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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.

The Chace now finish'd, the brave Warriours meet,
And with kind intercourse of Souls unite.
The Knight well pleas'd his panting Friends espies,
With Joy his Bosom glows, with transports glut his Eyes,
His Visage roughn'd into Frowns e'er while.
Assumes the softer beauties of a Smile,
Fair Victory sat blooming on his Head,
And all around her, sacred Blessings shed.
But now the Sun roul'd down the fading Light,
Red Vesper took his Post. Arose the Night.

On Hills of Slain the Scarlet Heroes sate,
Pond'ring new Toils of War in close Debate.
Pale Scotia still her bleeding Veins display'd,
And pointing to the Foe, and call'd aloud for Aid.
Fir'd with her Wrongs and with new Anger fraught,
They steel their Hearts, and bar each milder Thought;
Nor sated with the Vengeance of the Day,
To Lochmabane directly take their Way.
And now to aid their Rage a Night of Shades,
Muffles the Sky, and the pale Moon invades.
No Stars appear'd in the dark Firmament,
As if their everlasting Oil were spent:
Lone Midnight silence quell'd each whispring Sound,
And spread his gloomy Pinions all around.

Conceal'd the wary Spies rode on before,
The destin'd Town in Order to explore.
With Darkness 'velop'd, soon they reach'd the Gate,
Where watching all alone the Keeper sate.
With silent Rage they aim'd a random Wound,
And laid the Felon prostrate on the Ground.
The following Band came on with hasty Pace,
Breathing Revenge, and quickly made the Place.
The gleanings of the Field they here surprise,
Resounds the House with Clamour, Shrieks and Crys,
While Terror wildly peeps forth from their Eyes.
Nought but the groans of Wretches now is heard,
Where Mirth and ill-timed Riot Late appear'd.

'Twas now past Ebb of Night, and dawning Morn,
Appear'd on infant Smiles and Blushes born;
The Victors now quite spent with Toils of War,
Give o'er, and, panting breath the fragrant Air.
Reclin'd they gladly take a short Repast,
To satiate Nature's Call, not please the Taste.
That done, with gen'rous Wine they brim the Bowl,
Each quaffs and sucks the Nectar to his Soul:
The dancing Tide rouls thro' each languid Vein,
And swells them with o'erflowing Streams again.

Sated at length they leave the humbled Town.
The Fortress taken, and their Foes o'erthrown,
And bent their Course to where impetous Clyde,
Thro' Precipices pours its foamy Tide.
With many wandring Rouls the circling Stream,
The Pride of Rivers, and the Poets Theme.
Now grateful Slumber creeps o'er all apace,
And fonds their Senses with a soft Embrace.
Within a darksome Vale retir'd they lay,
At ease from all the bloody Toils of Day:
Thro' every Limb the soft Infection Crept,
And Guardian Angels watch'd 'em as they slept.

A Fort remain'd, where fill'd, with Rage and Spite,
The En'my rul'd and triumph'd in their Might.
While thus secure the slumbr'ing Warriours lay,
Wild Fancy now assumes Internal Sway:
Still to their sleeping Thoughts the Fort arose,
And hag'd their Dreams, and shook them from Repose.
Th' inverted Scale of Heav'n now weigh'd up Night,
Sunk was the Sun, and faded was the Light.

Walking at length, unseen they leave the Vale,
The fated Place determining t'Assail.
Wallace before the rest went forth alone,
With eager Speed, and reach'd the guilty Town.
And here a hideous Noise insults his Ear,
Of drunken Mirth, unlike the Voice of War.
Enrag'd, the Chieftain gave the order'd Sign,
His Friends throng in and all their Powers combine.
With active Care the Gates they first possest,
Then guard the Passes and the Strength invest.

Wallace first sought the House, inflam'd with Hate
When sunk in Luxury the Captain sate.
Unsheath'd his Sword, and aim'd a certain Blow,
That hurl'd to Shades of Night th' abandon'd Foe.
With equal Rage he gave to Fate the rest,
And mingled with their Blood their horrid Feast.
Their mangled Bodies strew'd the sanguine Floor,
Grinning in Death, and weltring in their Gore.

Mean Time without Grahame plies the lofty Fort,
Built up of Beams and fortify'd by Art.
Strait flung Triumphant from his thundring Hand,
Full to the steepy Roof a flaming Brand:
The Red Contagion blazing flew along,
With crackling roar, and scorch'd the trembling Throng.
And now the ruddy Ruine whirls on High,
Swells in the Wind, and triumphs to the Sky.
Wild Shrieks within and yellings of Despair,
A blended Horror! rends the midnight Air.
And now the Turret, Ground, and all around,
With burst of Thunder tumbled to the Ground
It fell. And crush'd the Wretches underneath,
With wild Destruction whelm'd and fiery Death.

Soon as the radiant Morn renew'd the Day,
The Victors, on each Side the Place survey,
That now in smoaking Heaps and Rubbish lay,
The Works that stood they levell'd with the Ground,
And spread a gen'ral Ruine all around.

Next page: Book VI (Prologue)

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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