William Hamilton, et al,
Blind Harry's Wallace
(Luath, 1999)

People wanting to have a balanced view of the Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace need to include this text in their studies. Blind Harry (a.k.a. Blin Hary the Minstrel) is believed to have lived from 1440 to 1493. Very little is really known about him. However, he is recalled for the major achievement of gathering and recording stories of Wallace.

This is supposedly the first written work about Wallace. He sang or recited these stories in verse form, and it is noted that he was well received at the Renaissance court of James IV. One must recall these tales were collected well over 100 years after Wallace's death, giving plenty of time for the legend to take root and grow. Many of the details of Harry's epic are very accurate, some are not. (But then he certainly is a lot closer to the truth than Randall Wallace came in his version!!)

William Hamilton (circa 1665-1751) brought Wallace back into the minds of everyone with his translation of Blind Harry's original poem. Readers should understand this was written from a very pro-Scots point of view, and tends to see Scots as the good guys and English as the bad ones, with few areas of grey. But taken on a whole, with most of the works on Wallace stemming from English records, it gives a balanced picture in studying Wallace.

- Rambles
written by DeborahAnne MacGillivray
published 15 March 2003

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