Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/221

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1313 A.D.]

Campaigns of Edward II.


realm of King Arthur, namely, Scotland, Norway, Denmark, and France.

Edward of Carnarvon soon betrayed how little of the resolute spirit of the father had descended on the son. He accompanied the late King's body several days' march to the south, and returning to Carlisle before the end of July, he received there the homage of his barons. His first act was to create Piers de Gaveston, his chief favourite, Earl of Cornwall, a man whom Edward I., with right instinct, had always held in abhorrence. Edward II. was at Dumfries on August 5th, whence he marched up Nithsdale to Cumnock. On the 25th of that month the English army received orders to march back again to England. One can but guess at the motive of this inglorious retreat. The most likely cause is to be found in the indolent and pleasure-loving nature of the young King, who, shrinking from the hardships of a campaign in a stormy climate, and listening to the persuasions of his evil genius Gaveston, longed for the dissipations of his own capital.

The King of Scots was not one to falter in such an opportunity. No sooner were the English over the Border than he left the fastnesses of Glentrool, swept down on the lowlands of Galloway, and avenged the fate of his brothers by wasting the lands of Sir Dougal Macdouall, who had given them up to the English.[1] Sir John de St. John commanded the English troops in Galloway at this time, but, in conse-

  1. Bain, iii., 3.