• I.

  • INSENSIBLE to high heroic deeds,
    Is there a spirit clothed in mortal weeds,
    Who at the Patriot's moving story,
    Devoted to his country's good,
    Devoted to his country's glory,
    Shedding for freemen's rights his generous blood;—
    List'neth not with breath heaved high,
    Quiv'ring nerve, and glistening eye,
    Feeling within a spark of heavenly flame,
    That with the hero's worth may humble kindred claim?


    If such there be, still let him plod
    On the dull foggy paths of care,
    Nor raise his eyes from the dank sod
    To view creation fair:
    What boots to him the wond'rous works of God?
    His soul with brutal things hath ta'en its earthy lair.
  • II.

  • Come, youths, whose eyes are forward cast,
    And in the future see the past,—
    The past, as winnow'd in the early mind
    With husk and prickle left behind!
    Come; whether under lowland vest,
    Or, by the mountain-tartan prest,
    Your gen'rous bosoms heave;
    Pausing a while in thoughtful rest,
    My legend lay receive.
    Come, aged sires, who love to tell
    What fields were fought, what deeds were done;
    What things in olden times befell,—
    Those good old times, whose term is run!


    Come ye, whose manly strength with pride
    Is breasting now the present tide
    Of worldly strife, and cast aside
    A hasty glance at what hath been!
    Come, courtly dames, in silken sheen,
    And ye, who under thatched roofs abide;
    Yea, ev'n the barefoot child by cottage fire,
    Who doth some shreds of northern lore acquire,
    By the stirr'd embers' scanty light,—
    List to my legend lay of Wallace wight.
  • III.

  • Scotland, with breast unmail'd, had sheath'd her sword,
    Stifling each rising curse and hopeless prayer,
    And sunk beneath the Southron's faithless lord
    In sullen, deep despair.
    The holds and castles of the land
    Were by her hateful foemen mann'd.
    To revels in each stately hall,
    Did tongues of foreign accent call,


    Where her quell'd chiefs must tamely bear
    From braggard pride the taunting jeer.
    Her harvest-fields, by strangers reap'd,
    Were in the stranger's garner heap'd
    The tenant of the poorest cot,
    Seeing the spoiler from his door
    Bear unreproved his hard-earn'd store,
    Blush'd thus to be, and be a Scot.
    The very infant, at his mother's beck,
    Tho' with writh'd lip and scowling eye,
    Was taught to keep his lisping tongue in check,
    Nor curse the Southron passing by.
  • IV.

  • Baron brave and girded knight,
    The tyrant's hireling slaves could be;
    Nor graced their state, nor held their right.
    Alone upon his rocky height,
    The eagle rear'd his unstain'd crest,
    And soaring from his cloudy nest,


    Turn'd to the sun his daring eye,
    And wing'd at will the azure sky,
    For he alone was free.
  • V.

  • Oh! who so base as not to feel
    The pride of freedom once enjoy'd,
    Tho' hostile gold or hostile steel
    Have long that bliss destroy'd!
    The meanest drudge will sometimes vaunt
    Of independent sires, who bore
    Names known to fame in days of yore,
    'Spite of the smiling stranger's taunt;
    But recent freedom lost—what heart
    Can bear the humbling thought—the quick'ning, mad'ning smart!
  • VI.

  • Yes, Caledonian hearts did burn,
    And their base chain in secret spurn;


    And, bold upon some future day,
    Swore to assert Old Scotland's native sway;
    But 'twas in fitful thoughts that pass'd in thought away.
    Tho' musing in lone cave or forest deep,
    Some generous youths might all indignant weep;
    Or in the vision'd hours of sleep,
    Gird on their swords for Scotland's right,
    And from her soil the spoiler sweep,
    Yet all this bold emprise pass'd with the passing night.
  • VII.

  • But in the woods of Allerslie,
    Within the walls of good Dundee,
    Or by the pleasant banks of Ayr,
    Wand'ring o'er heath or upland fair,
    Existed worth without alloy,
    In form a man, in years a boy,
    Whose nightly thoughts for Scotland's weal,
    Which clothed his form in mimick steel,


    Which helm'd his brow, and glav'd his hand,
    To drive the tyrant from the land,
    Pass'd not away with passing sleep;
    But did, as danger nearer drew,
    Their purpos'd bent the firmer keep,
    And still the bolder grew.
  • VIII.

  • 'Tis pleasant in his early frolick feats,
    Which fond tradition long and oft repeats,
    The op'ning of some dauntless soul to trace,
    Whose bright career of fame, a country's annals grace;
    Yet this brief legend must forbear to tell
    The bold adventures that befell
    The stripling Wallace, light and strong,
    The shady woods of Clyde among,
    Where, roaring o'er its rocky walls,
    The water's headlong torrent falls,
    Full, rapid, powerful, flashing to the light,


    Till sunk the boiling gulf beneath,
    It mounts again like snowy wreath,
    Which, scatter'd by contending blasts,
    Back to the clouds their treasure casts,
    A ceaseless wild turmoil, a grand and wondrous sight!
    Or, climbing Carthland's Craigs, that high
    O'er their pent river strike the eye,
    Wall above wall, half veil'd, half seen,
    The pendant folds of wood between,
    With jagged breach, and rift, and scar,
    Like the scorch'd wreck of ancient war,
    And seem, to musing fancy's gaze,
    The ruin'd holds of other days.
    His native scenes, sublime and wild,
    Where oft the youth his hours beguil'd,
    As forester with bugle horn;
    As angler in the pooly wave;
    As fugitive in lonely cave,
    Forsaken and forlorn!


    When still, as foeman cross'd his way,
    Alone, defenceless, or at bay,
    He raised his arm for freemen's right,
    And on proud robbers fell the power of Wallace wight.
  • IX.

  • There is a melancholy pleasure
    In tales of hapless love;—a treasure
    From which the sadden'd bosom borrows
    A short respite from present sorrows,
    And ev'n the gay delight to feel,
    As down young cheeks the soft tears steal;
    Yet will I not that woeful tale renew,
    And in light hasty words relate
    How the base Southron's arm a woman slew,
    And robb'd him of his wedded mate.
    The name of her, who shar'd his noble breast,
    Shall be remember'd and be blest.
    A sweeter lay, a gentler song,
    To those sad woes belong!

  • X.

  • As light'ning from some twilight cloud,
    At first but like a streaky line
    In the hush'd sky, with fitful shine
    Its unregarded brightness pours,
    Till from its spreading, darkly volumed shroud
    The bursting tempest roars;
    His countrymen with faithless gaze
    Beheld his valour's early blaze.
  • XI.

  • But rose at length with swelling fame
    The honours of his deathless name;
    Till, to the country's farthest bound,
    All gen'rous hearts stirr'd at the sound;
    Then Scotland's youth with new-wak'd pride,
    Flock'd gladly to the hero's side,
    In harness braced, with burnish'd brand,
    A brave and noble band!

  • XII.

