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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 VII, Chapter II
How WALLACE slew M'Fadzean

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Then Wallace march'd to view McFadzean's Host,
Of Savages, and Knaves, made up almost.
By Stirling Castle held to the South Hand,
Which that great Rogue Old Ruickby, did command.
To Earl Malcolm, Wallace looking back,
"What would you think this Fortress to attack.
And it reduce, by some new Stratagem?"
"All good," said he, so said Sir John the Graham.

Wallace, his Men then he divided so,
That his true Strength the English should not know.
The Earl lay in Ambush out of Sight,
Wallace with him took good Sir John the Knight.
A Hundred brave bold Scots do him attend,
Who never turn'd their Backs on English-Men.
Thro' Stirling Town, straight to the Bridge rode they,
In noble Order, and in good array.
Whom when old Ruickby narrowlly did view,
Caus'd Sevenscore Archers presently pursue,
And them engage, but Wallace void of fear,
Into his Hand holding a noble Spear.
He fiercely towards those proud Archers drew,
And on the spot the first that met, him slew.

Sir John the Graham, none could him there withstand,
Who also had a good Spear in his Hand:
The first he met, to present Death was sent,
His Spear in Pieces on the Second went.
His gallant Sword then drew he out with speed,
A noble Friend to him in Time of Need.
Fresh English Archers round about him drew,
And with their Arrows his brave Horse they slew.
When Wallace saw that good Sir John was put
To such Distress, and that he fought on Foot,
He with some others, from their Horse alight,
And quickly put the South'ron all to flight.
Who to the Castle back thought to repair,
But Earl Malcom bauk'd their Fancy there.
Betwixt them and the Castle-Gate he got
Where he kill'd many English Men of Note.

Into the Throng Wallace with Ruickby met,
Of the old Rogue there such a Stroke did get;
As made his Head upon the Field to dance,
But his two Sons by Accident and Chance
Into the Castle whence they came before,
With Thirty Men escaped and no more.
The Lennox Men, both stout and bold also,
There from the Castle would not stir nor go,
But carefully besieg'd it round about,
As knowing well it could not long stand out.

The Siege goes on, unto the Earl's Mind,
But Wallace he pursues his first Design.
To fight McFadzean that most bloody Rogue,
Who for his Villany did bear the Vogue.
Against him Wallace vow'd and swore Revenge,
From which his Mind ne'er alter should nor change.
That till he had the Honour to put down,
That wicked Tyrant he should ne'er sleep sound.

At Stirling Bridge, assembled to him then,
Two thousand brave, and valiant Scottish Men.
Who to Argyll in noble Order ride.
Duncan of Lorn, he was their trusty Guide.
By this Time Ruickby's Sons did fancy that
It was Time for them to capitulat.
And with the Earl Malcom for to treat,
Who were both destitute of Men and Meat,
That on Condition he their Lives wou'd spare,
And Mercy grant to all the rest were there:
And give them safe-guard to their native Land,
They would resign both Castle and Command.
The Articles were sign'd that very Day,
Then Bag and Baggage they march all away.

Now Wallace he is gone with all his Force,
Against the Rogue McFadzean, Foot and Horse.
Duncan of Lorn, Gilmichael as a Spy
Has sent, who knew the Country perfectly.
Scarce by Strathfillan was the Army gone,
Till Horse and Foot were like to faint each one.
"Brave Lads," said Wallace, "'tis not Time for us,
In broken Ranks to meet the En'my thus.
The feebler Sort let them still following be,
The Rest shall march into Divisions Three."
Five Hundred first, unto himself he told,
Of Westland-Men, all sturdy stout and bold.
Five Hundred next, Sir John the Graham he got,
Lundie Five Hundred more, all Men of Note.
'Mongst whom was Wallace stout of Riccardtoun,
Who at a Pinch a sturdy Friend was found.
Five Hundred of the Weak, were left behind,
Tho' cross unto, and sore against their Mind.

Thus Wallace Host began to take the Hight,
Then o'er a Mountain marched out of Sight.
Into Glendocher, they met with their Spy,
And good Lord Campbel who courageously,
Led now Three Hundred valiant chosen Men,
A merry Meeting was betwixt them then.
"Cheer up," he said, "and never dread your Foes,
Yon silly Beasts, have neither Arms nor Cloaths
Soon shall they fly, and shortly we pursue."
Then to Lochdocher speedily they drew.
Where Wallace said, "One Fate to all shall be,
Since here is none, will from his Fellow flee."

Upon the Moss an out-spy does appear,
To see if Roads, and Passes, all be clear.
McFadzean for that purpose had him sent,
Who shortly after thought his Time ill spent.
Gilmichael at the Rogue nimbly did make,
With a good Sword, and did him overtake,
Thro' fear the Fellow there, beshit his Trews,
And ne'er return'd to tell his Master News.

The Cavalry are forced now to light,
And quit their Horses, tho' both fresh and tight.
The Moss and Craigs, them to their shifts did put.
"Let's see," quoth Wallace, "who walks best on Foot."
Out thro' the Moor his Men does bravely lead,
Into a Strength, which Service did indeed,
Along the shoar, Three in the Front they past,
Till all the Men March'd safely up at last.

"Yon Folk," Lord Campbel said, "I'll paun my Neck,
Shall get a metting they doe not Expect.
I see no Way they have from us to fly,
But Waters deep, and craigy Mountains high."
Then Eighteen hund'red valiant Scots indeed,
Attack McFadzean's numerous Host with speed.
Upon their Front, great Havock soon did make,
The frighted Foes surpris'd, with Terror shake.
Yet Boldly Ralzie, and together rush,
Till Wallace does them with such fierceness push:
That furiously, with dreadfull stroaks and sore,
He drave them back Five Aikers breadth and more.

Next page: Book VII, Chapter II (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.