Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/214

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Robert the Bruce.

[1307 A.D.-

time that he had met the English in the open field, and his success, added to the losses inflicted on them in Glentrool, at Turnberry, and at Douglas, did much to inspire confidence among those already enrolled under his banner, as well as to attract recruits to his army. Some one has said that success is a horrible thing—it is so easily mistaken for merit. But ill success must be accounted even more horrible, for it robs merit of the support it ought to have. King Robert now began to reap the reward that success ensures to any cause apart from its merit. Still, it is difficult to believe that King Edward, had he lived, would have been baffled in reducing Scotland to subjection, backed as he was by many of her most powerful barons, such as the Earls of March, Fife, and Buchan, and by the chieftains of the old native race, such as the Macdoualls of Galloway and of Lorn. Sheer weight of numbers and superiority of resources, in the strong hands of Edward "Longshanks," must have prevailed in the end, even against one so redoubtable as his former vassal.

Aymer de Valence retreated to Ayr from the field of Loudon Hill. Three days later, Bruce defeated Sir Ralph de Monthermer, who also took refuge in Ayr castle. The King of Scots invested it, but was compelled to raise the siege on the approach of fresh troops,[1] and retired once more among the Galloway hills.

The violence of King Edward's illness abated on the approach of summer. He was able to sit in the saddle once more, and prepared to enter Scotland

  1. Scalacronica, 132; Trivet, 413; Hemingburgh, ii., 265.