  • Lenox, Douglas, Campbell, Hay,
    Boyd, Scrimger, Ruthven, Haliday,
    Gordon, Crawford, Keith, were there;
    Lander, Lundy, Cleland, Kerr,
    Steven, Ireland's vagrant lord;
    Newbiggen, Fraser, Rutherford,
    Dundas and Tinto, Currie, Scott;
    Nor be in this brave list forgot
    A Wallace of the hero's blood,
    With many patriots staunch and good;
    And first, though latest nam'd, there came,
    Within his gen'rous breast to hold
    A brother's place,—true war-mate bold!
    The good, the gallant Graham.
  • XIII.

  • Thus grown to strength, on Biggar's well-fought field
    He made on marshall'd host his first essay;
    Where Edward's gather'd powers, in strong array,


    Did to superior skill and valour yield,
    And gain'd the glorious day.
  • XIV.

  • Then at the Forest kirk, that spot of ground
    Long to be honour'd, flush'd with victory,
    Crowded the Scottish worthies, bold and free,
    Their noble chieftain round;
    Where many a generous heart beat high
    With glowing cheek and flashing eye,
    And many a portly figure trod
    With stately steps the trampled sod.
    Banners in the wind were streaming;
    In the morning light were gleaming
    Sword, and spear, and burnish'd mail
    And crested helm, and avantail,
    And tartan plaids, of many a hue,
    In flickering sunbeams brighter grew,
    While youthful warriors' weapons ring
    With hopeful, wanton brandishing.

  • XV.

  • There, midmost in the warlike throng,
    Stood William Wallace, tall and strong;
    Towering far above the rest,
    With portly mien and ample breast,
    Brow and eye of high command,
    Visage fair, and figure grand:
    Ev'n to the dullest peasant standing by,
    Who fasten'd still on him a wondering eye,
    He seem'd the master-spirit of the land.
  • XVI.

  • O for some magic power to give
    In vision'd form what then did live!
    That group of heroes to pourtray,
    Who from their trammell'd country broke
    The hateful tyrant's galling yoke
    On that eventful day!

  • XVII.

  • Behold! like changeful streamers of the North,
    Which tinge at times the wintry night,
    With many hues of glowing light,
    Their momentary forms break forth
    To Fancy's gifted sight.
    Each in his warlike panoply
    With sable plumage waving high,
    And burnish'd sword in sinewy hand,
    Appears a chieftain of command,
    Whose will, by look or sign to catch,
    A thousand eager vassals watch.
    What tho' those warriors, gleaming round,
    On peaceful death-bed never lay,
    But each, upon his fated day,
    His end on field or scaffold found;
    Oh! start not at the vision bright,
    As if it were a ghastly sight!
    For, 'midst their earthly coil, they knew
    Feelings of joy so keen, so true,


    As he who feels, with up-rais'd eye,
    Thanks Heaven for life, and cannot rue
    The gift, be what it may the death that he shall die.
  • XVIII.

  • Warden of Scotland, (not ashamed
    A native right of rule to own
    In worth and valour matchless shown)
    They William Wallace there proclaim'd;
    And there, exultingly, each gallant soul,
    Ev'n proudly yielded to such high controul.
    Greater than aught a tyrant ere achieved,
    Was power so given, and so receiv'd.
  • XIX.

  • This truth full well King Edward knew,
    And back his scatter'd host he drew,
    Suing for peace with prudent guile;
    And Wallace in his mind, the while,


    Scanning with wary, wise debate
    The various dangers of the state,
    Desire of further high revenge foregoes
    To give the land repose.
    But smother'd hatred, in the garb of peace,
    Did not, mean time, from hostile cunning cease;
    But still more cruel deeds devis'd,
    In that deceitful seeming guised.
  • XX.

  • The Southron rulers, phrasing fair
    Their notice, summon'd lord, and laird, and knight,
    To hold with them an ancient court of right,
    At the good town, so named, their court of Ayr.
    And at this general summons came
    The pride and hope of many a name,
    The love and anxious care of many a gentle dame.

  • XXI.

  • Ent'ring the fatal Barns, fair sight!
    Went one by one the manly train,
    But neither baron, laird, nor knight,
    Did e'er return again.
    A heaven-commission'd friend that day
    Stopp'd Wallace, hast'ning on his way,
    (Who, by some seeming chance detain'd,
    Had later at his home remain'd,)
    The horse's bridle sternly grasp'd,
    And then for rueful utterance gasp'd.
    "Oh! go not to the Barns of Ayr!
    "Kindred and friends are murder'd there.
    "The faithless Southrons, one by one,
    "On them the hangman's task hath done.
    "Oh! turn thy steed, and fearful ruin shun!"
    He, shudd'ring, heard, with visage pale,
    Which quickly chang'd to wrath's terrific hue;
    And then apace came sorrow's bursting wail;
    The noble heart could weep that could not quail,


    "My friends, my kinsmen, war-mates, bold and true!
    "Met ye a villain's end! Oh is it so with you!"
  • XXII.

  • The hero turn'd his chafing steed,
    And to the wild woods bent his speed.
    But not to keep in hiding there,
    Or give his sorrow to despair,
    For the fierce tumult in his breast
    To speedy, dreadful action press'd.
    And there within a tangled glade,
    List'ning the courser's coming tread,
    With hearts that shar'd his ire and grief,
    A faithful band receiv'd their chief.
  • XXIII.

  • In Ayr the guilty Southrons held a feast,
    When that dire day its direful course had run,
    And laid them down, their weary limbs to rest
    Where the foul deed was done.


    But ere beneath the cottage thatch
    Cocks had crow'd the second watch;
    When sleepers breathe in heavy plight,
    Press'd with the visions of the night,
    And spirits, from unhallow'd ground,
    Ascend, to walk their silent round;
    When trembles dell or desert heath,
    The witches' orgy dance beneath,—
    To the roused Warder's fearful gaze,
    The Barns of Ayr were in a blaze.
  • XXIV.

  • The dense, dun smoke was mounting slow
    And stately, from the flaming wreck below,
    And mantling far aloft in many a volumed wreath;
    Whilst town and woods, and ocean wide did lye,
    Tinctur'd like glowing furnace-iron, beneath
    Its awful canopy.
    Red mazy sparks soon with the dense smoke blended,
    And far around like fiery sleet descended.


    From the scorch'd and crackling pile
    Fierce burst the growing flames the while;
    Thro' creviced wall and buttress strong,
    Sweeping the rafter'd roofs along;
    Which, as with sudden crash they fell,
    Their raging fierceness seem'd to quell,
    And for a passing instant spread
    O'er land and sea a lurid shade;
    Then with increasing brightness, high
    In spiral form, shot to the sky
    With momentary height so grand,
    That chill'd beholders breathless stand.
  • XXV.

  • Thus rose and fell the flaming surgy flood,
    'Till fencing round the gulphy light,
    Black, jagg'd, and bare, a fearful sight!
    Like ruin grim of former days,
    Seen 'thwart the broad sun's setting rays,
    The guilty fabric stood.

  • XXVI.

  • And dreadful are the deaths, I ween,
    Which midst that fearful wreck have been.
    The pike and sword, and smoke and fire,
    Have minister'd to vengeful ire.
    New-waked wretches stood aghast
    To see the fire-flood in their rear,
    Close to their breast the pointed spear,
    And in wild horror yell'd their last.
  • XXVII.

