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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 IV, Chapter II
How WALLACE past to Saint-Johnstoun, slew the Captain, and won Kinclevin

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Now Wallace grieving idle thus to be
Resolv'd at length Saint-Johnstoun for to see.
Seven Men went with him graith'd in Armour clear;
The rest he left to Stephen of Ireland's Care.
Changing his Name he Entrance soon obtain'd;
Oft heard himself miscall'd, and sore disdain'd.
But well dissembling his Intent, he chose
At a young Maiden's Mansion to live close;
A gentle loving Creature, mild and meek,
Who often squeez'd his Hand, and clap'd his Cheek.
From her he learn'd how Things with South'rons went;
For ay to do them Skaith his Will was bent.

Butler, he heard, an Aged cruel Knight,
Kinclevin kept, a Castle wondrous Wight.
Glad of the Tale, he straight way did repair
To Methwin Wood, among his Comrades there.
Syne drew them up, and march'd in good Array
Along the green and bonny Banks of Tay.
Approach'd the Castle silently and slow,
That of his coming South'rons might not know.
But they within, fearful of sudden Harms,
Were quickly all a stir, and up in Arms.
Then did a fierce and cruel Fight ensue,
As ever was maintain'd among so few.

But Wallace still the foremost of the Fray,
Soon gave the English Loons right Scots-Man's Play.
Oft did he pierce their Battel thro' and thro',
And at each Onset many hack'd and slew.
Butler himself came Wallace to withstand;
But who could grapple Wallace Hand to Hand?
Sore did the Knight the rash Adventure rue;
For with one Stroke his Head in sunder flew.
Their Chiftain slain, the Remnant English fled,
Behind them leaving Threescore Soldiers Dead.

The Castle yielding, after some short stay,
They set on Fire, then brought their Gear away.
Syne Wallace wisely all his Men withdraws;
And lodges safely in the Short-Wood Shaws.

Next page: Book IV, 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.

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