day till it was noon, and then they found some villages brent by the Scots, and thereabout was some champaign country with corn and meadows, and so that night the host lodged there. Again the third day they rode forth, so that the most part of the host wist not which way, for they knew not the country nor they could hear no tidings of the Scots. And again the fourth day they rode forth in like manner, till it was about the hour of three,' and there came a squire fast riding toward the king and said : 'An it like your grace, I have brought you perfect tidings of the Scots your enemies. Surely they be within three mile of you, lodged on a great mountain, abiding there for you ; and there they have been all this eight days, nor they knew no more tidings of you than ye did of them. Sir, this that I skew you is of truth, for I approached so near to them that I was taken prisoner and brought before the lords of their host ; and there I skewed them tidings of you, and how that ye seek for them to the intent to have battle. And the lords did quit me my ransom and prison, when I had skewed them how your grace had promised a hundred pounds sterling of rent to him that brought first tidings of them to you ; and they made me to promise that I should not rest till I had skewed you this tidings, for they said they had as great desire to fight with you as ye had with them: and there shall ye find them without fault-' And as soon as the king had heard this tidings, he assembled all his host in a fair meadow to pasture their horses ; and beside there was a little abbey, the which was all brent, called in the days of king Arthur. le Blanche Lande.2 There the king confessed him, and every man made him ready. The king caused many masses to be sung to housel all such as had devotion thereto ; and incontinent he assigned a hundred pounds sterling of rent to the squire that had brought him tidings of the Scots, according to his promise, and made him knight [with] his own hands' before all the host. And when they had well rested them and taken repast, then the trumpet sounded to horse, and every man mounted,
1 ` ]usque a heure de tierce' which of course would be nine o'clock in the morning, not three o'clock, as the translator has it. They arrived within sight of the Scots `about mid-day' on the same day.
2 The abbey of Blanckland, south of Hexham.
and the banners and standards followed this new-made knight, every battle by itself in good order, through mountains and dales, ranged as well as they might, ever ready apparelled to fight ; and they rode and made such haste that about noon they were so near the Scots that each of them might clearly see other. And as soon as the Scots saw them, they issued out of their lodges afoot, and ordained three great battles in the availing of the hill, and at the foot of this mountain there ran a great river full of great rocks and stones, so that none might pass over without great danger or jeopardy ; and though the Englishmen had passed over the river, yet was there no place nor room between the hill and the river to set the battle in good order. The Scots had stablished their two first battles at the two corners of the mountain, joining to the rocks, so that none might well mount upon the hill to assail them, but the Scots were ever ready to beat with stones the assailants, if they passed the river. And when the lords of England saw the behaving and the manner of the Scots, they made all their people to alight afoot and to put off their spurs, and arranged three great battles, as they had done before, and there were made many new knights. And when their battles were set in good order, then some of the lords of England brought their young king a-horseback before all the battles of the host, to the intent to give thereby the more courage to all his people, the which king in full goodly manner prayed and required them right graciously that every man would pain them to do their best to save his honour and common weal of his realm. And it was commanded upon pain of death that