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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.


The Battle of Stirling

By William Sinclair (b. 1811)

TO Scotland’s ancient realm

Proud Edward’s armies came,

To sap our freedom, and o’erwhelm

Our martial force in shame.

“It shall not be!” brave Wallace cried:

“It shall not be!” his chiefs replied;

“By the name our fathers gave her,

Our steel shall drink the crimson stream,

We ’ll all her dearest rights redeem,—

Our own broadswords shall save her!”

With hopes of triumph flushed,

The squadrons hurried o’er

Thy bridge, Kildean, and heaving rushed

Like wild waves to the shore.

“They come—they come!” was the gallant cry:

“They come—they come!” was the loud reply;

“O strength, thou gracious Giver!

By Love and Freedom’s stainless faith,

We ’ll dare the darkest night of death,—

We ’ll drive them back forever!”

All o’er the waving broom,

In chivalry and grace,

Shone England’s radiant spear and plume,

By Stirling’s rocky base:

And, stretching far beneath the view,

Proud Cressingham! thy banners flew,

When, like a torrent rushing,

O God! from right and left the flame

Of Scottish swords like lightning came,

Great Edward’s legions crushing!

High praise, ye gallant band,

Who, in the face of day,

With a daring heart and a fearless hand,

Have cast your chains away!

The foemen fell on every side,—

In crimson hues the Forth was dyed,—

Bedewed with blood the heather;

While cries triumphal shook the air,—

“Thus shall they do, thus shall they dare,

Wherever Scotsmen gather!”

Though years like shadows fleet

O’er the dial-stone of Time,

Thy pulse, O Freedom! still shall beat

With the throb of manhood’s prime!

Still shall the valor, love, and truth,

That shone on Scotland’s early youth,

From Scotland ne’er dissever;

The Shamrock, Rose, and Thistle stern

Shall wave around her Wallace cairn,

And bless the brave forever!