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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 II, Chapter II
How WALLACE kill'd Lord Piercy's Steward, and was imprisoned in Ayr.

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

The Fish no sooner had the Servant got,
Then Piercies Stewart called, and said, "Scot,
For whom buys thou those Fish thou carrys there?"
Who answer'd, "Sir, for the Sheriff of Ayr."
"By Heaven's King," the Stewart rudely swore,
"My Lord shall have them, thou may purchase more;"
Wallace incens'd with Anger, standing by,
Said, "Why such rudeness, tell the Reason why."
This fired soon the haughty Stewarts Blood,
Who thought what Wallace spoke, was next to rude,
And did his Stomach so with Venom fill,
As might the vilest loathsome Spider kill.
"Go hence," said he, "thou saucy Scot with speed,
Thee and thy Sheriff both I mock indeed."
Then with his hunting Staff he Wallace smote,
But he had better kiss'd his Bum, poor Sott.
For Wallace by the Throat him quickly caught,
And the proud Stewart better Manners taught.

Then from his Pocket pull'd a Dagger-Knife,
Which twinn'd the foolish Coxcomb of his Life.
But Ah! Alass, how quick assembled then
Fourscore at least, well harnish'd English-Men:
Whose Post it was to watch and guard the Town,
There suddenly poor Wallace they surround.
At them he star'd and never spoke a Word,
But boldly drew his awful daring Sword:
And cliverly unto his Feet did get,
And stick'd the foremost Fellow that he met.
Upon the Knee another hit he so,
That Moment made the Bone asunder go.
Nor can I say the Third had better luck,
Who got his Neck in two most cleanly cut.

Thus Wallace rag'd and ramped Lion like,
And made the Carles strangely fidge and fyke.
No wonder for they got most grievous Wounds,
So desp'rately he claw'd their South'ron Crowns.
And tho' the Gate with Sword and Spears they keep,
He hew'd them down like heartless sillie Sheep:
Yea when they him inviron'd round about,
Quite thro' the Press he suddenly broke out,
Unto a Wall was built by the Sea-side,
Where in his own Defence he did abide.
Till from the Castle issu'd one and all,
Got on a Dyke, and then broke down the Wall.

No shift he had but there to fight or die,
Great Numbers then he hew'd down hastily:
So furiously out thro' the South'ron past,
But Oh! his noble Sword did burst at last,
Broke from the Hilt, he knew of no Remeed,
Then stoutly drew his Dagger out with speed.
One there he kill'd, and other Two he sent
To Death, the same way that the first Chiell went.
But at the last, his Foes on ev'ry Hand
They rudely rush with Spears, and him command.
Such was their pity they forbid to slay,
But starve with Hunger, till he'd pine away.
Thus they the sacred Scriptures verify,
The Wicked's Mercy's are meer Cruelty.

With English now he's Pris'ner gone at will,
Had he got Help he would have fought them still.
To speak of Ransom that was all in vain,
Because that Day so many he had slain.
His Trouble here I scarcely well can tell,
His Prison much resembled that of Hell.
Such Meat and Drink as they to him allow,
Would kill and Poison ev'n a very Sow.
But here I leave him in this doleful Case,
Till Providence shall order his Release.

The woeful Weeping and the piteous Moan
Was made for him, would rent a Heart of Stone;
No Comfort here to dissipate their Fears,
Nought to be seen but pale Cheeks stain'd with Tears.
Alas said they, can Life endure to see,
Wallace imprison'd, by the Enemy:
The Flow'r of Youth in sweet and tender Age,
Made subject to the cruel Saxon Rage.
Living this Day a Chieftain there is none,
Like the young Wallace; for its he alone,
That's capable of Scotland to take care,
But now he's caught into the woeful Snare.

Next page: Book II, 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.