But when he on the scaffold stood,
And cast aside his mantling hood,
He eyed the crowd, whose sullen hum,
Did from then thousand upcast faces come,
And armed guardsmen standing round,
As he was wont on battle-ground,
Where still with calm and portly air,
He faced the foe with visage bare;
As if with baton of command
And vassal chiefs on either hand,
Towering her mashall’d files between
He Scotland’s warden still had been.
This flash of moral feeling past,–
This glean of pride, it was the last.
As on the cloud’s dense skirt will play,
While the dark tempest rolls away,
One parting blaze; then thunders cease,
The sky is clear, and all is peace.
And he with ready will a nobler head
Than e’ver was circled with a kingly crown,
Upon the block to headsman’s stroke laid down,
And for his native land a generous victim bled.
Source: “The Legend of William Wallace” from Metrical Legends of Exalted Characters. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1821. Online. OpenLibrary.org.