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attentive perusal of his poem, com- tive of the Life of Wallace, he gives some additional particulars regarding his Latin authority, which we give modernised 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,


paring it as I went along with contemporary 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 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.

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

He this book and confirmed it himsell got 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 blindness in view, and the likelihood of his being ignorant of Latin, so far as he followed this authority, the only rational view of the matter that presents itself is, that he dictated, in rhyme, the translation of it read to him by an ecclesiastic of the monastery in which it was preserved. 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 the1 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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Working the will of Edward that false For all to him there could no man them




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-

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"Thou shall have leave to fish, and tak thee mae,

All this forsooth shall in our flitting gae. We serve a lord; thir fish shall till him gang."

Wallace answered, said, "Thou art in the wrang."

"Whom thous thou, Scot? in faith thou 'serves a blaw."

Till him he ran, and out a sword 'gan draw. William was wae he had nae wappins there But the poutstaff, the whilk in hand he bare.

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


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


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We are 'scaped, but in field slain are three." The lord speirèd, they be?"



Wallace stature, of greatness, and of height, Was judged thus, by discretion, of right, That saw him, both dissembill, and in weid;1

Nine quarters large he was in length in


Third part length, in shoulders broad, was he,

"How mony might Right semely, strong, and lusty for to see; His limbs great with stalwart pace and

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

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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.

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His brows hard, his arms great and round, His hands made right like till a palmer, Of manlike make with nails great and clear;

Proportioned long, and fair was his visage; Right sad of speech, and able in courage; Broad breast and high, with sturdy craig2

and great;

His lips round, his nose was square and straight;

Bowand 3 brown haird, on brows and breis light;

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

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

visits it disguised, in order to observe their 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 ;

It is my craft, and I would (sell) them fain."

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

Among Southerns full busily he past
On either side his eyes he 'gan to cast,
Where Lordis lay, and had their lodging

The King's pavillion whereon the libbards bade

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


Some scorned him, some, gleèd carl, called 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."

"But half a mark, for sic price have I ta'en."



"For forty pence," he said, "while they may lest."

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

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