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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 V
How WALLACE escaped out of St. Johnstoun past to Elchock Park, and killed Fawdoun. How he past to Lochmabane. How WALLACE wan the Castle of Crawford, and killed the Captain thereof

Read a synopsis of this book in modern American English.

Cold Winter now his hoary Aspect shows,
Frost bound the Glyb whilst Boreas fiercely blows,
Sweeping the Snow along the rising Hills,
Which ev'ry Glen, and slanting Hollow fills:
Cold grew the Beams of the far distant Sun,
And Day was done ere it was well begun.
Long, dark, and hateful was the gloomy Night,
Uncomfortable to each banish'd Wight;
Who durst not trust a Roof to hide their Head,
But sculk from Hill to Hill with cautious Dread.

Brave Wallace having plac'd his Sentries Right,
Deem'd it not safe to leave his Hold that Night,
For after his Escape full well he knew,
His disappointed En'mies would pursue,
And so it hapen'd. After they made search,
Finding him gone they Arm'd and made their March,
Amidst the Throng his subtile Miss with speed,
Convey'd her self away, and sav'd her Head;
Whilst they enrag'd, the South-Inch Way have tane,
Where their Two Men they found by Wallace slain.
Six hundred strong they were well Arm'd and Bold,
Who round beset our Champion in his Hold.

A Hound they had of wondrous bloody Scent,
Would Trace the Slayer's Steps where e'er he went,
A Guard he had. The rest the Wood beset,
Looking on Wallace now as in a Net;
Around the Strength Sir Gerard Heron lay,
While with Three hundred Butler made his Way,
Into the Wood, where Valiant Wallace stood,
In shining Arms few were his Men but Good;
Not one to Seven. Now past their Power to fly,
Resolv'd to cut their Way or bravely Die.

The hardy Chief, unsheath'd his conqu'ring Sword,
Besought the Aid of Heav'n then gave the Word.
Fiercely he met his Bold attacking Foes,
And quick as Lightning dealt his fatal Blows;
With horrid Din the temper'd Edges clash,
On Coats of Steel, whence hasty Sparkles flash.
But massie Armour, and defensive Shield,
Must to the nervous Arm of Wallace yield.

Like a swol'n Current, rushing from a Hill,
Which does with Wreck the lower Valleys fill,
Thus through the Martial Press he made a Lane,
Who durst oppose, no sooner did than slain:
Fourty of which infatuatly Bold,
With gaping Wounds upon the Earth lay Cold.
Thrice Five there fell of Scots Men Brave and True,
Too great the Loss, when good Men were so few.

Our Martial Heroe thus cuts out his Way,
His Men with hasty Strides made toward Tay,
Thinking to pass, but the Attempt was vain,
"Rather," said he, "let's die upon the Plain.
Than sink one single drop of Scotish Blood,
Without Revenge in the relentless Flood."
Then with new Courage, in Defence they stand,
For Butler in Array was near at Hand,
Baithed in Blood, and panting for Revenge,
Hast'ly they meet again and Deaths exchange.

The youthful Captain of the Scots in ire,
Us'd to the Wars, exerts his glorious Fire,
Runs through the Croud, and Mows them down like Grass
Whilst he unvulnerable stands like Brass,
But many of his few with grief he 'spy'd,
Whose gushing Wounds their Shields and Coats had dy'd,
No way he thought on could bring them Relief,
Unless the Downfall of the South'ron Chief.
Him keen he sought thro' Throngs from Place to Place,
Butler tho' bold declin'd to see his Face.

Next page: Book V, 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.

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