Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/104

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Robert the Bruce.

[1291 A.D.-

doubtless they carried their sting at the time. Here is one of them:

"Kyng Edward!
wanne thu hauest Berwic,
pike the!
wanne thu hauest geten,
dike the!"

The defences of the town were weak and resistance was soon overcome. The Earl of Cornwall's brother Richard, raising his visor to get a better view of the yielding foe, was struck in the forehead by a dart and killed. This greatly enraged the King, who incontinently gave the order "No quarter!" The slaughter went on for two whole days. Scottish historians agree with the English writer, Walter of Hemingburgh, in putting the number of those slain at between seven and eight thousand. Wyntoun says that what brought the massacre to an end at last, was that Edward himself saw a woman, in the act of childbirth, being put to the sword. At this horrible sight he turned away, crying "Laissez, laissez!"

The Flemish merchants of Berwick possessed a strong building called Aula Rubra, or the Red Hall. By their charter they were bound to defend this to the last against the English. Right well did the gallant fellows fulfil their engagement. They held out, after the town had been taken, till evensong, when the English set fire to their Red Hall, and its thirty defenders all perished in the flames.

The garrison of the castle were allowed to depart, after swearing they would never again bear arms