  • But what dark figures now emerge
    From the dread gulph and cross the light,
    Appearing on its fearful verge,
    Each like an armed sprite?
    Whilst one above the rest doth tower,—
    A form of stern gigantic power,
    Whirling from his lofty stand
    The smold'ring stone or burning brand?
    Those are the leagued for Scotland's native right,


    Whose clashing arms rang Southron's knell,
    When to their fearful work they fell,—
    That form is Wallace wight.

  • And he like heaven's impetuous blast
    Which stops not on its mission'd way,
    By early morn, in strong array,
    Onward to Glasgow past;
    Where English Piercy held the rule;
    Too noble and too brave to be a tyrant's tool.
    A summon'd court should there have been,
    But there far other coil was seen.
    With fellest rage, in lane and street,
    Did harnass'd Scot and Southron meet;
    Well fought and bloody was the fierce afray:
    But Piercy was by Wallace slain,
    Who put to rout his num'rous train,
    And gain'd the town by noon of day.

  • XXIX.

  • Nor paused he there, for ev'ning tide
    Saw him at Bothwel's hostile gate,
    Which might not long assault abide,
    But yielded to its fate.
    And on from thence, with growing force,
    He held his rapid, glorious course;
    Whilst his roused clansmen, braced and bold,
    As town and castle, tower and hold,
    To the resistless victor fell,
    His patriot numbers swell.
    Thus when with current full and strong,
    The wintry river bears along
    Thro' mountain pass, and frith, and plain;—
    Streams that from many sources pour,
    Answer from far its kindred roar,
    And deep'ning echoes roar again.
    From its hill of heathy brown,
    The muirland streamlet hastens down;
    The mountain torrent from its rock,
    Shoots to the glen with furious shock;


    E'en runlet low, and sluggish burn,
    Speed to their chief with many a mazy turn,
    And in his mingled strength, roll proudly to the main.
  • XXX.

  • O'er Stirling's towers his standard plays,
    Lorn owns his rule, Argyle obeys.
    In Angus, Merns, and Aberdeen,
    Nor English Lord nor Cerf is seen;
    Dundee alone averts King Edward's fate,
    And Scotland's warden thunders at her gate.
  • XXXI.

  • But there his eager hopes are crost,
    For news are brought of English host,
    Which fast approaching thro' the land,
    At Stirling mean to make their stand.
    Faint speaks the haggard breathless scout,
    Like one escaped from bloody rout,—
    "On, Cressingham and Warren lead
    "The martial'd host with stalwart speed,


    "It numbers thirty thousand men,
    "And thine, bold chieftain, only ten."
  • XXXII.

  • But higher tower'd the chieftain's head,
    Broad grew his breast with ampler spread;
    O'er cheek and brow the deep flush past,
    And to high heaven his eyes he cast:
    Right plainly spoke that silent prayer,
    "My strength and aid are there!"
    Then look'd he round with kindly cheer
    On his brave war-mates standing near,
    Who scann'd his face with eager eye
    His secret feelings to descry.
    "Come Hearts! who, on your native soil,
    "For Scotland's cause have bravely stood,
    "Come, brace ye for another broil,
    "And prove your generous blood.
    "Let us but front the tyrant's train,
    "And he who lists may count their numbers then."


  • Nor dull of heart, nor slow were they
    Their noble Leader to obey.
    Cheer'd with loud shouts he gave his prompt command,
    Forthwith to bound them on their way.
    And straight their eager march they take
    O'er hill and heath, o'er burn and brake,
    Till marshall'd soon in dark array,
    Upon their destin'd field of war they stand.
  • XXXIV.

  • Behind them lay the hardy north;
    Before, the slowly winding Forth
    Flow'd o'er the noiseless sand;
    Its full broad tide with fossy sides,
    Which east and west the land divides,
    By wooden bridge was spann'd.
    Beyond it, on a craggy slope,
    Whose chimney'd roofs the steep ridge cope,
    There smoked an ancient town;


    While higher on the firm-based rock,
    Which oft had braved war's thunder-shock,
    Embattled turrets frown.
    A frith, with fields and woods, and hamlets gay,
    And mazy waters, slyly seen,
    Glancing thro' shades of Alder green,
    Wore eastward from the sight to distance grey;
    While broomy knoll and rocky peak,
    And heathy mountains, bare and bleak,
    A lofty screen on either hand,
    Majestic rose, and grand.
  • XXXV.

  • Such was the field on which with dauntless pride
    They did their coming foe abide;
    Nor waited long till from afar
    Were spy'd their moving ranks of war,
    Like rising storm, which, from the western main,
    Bears on in seried length its cloudy train;—
    Slowly approaching on the burthen'd wind,
    Moves each dark mass, and still another lowers behind.


    And soon upon the bridge appears,
    Darkly rising on the light,
    Nodding plumes and pointed spears,
    And, crowding close, full many a warlike knight,
    Who from its narrow gorge successive pour
    To form their ranks upon the northern shore.
  • XXXVI.

  • Now, with notes of practis'd skill,
    English trumpets, sounding shrill,
    The battle's boastful prelude give
    Which answer prompt and bold receive
    From Scottish drum's long rowling bent,
    And,—sound to valiant clansmen sweet!—
    The highland pipe, whose lengthen'd swell
    Of warlike pibroch, rose and fell,
    Like wailings of the midnight wind,
    With voice of distant streams combin'd,
    While mountain, rock, and dell, the martial din repeat.


  • Then many a high-plumed gallant rear'd his head,
    And proudly smote the ground with firmer tread,
    Who did, ere close of ev'ning, lye
    With ghastly face turn'd to the sky,
    No more again the rouse of war to hear.
    And many for the combat burn'd,
    Who never from its broil return'd,
    Kindred or home to cheer.
    How short the term that shall divide
    The firm-nerv'd youth's exerted force,—
    The warrior, glowing in his pride,
    From the cold stiffen'd corse!
    A little term, pass'd with such speed,
    As would in courtly revel scarce suffice,
    Mated with lady fair, in silken guise,
    The measur'd dance to lead.

  • His soldiers, firm as living rock,
    Now braced them for the battle's shock;


    And watch'd their chieftain's keen looks glancing
    From marshall'd clans to foes advancing;
    Smiled with the smile his eye that lighten'd,
    Glow'd with the glow his brow that brighten'd:
    But when his burnish'd brand he drew,
    His towering form terrific grew,
    And every Scotchman, at the sight,
    Felt thro' his nerves a giant's might,
    And drew his patriot sword with Wallace Wight.
  • XXXIX.

  • For what of thrilling sympathy,
    Did e'er in human bosom vye
    With that which stirs the soldier's breast,
    When, high in god-like worth confest,
    Some noble leader gives command,
    To combat for his native land?
    No; friendship's freely-flowing tide,
    The soul expanding; filial pride,
    That hears with craving, fond desire
    The bearings of a gallant sire;


    The yearnings of domestic bliss,
    Ev'n love itself will yield to this.
  • XL.

  • Few words the lofty hero utter'd,
    But deep response was widely mutter'd,
    Like echo'd echoes, circling round
    Some mountain lake's steep rocky bound.
  • XLI.

