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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 III
How WALLACE march'd into England, and remained Three Quarters of a Year, and returned without Battle

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

October now by this Time's almost past,
And cold November is approaching fast.
When to his Shifts, those News King Edward puts,
And do confound him to the very Guts.
Yet by Corspatrick's Counsel, does intend,
Once more, an Army 'gainst the Scots to send.

Wallace informed, of their wicked Plots,
Assembled quickly Fourty Thousand Scots:
In Roslin-Moor, where he the Lords addrest,
"Edward," he said "our Nation's common Pest,
Us to invade does threaten with bold Face,
But, Faith I'll try if I can turn the Chace.
And with an Host be first on English Ground,
In spite of all the Subjects of his Crown."

The Lords, they off'red very Cheerfully;
To march along with all their Cavalry;
Wallace he thank'd them, thought it needless then,
Choos'd of that Number Twenty Thousand Men.
With Horse, and Harness, Weapons new and tight,
Does them provide, and shining Armour bright.
The Rest to march, he quickly did command,
To their own Homes, and cultivate the Land.
"This Army's big enough for my Design,
If we be all of one, and the same Mind.
Then let us to it, either doe or die.
Who flys or yields shall never ransom'd be.
Our Kingdom's poor, wasted by South'ron Knaves;
We shall get Gold or honourable Graves."

Then all the Host promis'd with Heart and Hand,
Closs to stand by him, and obey Command.
With Wallace also, Earl Malcom's gone,
A better Lord, and braver could be none;
And Campbel kind, the good Knight of Lochlow,
To South'ron still a fearfull grievous Cow.
Good Ramsay also, Honour to his Name,
And the most valiant, good Sir John the Graham;
And Adam Wallace, whom no Man durst doubt,
And Robert Boyd, both trusty, true, and stout.
Lundie and Lauder, and brave Auchinleck,
Seatoun, and Hay, all Men of great Respect.

This noble Host with Courage march away,
To Broxes Field, in good and brave Array,
Where Wallace made a little Haste and then,
To Roxburgh Gate rode up, with Twenty Men.
Where boldly he did call on Sir Ralph Gray,
Told him for sieging now he could not stay.
Therefore desired he would quickly please,
To quit the Castle, and give up the Keys.
If he refus'd, then swore before them all,
At his Return, he'd hang him o'er the Wall.
Then wheel'd about, back to his Army went,
The like Command to Berwick quickly sent,
With Sir John Ramsay, who dispatch'd on Sight;
Then march'd the Host, all in their Armour bright;
Began at Tweed and nothing spar'd they fand,
But burn'd by Force thro' all Northumberland.

All Durham Town, up in a Flame they sent,
But Churches spar'd and Abbeys where they went.
Then unto York they march'd, without Delay,
No Sin they thought it, there to burn and slay.
For South'ron had committed the same Thing,
When they as Tyrants did in Scotland Reign.
Forts and small Castles, Wallace did throw down.
Burn'd to the Gates and Suburbs of the Town.

About the Walls, full Fifteen Days they spent,
And then at last, Edward to Wallace sent
A Knight, a Clerk, a Squire of the Peace,
Intreating, that from burning he would cease.
Who promise in King Edward's Name, and says,
He should have Battle, within Fifteen Days.
Good Wallace smil'd, and to the Gentlemen,
With noble Air replyed briskly then.
"I'll both desist from Fire, and from Sword,
For Fourty Days, if he but keep his Word."

King Edward's Faith under his Seal they gave,
That in that Space, Wallace should Battle have.
Who quickly did consent unto the Thing,
Then they returned all unto their King;
Who told that they, never as yet had seen,
Such Men for Order, and good Discipline.
Then spoke the King, when they were at an End,
"It Wisdom is, our En'mies to commend.
They're to be fear'd; as sure as shines the Sun,
They will resent the Inj'ries we have done."
Frighted I leave them here, to their new Plots,
And do return unto the valiant Scots.

Wallace from York did march the second Day,
With his whole Host, in noble good Array.
To the North-west, they peaceably go down,
And pitch their Tents near to Northallertoun.
Proclaim'd his Peace, and Mercats all to stand,
For Forty Days, throughout all the whole Land.
There Sir Ralph Rymount, secretly did boast,
For to surprise good Wallace, and his Host.
Of which, some Scotsmen private notice got,
Then unto Wallace did reveal the Plot.

Next page: Book VIII, Chapter III (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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