This poet was John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen.
But the book by which Barbour is remembered best is very different from that by which we remember Chaucer.
Barbour's way of telling his stories is simple and straightforward.
But if to Chaucer belongs the title of "Father of English Poetry," to Barbour belongs that of "Father of Scottish Poetry and Scottish History." He, indeed, calls the language he wrote in "Inglis," but it is a different English from that of Chaucer.
As of many another of our early poets, we know little of Barbour's life.
Barbour was given two other safe-conducts, one to allow him again to visit Oxford, and another to allow him to pass through England on his way to France.
"The fine poem deserves to be better known," says one of its editors.* "It is a proud thing for a country to have given a subject for such an Odyssey, and to have had so early in its literature a poet worthy to celebrate it." And it is little wonder that Barbour wrote so stirringly of his hero, for he lived not many years after the events took place, and when he was a schoolboy Robert the Bruce was still reigning over Scotland.
So sang Barbour, and so the passionate hearts of the Scots cried through all the wretched years that followed the crowning of John Balliol.