  • Then rush'd they fiercely on their foes,
    And loud o'er drum and war-pipe rose
    The battle's mingled roar.
    The eager shout, the weapon's clash;
    The adverse rank's first closing crash,
    The sullen hum of striving life,
    The busy beat of trampling strife,
    From castle, rocks, and mountains round,
    Down the long firth, a grand and awful sound,
    A thousand echoes bore.

  • XLII.

  • Spears cross'd spears, a bending grove,
    As front to front the warriors strove.
    Thro' the dust-clouds, rising dun,
    Their burnish'd brands flash'd to the sun
    With quickly changing, shiv'ring light,
    Like streamers on the northern night;
    While arrow-showers came hurtling past,
    Like splinter'd wreck driven by the blast,
    What time fierce winter is contending,
    With Norway's pines, their branches rending.
  • XLIII.

  • Long penants, flags, and banners move
    The fearful strife of arms above,
    Not as display'd in colours fair,
    They floated on the morning air;
    But with a quick, ungentle motion,
    As sheeted sails, torn by the blast,
    Flap round some vessel's rocking mast
    Upon a stormy ocean.

  • XLIV.

  • Opposing ranks, that onward bore,
    In tumult mix'd, are ranks no more;
    Nor aught discern'd of skill or form;—
    All a wild, bick'ring, steely storm!
    While oft around some fav'rite Chieftain's crest,
    The turmoil thick'ning, darkly rose,
    As on rough seas the billow grows,
    O'er lesser waves high-heaved, but soon deprest.
    So gallant Grame, thou noble Scot!
    Around thee rose the fearful fray,
    And other brave compeers of bold essay,
    Who did not spare their mothers' sons that day,
    And ne'er shall be forgot.
  • XLV.

  • But where the mighty Wallace fought,
    Like spirit quick, like giant strong,
    Plunging the foe's thick ranks among,
    Wide room in little time was hew'd,
    And grizly sights around were strew'd;


    Recoil'd aghast the helmed throng,
    And every hostile thing to earth was brought.
    Full strong and hardy was the foe
    To whom he gave a second blow.
    Many a knight and lord
    Fell victims to his sword,
    And Cressingham's proud crest lay low.
  • XLVI.

  • And yet, all Southrons as they were,
    Their ranks dispers'd, their leader slain,
    Passing the bridge with dauntless air,
    They still came pouring on the plain;
    But weaken'd of its rafter'd strength,
    'Tis said by warlike craft, and trod
    By such successive crowds, at length
    The fabrick fell with all its living load.
    Loud was the shriek the sinking Southrons gave,
    Thus dash'd into the deep and booming wave.
    For there a fearful death had they,


    Clutching each floating thing in vain,
    And struggling rose and sunk again,
    Who, 'midst the battle's loud affray,
    Had the fair meed of honour sought,
    And on the fieldlike lions fought.
  • XLVII.

  • And there, upon that field—a bloody field,
    Where many a wounded youth was lying,
    And many dead and many dying,
    Did England's arms to Scotland's heroes yield.
    The close confusion opening round,
    The wild pursuit's receding sound,
    Is ringing in their ears, who low
    On cloated earth are laid, nor know,
    When those who chase and those who fly,
    With hasty feet come clatt'ring by,
    Or who hath won or who hath lost;
    Save when some dying Scotchman lifts his head,
    And, asking faintly how the day hath sped,


    At the glad news, half from the ground
    Starts up, and gives a cheering sound
    And waves his hand and yields the ghost.
    A smile is on the corse's cheek,
    Stretch'd by the heather bush, on death bed bare and bleak.

  • With rueful eyes the wreck of that dire hour,
    The Southron's yet unbroken power,
    As on the river's adverse shore they stood,
    Silent beheld, till, like a mountain flood,
    Rush'd Stirling's castled warriors to the plain;
    Attack'd their now desponding force,
    And fiercely press'd their hasty course
    Back to their boasted native soil again.
  • XLIX.

  • Of foes so long detested,—fear'd,
    Were towns and castles quickly clear'd;
    Thro' all the land at will might free men range:


    Nor slave nor tyrant there appear'd;
    It was a blessed change!
  • L.

  • The peasant's cot and homely farm,
    Hall-house and tower, secure from harm
    Or lawless spoil, again became
    The cheerful charge of wife or dame.
    'Neath humble roofs, from rafter slung
    The harmless spear, on which was hung
    The flaxen yarn in spindles coil'd,
    And leathern pouch and hozen soil'd,
    And rush or osier creel, that held
    Both field and houshold geer; whilst swell'd
    With store of Scotland's fav'rite food,
    The seemly sack in corner stood;
    Remains of what the foe had left;
    Glad sight to folks so long bereft!


    And look'd at oft and wisely spared,
    Tho' still with poorer neighbours shared.
    The wooden quaigh and trencher placed
    On the shelv'd wall, its rudeness graced.
    Beneath the pot red faggots glanced,
    And on the hearth the spindle danced,
    As housewife's slight, so finely true,
    The lengthen'd thread from distaff drew,
    While she, belike, sang ditty shrill
    Of Southron louns with lengthen'd trill.

    asterisk. Creel, the common Scotch name for basket.

    asterisk. Quaigh, a stained drinking cup.

  • LI.

  • In castle hall with open gate,
    The noble lady kept her state,
    With girdle clasp'd by gem of price,
    Buckle or hasp of rare device,
    Which held, constrain'd o'er bodice tight,
    Her woollen robe of colours bright;
    And with bent head and tranquil eye,
    And gesture of fair courtesy,


    The stranger guest bade to her board
    Tho' far a field her warlike lord.
    A board where smoked on dishes clear
    Of massy pewter, sav'ry cheer,
    And potent ale was foaming seen
    O'er tankards bright of silver sheen,
    Which erst, when foe men bore the sway,
    Beneath the sod deep buried lay.
    For household goods, from many a hoard,
    Were now to household use restored.
  • LII.

  • Neighbours with neighbours join'd, begin
    Their cheerful toil, whilst mingled din
    Of saw or hammer cleave the air,
    The roofless bigging to repair,
    The woodman fells the gnarled tree,
    The ploughman whistles on the lea;


    The falkner keen his bird lets fly,
    As lordlings gaze with upcast eye;
    The arrow'd sportsman strays at will,
    And fearless strays o'er moor and hill;
    The traveller pricks along the plain;
    The herdboys shout and children play;
    Scotland is Scotland once again,
    And all are boon and gay.

    asterisk. ∗ Bigging, house or building of any kind, but generally rustic and mean.

  • LIII.

  • Thus, freedom from a grievous yoke,
    Like gleam of sunshine o'er them broke;
    And souls, when joy and peace were new,
    Of every nature, kindlier grew.
    It was a term of liberal dealing,
    And active hope and friendly feeling,
    Thro' all the land might freemen range,
    It was a blessed change!

  • LIV.

