Scottish Poetry Selection
- Lord of the Isles (Part)

Here is Sir Walter Scott's account, from his long ballad "The Lord of the Isles", of the hand to hand combat between King Robert the Bruce and an English knight, Sir Henry de Bohun, on the day before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

From "Lord of the Isles"

Of Hereford's high blood he came,
A race renown'd for knightly fame.
He burned before his Monarch's eye
To do some deed of chivalry.
He spurr'd his steed, he couched his lance,
He darted on The Bruce at once.
As motionless as rocks, that bide
The wrath of the advancing tide,
The Bruce stood fast. - Each breast beat high,
And dazzled was each gazing eye -
The heart had hardly time to think,
The eyelid scarce had time to wink,
While on the King, like flash of flame,
Spurr'd to full speed the war-horse came!
The partridge may the falcon mock,
If that slight palfrey stand the shock -
But, swerving from the knight's career,
Just as they met, Bruce shunn'd the spear,
Onward the baffled warrior bore
His course - but soon his course was o'er! -
High in his stirrups stood the King,
And gave his battle-axe the swing.
Right on De Boune, the whiles he pass'd,
Fell that stern dint - the first - the last! -
Such strength upon the blow was put,
The helmet crash'd like hazel-nut;
The axe-shaft, with its brazen clasp,
Was shiver'd to the gauntlet grasp.
Springs from the blow the startled horse,
Drops to the plain the lifeless corse;
- First of that fatal field, how soon,
How sudden, fell the fierce De Boune!

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