The World’s Best English Epic Poetry – Barbour’s The Brus (in English Translation)

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The world’s best English epic and narrative poetry includes Barbour‘s The Brus (ie The Bruce). Written in Early Scots, this thrilling epic narrates the rise, fall, and rise of Robert the Bruce: culminating at the epochal Battle of Bannockburn: which all but guaranteed Scottish claims to national sovereignty.

After the forced abdication of King John by King Edward I: Edward continuously pressed his claims of feudal overlordship over Scotland. The resentful Scots – exasperated over repeated English depredations – fought back in numerous uprisings: including the bloody insurrections headed by William Wallace. Later, the newly-crowned King Robert the Bruce led the Scots in outright rebellion against the English: but Bruce lost decisively against Edward, causing him to flee into exile in Ireland.

But Bruce was not finished yet. The following year, Bruce returned to Scotland to commence a bloody guerrilla campaign against all English troops garrisoned upon Scottish soil. His successes – initially small – began to snowball: attracting once more the dangerous attention of The Hammer of the Scots.

  • Robert the Bruce murders his rival John Comyn inside the Greyfriars monastery and is excommunicated by the Pope. How can a murderer – even a royal one – hope to lead a devoutly pious people?
  • Bruce’s return to Scotland is hazardous to all concerned. Is now the time to risk everything against the powerful English overlords?
  • King Edward II was never the equal his father. So how many battles can he afford to lose to the increasingly confident and combative Scots?

Want to know more?

King Robert the Bruce

 

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