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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 X, Chapter II (Continued)
The battle of Black-Iron-Side, and how WALLACE took in Lochleven and Airth

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Wallace, and his good Men, by Strength of Hand,
Made South'ron Blood to Stream out thro' the Land.
Three Hundred English briskly in the End,
Surround Sir John and bravely him defend.
The Scots who saw so many in a Rout
With Psewart stand, and guarding him about,
Upon their Flanks did them attack full sore,
And with their Points the polish'd Plates did bore.
Ramsay inclin'd that Psewart he should Yield,
Rather than see him dy upon the Field.
"No, he shall dy," said Wallace, "by God's Grace,
He came to pay his Ransom in this Place."

The South'ron plainly saw that they must dy,
Succour was none, suppose that they should fly.
Freshly they fought, as they had enter'd new,
And some good Men on the Scots Side they slew.
"To please our King," said Psewart, "and his Laws,
We lose our Lives, in an unrighteous Cause."
With that he strook brave Bisset to the Death;
For which good Wallace, quickly stop't his Breath.
Who with one Stroak cut him down with his Sword,
And after that he never spoke a Word.
But to the Ground rush'd down with all his Might;
By Wallace Hand, thus dy'd that Gallant Knight.

The Rest were kill'd, what could the Scots do more,
Then all lament the loss of Bisset sore.
Ruthven for Perth to march he ready makes,
And Sir John Ramsay Couper Castle takes.
Wallace, and Crawford, Guthrie, Longoveil,
With Richard, takes Lundores that Night to Beil.
Vallange was Stewart, who abundantly
With Meat and Drink did bravely them supply.
The English all flee fast before them now,
As does the Bishop of St. Andrews too.
Who would not Wallace coming there abide,
Was so dirt fear'd, even for all Scotland wide.
Their worthy Knight that into Couper lay,
Seiz'd all their Riches on the second Day.
And at Command of Wallace did cast down,
And raze that Place unto the very Ground.

Then to Carrail did suddenly repair,
Where he found nought but Walls and Buildings bare.
The English then troop'd off all in a String,
And thro' all Fife the Scots did rant and Reign.
No English-Man was left, for all did fly,
Save in Lochlev'n, one single Company.
A Knight, Musgrove, that did command Kinghorn,
The Meerest Coward that was ever born,
Hearing that Wallace would attack the Place,
Fled and deserted to his great Disgrace.
Wallace possest the House and on the Morn
To Scotland's Well does with his Men return.
When Night was come they sup'd and went to Rest,
But still Lochleven stuck in Wallace Breast.
To which he pass'd near middle of the Night,
With Eighteen chosen Men, all stout and tight.

"Courage, brave Boys," he said, "and never flinch,
The Suthron now ly sleeping in yon Inch.
Since Honour's to be won, let's venture for't,
If we get o'er, we shall have pleasant Sport.
Do you remain all here upon the Spot,
I'll try if I can bring you o'er their Boat."
Quickly he stript with his brave Sword and good,
Bound round his Neck, and leap'd into the Flood.
Over he swims, and very quickly then,
Seizes the Boat and brought her to his Men.
Who when array'd, no longer did abide,
But jumped in, and row'd to th' other Side.
The Inch they took boldly with Sword in Hand,
And spared none before him that they fand.
To Wives and Bairns, he Mercy still did shew,
But Thirty Men upon the Place he slew.

To call good Ramsay he hath Orders giv'n,
To dine with him if he pleas'd at Lochleven.
Sent out a Man, the South'ron Horse to keep,
Drew up the Boat then went to bed to sleep.
The Messenger, good Ramsay did surprize,
Who with unusual briskness bad him rise.
"My Lord, good Sir, does kindly you Invite,
Unto Lochleven to eat a dish of Meat."
Ramsay got up, and march'd with all his Men,
And there carous'd full eight Days to an end.
Turs'd off the Goods that South'ron had brought there,
Caus'd burn the Boat, then unto Perth repair.
There Bishop Sinclair met them in a Trice,
And wisely gave to Wallace his Advice.
Jop to the North for more Supplie was sent,
For none alive the Country better kent.
Good Mr. Blair in Sacerdotal Weed
Went to the West, to warn his Friends with Speed:
How unto Wallace they might safely get,
The South'ron had their Passage so beset.

Brave Adam Wallace, and good Lindsay fare
To Earl Malcolm, where they welcome were.
There was the noble Graham, and Lundie brave
And Boyd, like Men are new rais'd from their Grave.
Jop marched on, Cummine Lord Buchan was,
For old Envy he suffered none to pass.
Yet poor Men came to Wallace as they might,
For to defend old Ancient Scotland's Right.
The Randal young to serve his Country bent,
Good Men from Murray hath to Wallace sent
Jop did return unto his Master soon,
And told him all, tho' little he got done.
But Mr. Blair such noble Tydings brought,
That of the Cummine Wallace reckon'd nought.

Wallace, who did the fit Occasion ken
March'd straight from Perth and with him Fifty Men.
Good Irish Steven, and Keirly that was wight,
In Watchmens Garb to Wallace march'd on Sight.
Upon more Force to wait he had no Mind,
And left the Rest to keep the Land behind.
By Stirling Bridge to march he did not please,
For English Men hum there as thick as Bees.
But over Airth they ferry'd hastily,
And lurked in a private Place hard by.

Next page: Book X, Chapter II (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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