  • So, when thro' forest wild hath past
    The mingled fray of shower and blast,
    Tissue of threaded gems is worn
    By flower and fern and briar and thorn,
    While the scourged oak and shaken pine,
    Aloft in brighten'd verdure shine.
    Then Wallace to St. Johnston went,
    And thro' the country quickly sent
    Summons to burgher, knight, and lord,
    Who, there convened, with one accord,
    Took solemn oath with short debate,
    Of fealty to the state,
    Until a King's acknowledged, rightful sway,—
    A native King, they should with loyal hearts obey.
    And he with foresight wise, to spare
    Poor Scotland, scourged, exhausted, bare,
    Whose fields unplough'd, and pastures scant,
    Had brought her hardy sons to want,
    His conquering army southward led,
    Which was on England's plenty fed:


    And there, I trow, for many months they took
    Spoil of the land which ill that hateful change could brook.
  • LV.

  • Edward, meantime, asham'd and wroth
    At such unseemly foil, and loth
    So to be bearded, sent defiance
    To Scotland's chief, in sure reliance
    That he, with all which he may southward bring,
    Of warlike force, dare not encounter England's King.
  • LVI.

  • But Wallace, on the day appointed,
    Before this scepter'd and anointed,
    Who, strengthen'd with a num'rous host,
    There halted, to maintain his boast,
    On Stanmore's height, their battle ground,
    With all his valiant Scots was found.
    A narrow space of stony moor,
    With heath and likens mottled o'er,


    And cross'd with dew-webs wiry sheen,
    The adverse armies lay between.
    When upland mists had worn away,
    And blue sky over-head was clearing,
    And things of distant ken appearing
    Fair on the vision burst, that martial grand array.
    The force on haughty Edward's side,
    Spearmen and archers were descry'd,
    Line beyond line, spread far and wide,
    Receding from the eye;
    While bristling pikes distinct and dark,
    As traced aloft with edgy mark,
    Seem'd graven on the sky;
    And armed Knights arm'd steeds bestriding,
    Their morions glancing bright,
    And to and fro their gay squires riding,
    In warlike geer bedight.
    O'er all the royal standard flew,
    With crimson folds of gorgeous hue,
    And near it, ranged, in colours gay,
    Inferior flags and banners play,


    As broad-wing'd hawk keeps soaring high,
    Circled by lesser birds, that wheeling round him fly.
    Huge waggon, sleaded car, and wain,
    With dark, piled loads, a heavy train,
    Store-place of arms and yeoman's cheer,
    Frown'd in the further rear.
  • LVII.

  • And martial'd on the northern side,
    The northern ranks the charge abide,
    In numbers few, but stout of heart,
    Their nation's honour to assert.
  • LVIII.

  • Thus on the field with clans and liegemen good,
    England's great King, and Scotland's Warden stood.
    That Monarch proud, did rightly claim
    'Mongst Europe's lords the fairest fame,
    And had, in cause of Christentie,
    Fought with bold Saracens right gallantly.


    That Warden was the noblest man
    That e'er grac'd nation, race, or clan,
    And grasp'd within his brave right hand
    A sword, which from the dust had rais'd his native land.
  • LIX.

  • Who had not cried, that look'd upon
    So brave and grand a sight,
    "What stalwart deeds shall here be done
    "Before the close of night!"
    But Edward mark'd with falt'ring will,
    The Scottish battle ranged with skill,
    Which spoke the Leader's powerful mind.
    On England's host that number'd twice their foes,
    But newly raised, nor yet enured to blows,
    He rueful look'd, his purpose fail'd,
    He look'd again, his spirit quail'd,
    And battle gage declin'd.

  • LX.

  • And thus did he to Wallace yield,
    The bloodless honours of the field.
    But as the Southron ranks withdrew,
    Scarcely believing what he saw,
    The wary Chief might not expose
    His soldiers to returning foes,
    Or ambush'd snare, and gave the order,
    With beat of drum and trumpet sounding,
    The air with joyous shouts resounding,
    To cross with homeward steps the English border.
  • LXI.

  • Scotland thus, from foes secure,
    Her prudent Chieftain to enure
    His nobles still to martial toil,
    Sought contest on a distant soil;
    And many a young and valiant knight,
    For foreign wars were with their leader dight.
    And soon upon the seas careering


    In gallant ship, whose penants play,
    Waving and curling in the air,
    With changeful hues of colour fair,
    Themselves as gallant, boon, and gay,
    Their course with fav'ring breezes steering,
    To friendly France they held their way.
  • LXII.

  • And they upon the ocean met
    With warlike fleet, and sails full set,
    De Longoville, that bold outlaw,
    Whose name kept mariners in awe.
    This man, with all his desp'rate crew
    Did Wallace on the waves subdue.
    One Scottish ship the pirate thought
    As on her boarded deck he fought,
    Cheer'd by his sea-mates' warlike cries,
    A sure and easy prize.
    But Wallace's mighty arm he felt;
    Yea, at his conqueror's feet he knelt;


    And there disdained not to crave
    And take the mercy of the brave;
    For still, as thing by nature fit,
    The brave unto the brave are knit.
    Thus natives of one parent land,
    In crowded mart, on foreign strand,
    With quick glance recognize each other;
    "That mien! that step! it is a brother!
    "Tho' mingled with a meaner race,
    "In foreign garb, I know that face,
    "His features beam like those I love,
    "His limbs with mountain vigour move,
    "And tho' so strange and alien grown,
    "The kindred tie my soul will own."
    De Longoville, ev'n from that hour, a knight,
    True to his native King, true to the right,
    Fought with the Scottish hero to the end,
    In many a bloody field, his tried and valiant friend.

  • LXIII.

  • And nobly in the lists of France,
    Those noble Scots with brand and lance,
    'Midst foreign knights and warriors blended,
    In generous rivalry contended,
    Whilst their brave Chieftain taught them still,
    The soldier's dext'rous art and leader's nobler skill.
  • LXIV.

  • But English Edward, tired the while
    Of life inert and covert guile,
    Most faithless to the peace so lately made,
    Was northward bound again, poor Scotland to invade.
    Then Wallace, with his valiant band,
    By Scotland's faithful sons recall'd,
    Whom foreign yoke full sorely gall'd,
    Must raise again his glaved hand
    To smite the shackles from his native land.

  • LXV.

  • Brave hearts, who had in secret burn'd,
    To see their country bear the yoke,
    Hearing their Warden was return'd,
    Forth from their secret hidings broke,
    Wood, cave, or mountain-cliff, and ran
    To join the wond'rous man.
  • LXVI.

  • It was a sight to chase despair,
    His standard floating on the air,
    Which, curling oft with courteous wave,
    Still seem'd to beckon to the brave.
    And when approach'd within short space,
    They saw his form and knew his face,—
    That brow of hope, that step of power,
    Which stateliest strode in danger's hour,—
    How glow'd each heart!—"Himself we see!
    "What, tho' but few and spent we be!


    "The valiant heart despaireth never;
    "The rightful cause is strongest ever;
    "While Wallace lives, the land is free."
  • LXVII.

  • And he this flatt'ring hope pursued,
    And war with England's King renew'd.
    By martial stratagem he took
    St. Johnston's stubborn town, a hold
    So oft to faithless tyrants sold;
    And cautious patriots then forsook
    Ignoble shelter, kept so long,
    And join'd in arms the ardent throng,
    Who with the Warden southward past,
    Like clouds increasing on the blast.

