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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 XI, Chapter I (Continued)
The Battle of Falkirk

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

Wallace Commands his Men to their own Host,
And stay'd behind for all the Bruce's Boast.
Yea on their Front so fiercely in he broke,
A Suthron there he slew at every Stroak.
But when retiring, woe is me therefore,
Under the Haunch the Bruce did Wound him sore.
At which the Graham and Lauder so enrag'd,
Did cut down all with whom they once engag'd,
For they alone bravely maintain'd their Ground,
While Wallace was a dressing of his Wound.
Who with Three Hundred very quickly came,
To rescue Lauder and the noble Graham.

Then with fresh Force does Bishop Beik appear,
Who makes the Scots Seven Aiker broad retire.
Yet were the Two delivered there full well,
By Wallace Hand, and a good Sword of Steel
At this successful brisk and bold Rescue,
The awful Bruce, three gallant Scotsmen slew.
Then with great Fury with a Spear or Lance,
At Wallace struck, but miss'd him by good Chance.
To whom a backward Stroak good Wallace gave,
Which his Horse Neck and Spear asunder clave.
Bruce was at Ground e'er Wallace look'd about,
But was re-hors'd by valiant Men and stout.
And Wallace all alone left in the Stour,
Which Graham perceiving, 'spite of all their Pow'r;
Bravely advanc'd, and struck an English Knight,
Before the Bruce, upon the Baisnet Right,
So furiously, that with a single Blow,
He cut him down, and then away did go.

But Oh my Heart does grieve and bleed to tell,
What after this the noble Graham befell.
A subtile English Knight there suddenly,
An open 'twixt his Harnish did espy,
Thro' which, alace, who can forbear to tear?
He in his Bowels thrust his bloody Spear.
And yet the Graham for all his mortal Wound,
Turn'd, kill'd the Knight and rush'd him to the Ground.
Then Christianly, in Temper calm, and sweet,
To the Almighty did resign his Sp'rit.

When Wallace saw the gallant Graham was gone,
How did it rack him to the very Bone.
Like one demented, and from Reason rent,
Amidst the South'ron Host with Fury went.
Enraged at the loss of Graham that Day,
He cut down all that came into his Way.
When Bruce perceiv'd Wallace in such Rage,
He order'd Spearmen with him to engage.
To kill his Horse, that he might not escape,
They thought him all a Devil in Man's shape.
Then did the South'ron Spears on every Side,
Pierce his good Horse with cruel Wounds and wide.
In this sad Pickle, Wallace by and by,
Thought it convenient for him now to fly.
Spurr'd up his Horse, lamenting still for Graham,
Then to his Folks at Carron Water came.

The Sea was in, they stopped there and stood,
Aloud he cry'd and bade them take the Flood.
Accordingly the Host they all obey,
He follows on, in all the Hast he may.
Who clad was with a heavy Coat of Mail
Which made him fear his wounded Horse would fail.
Yet thro' the Flood he bore him to the Land,
Then fell down dead (poor Beast!) upon the Sand.
But Kierly soon re-mounted Wallace Wight,
Upon a Horse, both able, sound and tight.
Rode to his Host; but oh! Graham was away,
And Fifteen more brave Scots on Mag'dlane Day.
Yet Thirty Thousand of the South'ron Crew,
Most certainly that Day the Scotsmen slew.
What by the Stuart Stout and Wallace Wight,
To Edward sure a most confounding Sight.

Next page: Book XI, Chapter I (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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