The Life of Edward the Second


‘On the second day, on which according to the spy the Scots would be found in their lairs, the laymen, clerks, and men of religion issued forth again from the city of York.  They went stealthily and without noise, to take the enemy by surprise, because if they were warned they might perhaps take flight.  Nevertheless they were well enough warned, yet they did not flee.  For when they perceived our men advancing in disorder, they said: 'These are not soldiers but huntsmen; they will not achieve much.'  So the Scots set fire to a large amount of hay that had been gathered there, and the rising smoke spread far and wide.  The smoke made it difficult for our men to see, so that they found prepared for battle those whom they thought had fled.  They were indeed men picked from the whole of Scotland for their fighting ability, fit for every task.  Many of our men on the other hand were untrained in the art of war, and were readier to flee than to fight.  When battle was joined many of our men were killed and many more taken prisoner; but the Scots returned unharmed to Scotland with their captives.’


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