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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 VIII, Chapter I
How WALLACE put Corspatrick out of Scotland

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Five Months thus Scotland had Peace and Rest
From War, wherewith they were so much oppress'd.
Then a Convention's call'd of the Estates,
To settle Matters and end all Debates.
And in St. Johnstoun are assembled all,
Except Corspatrick, who did mock their Call.
Then Wallace he address'd that Parliament,
And humbly ask'd, if they would all consent:
For to forgive Corspatrick what was past,
Providing he would own his Fault at last;
And swear Fidelity unto the Crown,
To which they all consented very soon.
A Letter then they speedily indite,
And in most kind, and friendly Terms they write,
Beseeching him, with handsome Complement,
He would accept Share of the Goverment.
Which kindly Message, all did prove in vain,
He leugh, and it contemn'd with great Disdain.

"We have great need," said he, "now of a King,
When Wallace he as Governour does Reign.
That King of Kyle, I cannot understand,
Of him I never held a Furr of Land.
That Bauchler thinks and does believe it well,
That Fortune she will never change her Wheel.
As for you Lords, I let you understand,
I'm not oblig'd to answer your Demand.
As free I am in this Realm to reign,
Lord of my own as either Prince or King.
Great Lands in England there I also have,
Whereof no Subject Rent of me can crave.
What would you then, I warn you I am free,
No Answer more your Letter gets from me."

Back to St. Johnstoun this fine Speech is sent,
And laid before the Lords of Parliament.
At reading which, Wallace no Patience had,
But storm'd, and star'd, as he'd been almost mad.
Himself could not recover for a while,
'Cause in Disdain he call'd him King of Kyle.
Then up he rose, and without more or less.
Unto the Lords he did himself address.

"My Lords," said he, "there can be but one King,
Who can at once over this Kingdom reign.
If Earl Patrick take such Ways and Gates,
And suff'rd be, thus to insult the States:
I plainly think, and I shall add no more,
We are in worse Condition then before.
Therefore I vow to God, if that he be
In this Realm, one of us Two shall die.
Unless he come, and own his lawfull King,
'Gainst the false Title Edward takes to reign,
His Taunt, and Scorn, he shall repent and rue,
Who calls me King, that am a Subject true.

He took his Leave of all the Council then,
And march'd away with Two Hundred good Men.
Towards Kinghorn does hasten very fast,
And on the Morrow over Forth he past.
Then in to Musselburgh does safely get,
Where he with Honest Robert Lauder met,
Who 'gainst the Crown did never yet rebel,
And hated Edward, as he hated Hell.
'Gainst Earl Patrick, was most glad to goe,
Who to his Country was a Bloody Foe.
Chrystal of Seatoun with his Men e'er long
Came, and made Wallace full Four Hundred strong.
A Squire Lyle, that did the Country ken
At Lintoun he came up with Twenty Men.
Told that Corspatrick and his Men of War,
From Cock-burn's-path, were marching to Dunbar.
"Come on," said Lauder, "let us faster ride."
"No, no," said Wallace, "he'll our Bellum bide.
Another Thing pray also understand,
A hardier Lord is not in all our Land."

By East Dunbar, they march'd, and tarry'd not,
But Earl Patrick of them Notice got.
Who in a Field near Innerweik did then,
Draw up Nine Hundred able fighting Men.
Wallace with his Four Hundred, stout and tight,
Approached fast, and came within their Sight.
Who fiercely up to Earl Patrick ride,
Where they like Furies, fight on ev'ry Side.
That Conflict was both terrible and strong,
On either Side, and did continue long.
Much Scottish Blood was spilt, they fought so fierce
More than with Pleasure I can here rehearse.
But Earl Patrick left the Field at last,
Some few with him to Cock-burn's-path they past.

Towards Dunbar march'd Wallace, but was told,
That no Provisions left were in the Hold.
Nor Men of Worth the Castle to defend,
When he that Story heard from End to End
Dunbar he took, and no Resistance fand,
Gave it to Chrystal Seatoun, to command.

After the Earl, Wallace marches then,
To Cock-burn's-path, with him Three Hundred Men.
Whom in a Range about the Park he led,
To Buncle Wood, Corspatrick then he fled;
Then out of that, to Norham passed he.
When Wallace saw that better could not be:
To Cald-Stream rode, and lodged upon Tweed,
Then Earl Patrick made great hast and speed;
And passed by e'er Wallace Men arose.
To Etrick Forrest without resting goes:
Into Cockholm, Corspatrick took him rest,
Then for more Force, Wallace march'd to the West.

The Earl Patrick, he goes by and by
For England, seeking some more new Supply.
To Bishop Beik he there complained sore,
Whom Wallace had from Scotland chas'd before,
Who all Northumberland, with great Surprise,
Caus'd quickly with the Earl Patrick rise.
Then order'd Bruce, likewise to Scotland go,
To win his own, they coxed him up so.
Made him believe Wallace set up for King,
A most ridic'lous, and calumnious Thing.
Whereas the whole Design he had in Hand,
Was to bring Bruce, free Home to his own Land.

Thus from Oyss Water to the River Tweed,
A Host of Thirty Thousand pass'd with Speed.
And from the Thames came Ships immediately,
To watch Dunbar, that none should them supply.
With Twenty Thousand all bred up in War,
The Earl Patrick does Besiege Dunbar.
The Bishop Beik, and Robert Bruce did then,
Abide at Norham with Ten Thousand Men.
Then Wallace like a sudden Thunder Crack,
Came with Five Thousand Scotsmen at his Back.
All shining in their Armour clear and bright,
For to rescue the Seatoun wise and wight.

Then under Yester, that Night lodged he,
Where Hay came to him with good Cavalry.
Who in Down Forest all that Time had been,
And had the coming of the South'ron seen.
Fifty good Men that Hay had with him there
Corspatrick's Case to Wallace all declare.
"My Counsel is," said Hay, "you Battle give,
It is a Pity he so long should Live.
If with your Men you could him overset,
Such Pow'r again he would not quickly get."

Wallace he thank'd him for his Counsel kind,
Yet after all, consulted his own Mind.
By this, Corspatrick caus'd a Fellow pass,
Who told to Beik that Wallace coming was.
He of the Tidings was exceeding glad,
Amends of him fain would he there have had.
But more ado, thro' Lammer-moor they rode,
Near the Spot-moor in Ambush there abode.
Most cunningly so closs together drew,
That of their coming Wallace nothing knew.
Then, which was worse did suddenly espy,
Corspatrick marching very furiously,
On a plain Field, with all his num'rous Host,
Of whom the Braggadocio much did boast.

Brave Seatoun who was a most welcome Guest,
To Wallace his Assistance came in haste,
Yet prudently the Scots concluded then
Themselves too few for Twenty Thousand Men.
Jop musing also, did advise at length,
That Wallace would retire into some Strength.
"To lose your Men great Folly were, therefore,
I'll goe with Speed, and quickly bring you more."

"A dang'rous Chase," said Wallace, "they may make,
We are too near, such Counsel now to take.
Therefore I'll never flee, nor yet give o'er,
So long as I have one, against their Four.
There's Twenty here with us this very Day,
Would them attack, altho' I were away.
If they be Numerous, we are stout, and Strong,
Let's up and fight them for they'll ne'er stand long.

Next page: Book VIII, Chapter II

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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