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Through their great mischance and folly,
Wor treated then sa wickedly,
That their faesi their judges ware:
What wretchedness may man have mair? k
Ah! Freedom is a noble thing!
Freedom mays' man to have liking;'
Freedom all solace to man gives:
He lives at ease that freely lives!
A noble heart may have nane ease,
Ne elles nought that may him please
Giff freedom failye; for free liking
Is yarnit" ower all other thing.
Na he that aye has livit free

May nought knaw well the property,P
The anger, na the wretched doom,
That is couplit to foul thirldoom.
But gif he had assayit it,

Then all perquer he suld it wit;

And suld think freedom mair to prise

Than all the gold in warld that is.

It is, he goes on to observe, by its contrary, or opposite,

c Doomed, judged.

d Taking no heed, paying no regard.

f Ah! how cruelly they judged them!

e Reason.

g Cause.

h Both the sense and the metre seem to require that this then (in orig. than) should be transferred to the next line; "they hangit then."

i Also, thus.

j Foes.

* More.

1 Makes. m Pleasure. n Yearned for, desired.

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Over, above.

The quality, the peculiar state or condition? 4 Coupled, attached. Thraldom. 8


that the true nature of everything is best discovered ;the value and blessing of freedom, for example, are only to be fully felt in slavery; and then the worthy archdeacon, who, although the humorous is not his strongest ground, does not want slyness or a sense of the comic, winds up with a very singular illustration, which, however, is more suited to his own age than to ours, and may be suppressed here without injury to the statement.

But Barbour's design, no doubt, was to effect by means of this light and sportive conclusion an easy and harmonious descent from the height of declamation and passion to which he had been carried in the preceding lines. Throughout his long work he shows, for his time, a very remarkable feeling of the art of poetry, both by the variety which he studies in the disposition and treatment of his subject, and by the rare temperance and self-restraint which prevents him from ever overdoing what he is about either by prosing or raving. Even his patriotism, warm and steady as it is, is wholly without any vulgar narrowness or ferocity: he paints the injuries of his country with distinctness and force, and celebrates the heroism of her champions and deliverers with all admiration and sympathy; but he never runs into either the gasconading exaggerations or the furious depreciatory invectives which would, it might be thought, have better pleased the generality of those for whom he wrote. His understanding was too enlightened, and his heart too large, for that. His poem stands in this respect in striking contrast to that of Harry, the blind minstrel, on the exploits of Wallace, to be afterwards noticed; but each poet suited his hero—Barbour the magnanimous, considerate, and far-seeing

king; Blind Harry, the indomitable popular champion, with passion and principle, hatred of the domination of England, occupying his whole soul and being.

We will now give one of Barbour's portraits-that of Sir James of Douglas, the second figure in his canvas :—

All men lovit him for his bounty! a
For he wes of full fair effer,b
Wise, courtais, and deboner;
Large and lovand als wes he,
And ower all thing lovit lawty.c
Lawty to love is greatumly;d
Through lawty lives men righteously:
With ae virtue and lawty

A man may yet sufficiand be:


And but f lawty may nane have price,
Whether he be wight, or he be wise;
For where it failies na virtue
May be of price, na of value,
To mak a man sa gud that he
May simply callit gud man be.
He was in all his deedes leal; g
For him dedeigned nought to deal
With treachery; na with falset: i
His heart on high honour was set;
And him conteinit on sic manere
That all him lovit that were him near.
But he wes nought so fair that we
Suld speak greatly of his beauty;
In visage wes he some deal grey,
And had black hair, as Ick heard say;
But of limmes he wes weil made,
With banes great, and shuldres braid.

a Goodness of nature and disposition. Appearance, or rather, perhaps, demeanour, bearing. Great, magnanimous?


c Loyalty.

• One. The reading seems doubtful.

f Without.

Loyal, true, faithful. h He deigned (it deigned him). j Contained, held him in ?

1 Falsehood.

k I.

His body was weil made and leanie,'
As they that saw him said to me.
When he was blythem he was lovely,
And meek and sweet in company;
But wha in battle might him see
All other countenance had he.
And in speek" lispit he some deal;
But that sat him right wonder weil.
Till-gud Ector of Troy might he
In mony thinges likent be.

Ector had black hair, as he had;
And stark limmes, and right weil made;
And lispit alsua° as did he;

And wes fulfillit of leauty;

And was curtais, and wise, and wight.

But of manheid and mickle might

Till Ector dar I nane compare

Of all that ever in warldes ware.

The whether, in his time sa wrought he
That he suld greatly lovit be.

The only other passage for which we can make room is a short extract from the narrative of the great day of Bannockburn, which occupies altogether about 2000 lines of the poem, or the whole of the eighth and ninth Books of Dr. Jamieson's edition :

There might men see men felly fight;
And men that worthy war and wight
Do mony worthy vassalage.a

They faught as they war in a rage;

For, when the Scottis archery

Saw their fayes b sa sturdily

Stand in to battle them again,

With all their might and all their main

These three words seem not to be in the MS., and the

last of them at least may be doubted.


Cheerful, in good spirits. n Speech.
P However.

a Acts of valiant service.

。 Also.

b Foes.

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They laid on as men out of wit;


And where they with full strak might hit
There might na armour stint their strak.
They to-frushite that they might ower-tak ;f
And with axes sic dushes gave,

That they helmes and heades clave.
And their fayes right hardily



Met them, and dang on them doughtily
With wapins that were stythi of steel:
There was the battle strekit) weil.
Sa great din there wes of dints,
As wapins upon armour stints ;k
And of speares sa great bresting ;
And sic thrang, and sic thristing;"
Sic girning" graning, and sa great
A noise as they gan other beat;
And ensenies P on every side;
Givand and takand woundes wide;
That it was hideous for to hear.
All their four battles with that were
Fechtand in a front halily."
Ah! mighty God, how doughtily
Schir Edward the Bruce and his men
Amang their fais conteinit them then!
Fechtand in sa gud covine,

Sa hardy, worthy, and sa fine,
That their vaward rushit was,
And maugre theires, left the place;"
And, till their great rout," to warrand w
They went, that tane had upon hand ×

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Groaning. P War-cries.

a Fighting.

Wholly. Fighting all at once front to front?

• Maintained themselves? t Combination (covenant). "The meaning evidently is, that the van of the English was broken, and left its ground, in spite of the efforts of its own side to support it. ▾ To their great confusion. A place of shelter or refuge. * Who had received?

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