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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 VI, Chapter I (Continued)
Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

To the shrill Notes Heav'n answers all around,
And Scotia takes new Vigour from the Sound.
Spreads wide the Noise and undulates on high,
And reach the Soldiers where dispers'd they ly,
Inflaming ev'ry Breast with love of Liberty.

Now all around the Chief they listning stand,
Each his keen Sabre threatning in his Hand,
And eagerly devour his last Command.
"Enough my Friends, enough has Scotia born,
The Foes insulting and her Sons forlorn.
The trembling Peasant wild with dread Affright,
Shrinks from the Wars rude Shock and ruthless Fight.
Resigns his Riches to the Oppressors Hand,
And sees another's Sickle reap his Land.
And long we not to urge our Fate again,
Glows not each Breast, and swells not ev'ry Vein?
Does not our Heart with love of Freedom burn,
And once again our exil'd Souls return.
Where are those Trophies by our Fathers won,
Triumphs related down from Son to Son."

"Where is that Crown the first fam'd FERGUS bore,
And that fierce Scepter stain'd in Pictish Gore.
Should these old rev'rend Forms again rise,
In mystic Vision dreadful to our Eyes.
What sad Reproaches justly wou'd they give,
To those who chuse in Bondage thus to live:
How wou'd their Cheeks blush with a kindred Shame,
And throw' us back the hated Fathers Name.
And are we so degen'rate from our Race,
Such Sons begotten to our Sires Disgrace.
That Thoughts like these shan't force us yet to arm,
And Liberty thus want the Power to warm.
Let the Pale Coward own a pannick Fear,
Or unknown Wars and distant Triumphs hear.
Let his heart startle at the Trumpets Voice,
And shrink unequal to the Battels Noise.
Can Souls like these alas! assist us now,
Or rise to Dangers which they never knew?"

"But we whose Courage bids us pant for Fame,
And be distinguish'd by the Patriots Name.
How should our Breast with sacred Fury glow,
And rush undaunted on the guilty Foe:
The lawless Rage of Tyrants to restrain,
Nor let fair Liberty thus court in Vain,"
He said. A Generous Ardor stood confes'd,
And a fierce Patriot twin'd in ev'ry Breast.
Revenge alone employs each Wariours Care,
Bends ev'ry Bow, and sharpens ev'ry Spear.
Some scour the flying Horse along the Plain,
And bids his haughty Neck obey the Rein.
With goring Rowels urge him in his Speed,
And stop in full Career the bounding Steed.

Wallace beheld th' auspicious Fury rise,
And Rage redoubled flushing in their Eyes.
With Joy he hears this Omen of success
And saw just Heaven, decree his Happiness.

Nor do the English with less studious Care,
Observe the growing Progress of the War,
And for the feirce Encounter all prepare.
Keen Hesilrig, Arms all their glitt'ring Bands,
A Thousand Swords shine in a thousand Hands.
A Savage Fury brandishes each Dart,
And reeking Slaughter steels each impious Heart.
But oh! ye Gods shall yon weak Bands prevail,
When hot with Rage more numerous Troops assail.
May righteous Heaven still blast the lawless Might,
And the just Patriots vanquish in the Fight.
But now advancing near, they other meet
And with no friendly Salutation greet.
Stern Vengeance low'ring Frowns on every Brow,
And hate Arms ev'ry Visage like a Foe.
Behold what diff'rent Passions now excite,
And join two Nations in the Toils of Fight.

Here Pride Ambition Arms each guilty Foe,
And Tyranny attends on ev'ry Blow.
Here Patriots stand, and boldly dare restrain,
The Tyrants growth and check th' Oppressors Reign
And the fair Cause of Freeedom to maintain.
Now all the Plains with Arms are cover'd o'er,
And the bent Bow unloads its feathered Store
From well stor'd Quivers but declining Light
And ruddy Vesper led the Starry Night:
Wallace withdrew where Cartlane Rocks on high
Erect their shaggy Tops and threat the Sky,
Safe shelter'd there the Scottish Heroes stay
And wait impatient for the rising Day.

Next page: Book VI, Chapter I (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.