Blind Harry Poems

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Blind Harry
Blind Harry (c. 1440 1492), also known as Harry or Henry the Minstrel, is renowned as the earliest surviving lengthy source for the events of the life of William Wallace, the Scottish freedom-fighter. He wrote The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace around 1477, 170 years after the death of Wallace in 1305. His poem of Wallace's defeat of the English at Dunnottar Castle is thought to be the earliest work of verse to address that site (J. Reid, Picturesque Stonehaven, 1899). Blind Harry's words were made more accessible by a translation written by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield (ca. 1665-1751) published in 1722. In this form they met the notice of poets such as Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Robert Southey, John Keats, Joanna Baillie, and William Wordsworth. It was also a prime source for Randall Wallace in his writing of the screenplay Braveheart, upon which the Award Winning Hollywood film was based. Most recently, in 1998, Elspeth King published Hamilton's text amended for modern readers, as Blind Harry's Wallace.

wallace (extract)
Of our ancestors, brave true ancient Scots,
Whose glorious scutcheons knew no bars or blots;... [read poem]
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