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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 V (Continued)
How WALLACE escaped out of St. Johnstoun past to Elchock Park, and killed Fawdoun. How he past to Lochmabane. How WALLACE wan the Castle of Crawford, and killed the Captain thereof

Read a synopsis of this book in modern American English.

Good Wallace ever careful of his Train,
Missing his Two brave Men, was fill'd with Pain,
For much he fear'd they taken were or slain
After vain Search into the Wood he past,
And safely at Gaskhall arriv'd at last.

Flint gave 'em Fire, and Hunger made 'em Bold
To take Two Wedders from a neigh'bring Fold,
On which they sup'd. Mean while they heard a Blast,
Of a loud Horn at which they stood aghast.
Two were despatch'd to learn who blew this Horn,
And long they waited for the Spyes return.
The Noise continu'd still and drew more near,
The horrid Din disturb'd the Chieftain's Ear,
Two more he sent. But none return'd again,
Which fill'd his doubtful Mind with Rage and Pain.
The other Nine he sent 'em, One by One,
To find the Rest. Thus he was left alone.

The Awful Sound increas'd still more and more,
Louder and louder swell'd the dreadful Roar,
Which made him tremble who ne'er shook before.
But soon his dauntless Soul he did Collect,
Then Sword in Hand with daring Front erect;
Mov'd to the Gate. Where to his odd Surprize,
The frightful Fawdon stood before his Eyes.
Holding his bloody Head in his right Hand,
Soon Wallace drew a Cross and made a stand.
At him the Apparition threw its Head,
Which Wallace caught up by the Hair with speed,
And threw it back. But dreadful was his Fright,
For well he knew it was some hellish Spright,
Which mock'd his Sword. Strait up the Stairs he flew
And soon himself out at a Window threw,
Thence up the River hastily he ran,
Never so frighted since he was a Man.
Backward he turn'd his Eyes from whence he came,
And thought he saw the Tower all in a Flame,
While on the Top did frightful Fawdon stand
With a prodigious Rafter in his Hand.

But whether vested with compacted Air,
In Fawdon's Shape some Dæmon did appear,
Or, if the ling'ring Soul expell'd with Pain
Strove to reanimate the Corpse again,
Leave we to those who with unweary'd Eye,
Explore the latent Depths of dark Philosophy.

And now his Follow'rs lost, the mournful Chief
Stood wilder'd in his Thoughts o'erwhelm'd with Grief
Darkling he took his way depriv'd of Rest,
While black Ideas rankled in his Breast.
His Soul was in a Maze, nor could he find;
What Heaven by this Misterious Scene design'd
Yet still his Rage the distant En'my sought,
And fierce Revenge boil'd up in every Thought.
As thus he roam'd with clashing Doubts opprest
That tore his Soul, and battl'd in his Breast;
Gay Morn awakes, and with enliv'ning Ray
Smiles on the World and Guilds the rising Day.

Butler invited by the smiling Scene
Forsook his Bed, and sought the Plains unseen,
There view'd how pensive Wallace all alone
Incessant sigh'd and made a piteous Moan;
And rightly guessing that he was a Foe,
Demands his Business with contracted Brow,
Nor stop't. But spurring quick his fiery Horse
With rapid haste precipitates his Course.
Wallace unmov'd th' impetous Shock sustains,
While awful Joy his gloomy Brow serenes.
Strait rising to the Blow, he aim'd a Wound,
And brought his En'my stagg'ring to the Ground.
Now seiz'd his Horse, mounted, and with loose Reins,
Forsook the Place and shot across the Plains.

A Soldier view'd his hapless Leaders Fate
With ardent Eyes, and kind'ling into hate:
Wing'd forth his Spear, that whistled in the Wind
Drove o'er the Knight, and miss'd the Mark assign'd.
But now the En'my with superiour Might,
Beset the Roads, and intercept his Flight.
Collecting all himself, brave Wallace stood
Saw how they rag'd and panted after Blood;
And drew his Sword, that with tempestous Sway,
Dealt Fate around and cut a sanguine Way.
Three prostrate on the Plain, of Sense bereft,
And stiff'ning unto Death the Victor left;
The tainted Grass imbibes the flowing Blood,
That gush'd amain and ting'd the ambient Flood.

Next page: Book V, Continued

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.