How the king of England made his first journey against the Scots.
WHEN the king of England and his host had seen and heard of the fires that the Scots had made in England, incontinent was cried alarm, and every man commanded to dislodge and follow after the marshals' banners. Then every man drew to the field ready apparelled to fight. There was ordained three great battles afoot, and to every battle two wings of five hundred men of arms, knights and squires, and thirty thousand other, armed and well apparelled, the one half on little hackneys and the other were men of the country afoot, sent out of good towns at their wages; and twenty-four thousand archers afoot,' beside all the other rascal and followers of the host. And as these battles were thus ordered, so they advanced forward, well ranged and in good order, and followed the Scots by the sithe of the smoke'that they made with burning ; and thus they followed all that day till it was near night. Then the host lodged them in a wood by a little river side, there to rest and to abide for their carriage and purveyances. And at that day the Scots had brent and wasted and pilled the country about within five mile s of the English host ; but the Englishmen could not overtake them. And the next day in the morning all the host armed them and displayed their banners on the field, every man ready apparelled in his own battle, and so advanced without disordering all the day through mountains and valleys; but for all that they could never approach near to the Scots, who vent wasting the country before them. There were such marishes and savage deserts, mountains and dales, that it was commanded on pain of death that none of the host should pass before the banners of the marshals. And when it drew toward the night, the people,
1 The meaning of the original is that each of the three divisions (or battles) had two wings of five hundred men-at-arms on horseback, and altogether there were eight thousand fully armed men, knights and squires, thirty thousand other armed men, some mounted and some on foot, sent bythe good towns, and twenty-four thousand archers.
2 The translator renders `lyeue' by `mile' throughout this narrative.
horse and carriage, and namely the men afoot, were so sore travailed, that they could not endure to labour any further that day. And when the'lords saw that their labour in following the Scots was in vain, and also they perceived well, though the Scots would abide them, yet they might take their field in such a place or on such a hill that they could not fight with them, without it were to their great damage and jeopardy, then was it commanded in the king's name by the marshals that the host should take their lodging for that night, and so to take counsel and advice what should be best to do the next day. So the host was lodged in a wood by a river side, and the king was lodged in a little poor abbey: his men of war, horse and carriage were marvellously fortravailed. And when every man had taken his place to lodge there all night, then the lords drew them apart to take counsel how they might fight with the Scots, considering the country that they were in : for as far as they could understand, the Scots went ever forwards, all about burning and wasting the country, and perceived well how they could not in any wise fight with them among these mountains without great peril or danger, and they saw well also they could not overtake them : but it was thought that the Scots must needs pass again the river Tyne homeward ; therefore it was deter ruined by great advice and counsel that all the host should remove at midnight, and to make haste in the morning to the intent to stop the passage of the river from the Scots, whereby they should be advised' by force either to fight with them, or else to abide still in England to their great danger and loss. And to this conclusion all the host was accorded, and so supped and lodged as well as they might that night, and every man was warned to be ready at the first sounding of the trumpet, and at the second blast every man to arm him without delay, and at the third every man quickly to mount on their horses and to draw under their own standard and banner; and every man to take with him but one loaf of bread, and to truss it behind him on his horse. It was also determined that they should leave
1 'Advised' here seems to mean 'brought to resolve,'