Exploring the Middle Ages   | Travels in the UK   | The Merkat Cross
Online since 1998
About   | Site Map   | Accessibility   | Legal Matters   | Privacy   |

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.

Kierly beheld how Love his Strength defies
Battles his Soul, and triumphs in his Eyes,
And whil'st the Chief who ne'er before had sigh'd
Groan'd with a Load of Grief, he fondly thus reply'd,
"Why does my Lord create Himself this Pain,
Why strive with Love, yet ever strive in vain.
Give up the Conquest, dissipate thy Care.
Make way for Bless, and for the lovely Fair:
The Fair makes all the Heroe's Rage refin'd,
New-Strings his Arm and cheers his drooping Mind.
While in his Soul the awfull Goddess Reigns,
A double Life his Bosom knows, a double Life his Veins."

This said, th' Advice with tender Zeal express'd,
With poyson'd Steps stole silent to his Breast,
And Joy unbidden all his Soul possest.
Meanwhile with ebbing Force as thus he strove,
To stem the Rage of Fierce prevailing Love,
A Maid approach'd who from the Fair one came,
(For Love had fir'd her Breast with hidden Flame)
And brought this Message from the beauteous Dame.
"Miranda sends, to honest Fame well known,
Fond to behold her Country's bravest Son."
The Chief amaz'd, impatient of Delay,
"I go," he cry'd, and bade her urge the Way.
Thro' secret Paths they went and shunn'd the Town,
And reach'd the House secure, perceiv'd by none.
While she severely good and wond'rous Kind,
Wish'd for his safe Approach with anxious Mind.

The Lovers met, and now a modest Kiss,
Lifts up the Heroe's Soul to laughing Bless.
Love feels th' Alarm, starts up in fond surprise,
And thro' his Veins, anew Impetous flies,
Inflames his Soul, and sparkles thro' his Eyes.
His sparkling Eyes that gently rolling play'd,
In her's beheld bright Virgin-love betray'd.
And whilst a Blush that redden'd on her Face,
Paints out a modest Flame with rosy Grace.
Screw'd to the highest Strain of Bless his Soul,
Could scarce th' impetous Tide of Joy controul,
But all was still, and all was calm around,
When thus the Syren spoke in nectar'd Sound.

"I own indeed I Love, nor Blush to tell,
The Man that loves my Countries Peace so well.
And would be fond e'en with my Life to please,
The Chief that bravely scorns inglorious Ease,
While Scotia Calls.
Alas how much she needs, unhappy now!
So good a Warriour and a Friend as you.
Her bravest Sons by cruel Foes are slain,
And few her Friends, ah! hapless Friends remain!
Even while I speak I scarce can boast an Hour,
Or of my Life or Honour in My Pow'r."

The loving Chief return'd, "Oh Maid Divine!
Your bleeding Wrongs the glorious Cause shall join.
And whilst the thundring Battle loudest Rings,
And Thousand Deaths appear on fatal Wings:
Inflam'd by am'rous Rage, and aiding Love,
Like Death himself thro' groaning Bands I'll move.
And whilst the Thoughts of thee wing every Blow,
How well I love the gasping Wretch shall know.
But by yon awful Heavens had not my Mind,
With hopeless Scotia 'gainst her Foes Combin'd,
I'd never leave thee by th' immortal Powrs,
My Soul would mix and lose it self in yours.
Yet next to God and to my Country's Care,
You all my Thoughts and all my Breast shall share."

With fond Discourse thus talk'd they out the Day,
While Hours well pleas'd to hear, croud Hours away.
Till Wallace saw the Night on high display'd,
And with Reluctance left the weeping Maid.

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.