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attentive perusal of his poem, com- tive of the Life of Wallace, he gives some paring it as I went along with contem- | additional particulars regarding his

porary documents, have placed the Life of Wallace in a different light. I am persuaded that it is the work of an ignorant man, who was yet in possession of valuable and authentic materials. On what other supposition can we account for the fact, that, whilst in one page we meet with errors which show a deplorable perversion of history, in the next we find circumstances unknown to other Scottish historians, yet corroborated by authentic documents, by contemporary English annalists, and by national muniments and records, only published in modern times, and to which the Minstrel cannot be supposed to have had access.

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After giving a series of examples to prove the position assumed, he points to the testimony of the Minstrel himself regarding the source of his information, as given in the passage we have quoted in reference to John Blair and Thomas Gray. He sums up his argument thus-"It was, therefore, in all probability, the Latin Buk of Wallace's Life, compiled by this worthy ecclesiastic, Master John Blair, who, as we are elsewhere informed, officiated as his chaplain, from which Henry the Minstrel derived those authentic particulars which may be detected cropping out, as geologists say, from beneath the more fabulous superficies of his history." This reasonable view of the Minstrel's liter

ary achievement, is but the adoption of his own account of it; and is indeed the only one which can be held, consistently with respect for his character as a truthful man. At the end of his narra

Latin authority, which we give modern


ised in spelling, but verbally unaltered :
"Of Wallace life wha has a further feill2
May show forth more with wit and eloquence;
For I to this have done my diligence,
After the proof given in the Latin book,
Which Master Blair in his time undertook,
In fair Latin compiled it till an end,
With thir witness the mare is to commend.
Bishop Sinclair then lord was of Dunkell,

got this book and confirmed it himsell
For very true; thereof he had no dread;
Himself had seen great part of Wallace deed.
His purpose was till have send it to Rome,
Our father of Kirk thereon to give his doom.3
But Master Blair and als Sir Thomas Gray
After Wallace they lasted many a day,
Thir two knew best of good Sir Williams deed."
Keeping the circumstance of his blind-
ness in view, and the likelihood of his
being ignorant of Latin, so far as he fol-
lowed this authority, the only rational
view of the matter that presents itself is,
that he dictated, in rhyme, the transla-
tion of it read to him by an ecclesiastic
of the monastery in which it was pre-

This would also account for the descriptions of scenery, and the aspect of the seasons with which the poem abounds. That it no longer exists need not excite much surprise.

As evidence of the popularity of the Life of Wallace, we find an edition of it published so early as 1570, and many have appeared since then. That edited by Dr Jamieson in 1820 is now reckoned the standard edition. The MS., which was written by John Ramsay, the same who wrote The Bruce, in 1488, while the Minstrel was still living, is

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preserved in the Advocates' Library, Nuns, maidens, whom that they liked to Edinburgh.


[Spelling modernized.]

After a short introductory account of the condition of Scotland since the death of Alexander III., the Minstrel turns to Wallace, the proper subject of his poem.

Scotland was lost when he was but a child, And o'er set through with our enemies wild.

His father, Malcolm, in the Lennox fled, His eldest son thither he with him led. His mother fled with him2 from Elersliè, Till Gowry passed, and dwelt in Kilspindie.


William Wallace, or he was man of arms Great pity thought that Scotland took such harms,

Meikle dolour2 it did him in his mind; For he was wise, right worthy, wight and kind;

In Gowry dwelt still with this worthy man,3

As he increased, and wit abounded than,
Intill his heart he had full meikle care,
He saw the Southron multiplying mare;
And to himself oft would he make his


Of his good kin they had slain many


Yet he was then seemly stark4 and bold; The knight, her father, thither he them And he of age was but eighteen year

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To cut his throat or stick him suddenly He waynd it7 nought, found he them fawely.8

Sundry wayntit,9 but none wist by what way

In arms syne5 did many high waslage," When Saxons blood into, this realm coming, Working the will of Edward that false For all to him there could no man them king,



Many great wrong they wrought in this Sad of countenance he was both old and region, Destroyed our lords, and break their build- Little of speech, wise, courteous, and ings down.

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So on a time he desired to play.
In Aperil the three-and-twenty day,
Till Irvine water fish to tak he went,
Sic fantasy fell in his intent.

To lead his net a child furth with him yeid,'

But he, or2 noon, was in a fellon dread.
His sword he left, so did he never again;
It did him gude, suppose he suffered pain.
Of that labour as than he was not slie,
Happy he was, took fish abundantly.
Or of the day ten hours o'er couth pass.
Ridand there come, near by where Wal-
lace was,

The Lord Percy was captain then of Ayr; Frae then' he turned, and couth to Glasgow fare. 3

Part of the court had Wallace' labour seen, Till him rade five, clad into ganand green, And said soon, "Scot, Martin's fish we wald have!"

