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attentive perusal of his poem, 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 literary 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
tive of the Life of Wallace, he gives some
After Wallace they lasted many a day,
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
preserved in the Advocates' Library, Nuns, maidens, whom that they liked to Edinburgh.
YOUNG WALLACE: HIS CHARACTER.
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 Elerslie, 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,
Of his good kin they had slain many
Yet he was then seemly stark and bold; The knight, her father, thither he them And he of age was but eighteen year
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.
ADVENTURE OF WALLACE WHILE FISHING IN IRVINE WATER.
So on a time he desired to play.
To lead his net a child furth with him yeid,'
But he, or2 noon, was in a fellon dread.
"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
We are 'scaped, but in field slain are three."
Third part length, in shoulders broad, was he,
The lord speirèd,2 "How mony might Right semely, strong, and lusty for to see;
"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.
His limbs great with stalwart pace and
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 craig'
His lips round, his nose was square and straight;
Bowand 3 brown haird, on brows and breis light;
Clear aspre eyne4 like diamondis bright.
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
In Wallace book brewyt it with the layff."
'Undressed, and dressed. 5 Received these
known particulars. 6 Noted them with
WALLACE, DISGUISED, VISITS THE
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
Among Southerns full busily he past
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
"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,