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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 III, Chapter II
How the English-Men made peace with WALLACE

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

When Wallace now had vanquish'd in the Field
The Traitor false, that had his Father kill'd,
And Brother also, that brave and worthy Knight,
With many more, that all were Men of Might;
He caus'd provide, and distribute their Store,
To go on new Exploits, and purchase more.
In Clyde's Green-Wood they did sojourn three Days;
No South'ron might Adventure in those Ways.
Death did they thole, durst in their Gate appear;
And Wallace Word did Travel far and near.

When it was heard he living was again,
The English-Men thereof had mickle Pain.
Earl Piercy straight to Glasgow did him fare,
And of wise Lords a Council summon'd there.
And tho' they had Ten thousand Men, or mo,
Would yet no Chieftain out on Wallace go,
So did they dread the Carle. Then did devise
How they by wylie Gates might him surprize.

Sir Aymer Vallange, that false Knight and strong,
In Bothwel dwelt, and then was them among;
He said, "My Lords, my Counsel I'll propone,
Which if ye take, ye mickle Skaith shall shun;
Peace must be made withoutten more Delay,
Or he more wicked Pranks than these will play."
Lord Piercy said, "With him no Truce can be,
A Carle so haughty, and so fell is he.
More Mischief he will do before he blin;
For South'ron Blood to shed, he thinks no Sin."
Reply'd Sir Aymer, "Truce ye sorely need;
Thereafter ye may find out some remeed.
I think 'twere best, so Gentle he's and True,
To try what good his Kin with him can do.
This Matter bid Sir Rannald take in Hand
With his Nevoy, or forfeit all his Land,
Untill such Time as he the Work hath wrought."
Sir Rannald straight was to the Council brought,
Where him they charg'd with Wallace Peace to gain
Or he in London Prisoner should remain.

Sir Rannald said, "My Lords, ye know right well,
For my Advice he will not do a deal.
His worthy Kin ye cruelly have slain,
And caus'd himself in Prison thole much Pain.
How think ye then, he'll do this thing for me
Now he's at large, although you caus'd me die."
Lord Piercy then did speak Sir Rannald fair;
"Make but this Peace, thou Sherriff art of Ayr.
And if the Bus'ness can accomplish'd be,
Under my Seal I shall be bound to thee,
That English-Men shall do him no Distress,
Nor any Scot, withoutten due Redress."
Sir Rannald knew he could not them gainstand,
So undertook what Piercy did Command;
Piercy who True and Valiant still had been,
And mild in Peace although in Battle keen.

Hy'd then Sir Rannald to the Woods of Clyde,
Where Wallace wight did with his Men abide,
With whom forgath'ring as to Dine he went,
He sat him down, and shar'd their Merriment,
And feasted was with Dainties rare and fine;
King Edward's self drunk never better Wine.
Then after Meat, his Errand he declar'd,
And how unless he came, he would have far'd;
"Nevoy," said he, "part of my Counsel take,
And for a Season, Truce with South'rons make;
To bear their Yoke, that would indeed be Sin,
Who are so set to ruin all thy Kin.

Then Wallace said, "Unto his Men, shall be
No Peace, unless ye better like than me."
Said Boyd, "Before this worthy Knight should fall,
I think, 'twere best make Peace tho' sore it gall."
For that Advice Cleland put in his Word;
And Adam, Heir of Richartoun concurr'd:
As they agreed, did Wallace Peace proclaim,
In hopes within few Months to gain his Aim.
Then leave they took full sadly on the Plain,
Praying they might in safety meet again.

Each went his Ways; and Wallace bound to ride,
To Crosbie with Sir Rannald to abide.
In August's pleasant Month was cry'd this Peace;
And Mars and Juno their Contentions cease,
Saturn grew mild; and all the Stars above
Gave Place to Venus, gentle Queen of Love.

Next page: Book III, 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.