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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 IX, Chapter II (Continued)
How WALLACE went to France, fought the Red-Reiver, and took him Prisoner

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Then Wallace smiling answ'red modestly,
"Scotland has need of many such as thee.
What is thy Name?" Thinks Wallace wants a Peel,
"Monsieur," said he, "Thomas of Longoveil."
"Well bruick thy Name, yea here shall end our strife,
If thou'll repent and mend, thy bypast Life.
For which thy faithfull Friend I'll ever be,
I'm that same Wallace, whom thou now dost see."

Upon his Knees then Longoveil fell down,
As Wallace had been King, that wears the Crown.
"That I'm fall'n in your Hands, I'm pleas'd much more,
Than I had gotten Florins Sixty Score."
Wallace reply'd, "Since thou are here by chance,
And that the King has sent for me to France,
I'll tell him that for my Reward I want
Thy Peace and Pardon, which I hope he'll grant."
"Could you my Peace obtain," Longoveil says,
"Most faithfully, I'd serve you all my Days."
"No Service, Thomas, shalt thou give to me,
But such good Friendship, as I'll keep with thee."

With that they fill'd the Wine, and merry made,
And upon Sight they in the Rochel Rade.
Now now the Town is in a sudden Fear,
When the Red-Reiver and his Ships appear.
Some Ships they fled and others run ashore,
When Wallace saw they frighted were so sore,
He did command none in the Hav'n should go,
But his own Barge, which pleas'd the People so
That they no sooner the Red-Lyon saw
In the Scots Banner but they gave Huzza.
Let up the Port, receiv'd them in the Town,
With great Respect, then entertain'd them round.
Wallace they saw a goodly Scottishman,
And honour'd him, with all Respect they can.

Four Days he tarried at the Rochel, then
Gave strict Command to Longoviel's Men,
That they discreetly would behave, and well
And nothing act that might be thought hostile;
For shortly he would either send or bring,
Unto them all a Pardon from the King.
"Your Captain to the King shall go with me,
By help of GOD, I shall his Warrant be."
Like his own Men, he cloathed Thomas so,
There was no Man that Longoveil could know.
Both blyth and glad as any Men alive,
They march, and then at Paris do arrive.

In splendid Order to a Garden went,
Then gallantly before the King present.
Fifty and Two upon their Knees do fall,
Salute the King most fine, like Princes all.
Their Speech they do govern and so well rule,
As they'd been taught at Julius Cæsar's School.
The Queen got leave (so curious was) to see,
Brave Wallace and his goodly Company.
The King he dines, as did the Court also,
Then after Meat does to the Parlour go.
He and his Lords commun'd on ev'ry Thing,
With Wallace, who did greatly please the King.
In Latin Tongue his Answer did advance.
With a Serene and Manly Countenance.
The King he ask'd where the Red-Reiver was,
And marvell'd how that Tyrant let him pass.
"You with the Herauld might have writ to me,
For Power to convey you thro' the Sea."

"I thank you Sir, no need thereof had we,
Blessed be GOD, we're all safe as you see."
Then said the King, "Wallace, I wonder much,
You have escap'd that Bloody Tyrant's Clutch,
Who on the Sea, such Cruelties has wrought,
Could we him get, he should not 'scape for nought."
Thomas he quak'd, began to count his Beads,
When as the King related his Misdeeds.
Wallace gave Ear, but feigned in some part,
"Forsooth," said he, "we found none in that Airt:
But Sir, with leave, would ye the Reiver know?"
"Fy, since I saw him, it is long ago.
These Words of yours, Wallace, are all in vain,
E'er he come here many he'll cause be slain."

Then Wallace said, "Great Sir, of my Men all,
Who is the Man likest to him you'd call?"
The King reply'd, with a quick piercing Eye,
"That large, long Man that next to you stands by."
Then on his Knees the worthy Wallace fell,
"O! royal King," said he, "pray hear me tell,
How Saxon-Seed hath Scotland sore distrest,
Our Elders kill'd and royal Blood opprest.
Your Majesty methinks should interpose,
In our Behalf, and curb our Lawless Foes.
And that by Vertue of the League and Band,
'Twixt FRANCE and SCOTLAND does so firmly stand.
Next, since at your Command come here I have,
One Favour Sir, I humbly of you crave."

The King reply'd, "I'll grant or pay you down
What e'er you ask, except my Queen or Crown."
"Most Royal Sir," said Wallace, "all I want
Is that you'll graciously be pleas'd to grant
Peace to this Man, whom I brought here thro' Chance,
And I'll disclaim all other Gifts in France.
This same is he, you may believe it well,
Of whom you speak, Thomas of Longoveil.
Receive him as a free Liege of your Land."
At which the King was put unto a Stand;
Yet for his Promise, and good Wallace Sake.
Into his Peace he Longoveil did take.

The King he ask'd at Wallace, how and where
He met with Longoveil, who did declare,
And there rehearse the Manner how all o'er,
As you have heard the Story told before.
Wallace to Thomas also purchas'd then,
Peace unto all his Fourteen Hundred Men.
Then on the very Spot where he did stand,
Was knighted by the King's own royal Hand.
Syne to his nearest Heir left his Estate,
Then with brave Wallace went and took his Fate.

Next page: Book IX, Chapter III

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.