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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 IV (Continued)
How WALLACE laid Seige to Dundee, and gave Battle to Kirkingham Treasurer to King Edward, and the E. of Warran at Stirling Bridge

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

The Day of Battle does approach at length,
The English then advance with all their Strength.
And Fifty Thousand march in Battle Rank,
Full Six to one, yet Wallace never shrank.
The rest they lay about the Castle-Hill,
Both Field and Castle, thought to have at will.
The worthy Scots together closs did bide,
In the plain Field, upon the other Side.
Hugh Kirkingham, the Van-Guard on led he,
With Twetnty Thousand likely Men to see.
The Earl Warran Thirty Thousand had,
If all were good, the Number was not bad.
Thus Fifty Thousand silly South'ron Sots.
Proudly march up against Nine Thousand Scots.

When Kirkingham his Twenty Thousand Men,
Had past the Bridge, quite to the other End,
Some of the Scots, in earnest without Scorn,
Thought it high Time to blow the warning Horn.
But Wallace he, march'd stoutly thro' the Plain,
Led on his Men, their Numbers did disdain.
Till Warran's Host, thick on the Bridge did go,
Then he from Jop did take the Horn, and blow
So loud, and shrill; he warned good John Wright,
Who soon struck out the Roller with great Slight.
Then all went down, when the Pin was got out,
At which arose a fearfull Cry and Shout.

Both Men and Horse, into the River fell,
Honest John Wright did act his Part so well.
The hardy Scots, with heavy Strokes and sore,
Attack the Twenty Thousand that came o'er.
Wallace, and Ramsay, Lundie, Boyd, and Graham,
With dreadfull Stroaks made them retire, fy Shame.
The South'ron's Front they fought, all Face to Face,
Who to their Ignominy, and Disgrace,
Did neither stand, nor fairly Foot the Score,
But did retire, Five Aiker breadth and more.

Wallace on Foot, with a great sharp Sword goes
Amongst the very thickest of his Foes.
On Kirkingham there such a Stroak he got,
In spite of all his Armour and Mail-Coat,
That killed him Dead: none durst him there rescue,
Then to that valiant Captain bad Adieu.
When Kirkingham Dead on the Spot to lye
The South'ron saw, Then they began to fly.
Who tho' they had fought it most bloody hot,
Ten Thousand lost and left Dead on the Spot.
The Rest they fled, was none durst stay behind,
Succour they sought, but none at all could find.
Some East, some West, and some fled to the North,
Seven Thousand flutt'red all at once in Forth;
Who from that River little Mercy found;
For few escap'd, and most of all were drown'd.

On Wallace Side, no Man was kill'd of Note,
But Andrew Murray, a true hearted Scot.
When Warran's Men, saw all was lost and tint,
They fled as fast as Fire does from the Flint.
Ne'er look'd about, nor once a Scotsman fac'd,
But to Dunbar march'd in a Dev'lish hast.
Thus Thirty Thousand English in a Word,
Like Cowards fled, without one Stroak of Sword.
Then Wallace Host pursu'd with all their might,
Took up the Bridge, and loosed good John Wright.
The Earl Malcom, from the Castle past,
And with his Men, pursu'd the South'ron fast.

Thro' the Tor-Wood, the Earl Warran fled,
Where many of his Men got a cold Bed.
He had the Rogue Corspatrick for his Guide,
With Whip and Spur they both away do ride.
Straight to Dunbar, and left their scatter'd Host,
Who in their Flight were all cut down almost.

The Scottish Horse, they had pursued so,
Were so fatigu'd, no further they could go.
Wallace and Graham who still together rade,
At Haddington, a mighty Slaughter made.
Ramsay, and Boyd, Adam of Riccartoun.
Richard of Lundie, all are lighted down:
With them, Three Hundred brave Scots Cavalrie,
Which Wallace was extreamly glad to see.
The Earl Malcom, he was also there,
Where, blyth and glad, all Sumptuously fare.

The Earl Warran, and Corspatrick are
By this Time safely got into Dunbar.
Whom Wallace did most hotly there pursue,
But missing him had little more to do,
Having at least full Thirty Thousand slain
In the Pursuit, and upon Stirling Plain.
In Haddingtoun he quarter'd all that Night,
Then back for Stirling march'd by Morning Light.

On the Assumption Day, this Battle's fought,
Where the brave Scots, have perfect Wonders wrought.
Then after all, sure sicker Work to make,
Of all the Barrons he an Oath does take.
That as Scots Warden, they would him respect,
And he with all his Pow'r would them protect.
Sir John Montieth, who was of Arran Lord,
Most readily unto it did accord.
And faithfully himself by Oath he bound
To stand by Wallace, and defend the Crown.
All those who freely would not thus comply,
He caus'd be punish'd with Severity.
Some put to Death, and some to Prison sent,
His glorious Fame thro' both the Kingdoms went.

Soon after, by a Tyrant got Dundee,
And yet the Men fled all away by Sea.
The English Captains, that were free to stay,
Their Castles left, and then stole all away.
So that in Scotland, when Ten Days were gone,
An English Captain there you could see none,
Except in Roxburgh, and in Berwick Town,
Which to reduce Wallace intended soon.

That Time there was a Barron of great Fame,
Who Chrystal Seatoun was unto his Name;
He with the South'ron often did contend,
And did in Jedburgh Wood himself defend.
From the Scots Faith, to swerve he never would,
Not for a Million of King Edward's Gold.
Heabotle who did Jedburgh then Command,
When he the South'ron saw expell'd the Land:
He suddenly did from the Castle flee,
With all his Men, Seven Score in Company.
Chrystal with Fourty Scots does him pursue,
Most of the Men, and Captain there he slew.

Great Store of Riches, Gold and houshold Stuff,
From South'ron got, and purely swing'd their Buff.
Jedburgh he took, plac'd Ruthven Captain there,
Brave Seatoun then to Lothian did repair.
Of him hereafter, greater Fates and more
You'll hear, then what he did to the Seven Score:
And whoso please the Bruce's Book to read,
Will see him fam'd for many a valiant Deed.

Wallace does now consider and advise,
Where to find out good Faithfull Men and Wise,
Who by Experience did understand,
Rightly to manage and govern the Land.
Captains he made, and Sherriffs very good,
Some of his own, and some of other Blood.
His Cousin Crawford, Governour to be
Of Edinburgh, and the Castle order'd he.

Now Scotland's free, lives in great Peace and Ease,
And South'ron are fled home to tost their Cheese.
Wallace much like a Prince doth Rule and Reign
Waiting a Time to get his lawful King
From Edward who keep'd him in London Town,
Most wrongfully from his own righteous Crown.

Next page: Book VIII, Chapter I

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.