Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/261

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1314 A.D.]

The Battle of Bannockburn.


the heavy cavalry, and he implored the King to let him go to the rescue. Bruce wisely refused to derange his order of battle in presence of the enemy, and forbade him to leave his ground. But whether, as Barbour alleges, the King in the end gave a reluctant consent, or whether, as is more likely, Douglas took matters into his own hands, he led a force to support Randolph. But the work had been done before he could arrive. De Clifford's men had suffered severely in repeated repulses, and were fallen into great disorder, while the Scots still showed an unbroken front—"as ane hyrcheoun"—like a hedgehog. Douglas, unwilling to deprive a young soldier of credit in this affair, halted his men; and the English, finding themselves in the presence of fresh troops, took to flight, some to Stirling Castle, others back the way they came.

This conflict took place on a piece of ground which is still called Randolph's Field, at the south end of Melville Terrace, Stirling. Two large stones, about a hundred yards to the west of the present high road, mark the spot where the Scottish square received De Clifford's charge.

After the double reverse thus inflicted on his arms, Gloucester, finding that he was not supported by the main body of English, abandoned the attack and retreated to Edward's bivouacking ground.

The speeches which chroniclers are wont to put in the mouths of their heroes are not worthy of much credence. No doubt Bruce did address his leaders on the eve of battle, and perhaps to much the same effect as Barbour professes to report verbatim, and