  • Fife from the enemy he won,
    And in his prosp'rous course held on,
    Till Edward's strength, borne quickly down,
    Held scarcely castle, tower, or town,


    In all the southern shires; and then
    He turn'd him to the north again;
    Where from each wall'd defence, the foe expell'd,
    Fled fast, Dundee alone still for King Edward held.
  • LXIX.

  • But the oppressor, blushing on his throne
    To see the Scotch his warriors homeward chase,
    And those, so lately crush'd, so powerful grown,
    But ill could brook this sudden foul disgrace.
    And he a base, unprincely compact made
    With the red Cumming, traitor, black of heart!
    Who to their wicked plot, in secret laid,
    Some other chieftains gain'd with wily art.
    And he hath dared again to send
    A noble army, all too brave
    For such unmanly, hateful end,
    A land of freedom to enslave.
    At Falkirk soon was England's proudest boast
    Marshall'd in grand array, a brave and powerful host.

  • LXX.

  • But there with valiant foe to cope,
    Soon on the field stood Scotland's hope,
    Ev'n thirty thousand warriors, led
    By noble Wallace, each, that day,
    Had cheerfully his heart's blood shed
    The land to free from Southron's sway.
    Alas! had all her high-born chieftains been
    But as their leader and their clansmen true,
    She on that field a glorious day had seen,
    And made, tho' match'd with them, in number few,
    King Edward's vaunted host that fatal day to rue.
  • LXXI.

  • But envy of a hero's fame,
    Which so obscured each lofty name,
    Was meanly harbour'd in the breast
    Of those who bore an honour'd crest.
    But most of all Red Cumming nursed
    In his dark breast this bane accursed,


    That, with the lust of power combin'd,
    O'er-master'd all his wretched mind.
    Then to Lord Stewart, secretly,
    Spoke with smooth words the traitor sly,
    Advising that, to grace his name,
    Being by right confess'd the man,
    Who ought to lead the Scottish van,
    He should the proud distinction claim.
    And thus, as one of low estate,
    With lip of scorn, and brow elate,
    Did he, by traitors back'd, the godlike Wallace bate.
  • LXXII.

  • "Must noble chiefs of high degree,
    "Scotland's best blood, be led by thee?
    "Thou, who art great but as the owl,
    "Who plumed her wing from every fowl,
    "And, hooting on her blasted tree,
    "Would greater than the eagle be."


  • "I stood," said Wallace "for the right,
    "When ye in holes shrunk from the light;
    "My plumes spread to the blazing sun
    "Which coweringly ye sought to shun.
    "Ye are the owls, who from the gloom
    "Of cleft and cranny boasting come;
    "Yet, hoot and chatter as ye may,
    "I'll not to living man this day
    "Resign the baton of command,
    "Which Scotland's will gave to my hand,
    "When spoil'd, divided, conquer'd, maim'd,
    "None the dangerous honour claim'd;
    "Nor, till my head lie in the dust,
    "Will it betray her sacred trust."
  • LXXIV.

  • With flashing eye, and dark red brow,
    He utter'd then a hasty vow,
    Seeing the snare by treason laid,
    So strongly wove, so widely spread,


    And slowly from the field withdrew;
    While, slow and silent at his back,
    March'd on his wayward, cheerless track,
    Ten thousand Scotchmen staunch and true,
    Who would, let good or ill betide,
    By noble Wallace still abide.
  • LXXV.

  • To them it was a strange and irksome sight,
    As on a gentle hill apart they stood,
    To see arm'd squadrons closing in the fight,
    And the fierce onset to their work of blood.
    To see their well-known banners as they moved
    When dark opposing ranks with ranks are blending,
    To see the lofty plumes of those they loved
    Wave to and fro, with the brave foe contending.
  • LXXVI.

  • It hath been said, that gifted seer,
    On the dark mountain's cloudy screen,
    Forms of departed chiefs hath seen,


    In seeming armour braced with sword and spear,
    O'erlooking some dire field of death,
    Where warriors, warm with vital breath,
    Of kindred lineage, urge the glorious strife;
    They grasp their shadowy spears, and forward bend
    In eager sympathy, as if to lend
    Their aid to those, with whom in mortal life,
    They did such rousing, noble conflict share,—
    As if their phantom forms of empty air,
    Still own'd a kindred sense of what on earth they were.

  • So Wallace and his faithful band survey'd
    The fatal fight, when Scotland was betray'd
    By the false Cumming, who most basely fled,
    And from the field a thousand warriors led.
    O how his noble spirit burn'd,
    When from his post the traitor turn'd,
    Leaving the Stuart sorely prest!
    Who with his hardy Scots the wave


    Of hostile strength did stoutly breast,
    Like clansmen true and brave.
    His visage flush'd with angry glow,
    He clench'd his hand, and struck his brow.
    His heart within his bosom beat
    As it would break from mortal seat,
    And when at last they yielded space,
    And he beheld their piteous case,
    Big scalding tears cours'd down his manly face.

  • But, ah! that fatal vow, that pride
    Which doth in mortal breast reside,
    Of noble minds the earthly bane,
    His gen'rous impulse to restrain,
    Had power in that dark moment! still
    It struggled with his better will.
    And who, superior to this tempter's power,
    Hath ever braved it in the trying hour?
    O! only he, who, strong in heavenly grace,


    Taking from wretched thrals, of woman born,
    Their wicked mockery, their stripes, their scorn,
    Gave his devoted life for all the human race.
    He viewed the dire disast'rous fight,
    Like a fall'n cherubim of light,
    Whose tossing form now tow'rs, now bends,
    And with its darken'd self contends,
    Till many a brave and honour'd head
    Lay still'd upon a bloody bed,
    And Stuart, midst his clans, was number'd with the dead.
  • LXXIX.

  • Then rose he, like a rushing wind,
    Which strath or cavern hath confin'd,
    And straight thro' England's dark array,
    With his bold mates, hew'd out his bloody way.
    A perilous daring way, and dear the cost!
    For there the good, the gallant Grame he lost.
    The gallant Grame, whose name shall long
    Remember'd be in Scottish song.


    And second still to Wallace wight
    In lowland tale of winter's night,
    Who loved him as he never loved another.
    Low to the dust he bent his head,
    Deep was his anguish o'er the dead.—
    "That daring hand, that gentle heart!
    "That lofty mind! and must we part?
    "My brother, Oh, my brother!"
  • LXXX.

  • But how shall verse feign'd accents borrow,
    To speak with words their speechless sorrow,
    Who, on the trampled, blood-stain'd green
    Of battle-field, must leave behind
    What to their souls hath dearest been,
    To stiffen in the wind?
    The soldier there, or kern or chief,
    Short parley holds with shrewdest grief;
    Passing to noisy strife from what, alas!
    Shall from his sadden'd fancy never pass,—


    The look that ev'n thro' writhing pain,
    Says, "shall we never meet again!"
    The grasping hand or sign but known,
    Of tenderness, to one alone:
    The lip convulsed, the life's last shiver;
    The new-closed eye, yet closed for ever,
    The brave must quit;—but, from the ground,
    They, like th' enchafed lion bound.
    Rage is their sorrow, grimly fed,
    And blood the tears they shed.
  • LXXXI.

