Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/220

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Robert the Bruce.

[1307 A.D.-

his last despatch was issued, requiring wines and victuals to be sent from Dumfries for nine knights whom he was leaving in charge of the former town.[1] Aymer de Valence then returned to England, and either resigned or was removed from the command of Scotland, which had brought him so little glory. John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, was appointed Lieutenant and Guardian of Scotland in his place, September 13, 1307.[2]

Upon Edward II. now devolved the command of the army assembled by his sire for the subjugation of Scotland.

The new King of England was heralded by a prophecy, singularly mendacious, as the event proved. Merlin, it seems, had foretold of him "that a goat of the herd of Venus should succeed, with a silver beard and golden horns, breathing from his nostrils so great a cloud that the whole extent of the islands should be darkened." It would be superfluous to repeat nonsense such as this, but for the influence which it undoubtedly carried in a superstitious age. The monkish compiler of the contemporary Annales Londinenses clearly attaches some importance to it, and confidently pronounced the brighter of at least two interpretations of which the saying was capable. He declares that in Edward II. would be revealed the fulfilment of the prophet Daniel's vision—the goat coming from the west—and that by his surpassing military genius he would subdue the whole

  1. Bain, ii., 521.
  2. Ibid., iii., 3.