"It ill befits," the youngest said, "A crowned king to lie; But, or that I taste meat and drink, 155 Reproved sall he be."
He went before King Edward straight, And kneel'd low on his knee; "I wad hae leave, my lord," he said, "To speak a word wi' thee." 160
The king he turn'd him round about, And wistna what to say-- Quo' he, "Man, thou's hae leave to speak, Though thou should speak a' day."
"Ye said that three young lads o' France 165 Your standard stole away, Wi' a fause tale, and a fauser trayne, And mony men did slay.
"But we are nane the lads o' France, Nor e'er pretend to be; 170 We are three lads o' fair Scotland, Auld Maitland's sons are we;
"Nor is there men, in a' your host, Daur fight us three to three."
"Now, by my sooth," young Edward said, 175 "Weel fitted ye sall be!
"Piercy sall with the eldest fight, And Ethert Lunn wi' thee: William of Lancaster the third, And bring your fourth to me!" 180
["Remember, Piercy, aft the Scot[L181]
Has cower'd beneath thy hand:]
For every drap of Maitland blood, I'll gie a rig of land."
He clanked Piercy ower the head, 185 A deep wound and a sair, Till the best blood o' his bodie Came rinning down his hair.
"Now, I've slayne ane; slay ye the twa; And that's gude companye; 190 And if the twa suld slay ye baith, Ye'se get na help frae me."
But Ethert Lunn, a baited bear, Had many battles seen; He set the youngest wonder sair, 195 Till the eldest he grew keen.
"I am nae king, nor nae sic thing: My word it shanna stand!
For Ethert sall a buffet bide, Come he beneath my brand." 200
He clankit Ethert ower the head, A deep wound and a sair, Till the best blood of his bodie Came rinning ower his hair.
"Now I've slayne twa; slaye ye the ane; 205 Isna that gude companye?
And tho' the ane suld slaye ye baith, Ye'se get nae help o' me."
The twa-some they hae slayne the ane; They maul'd him cruellie; 210 Then hung them over the draw-brigg, That all the host might see.
They rade their horse, they ran their horse, Then hover'd on the lee: "We be three lads o' fair Scotland, 215 That fain would fighting see."
This boasting when young Edward heard, An angry man was he: "I'll tak yon lad, I'll bind yon lad, And bring him bound to thee!" 220
"Now God forbid," King Edward said, "That ever thou suld try!
Three worthy leaders we hae lost, And thou the fourth wad lie.
"If thou shouldst hang on yon draw-brigg, 225 Blythe wad I never be:"
But, wi' the poll-axe in his hand, Upon the brigg sprang he.
The first stroke that young Edward gae, He struck wi' might and mayn; 230 He clove the Maitland's helmet stout, And bit right nigh the brayn.
When Maitland saw his ain blood fa', An angry man was he: He let his weapon frae him fa', 235 And at his throat did flee.
And thrice about he did him swing, Till on the grund he light, Where he has halden young Edward, Tho' he was great in might. 240
"Now let him up," King Edward cried, "And let him come to me: And for the deed that thou hast done, Thou shalt hae erldomes three."
"It's ne'er be said in France, nor e'er 245 In Scotland, when I'm hame, That Edward once lay under me,[L247]
And e'er gat up again!"
He pierced him through and through the heart, He maul'd him cruellie; 250 Then hung him ower the draw-brigg, Beside the other three.
"Now take frae me that feather-bed, Make me a bed o' strae!
I wish I hadna lived this day, 255 To mak my heart sae wae.
"If I were ance at London Tower, Where I was wont to be, I never mair suld gang frae hame, Till borne on a bier-tree." 260
25. North-Berwick, according to some reciters.--S.
27, 28. These two lines have been inserted by Mr. Hogg, to complete the verse. Dunbar, the fortress of Patrick, Earl of March, was too often opened to the English, by the treachery of that baron, during the reign of Edward I.--S.
70. If this be a Flemish or Scottish corruption for Ville de Grace, in Normandy, that town was never besieged by Edward I., whose wars in France were confined to the province of Gascony. The rapid change of scene, from Scotland to France, excites a suspicion that some verses may have been lost in this place.--S.
75. Edward had quartered the arms of Scotland with his own.--S.
181, 182, supplied by Hogg.
247. Some reciters repeat it thus:--
"That _Englishman_ lay under me,"
which is in the true spirit of Blind Harry, who makes Wallace say,
"I better like to see the Southeron die, Than gold or land, that they can gie to me."--S.
After the battle of Roslin, we are informed by Bower, the continuator of Fordun's _Scotichronicon_, Wallace took ship for France, and various songs, both in that kingdom and in Scotland, he goes on to say, bear witness to the courage with which he encountered the attacks of pirates on the ocean, and of the English on the continent. Whatever we may think of Wallace's expedition to France, there can be no doubt that the hero's exploits were at an early date celebrated in popular song. Still, the ballads which are preserved relate to only one of Wallace's adventures, and are of doubtful antiquity.
Burns communicated to Johnson's _Museum_ (p. 498) a defective ballad called _Gude Wallace_. A better copy of this, from tradition, is here given. It is taken from Buchan's _Gleanings_ (p. 114), and was derived by the editor from a wandering gipsy tinker. Mr. Laing has inserted in the notes to the new edition of Johnson's _Museum_ (iv. 458*) what may perhaps be the original of both these recited ballads, though inferior to either. This copy appeared in a chap-book with some Jacobite ballads, about the year 1750. There are two other versions of this same story, in which Wallace's mistress is induced to betray him to the English, but repents in time to save her lover. The best of these is annexed to the present ballad. The other, which is but a fragment, is printed in Buchan's larger collection, ii. 226, _Wallace and his Leman_.
The principal incidents of this story are to be found in the Fifth Book of Blind Harry's Metrical _Life of Wallace_.
Jamieson, in _Popular Ballads_, ii. 166, and Cunningham, in _The Songs of Scotland_, i. 262, have taken the stanzas in Johnson's _Museum_ as the basis of ballads of their own.
Wallace in the high highlans, Neither meat nor drink got he; Said, "Fa' me life, or fa' me death, Now to some town I maun be."
He's put on his short claiding, 5 And on his short claiding put he; Says, "Fa' me life, or fa' me death, Now to Perth-town I maun be."
He stepped o'er the river Tay, I wat he stepped on dry land; 10 He wasna aware of a well-fared maid Was washing there her lilie hands.