  • Too bold it were for me to tell,
    How Wallace fought; how on the brave
    The ruin of his anguish fell,
    Ere from the field, his bands to save,
    He broke away, and sternly bore
    Along the stony Carron's shore.
    The dark brown water, hurrying past,
    O'er stone and rocky fragment cast


    The white churn'd foam with angry bray,
    And wheel'd and bubbled on its way,
    And lash'd the margin's flinty guard,
    By him unheeded and unheard;
    Albeit, his mind, dark with despair,
    And grief, and rage, was imaged there.

  • And there, 'tis said, the Bruce descried
    Him marching on the rival side.
    The Bruce, whose right the country own'd,
    (Had he possess'd a princely soul,
    Disdaining Edward's base controul,)
    To be upon her chair of power enthron'd.

  • "Ho, chieftain!" said the princely slave,
    "Thou who pretend'st the land to save
    "With rebel sword, opposed to me,
    "Who should of right thy sovereign be;


    "Think'st thou the Scottish crown to wear,
    "Opposed by foreign power so great,
    "By those at home of high estate?
    "Cast the vain thought to empty air,
    "Thy fatal mad ambition to despair."

  • "No!" Wallace answer'd; "I have shewn
    "This sword to gain or power or throne
    "Was never drawn; no act of mine
    "Did e'er with selfish thought combine.
    "Courage to dare, when others lay
    "In brutish sloth, beneath the sway
    "Of foreign tyranny; to save
    "From thraldom, hateful to the brave,
    "My friends, my countrymen; to stand
    "For right and honour of the land,
    "When nobler arms shrunk from the task,
    "In a vile tyrant's smiles to bask,
    "Hath been my simple warrant of command.


    "And Scotland hath confirm'd it.—No;
    "Nor shall this hand her charge forego,
    "While Southron in the land is found
    "To lord it o'er one rood of Scottish ground,
    "Or till my head be low."
  • LXXXV.

  • Deep blush'd the Bruce, shame's conscious glow
    And own'd the hero's words were true;
    And with his followers, sad and slow
    To Edward's camp withdrew.

  • But fleeting was the mighty tyrant's boast,
    (So says the learned clerk of old,
    Who first our hero's story told,)
    Fleeting the triumph of his numerous host.
    For with the morning's early dawn
    The Scottish soldiers, scatter'd wide,


    Hath Wallace round his standard drawn,
    Hath cheer'd their spirits, rous'd their pride,
    And led them, where their foes they found,
    All listless, scatter'd on the ground.
    On whom with furious charge they set;
    And many a valiant Southron met
    A bloody death, waked from the gleam
    And inward vision of a morning's dream;
    Where Fancy in his native home
    Led him through well-known fields to roam,
    Where orchard, cot, and copse appear,
    And moving forms of kindred dear;—
    For in the rugged soldier's brain
    She oft will fairy court maintain
    Full gently, as beneath the dusk
    Of hard-ribb'd shell, the pearl lies,
    Or silken bud in prickly husk;—
    He from her vision's sweet unseals his eyes
    To see the stern foe o'er him darkly bending,
    To feel the deep-thrust blade his bosom rending,


  • So many Southrons there were slain,
    So fatal was the vengeance ta'en,
    That Edward, with enfeebled force,
    Check'd mad ambition's unbless'd course,
    And to his own fair land return'd again.

  • Then Wallace thought from tower and town
    And castled hold, as heretofore,
    To pull each English banner down
    And free the land once more.
    But ah! the generous hope he must forego!
    Envy and pride have Scotland's cause betrayed;
    All now are backward, listless, cold, and slow,
    His patriot arm to aid.

  • Then to St. Johnston, at his call,
    Met burghers, knights, and nobles all,


    Who on the pressing summons wait,
    A full assembly of the state.
    There he resign'd his ensigns of command,
    Which erst had kept the proudest Thanes in awe;
    Retaining in that potent hand
    Which thrice redeem'd its native land,
    His simple sword alone, with which he stood
    Midst all her haughty peers of princely blood,
    The noblest man e'er Scotland saw.
  • XC.

  • And thus did Scottish lords requite
    Him, who, in many a bloody fight,
    The country's champion stood; her people's Wallace wight.
    O black ingratitude! thy seemly place
    Is in the brutish, mean, and envious heart;
    How is it then, thou dost so oft disgrace
    The learn'd, the wise, the highly born, and art
    Like cank'ring blights, the oak that scathe,
    While fern and brushwood thrive beneath;


    Like dank mould on the marble tomb,
    While graves of turf with violets bloom.
    Selfish ambition makes the lordliest Thane
    A meaner man than him, who drives the loaded wain.
  • XCI.

  • And he with heavy heart his native shore
    Forsook to join his old ally once more.
    And in Guienne right valiant deeds he wrought;
    Till under iron yoke opprest,
    From north to south, from east to west,
    His most unhappy groaning country sought
    The generous aid she never sought in vain;
    And with a son's unwearied love,
    Which fortune, time, nor wrongs could move,
    He to maintain her cause again repass'd the main.
    The which right bravely he maintain'd;
    And divers castles soon regain'd.
    The sound ev'n of his whisper'd name
    Revived in faithful hearts the smother'd flame,
    And many secretly to join his standard came.


    St. Johnston's leaguered walls at length
    Were yielded to his growing strength;
    And on, with still increasing force,
    He southward held his glorious course.
  • XCII.

  • Then Edward thought the chief to gain,
    And win him to his princely side
    With treasur'd gold and honours vain,
    And English manors fair and wide.
    But with flush'd brow and angry eye
    And words that shrewdly from him broke,
    Stately and stern, he thus bespoke
    The secret embassy.
    "These kingly proffers made to me!
    "Return and say it may not be.
    "Lions shall troop with herdsmen's droves,
    "And eagles roost with household doves,
    "Ere William Wallace draw his blade
    "With those who Scotland's rights invade.


    "Yea, ev'n the touch of bondsman's chain,
    "Would in my thrilling members wake
    "A loathful sense of rankling pain
    "Like coiling of a venom'd snake."
    The King abash'd, in courtly hold,
    Receiv'd this answer sooth and bold.
  • XCIII.

  • But ah! the fated hour drew near
    That stopp'd him in his bold career.
    Monterith, a name which from that day, I ween,
    Hateful to every Scottish ear hath been,
    Which highland kern and lowland hind
    Have still with treacherous guile combin'd,—
    The false Monteith, who under show
    Of friendship, sold him to the foe,
    Stole on a weary secret hour,
    As sleeping and disarm'd he lay,
    And to King Edward's vengeful power
    Gave up the mighty prey.

  • XCIV.

