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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.

Mean while Fidelia with sad Cares opprest,
Had sunk into the silken Arms of Rest;
A Thousand Spectres dance before her Sight
And add to the pale Terrors of the Night;
Sword, Shield and Helms, in mix'd Confusion rise
And blended Horrors stare before her Eyes,
Even in that Time when all shou'd be at rest
When not one Thought shou'd discompose her Breast,
Even then she shakes at Hesilrig's fierce Hate,
And her Soul shrinks as Prescious of her Fate.
Now fierce with Rage the cruel Foe draws near,
Oh does not Heaven make Innocence its Care!
Where fled thy guardian Angel in that Hour
And left his Charge to the fell Tyrant's Power,
Shall his fierce Steel be redned with thy Gore
And streaming Blood distain thy Beauties o'er?

But now awaken'd with the dreadfull Sound
The trembling Matron threw her Eyes around,
In vain alace were all the Tears she shed
When fierce he waves the Fauchion o'er her Head
All Tyes of Honour by the Rogue abjur'd
Relentless deep he plung'd the ruthless Sword;
Swift o'er her Limbs does creeping Coldness rise
And Death's pale Hand seal'd up her fainting Eyes.

Now born upon the mournfull Wings of Fame,
To Wallace the unhappy Tydings came,
The rising Woe sore thrill'd in ev'ry Part,
And sought its painfull Passage to the Heart;
Graham and his mourning Friends with Tears o'erflow
And join Society of great Grief and Woe.
When Wallace them beheld he hush'd in Peace
And kindly bade their growing Sorrows cease.

"This waste of Tears alas," he cry'd "is vain,
Nor can recal the fleeting Shade again,
Cou'd that vain Thought afford the least Relief,
How wou'd I mourn; but impotent is Grief;
Then let those Tears, to Wars rough Toil give Way,
And the fierce Sword perform what Words wou'd say,
Hear me brave Graham, Companion of my Arms,
Whose Soul alike is fir'd with Glory's Charms.
To thee I Swear this Sword I'll never Sheath
Till I Revenge my dearest dearest's Death,
Heavens! what new Toils of Death and War remain?
Rivers of floating Blood and Hills of slain
But, steel'd with Rage to Slaughter let us fly,
And for her Sake there shall Ten Thousand Dye
When Men thus Weep their Courage grows the Less,
It slaikes the Ire of Wrong they should Redress,
But let us hast while yet the dusky Night
Extends her friendly Shade, and drowns the infant Light."

He said, The Melancholy Troops around,
With pleasing Anguish catch the mournfull Sound.
A fierce Revenge bends ev'ry Warrior's Bow,
And steely Vengeance sends him to the Foe:
For now the armed Warrior's carefull Tread,
And march undaunted thro' the murky Shade:
No Light in the high Firmament was seen,
And like their Vengeance low'ring was the Scene;
To Lanerk swift, they shape the destin'd Way;
The Town defenceless all before them lay.
Opprest with Sleep the weary English lie,
Nor knew sad Wretches! that their Death drew nigh.

Now in Two Bands they part their hostile Force,
And to these sleeping Tyrants bend their Force;
Where Hesilrig the cruel Murd'rer lay,
Eager on Slaughter Wallace wings his Way,
A Thousand Ills the Traitor's Mind infest,
And warring Furies Combat in his Breast;
There Slaughter Rage, rapine together roll,
And Guilt sits heavy on his dreadfull Soul.

Full on the Gate a Stone the Heroe threw.
Swift to the Stroke the rocky Fragment flew.
Bars, Bolts, and brazen Hinges soon were broke,
And tumbl'd down before the sweepy Stroke.
Surpriz'd he stood and list'ning to the Noise,
With beating Heart he heard the Warrior's Voice,
Anon beheld the distant beaming Lance,
And trembling saw th' injured Man advance;
"And thought'st thou Traitor," fierce the Heroe cry'd,
"When by thy murd'ring Steel she cruel dy'd;
When thy fell Hand her precious Blood did spill,
Wallace tho' absent would be absent still."
Furious he spoke and raising on the Foe,
Full on his Head discharg'd the pondrous Blow:
Down sinks the Fellon Head long to the Ground,
The guilty Soul flew trembling thro' the Wound.

Mean while enrag'd Graham from his flamy Hand,
Full on the Roof directs the hostile Brand.
Inclos'd within Thorn saw with dire Amaze
The spreading Ruin and the rolling Blaze.
Consum'd in Flames he yeilds his latest Breath,
And sinks into the fiery Arms of Death.

But now the Morning rais'd her beamy Head,
Around them lay vast Heaps of slaughter'd Dead,
Freed Albion's Ensigns glitter in the Wind,
And a new Hope exults in ev'ry Mind.
The Soldier views with Joy the sanguine Plain,
And Scotia well redeemed with Heaps of slain.
The willing Nation own him for their Lord,
And joyful croud to his auspicious Sword.

With Grief fierce Edward heard his mighty Name,
And burns invidious at his growing Fame.
He bids his haughty Soldiers come from far,
Blacken the Field, and calls forth all his War.
None can the Dictates of his Soul controul
While his high Conquests urge his rapid Soul.
Swift to fair Scotia's Plains he bends his Way,
By Fate reserv'd for Biggar's glorious Day.

Next page: Book VI, Chapter II

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.