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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 XII, Chapter IV (Continued)
How WALLACE came again to Scotland, and The Battle of Elchock Park.

Read a synopsis of this chapter in modern American English.

By this young Butler, Eager, Keen, and Crouss,
With all his Men surrounded Crawford's House;
But came too late, as he himself did own,
He got the Nest, but all the Birds were flown.
Poor Crawford's loving Wife they seiz'd anon,
And ask'd at her what way the Scots were gone.
She would not tell for Boast, nor yet Reward,
Then Butler said, "Too long thou hast been spar'd."
And caused build a great prodigious Fire,
Then Swore an Oath in horrid Wrath and Ire,
That he would burn her quick, Flesh, Blood and Bone,
If she conceal'd what way the Scots were gone.

"Pray, hold thy Hand," said Wallace, "do not so,
For here I am, I own my self thy Foe.
Would thou Torment an honest sakeless Wife?
Come forth to me and we shall end the Strife.
It were great Sin to kill the Female Scot,
Art thou a Christian, tell me, yea, or not.
In all my Victories I here declare,
Priests, Women, Children, always lib'rat were."
When Butler had good Wallace fairly seen,
And that he was alone upon the Green,
He threw his Face, sometime his Lip did bite,
His Bosom swell'd with Venom and with Spite.
It was no Wonder, for to tell you plain,
Wallace had both his Dad, and good Sire slain.
The South'ron then fiercely march up at length,
And Wallace he retir'd unto his Strength.

Most hardily the English-Men began,
Attacked sore, with many a Gallant Man.
But Scots within did make a strong Defence,
And South'ron Foes were soon repuls'd from thence.
Who, at first Entry, Fifteen Men had kill'd;
With English Corps the Pass was almost fill'd.
At which they all retire a litle back,
In Order to another fresh Attack.
Wallace beheld and did distinctly see,
Butler the Knight divide his Men in Three.

"Yon Knight," said he, "in War is so expert,
And has it so engraven on his Heart,
That he unto a very Point does know,
Each Stratagem, and nice Punctilio.
For by the Disposition of his Men,
I know for certain that he does intend
So soon as he with his fresh Men comes back,
Us in Three different Places to attack.
A Brisk and brave Defence, then let us make:
Dear Longoveil, thou Six with thee shall take.
As many with good Crawford here, shall go,
And Five with me to stop the cruel Foe."

In Three Divisions march the English Sparks,
Butler's Divisions, Wallace nicely marks.
To the old Pass without all Dispute more
They march, and do attack it very sore.
Design'dly Wallace let some South'ron in,
But to get out the Way, could never find.
The first Seven Men that marched in the Front,
When they got in look'd most confounded blunt.
Wallace's Five, each one a Fellow slew,
And Wallace Two, then bad the Seven adieu.
Butler was next, no further he durst pierce,
But did retire, he saw the Scots so fierce.
Good Longoveil and Crawford, fought so sore,
That Time the South'ron sallied them no more.

By this the Stars appeared in their Sight,
Then suddenly approach'd the darksome Night.
Butler the Watches set, to Supper went,
But grieved that he his Time had so ill spent.
Mean Time he eats a very plenteous Meal,
Of good Provisions, Bread and English Ale.
While the brave Wallace, nothing had at all,
But Adam's Ale, which we cold Water call.
Yet with a cheerfull Countenance could say,
"Cheer up, my Lads, it is not long till Day.
What tho' we all should fast one single Night,
We fast for Honour and for Scotland's Right.
Perhaps our Foes that now so fully feed,
The Morrow's Night shall no more Victuals need."

The Earl York who Perth with Troups did fill,
Commanded Butler to continue still
At Elchock Park, and he would Reinforce
Him with a fresh Supply of Foot and Horse.
And that he would himself in Person come,
With Sound of Trumpet and with Beat of Drum.
Courageous York, upon my Word well spoke:
Was he in Earnest, pray, or but in Joke,
To offer such a Reinforcement then,
Unto Eight Hundred, against Twenty Men?
This sure must add much to his Lordship's Praise,
And blaze his Character in after Days.
But Butler fain would have the Hero yield,
Before that York appear'd upon the Field.
That he himself might have the Praise alone,
Thanks to you Butler, Fourty Men to One.

Next page: Book XII, Chapter IV (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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