes you to say so," answered his follower ; " but you yourself slew four of the five.” “ True," said the king, “but only because I had better opportunity than you. They were not apprehensive of me when they saw me encounter three, so I had a moment's time to spring to thy aid, and to return equally unexpectedly upon my own opponents.”

In the meanwhile Lorn's party, approached rapidly, and the king and his foster-brother betook themselves to a neighbouring wood. Here they sat down, for Bruce was exhausted by fatigue, until the cry of the slough-hound

ame so near, that his foster-brother entreated Bruce to provide for his safety by retreating farther.:“ I have heard," answered the king, “ that whosoever will wade a bow-shot length down a running stream, shall make the slough-hound lose scent. Let us try the experiment, for were yon devilish hound silenced, I should care little for the rest."

Lorn in the meanwhile advanced, and found the bodies of his slain vassals, over whom he made his moan, and threatened the most deadly vengeance. Then he followed the hound to the side of the brook, down which the king had waded a great way. Here the hound was at fault, and John of Lorn,


[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »