Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/265

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1314 A.D.]
The Battle of Bannockburn.

of the Scots, he proved the versatility of his Muse, and at the same time purchased his ransom, by turning his poem, most of which probably was already in manuscript, into a pæan of victory for the arms of Bruce.

"Dum se sic jactant cum Baccho nocte jocando,
Scotia, te mactant, verbis vanis reprobando."

It was a common thing, as attested by numerous entries in the records, for commanders to serve out liquor to their men before a battle, and perhaps King Robert would have done the like, if he had possessed the means.

If the King of Scots really had decided, as Sir Thomas Gray affirms, to evacuate his position, he changed his mind on receiving the intelligence conveyed by Sir Alexander de Seton, and resolved to await the attack of the English.

At dawn on St. John's day mass was celebrated in the Scottish lines by the Abbot of Inchaffray. Then the men broke their fast, and the King conferred knighthood on James of Douglas and Walter the Steward.[1] At sunrise, or shortly after, the Scottish army moved out of the woods[2] and took up the alignment chosen by the King, the divisions

  1. It is difficult to suppose that these two officers, each holding important command in the Scottish army, had remained simple esquires up to this time. No doubt they were knights already, and the further honour now conferred raised them to the rank of knights banneret, which could only be created on the field of battle.
  2. "Tuk the plane full apertly."—The Brus, c. 15.

    "Tinrent reddement lour chemyn deuers lost dez Engles." Scalacronica, 142.