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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 XII, Chapter IV (Continued)
How WALLACE came again to Scotland, and The Battle of Elchock Park.

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

But by the Time they had got to the Hight,
The Sun display'd his Beams and radiant Light,
By which they did perceive immediately,
Thirty and Four Men in a Company.
Then said good Wallace, "Be they Friend or Foe,
Wee'l meet them, since their Number is no moe."

When they approach'd, a noble Knight it was,
And a true trusty Friend, Sir Hugh Dundass.
With him a prudent Knight, brave Sir John Scot,
Who in Strathern was then a Man of Note,
And with Dundass's Sister led his Life,
A vertuous Lady and a loving Wife.
They and their Men the Road were passing on,
To pay their Fewty to the South'ron,
Because the Lord of Brechin's strict Command,
Had forc'd them basely thus to hold their Land.
Who when they saw that it was Wallace wight,
Gave Thanks to GOD for that blyth welcome Sight.

Glad of the Succour he had sent them there,
To Methven Wood with joyful Hearts repair,
Where they refresh'd themselves to their own Mind,
With such Provisions as they there could find.
Then were they hearty, cliver, brave, and tight,
And unto Birnane Wood march'd all that Night.
There they with Ruthven met in a short Space,
Who long had liv'd an out-Law in that Place.
From thence they march and unto Athol go,
Where Eatables were scarce, and Friends also.
Then pass to Lorn, as little found they there,
Of Wild and Tame, that Land was stripped bare.
Wherefore they most Religiously anon,
Address the Heav'ns, and make a piteous Moan.

Good Sir John Scot said he would rather dye
And starve with Hunger, then with Infamy,
To live a Rogue, or let himself be bound,
A slavish Subject to King Edward's Crown.
Wallace, his own Distress with Patience bore,
But for the Rest he groan'd and grieved sore.
"Of all this Want," said he, "I am the Cause,
Yet since it is for Scotland's Rights and Laws,
That thus we suffer, by the Divine will,
Let none of us once grudge or take it ill.
For he that made us by his mighty Pow'r,
Can feed us by his Providence I'm sure.
With him is neither found Deceit, nor Guile,
Stay here till I remove a little while;
In a short Space I shall return again,"
Then walked he o'er a Hill unto the Plain.
Where in a Forrest underneath an Oak,
He sat him down, with Spirit almost broke.

His Sword and Bow, he leaned to a Tree,
In Anguish great then on his Face fell he.
"Ah Wretch!" said he, "that ne'er could be content,
With all the Wealth that GOD unto thee sent.
The Lordships great, long since to thee assign'd,
Could never please thy fierce unstable Mind.
Thy willfull Will to make thy Nation free,
Thro' God's Permission's brought this Woe to thee,
For worthier by far than ever I,
With Hunger now are like to starve and dy.
O GOD I pray, relieve them of their Pain,
And let not this my Prayer be in vain."
Then after Sighs and Meditation deep,
He slumber'd softly, and did fall asleep.

Next page: Book XII, Chapter IV (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.