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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 (Continued)
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.

But now far diff'rent Cares engross his Soul,
And all the manly Rage of War controul.
Love bound the Heroe in his Flow'ry Chains;
For over all the GOD unbounded Reigns.

In Lanerk dwelt the Fair. Well known to Fame,
For matchless Beauties crown'd the charming Dame.
Now in her Spring of Life, she grew apace,
Spreading to Bloom, and crown'd with every Grace.
The Syrens with perswasive Eloquence,
Charm'd from her Lips and beautify'd her Sense,
While Piety adds Lustre to her Name.
Wallace beheld and own'd the pleasing Flame
The Print of Love new-stamp'd his ductile Breast,
And with soft Characters his Soul Imprest.

As Waves impell'd by Waves, his Mind is tost,
And in the spreading Sea of Passion lost,
Love Tears his Bosom, shoots along his Veins,
And a wild Anarchy of Thoughts Maintains:
Now with fresh warmth his martial Flames awake,
And he th' ignoble Chain attempts to break.
The Fair arises now in all her Charms,
And with soft Fires his languid Bosom warms.
The youthful Knight impatient of his Wound,
With strange Disorder rouls his Eyes around
Try's every Mean and strives to quell the Smart
That tore his Breast and stung his bleeding Heart.
Now maz'd in Doubts, and with strange Tumults fill'd,
The Lover thus his secret Pangs reveal'd.

"What shall I then give up my Breast to Joy,
And all my Schemes of future Wars Destroy?
Shall I thus lose my self in pleasing Dreams,
While Scotia's welfare all my Bosom claims?
No. Thus I stifle the inglorious Flame,
And raze the Image of the beauteous Dame:
Rise Glory Rise! Assume thy wonted Charms,
And take me panting to thy sanguine Arms,
I'll drown each Thought of her in War and loud Alarms."

Kierly Beheld how the young Warriour strove
In vain to quell th' unruly Pangs of Love,
How obstinately good, he scorn'd to know,
All but the Dear unhappy Country's woe.
No cheering Bless gilds o'er his Gloom of Cares,
No sprightly Joys his anxious Bosom shares,
Fain would the Friend his Dreary Cares beguile,
When thus he answer'd with an artful Smile.
"And what can Wound the strictest Patriot's Name,
By wedding Vertue in so fair a Dame?
Since all your Thoughts imprest by Love arise,
Enjoy the Maid bound yours in nuptial Ties.
She's Chast and Vertuous, Innocent and Good;
Nor can her Lineage ever stain your Blood."

"Ungen'rous Man," reply'd the wondring Chief,
"And wouldst thou have me dissipate my Grief?
While Scotland weeps, weeps out her dearest Blood,
And floats to Ruine down the crimson Flood.
Th' important Now, decides her future State,
And see the Scales are hung to weigh her Fate.
While we're the only Friends that she can boast,
To counterpoize a hardy numerous Host.
Our every Thought in such an Enterprize,
Or big with Conquest or with Death should rise.
And sure while Scotia's Enemies remain,
Unnerving Love should ever sue in Vain."

"And what is Love? Nothing but Folly, Glaring Emptiness,
Effeminate and froathy all its Bless;
A fleeting Joy. Sure then it cannot be,
That Love and War at once should reign in me.
Yet Love they say our brutal Rage disarms.
Refines our Ardour and our Courage Warms.
But that is only when the fair One's kind,
When blooming Hopes distend the Lovers Mind.
When Bless and beauteous Conquest stand confess'd,
And Life redoubled heaves within his Breast,
But when the Virgin nought but Frowns bestows
Nor hears his am'rous Plaints or dying Vows:
'Tis then his very Manhood melts away
In Tears by Night, and mournful Sighs by Day.
No more his Breast the sprightly Trumpet charms,
No more he joy's in War and shining Arms."

Our Nation groans beneath a Load of Woes,
And calls on us against her cruel Foes,
And could such Conduct suit a Warriour's Mind
(For Women are Unconstant or Unkind)
Who before Man, and Heaven's all-seeing Eye
Must bravely conquer, or as bravely die?"

The Warriour spoke, with Indignation spoke,
While Anger from his Eyes like Lightning broke,
Yet in his Bosom Love the Tyrant play'd,
And laugh'd secure at what his Fury said.
The Chief at last perceiv'd with anxious Pain,
That still imperious Love maintain'd his Reign.
What could he do? With outmost Care he strove,
Now to oppose, and now to fly from Love
In vain. The God still with the Angler's Skill
Or mock'd his Force, or play'd him to the full.

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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