Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Not for Glory, Nor Riches, Nor Honours...

On 6 April 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath was drawn up by Abbot Bernard de Linton, the Chancellor of Scotland, and signed by 38 Scottish Lords. Despite Robert the Bruce having assumed the kingship of the Scots and effectively driven the English from Scottish soil, the Pope--and therefore the rest of the Christian world--refused to recognise Scottish indipendence from England. The Bruce had been excommunicated by the Pope for the slaying of his rival John Comyn in a church in Dumfries in 1306. Comyn had been collaborating with King Edward of England, but was considered by some to have a stronger claim to the throne. The Declaration was a petition to the Pope stating the Scottish perspective and asking him to reconsider. While always respectful, the Declaration used strong language, stating that any further wars and bloodshed would be the fault of the Pope if he made the wrong decision.

An excerpt:

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully... Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
The full text of the Declaration can be read on-line in either the original Latin or in English.



The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.