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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.

With heavy Heart he held the dreary Way,
And join'd his Friends that wondred at his stay.
Now from the Fair remov'd, our Heroe strove,
By Warfare to divert the Pangs of Love.
Fir'd with the Thought, he choaks the rising Sigh,
And fondly hopes the distant Enemy,
Who in Lochmabane lorded it secure,
Full grown in Arrogance and flush'd with Pow'r,
Clifford inhumane Youth bore Chief Command.
And spread his cruel Conquests o'er the Land.

Now Wallace scarce had reach'd the guilty Town,
(Conceal'd his Name, his Country only Known)
When swell'd with Malice, Clifford sought the Place,
And brands the Scots and loads them with Disgrace:
Appriz'd the Knight, pursues the haughty Lord,
Th' Affront lent Weight and Fury to his Sword;
Urg'd home the Thirsty Fauchion sought his Side,
Transpierc'd his Heart, and drunk the vital Tide.

Sated the Chiftain left the Town. And now,
Wing'd with revengeful Spite his Foes pursue;
The Knight serene thus warn'd his faithful Friends,
"Behold the raging En'my this way tends,
Leave we the Plains, and yonder Thickets climb,
Trusting th' Event to Providence and Time."
His Friends reluctant hear the strict Command,
Sternly retire, and Eye th' approaching Band.
By this with hasty Strides the Foe drew near;
Their burnish'd Arms reflect a Gleam severe:
With fulgent Light they shone. The steely Blaze,
Shot full against the Sun with mingling Rays.
Their Arrows now with certain Speed they aim'd,
And wounded Blair, for Wit and Valour fam'd.
Wallace beheld him bleed, and fir'd to Rage,
Turn'd instantly, in Order to Engage.

His little Band in dubious War well try'd,
Rush on the num'rous Foe with gen'rous Pride.
And now with adverse Shock the Warriours met,
Each urg'd the Fight, nor thought of base Retreat:
The South'ron Army thinn'd with num'rous slain,
In Multitudes lay grov'ling on the Plain.
But still in gath'ring Crouds, new Troops advance,
The Fields resound, the Neighing Coursers prance.
Moreland, the Flower of Arms moves to the Field,
Lightning his Eyes, his Arms keen Splendor yield.
His waving Plume nods terribly from far,
And whitens with its Foam the Tide of War.
With boiling Rage his heaving Bosom Glows,
And Martial Terror glooms upon his Brows.
The English rais'd to Hope, their Chief survey,
And meditate the Ruine of the Day.

In Vain the the Dauntless Scots attempt to fly,
Closs wedg'd they stand, resolv'd to win or die.
And now both Sides assault, and proudly Vie;
Thickens the Combat, and resounds the Sky,
Wallace distinguish'd by his orby Shield,
Rode thund'ring thro' the Tempest of the Field.
Where Moreland rag'd; and with a pond'rous Blow,
Full on his Neck, divides the Bone in Two.
No more the Joints the dizzy Head sustain,
The haughty Chief rush'd head-long to the Plain.
Seizing his Horse the Knight, with active Care,
Revives again the the Thunder of the War.

Inspir'd from Heaven with more than humane Might,
His Arm alone enclines the Scale of Fight.
Around, the verdant Grass is Sanguine Dy'd,
And Heaps on Heaps expire on every Side.
The English now, their Chieftain lost, give way
Dead'ned with Fear and fall an easy Prey;
Now to the Town their rapid Steps they bend,
Throng to the Castle and in haste ascend.
Their hagar'd Eyes their inward Fears disclose,
And look a Voice, and speak their direful Woes.
Graystock their Gen'ral here at ease resides,
Who scorns their Terrours and their Fears derides.
And now his Soldiers arm'd, the Fort he leaves,
And with fresh Powers the fainting War revives.

Wallace mean while the bloody Scene had left,
With Victory, nor of one Friend bereft.
And clad in Arms he shot an Iron Light;
The En'my saw, and curs'd the unwelcome Sight.
"Oh! Don't," they cry'd, "our Doom anticipate,
Return, nor brave th' impending burst of Fate.
Yonder behold! the Valiant God-like Knight.
Whose mighty Arm alone lays waste the Fight."
"Ha! Dastards!" cry'd the Gen'ral with a Frown,
"His Strength owes Being to your Fears alone."
And spurr'd his Horse. Now Wallace from afar.
Beheld th'encreasing Tumult of the War;
Nor could he tempt the Storm, that with new roar,
Roul'd dreadful, menacing his Scanty Pow'r
And now o'rcome with Toil, his Horse gave o'er.

Mean Time dispatch'd by Heaven, immortal Grahame,
Back't with his Friends, a brave Retinue came.
Thrice Ten he led, a small but faithful Train,
Each could mark red the Field with num'rous slain,
And the whole Tempest of the War sustain.
The Battle joins. And Clamours, Shouts and Cries,
Ring thro' the Plains, and tear the vaulted Skies.
Grahame now with ardent Eyes his Friends survey'd,
And sent to every Quarter timely Aid.
Himself mean while from Place to Place engag'd,
Where the Storm roar'd, and where the thickest rag'd,
Rush'd thro' the War that bled in every Vein,
Like some fierce Tide, and sweep't the standing Plain.

Wallace on Foot cuts out a sanguine Path,
And stems the Flood of War, and braves impending Death.
Restless he fights, with Blood and Dust besmear'd,
Reaping the Field, where nought but Fate appear'd.
And thus th' intrepid few still urge their Course,
Each in himself, a War, an Armies Force.

But now the Foe repuls'd with foul Disgrace,
(Their Champion in the Front) retreat apace,
While Wallace yet unweary'd urg'd the Chace.
Before him Grahame Active as Lightning flew,
Mix'd with the Croud, and all Promiscous slew.
The Knight beheld, and check'd his vulgar Rage,
That stoop'd with the low Rabble to Engage.
"Away!" he cry'd, "nor thus disgrace thy Sword,
Yon flying Chiefs will nobler Stores afford,"
He said. The youthful Heroes shoot along,
With rapid haste and reach the distant Throng.

Fierce Graystock now abandon'd by his Pride,
Nought but Despair appear'd on every Side.
Grahame sought the haughty Chief. And now on high,
His Sword that Flam'd and lighten'd in the Sky.
With whirl-wind Sound descends, and cleaves his Head;
No force of Motion could the Stroke impede:
The yauning Chasm well'd out a purple Flood,
Forth rush'd the Soul effus'd with gushing Blood.
Wallace mean while dealt Ruine all around:
And with dead Corses strew'd the blushing Ground.
The En'my still experienc'd his Pow'r,
And those who felt his Arm harass'd the Scotch no more.

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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