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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 XI, Chapter I (Continued)
The Battle of Falkirk

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

At the Tor-Wood, where speedily he goes,
Sleeped a little and thereafter rose.
His Host consisting of Ten Thousand Men,
Drew quickly up in noble Order then.
The Earl Malcolm, Ramsay, Lundie wight,
Command Five Thousand gallant Men and tight.
Wallace himself, Lauder, and Seaton have
Led on Five Thousand valiant Men and brave.
With them good Wallace was of Riccartoun,
Who never spar'd, but hew'd the South'ron down.

All well aray'd in Armour bright and clean,
March'd to the Field where the great Fight had been.
There narrowly they searched all the same,
And found the Corps of good Sir John the Graham.
Whom when good Wallace saw, he lighted down,
And did embrace that Knight of high Renown.
With Sorrow great beholding his Pale Face,
He kiss'd his Mouth, and often cry'd Alace.

"My dearest Brother that I ever had,
My only Friend, when I was hard bestead;
My Hope, my Health O Man of Honour great,
My Faithfull Aid and Strength in every Strait.
Thy matchless Wisdom cannot here be told,
Thy noble Man-hood, Truth, and Courage bold,
Wisely thou knew'st to rule and to govern,
Yea, Virtue was thy chief and great Concern.
A bounteous Hand, a Heart as true as Steel,
A steady Mind, most courteous and gentile.
When I this Kingdom did at first rescue,
Great Honour then I'm sure to thee was due.
Wherefore I vow to the great GOD and swear,
Thy Death shall be to South'ron bought full dear.
Martyr'd thou art for Scotland's Right this Day,
Which I'll avenge with all the Might I may."

With that he sigh'd, and hugg'd him o'er again,
Was no Man there from weeping could refrain.
Then in Falkirk prepares his Sepulchre,
And does his noble Corps in Pomp interr.
On his Tomb-Stone the following Epitaph
They wrote, which put the South'ron in a Chaff.

Mente manuque potens, et VALLÆ fidus Achates,
Conditur hic Gramius bello interfectus ab Angli.

Of Mind and Courage stout,
WALLACE's true Achates
Here lies Sir JOHN the GRAHAM,
Fell'd by the English Baties

Unto the Bruce, Wallace he forthwith rade,
To the Appointment was betwixt them made.
At sight of whom, his Face flusht in a Flame,
When he thought on the Loss of gallant Graham.
"Dost thou not rue," said he in angry Mood,
"Thy fighting 'gainst thy native Flesh and Blood?"
"Oh!" said the Bruce, "rebuke me now no more,
My foolish Deeds do check and bite me sore."
Wallace surprized, was put to a Stance,
Fell on his Knees and chang'd his Countenance.
At which the Bruce embrac'd him in his Arms,
And thus the Two came in good speaking Terms.

"Pray, Sir," said Wallace, "leave that South'ron King,"
The Bruce said, "That were an ignoble Thing;
I am so bound, faithful to be and leill,
For England I'll not falsifie my Seal.
But here I Promise unto GOD and thee,
Hereafter Scots shall ne'er be harm'd by me.
And if you Victors be, as grant you may,
I will not fight to save my Life this Day,
But with King Edward I'll return again,
Unless that I be taken or be slain.
And when my Term with him is fairly out,
May I escape, I'll come to thee no doubt."

Thus Bruce took Leave and did to Edward post,
And Wallace soon returned to his Host.
Crawford he made the Earl Malcolm's Guide,
To Inneravin the low way to ride,
That South'ron Watches might not them espy.
The other Host himself led hastily,
By the South Manwel, where they were not seen
Of the Outwatches, there had planted been.
The Earl Malcolm enters Linlithgow now,
Where a hot Dispute quickly did ensue.
Wallace and his made little Noise or Cry,
But on King Edward's Host fell suddenly.
And did their Weapons Gallantly imploy,
To his great Terror, but the Scotsmens Joy.

Next page: Book XI, Chapter I (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.