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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 X, Chapter III
How WALLACE burnt the English in Dumbarton

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Wallace and his Good Men, march'd all the Night,
And to Dumbarton came e'er it was light.
Then at a Widow's House did quickly call,
And whisper'd softly to her thro' the Wall.
Whose Voice so soon as the good Woman knew,
Unto her Cloaths immediately she drew.
In a closs Barn, him and his Men she got
Good Meat and Drink, in truth he wanted not.
Then unto Wallace gave one Hundred Pound,
To make his Supper go the better down.
Nine Sons she had, good likely Men and tight.
An Oath to him she made them swear on Sight.
There he remain'd secure, and never budg'd,
But caused Mark the Doors where South'ron lodg'd.

Then all march'd on, and Silence closely kept,
Unto the Gate where they securely slept.
An English Captain, and Nine of his Mates
Drinking too late, did brag of mighty Fates.
"Had I good Wallace," one said in a Rage,
"I would think nothing with him to engage."
Another there, his Head and Neck would pawn,
He'd tye Sir John the Graham with strength of Hand.
A Third, he'd fight the Boyd with a good Sword,
'Twould set him better far to fight a T – -d.
Another wish'd for Lundie, by his Life,
And some for Seaton, in that drunken Strife.

When Wallace heard the South'ron make such Din
He boldly all alone himself went in.
Then with a brave bold Countenance and Stout,
Saluted them most handsomly about.
"I'm from my Travels come, Gentles," said he,
"Longing your Conquest of the Scots to see.
Some of your Drink and other Cheer I'd have."
The Captain then a Saucy Answer gave.
"Thou seem'st a Scot, likely to be a Spy,
And may'st be one of Wallace Company,
Which if thou be, nothing shall thee protect,
From being hang'd up quickly by the Neck."

Wallace thought then, it was not Time to stand,
His noble Sword fast gripped in his Hand.
With such a Stroak the Captain did surprise,
As cut off all that stood above the Eyes.
Another there he killed in great Ire,
A third he threw unto the burning Fire.
Keirly and Steven came in with Courage true,
And kill'd the Rest of all the drunken Crew.
The Hostler then, without further Delay,
Directed Wallace where the South'ron lay.
Who set their Lodgings all in a fair Low,
About their Ears, and burnt them Stab and Stow.

Then to Dumbarton Cave with merry speed,
March'd long e'er Day, a quick Exploit indeed.
Towards Rosneath, next Night they past along,
Where English-Men possest that Castle strong.
Who that same Day unto a Wedding go,
Fourscore in Number, at the least, or moe.
In their return the Scots upon them set
Where Fourty did their Death Wounds fairly get.
The Rest scour'd off and to the Castle fled,
But Wallace who in War was nicely bred,
He did the Entry to the Castle win,
End slew the South'ron all were found therein.
After the Flyers did pursue with Speed;
None did escape him, all were cut down dead.

On their Purveyance seven Days lodged there,
At their own Ease, and merrily did fare.
Some South'ron came to visit their good Kin,
But none went out, be sure, that once came in.
After he had set Fire to the Place,
March'd straight to Faukland in a litle Space.
There Earl Malcolm was of glorious Fame,
Richard of Lundie, and Sir John the Graham:
Good Adam Wallace, that true hearted Scot,
Barclay and Boyd, and others of great Note.
With them he keep'd his Yool and Holy Days,
Who past their Time in Feasting Sport and Plays.
Till Tydings came of his dear Mother's Death,
Who, to Almighty had resign'd her Breath.

Then did he order Jop and Mr. Blair,
To bury her and no Expence to spare.
Who posted off with speed, did not deferr,
And honourably did her Corps interr.
His Mourning Wallace soon threw off, for he
Had most at Heart how Scotland he might free.

Next page: Book X, Chapter IV

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.