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Blind Harry's Wallace

The Life and Heroick Actions of the Renoun'd Sir William Wallace,
General and Governour of Scotland
by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield

Book IV, Chapter III

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

The English then that in Saint-Johnstoun lay,
Soon hearing of this fierce and fatal Fray,
Vowing Revenge, a Thousand Men of War
Sent tow'rds the Wood, right awful in Effeir.
These partly Sir John Butler did command
A valiant Chief, as any in the Land,
Seeking on Wallace well aveng'd to be,
Who at Kinclevin caus'd his Father die.

The like sought Loran, who from Gowrie came;
For th' Umquhile Sir James Butler was his Eme.
Into the Shaw their Men came pouring in,
Archers, and Spearmen, with a dreadful Din.
But Wallace undismaid, so plac'd his Crew
Best to defend themselves, for they were Few.
Then did a fell and bloody Stour begin,
As scarce before on Tay was ever seen.
Such Deeds were wrought, as truly 'twere a Crime,
Them to describe in our unlearned Rhime.
How Arms met Arms, and Swords went clishy clash,
For rural Lays to sing would be too rash.

Of Wallace is my chief Intent to speak;
Much did he toil, and oft their Ranks did break.
Upon young Butler lighting at the length,
Against him sole he guided all his Strength;
A manful Stroke at him then letting flee,
Defended underneath a bowing Tree,
The Branch came down so weighty on his Head,
As in an Instant fell'd the Chiftain Dead.

Loran to see his Friend so fall was woe,
So flew on Wallace an enraged Foe.
But he, defending with his awful Blade,
Dead at his Feet the doughty Younker laid.
The worthy Scots did nobly all that Day,
And drove their Foes with Shame at length away.
Seven of their Number fell in Fight no more;
But of the South'ron Race at least Six-score.
Now fearing least their Foes should gather new
Recruits, and them with num'rous Bands pursue,
To Methwin Wood they went e're it was dark,
And thence retreated into Elchoke Park.

Next page: Book IV, Chapter IV

The ballad, The Life and Heroick Actions of the Renoun'd Sir William Wallace, General and Governour of Scotland, by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, 1722, is in the public domain.