Wallace meekly again answer him gave. "It were reason, methink, ye should have


Waith 4 should be dealt, in all place, with free heart."

He bade his child, " Give them of our waithing."

The Southron said, "As now of thy dealing We will not tak; thou wald give us o'er small."

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Wallace with it fast on the cheek him took, With sae gude will, quhill of his feet he shook.

The sword flew frae him a fur-breid 2 on the land.

Wallace was glad, and hint 3 it soon in hand;

And with the sword awkward he him gave Under the hat, his craig 4 in sunder drave. By that the lave 5 lighted about Wallace, He had no help, only but God's grace. On either side full fast on him they dang, Great peril was gif they had lasted lang. Upon the head in great ire he strak ane; The shearand sword glade to the collar bane.

Ane other on the arm he hit so hardily, While hand and sword baith in the field

'gan lie.

The tother twa fled to their horse again; He stickit him was last upon the plain.

He lighted down, and frae the child took Three slew he there, twa fled with all


Wallace said then, "Gentlemen gif ye be, Leave us some part, we pray for charity. Ane aged knight serves our lady to-day : Gude friend, leave part, and tak not all away."

1 Went.

2 Ere, before.

3 He was on his way from Ayr to Glasgow. 4 Spoil taken in sport.

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We are 'scaped, but in field slain are three."


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Third part length, in shoulders broad, was he,

The lord speirèd, "How mony might Right semely, strong, and lusty for to see ;

they be?"

"We saw but ane that has discomfist us all."

Then leugh he loud, and said, “Foul mot you fall!

Sin' ane you all has put to confusion. Wha meins it maist, the devil of hell him drown!

This day for me, in faith, he bees not sought."

When Wallace thus this worthy wark had wrought,

Their horse he took, and gear that levèd was there,

Gave ower that craft, he yede to fish nae


Went till his eme, and tald him of this deed,

And he for woe well near worthit to weid,4 And said, "Son, thir tidings sits me sore, And, be it known, thou may tak scaith therefore."

"Uncle," he said, "I will no langer bide; Thir southland horse let see gif I can ride."

Then but a child, him service for to mak, His eme's sons he wald not with him tak. This good knight said, "Dear cousin, pray

I thee,

When thou wants gude, come fetch enough frae me."

Silver and gold he gart on to him give, Wallace inclines, and gudely took his leave.

3 Laughed.

His limbs great with stalwart pace and

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Clear aspre eyne 4 like diamondis bright.
Under the chin, on the left side, was seen,
By hurt, a wain; his colour was sanguine.
Wounds he had in many divers place,
But fair, and well keepèd, was his face.
Of riches he kept no proper thing;
Gave as he wan like Alexander the king.
In time of peace meek as a maid was he,
When war approached, the right Hector
was he.

To Scottismen a great credence he gave, But knowing enemies, they could not him deceive.

Thir properties was known into France, Of him to be in good remembrance, Master John Blair that patron couth

rasaiff 5

In Wallace book brewyt it with the layff."

' Undressed, and dressed. 5 Received these 2 Neck.

3 Curled.

I Tarried. • Inquired.

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known particulars.

6 Noted them with

the rest.


But thou beware, thou tines of thy chaffre
The sun by then was passed out of sight,
The day o'er went, and coming was the

Edward and his army being encamped at Biggar, Wallace, meditating a midnight raid,

visits it disguised, in order to observe their Among Southerns full busily he past On either side his eyes he 'gan to cast, Where Lordis lay, and had their lodging

arrangements. On his way to the camp he meets a countryman.

Driving a mare, and pitchers had he to sell. "Good friend," said he, "in truth wilt

thou me tell,

With this chaffer where passes thou truly.
Till ony, sir, who likès for to buy ;


The King's pavillion whereon the libbards

Spyand full fast, where his avail should be,
And could well look and wink with the tae


It is my craft, and I would (sell) them Some scorned him, some, gleèd carl, called fain."

him there.


"I will them buy, so God me save from Agrieved they were for their herald's misspain. What price let's hear? I will take them Some speired at him how he sold off his ilk ane.' beast.

"But half a mark, for sic price have I "For forty pence," he said, "while they ta'en." may lest."

"Twenty shillings," Wallace said, "thou Some brake a pot, some pirlèd3 at his ee,

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