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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 IV (Continued)
How Sir William Douglas won the Castle of Sanquhair by a Jeopardie: How WALLACE rescu'd him from the English and put them out of those Parts.

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Wallace and the good Earl do pursue,
And in the Flight demolish'd not a few.
Five Hundred good, they and their Men have cast
Dead to the Ground e'er they Dalswinton past.
The wearied Horses, march no further can,
Tho' all the Men were fresh as they began.
Wallace and Graham must then dismount perforce
And take their Foot; good Fate it was no worse.
So fierce they follow without Fear or Dread,
None but the Horse could equal them in Speed.
Their Stroak so heavy dreadfull were and sore,
Whom e'er they hit did grieve the Scots no more.

Then a new Party, Men of Note and Fame,
With good fresh Horses unto Wallace came.
Good Currie and the Johnstoun, stout and gay,
Kirkpatrick and the trusty Halliday.
Sevenscore new Men came up, a brave Recruit,
Who noble Service did in the pursuit.
Good Currie there brave Wallace hors'd again,
Who quickly hath three English Captains slain.
Of Durisdear, Enoch, and Tibbers-Moor,
The Dint of his good Sword none could endure.
The Maxwel als, out of Carlav'rock drew,
And did the South'ron furiously pursue.
Beside Cock-pool sound Payment there they got,
Some drowned were, and some kill'd on the Spot.

Wallace return'd and in Carlav'rock bode,
And to Dumfries upon the Morrow rode.
Proclaim'd his Peace to all within those Bounds,
That would assist against the South'ron Lowns
No longer there at that Time did abide,
For South'ron fled from Scotland on each Side.
The Towns and Castles Scotsmen then possest,
And rul'd the Land, and then the Land had Rest.

Brave Douglass had behav'd so nobly there,
Was Keeper made from Drumlanrig to Ayr.
Mean Time his Lady Counterfeits her Spite,
And like a Serpent waits her Time to bite.
By this the English Captains all did flee,
Excepting Morton, that held out Dundee.
Which Wallace vex'd and greatly disoblig'd,
Wherefore he march'd, and closely him besieg'd.
Morton does beg his Life and then he'd go,
For England straight, but Wallace answer'd, "No;
All England shall Example of thee take,
Thou shalt be hanged for King Edward's Sake."
When Wallace had confirm'd the Siege, then he
The Scrimgeor made Constable of Dundee.

One Ballinger of England, that was there,
Past out of Tay and came to Quithy fair.
To London wrote, and told of Wallace Vow,
And in what Pickle Morton labour'd now.
Which Tydings put King Edward to a Stance,
And call'd him home, who fighting was in France.
Then did he charge and summon Bruce by Name,
To answer or to under-ly the Blame.
And all the rest who liv'd under his Crown,
Bishop and Barron, got a Summons soon.
I leave him here to his new Hellish Plots,
From which good GOD preserve the Sakeless Scots.

The English, that Time, Guyen Land possest,
And did that Country very much infest.
On which Account a Herauld does advance,
Express to Wallace from the King of France,
Praying he'd come and charge the South'ron Lowns,
And once more chase them from his Gallick Bounds.
This Message from the King received he,
When busy at the Siege before Dundee.
The Herauld there he entertain'd at Large,
Most splendidly on his own proper Charge.
And told him all the great Fates he had done,
But that he could not give an Answer soon,
Untill he saw what Edward did contrive,
And Plot against the Scots – ill may he thrive.

The Wits of France have with the Herauld sent,
A brave Description and a fine Comment
On Wallace Actions, and his Person rare,
To either which, the Age could not compare.
In Stature he was full Nine Quarters high,
When measured, at least, without a Ly.
Betwixt his Shoulders, was three Quarters broad,
Such Length and Breadth, wou'd now a-days seem odd.
Was no Fatigue but what he could endure;
Great, but well shaped Limbs, Voice strong and sture,
Burning brown Hair, his Brows and Eye-Bries light,
Quick piercing Eyes, like to the Diamonds bright.
A well proportion'd Visage, long and sound,
Nose square and neat, with ruddy Lips and round;
His Breast was high, his Neck was thick and strong,
A Swinging Hand, with Arms both large and long.
Grave in his Speech, his Colour Sanguine fine,
A Beauteous Face wherein did Honour shine.

In Time of Peace, Mild as a Lamb would be,
When War approach'd, a Hector stout was he.
Riches he mock'd, submited all to Fate;
Gave what he wan, like Alexander great.
To Scotsmen he great Trust and Credit gave,
But a known Foe could never him deceive.
Such qualities Men did to him advance,
Who were the very greatest Wits in France,
Which Mr. Blair mark'd all in Wallace Book,
On which you're kindly welcome now to look.

But at the Siege as Wallace earnest lay,
Jop brought him Tydings on a certain Day:
How Edward came with a great Force along,
An Army of an Hundred Thousand Strong
Wallace commands Scrimgeor quickly then,
There to command Eight Thousand of his Men.
And close besiege the South'ron in that Place,
That none might thence escape in any Case.
Wallace himself did with Two Thousand ride
To Perth, where he some few Days did abide.
Toward the South his March did then begin,
With his brave Lads, all in a merry Pin.

King Edward does to young Lord Woodstock send,
And orders him to March Ten Thousand Men
To Stirling Bridge, and there to keep the Pass;
Who, when he came behaved like an Ass.
Without Respect to Orders, cross'd the Forth,
And with his Men march'd straight unto the North.
But for his Folly very soundly pay'd,
Who had his King's Command thus disobey'd.

Next page: Book XI, 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.