  • At sight of noble Wallace bound,
    The Southrons raised a vaunting sound,
    As if the bands which round his limbs they drew,
    Had fetter'd Scotland too.
    They gaz'd and wonder'd at their mighty thrall;
    Then nearer drew with movements slow,
    And spoke in whispers deep and low.—
    "This is the man to whom did yield
    "The doughtiest knight in banner'd field,
    "Whose threat'ning frown the boldest did appal!"
    And, as his clanging fetters shook,
    Cast on him oft a fearful look,
    As doubting if in verity
    Such limbs with iron might holden be:
    While boldest spearmen by the pris'ner's side
    With beating heart and haggard visage ride.
  • XCV.

  • Thus on to London they have past,
    And in the Tower's dark dungeons cast


    The hero; where, in silent gloom,
    He must abide his fatal doom.
    There pent, from earthly strife apart,
    Scotland still rested on his heart.
    Aye; every son that breathed her air
    On cultur'd plain or mountain bare,
    From chief in princely castle bred
    To herdsman in his sheeling shed,
    From war-dight youth to barefoot child,
    Who picks in brake the berry wild;—
    Her gleamy lakes and torrents clear,
    Her towns, her towers, her forests green,
    Her fields where warlike coil hath been,
    Are to his soul most dear.
  • XCVI.

  • His fetter'd hands support a head,
    Whose nodding plume had terror spread
    O'er many a face, ev'n seen from far,
    When moving in the ranks of war.


    Lonely and dark, unseen of man,
    But in that Presence whose keen eye
    Can darkest breast of mortal scan,
    The bitter thought and heavy sigh
    Have way uncheck'd, and utter'd grief
    Gave to his burthen'd heart a soothing, sad relief.
  • XCVII.

  • "It hath not to this arm been given
    "From the fell tyrant's grinding hand
    "To set thee free, my native land!
    "I bow me to the will of Heaven!
    "But have I run my course in vain?
    "Shall thou in bondage still remain?
    "The spoiler o'er thee still have sway,
    "Till virtue, strength, and pride decay?
    "O no! still panting to be free,
    "Thy noblest hearts will think of me.
    "Some brave, devoted, happier son
    "Will do the work I would have done;


    "And blest be he, who nobly draws
    "His sword in Scotland's cause!"

  • Perhaps his vision'd eye might turn
    To him who fought at Bannockburn.
    Or is it wildness to believe
    A dying patriot may receive,
    (Who sees his mortal span diminish'd
    To nought, his generous task unfinish'd,)
    A seeming fruitless end to cheer,
    Some glimpses of the gifted seer?
    O no! 'tis to his closing sight
    A beacon on a distant height,—
    The moon's new crescent, seen in cloudy kirtled night.
  • XCIX.

  • And much he strove with Christian grace,
    Of those who Scotland's foes had been,
    His soul's strong hatred to efface,
    A work of grace, I ween!


    Meekly he bow'd o'er bead and book,
    And every worldly thought forsook.
  • C.

  • But when he on the scaffold stood,
    And cast aside his mantling hood,
    He eyed the crowd, whose sullen hum,
    Did from ten thousand upcast faces come,
    And armed guardsmen standing round,
    As he was wont on battle-ground,
    Where still with calm and portly air,
    He faced the foe with visage bare;
    As if with baton of command
    And vassal chiefs on either hand,
    Towering her marshall'd files between,
    He Scotland's warden still had been.
    This flash of mortal feeling past,—
    This gleam of pride, it was the last.
    As on the cloud's dense skirt will play,
    While the dark tempest rolls away,


    One parting blaze; then thunders cease,
    The sky is clear, and all is peace.
    And he with ready will a nobler head
    Than e'er was circled with a kingly crown,
    Upon the block to headsman's stroke laid down,
    And for his native land a generous victim bled.
  • CI.

  • What tho' that head o'er gate or tower,
    Like felons on the cursed tree,
    Visited by sun and shower,
    A ghastly spectacle may be!
    A fair renown, as years wear on,
    Shall Scotland give her noblest son.
    The course of ages shall not dim
    The love that she shall bear to him.
  • CII.

  • In many a castle, town, and plain,
    Mountain and forest, still remain


    Fondly cherish'd spots, which claim
    The proud distinction of his honour'd name.
  • CIII.

  • Swells the huge ruin's massy heap
    In castled court, 'tis Wallace's keep.
    What stateliest o'er the rest may lower
    Of time-worn wall, where rook and daw,
    With wheeling flight and ceaseless caw,
    Keep busy stir, is Wallace's tower.
    If thro' the green wood's hanging screen,
    High o'er the deeply-bedded wave,
    The mouth of arching cleft is seen
    Yawning dark, 'tis Wallace's cave.
    If o'er its jutting barrier grey,
    Tinted by time, with furious din,
    The rude crags silver'd with its sprey,
    Shoot the wild flood, 'tis Wallace's lin.
    And many a wood remains, and hill and glen
    Haunted, 'tis said, of old by Wallace and his men.

  • CIV.

  • There schoolboy still doth haunt the sacred ground,
    And musing oft its pleasing influence own,
    As, starting at his footsteps echo'd sound,
    He feels himself alone.
  • CV.

  • Yea, ev'n the cottage matron, at her wheel,
    Altho' with daily care and labour crost,
    Will o'er her heart the soothing magic feel,
    And of her country's ancient prowess boast;
    While on the little shelf of treasured books,
    For what can most of all her soul delight,
    Beyond or ballad, tale, or jest, she looks,—
    The history renown'd of Wallace wight.
  • CVI.

  • But chiefly to the soldier's breast
    A thought of him will kindling come,
    As waving high his bonnet's crest,
    He listens to the rolling drum,


    And trumpet's call and thrilling fife,
    And bagpipes' loud and stormy strain,
    Meet prelude to tumultuous strife
    On the embattled plain.
  • CVII.

  • Whether in highland garb array'd,
    With kirtle short and highland plaid,
    Or button'd close in lowland vest,
    Within his doughty grasp, broad sword, or gun be prest,—
    Rememb'ring him, he still maintains
    His country's cause on foreign plains,
    To grace her name and earn her praise,
    Led by the brave of modern days.
  • CVIII.

  • Such, Abercrombie, fought with thee
    On Egypt's dark embattled shore,
    And near Corunna's bark-clad sea
    With great and gallant Moore.


    Such fought with Ferguson and Graham,
    A leader worthy of the name,
    And fought in pride of Scotland's ancient fame
    With firmer nerve and warmer will:
    And wheresoe'er on hostile ground,
    Or Scot or hardy Celt are found,
    Thy spirit, noble Wallace, fighteth still.
  • CXIX.

  • O Scotland! proud may be thy boast!
    Since Time his course thro' circling years hath run,
    There hath not shone, in Fame's bright host,
    A nobler hero than thy patriot son.
  • CX.

  • Manly and most devoted was the love
    With which for thee unweariedly he strove;
    No selfish lust of power, not ev'n of fame,
    Gave ardour to the pure and generous flame.


    Rapid in action, terrible in fight,
    In counsel wise, inflexible in right,
    Was he, who did so oft, in olden days,
    Thy humbled head from base oppression raise.
    Then be it by thy generous spirit known,
    Ready in freedom's cause to bleed,
    Spurning corruption's worthless meed,
    That in thy heart thou feel'st this hero was thine own.