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Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce at Dalry, Scotland

King Robert the Bruce, with his handful of followers, not amounting probably to three hundred men, encountered
Lorn with about a thousand Argyleshire men in Glen Douchart, at the head nf Breadalbane. The place of
action is still called Dalry or the King’s Field.

The field of battle was uufavourable to Robert Bruce’s adherents, who were chiefly men at arms. Many of the horses were slain by the long pole-axes, the use of
which the Argyleshire Scottish had learned from the Norwegians. At length Bruce commanded a retreat up a narrow and difficult pass, he hisnself bringing up the rear, and repeatedly turning and driving back braver of the assailants. Two brothers, the strongest among Lorn’s followers, named Mackyn-Drosser, resolved to rid their chief of this formidable foe. A third person associated himself with them for this purpose. They watched their opportunity until Bruce’s party had entered a pass between a loch and a precipice, where the king, who was the last of the party, had scarce room to manage his
steed. Here his three foes sprung upon him at once. One seized his bridle, but received a wound which hewed off
his arm; a second grasped Bruce by the stirrup and leg, and endeavuured to dismount him; but the king, putting
spurs to his horse, threw him down, still holding by the stirrup. The third sprung up behind him upon his horse. Bruce, however, whose personal strength exceeded that of most men, extricated himself from his grasp, threw him to the ground, and cleft his skull with his sword. By similar exertion he drew the stirrup from the hold of the man who had caught him, and killed him also with his sword, as he lay among the horse’s feet.

MacNaughton, a baron of Cowal, pointed out to the
Lord of Lorn the great deeds of valour which Robert the Bruce had performed in this memorable retreat, with the highest expressions of admiration. “It seems to give thee pleasure,” said Lorn, “that he makes such havoc amongst our friends.” “Not so, by my faith,” replied MacNaughton; “but be he friend or foe who achieves high deeds of chivalry, then men should bear faithful witness to his valour; and never have I heard of one, who, by his knightly feats, has extricated himself from such dangers as have this day surrounded Bruce.”

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