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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 VIII, Chapter V
How the Queen of England came to speak with WALLACE

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Upon the Morrow, Wallace quickly rose,
To take the Air, out of his Tent he goes.
And then the good and reverend Mr. Blair,
For Morning Service, quickly does prepare.
Wallace most nobly did himself array,
In shining Armour, Glorious and Gay.
Its several Parts, are needless to rehearse,
From Top to Toe, he look'd exceeding fierce.
Boyd and Adam Wallace wait on him with Speed,
Along a River thro' a Flowry Mead.
Thus, on the Fields all pleasant sweet and green,
Fetching a walk, they spy the English Queen,
Towards the Host riding, most soberly,
With Fifty Ladies in her Company,
And Seven old Priests, Religious, Grave and Wise,
Who in all Matters did the Queen advise.

To the Pavilion with the Lyon, all
Ride, then light down and on their Knees do fall.
Praying for Peace, with many a piteous Tear,
Lord Malcom said, "Our Chieftain is not here.
Pray Madam rise, a Queen I'll not allow
Unto a Subject on her Knees to bow."
Then did he lead her by the tender Hand,
To Wallace, where he like a Prince did stand.
So soon's she saw him, she began to kneel,
Then Wallace did a mighty Passion feel.
He her embrac'd, and kiss'd, but did no more,
The like to South'ron he ne'er did before.
Then smiling, softly whisper'd in her Ear,
"Madam, how please you our encamping here."
"Sir, very well, but we your Friendship, need
GOD grant we may in this our Errand speed."
"Madam, I must remove a little Space
With this Lord; then I'll wait upon your Grace."

To the Pavilion both they do repair,
And very quickly call a Council there,
Where he enlarg'd, on Women's Subtilty,
How by their cunning, Men may tempted be,
"On pain of Death, therefore your Men Command,
Or to their highest Perill let them stand,
That none with them converse, but such as born
Of high Blood are, and to this Counsel sworn."
This, out in Orders thro' the the Army's gone,
To ev'ry single, individual one.

Then to the Queen, he and the Earl went,
And Courteously conduct'd her to the Tent.
Went to a sumptuous, noble Dinner then,
All serv'd with stately, handsome Gentlemen.
Some of her chiefest, royal Dainties there,
The Queen pull'd out, and kindly bid them share.
Of ev'ry Thing, she first did taste and prieve,
"No Poison's here, my Lords you may believe."
Soon after Meat, all did themselves absent,
Excepting those, that to the Counsel went.
Mean while the Ladies did the Queen attend,
Untill the Counsel over was and then,
Good Wallace quickly waited on the Queen,
And calmly ask'd, what did her Journey mean.

"Peace," said the Queen, "we have no other thought,
This raging War, hath such Destruction wrought.
Then grant it Sir, for His sake dy'd for us."
"Madam, we cannot lightly leave it thus.
You ask no peace, but for your own self Ends,
That cannot make us a sufficient mends.
For the unjustice, done our Royal Prince,
The breach of Faith, and Blood shed ever since."
"These wrongs," she said, "ought all to be redrest,"
But Wallace still, the more for Battle prest.
The Queen she answer'd, with great Modesty,
"Peace now were best, if it might purchas'd be;
For which if you a Truce with us will take,
Thro' England all, we shall cause Prayers make;
That Matters go not on, from bad to worse."
"Compelled Prayers, Madam, have no Force,
Before that they get half way to the Heav'ns,
I hope for Mends, then shall we all be ev'ns."

Then to the Queen did all the Story tell,
At Alexander's Death, what us befell.
How Bruce and Balliol, long Time did contend
Who should be King, at length did condescend
And did the Matter to a Ref'rence bring,
To the Decision, of her Lord and King.
And how unjustly Edward did decide,
And then usurp the Crown, thro' Hellish pride.
In short he told her all the Story o'er,
As I have told you in my Book before.
How Edward made him Prisoner at Ayr,
Broke a strict Truce, and hang'd our Barrons there,
How Hesilrig kill'd his beloved Wife,
And therefore would hate South'ron during Life.
The Silver Tears, (great Pity to behold,)
Came trickling down, when he his Tale had told.

The Queen, with Wallace so did sympathize.
The Tears that Moment blinded both her Eyes.
"Curs'd Days," she said "that Hisilrig was born,
On his Account, many are now forlorn."
"As Queen or Princess, Madam," then said he,
"She in her Time, was full as dear to me."
"Wallace," she said, "from this Discourse we'll cease,
The Mends thereof, is Prayer and good Peace."
Three Thousand Pound, she down before him told,
All of the finest and true English Gold.
"Such Tribute, Madam, now we do not crave,
Another Mends of England we would have.
For all the Gold and Riches of your Reign,
I'll grant no Peace, in absence of your King."

When she saw Gold, nothing would Wallace move,
Then sporting said, "Sir you are call'd my Love.
I've ventur'd here my Life laid at the Stake;
Methinks you should do something for my sake."
"In love you South'ron, with your subtile Cracks,
One Thing pretends, and the quite contrair acts.
With pleasant Words, you and such Ladies fair,
Would us decoy like Birds into a Snare.
We'll take our Chance, whatever may befall,
No flattering Words, nor Gold, shall tempt us all."

At which, a rosey Blush her Cheeks did fill,
"Dear Sir," she said, "pray let me know your will;
For solemnly I here to your protest,
I think a Truce would for us both be best."
"With Ladys, Madam, Truce I cannot make,
Least your false King hereafter do it break.
Then have we none but Ladys to reprove,
That shall not be, by Him that sits above.
The whole Affair he on himself shall take,
Of Peace, or War, what e'er we chance to make."

The Queen she said, it was sufficient,
To which the rest did freely all consent.
Yet sorry was she and did blush for Shame,
That she obtain'd not all for which she came.
Unto the Host, the Gold she freely gave,
To ev'ry one that pleased for to have.
When Wallace saw what ev'ry one had got.
He said, that Kindness should not be forgot.
"We you assure, our Host shall nothing Act,
Till you a Message, from your King send back.
Your Heraulds also, hither to and fro,
May likewise very safely come and go."
She and her Ladys thank'd him then and drank
To Wallace, and the Lords of ev'ry Rank.

Next page: Book VIII, Chapter 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.