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BALLAD XXIV.

THE HUNTING IN CHEVY-CHASE. *

God prosper long our noble king,

Our lives and safeties all ;
A woeful hunting once there did

In Chevy-chase befall:

To drive the deer with hound and horn,

Earl Percy took his way ;
The child may rue that is unborn

The hunting of that day.

The stout Earl of Northumberland

A vow to God did make,
His pleasure in the Scotish woods

Three summer's days to take ;

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The chiefest harts in Chevy-chase

To kill and bear away :
The tidings to Earl Douglas came,

In Scotland where he lay;

thers met

* This ballad appears to have been modernized about the time of James or Charles I. from an ancient piece upon the same subject, preserved by Hearne, (Guliel. Neubri. I. lxxxii.) and thence (not very faithfully or correctly) printed by Percy, beginning, • The Perse owt off Northombarlande and a vowe to God mayd he.' An admirable Latin version, written at the command of Dr. Compton, Bishop of London, by Mr. Henry Bold, is inserted among that gentleman's Latin songs, and in Dryden's Collection of Miscella, neous Poems.

artberates

Tines.

Who sent Earl Percy present word

He would prevent his sport:
The English Earl, not fearing this,

Did to the woods resort,

With fifteen hundred bowmen bold;

All chosen men of might,
Who knew full well, in time of need,

To aim their shafts aright.'

The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran,

To chase the fallow-deer :
On Monday they began to hunt,

When day-light did appear ;

And, long before high noon, they had

A hundred fat bucks slain;
Then, having din'd, the drovers went

To rouse them up again.

The bowmen muster'd on the hills,

Well able to endure;
Their backsides all, with special care,

That day were guarded sure.

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,

The nimble deer to take,
And with their cries the hills and dales

An echo shrill did make.

Lord Percy to the

quarry went, To view the slaughter'd deer ; Quoth he, ' Earl Douglas promised

This day to meet me here:

word

If that I thought he would not come,

* No longer would I stay.'
With that a brave young gentleman

Thus to the Earl did say:

this,

bold;

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Lo! yonder doth Earl Douglas come,

His men in armour bright;
Full twenty hundred Scotish spears

All marching in our sight;

All men of pleasant Tividale,
'Fast by the river Tweed.'
Then cease your sport, (Earl Percy' said,)

And take your bows with speed:

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And
now with

me, my countrymen,
Your
courage

forth advance;
* For never was their champion yet,

• In Scotland or in France,

Ells

,

"That ever did on horseback come,

* But, if my hap it were,
• I durst encounter man for man,

"With him to break a spear.'

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Earl Douglas, on a milk-white steed,

Most like a baron bold,
Rode foremost of the company,

Whose armour shone like gold:

Show

me, (said he,) whose men you be, · That hunt so boldly here ; That, without

my consent, do chase, . And kill my fallow-deer!'

ed

The man that first did answer make,

Was noble Percy, he; r Who said, we list not to declare,

Nor show whose men we be :

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" Yet we will spend our dearest blood,

Thy chiefest barts to slay.' Then Douglas swore a solemn oath,

And thus in rage did say:

Ere thus I will out-braved be,
" One of us two shall die :
I know thee well ; an earl thou art,
" Lord Percy, so am I.

• But trust me, Percy, pity it were,

And great offence, to kill
Any of these our harmless men,

For they have done no ill :

« Let thou and I the battle try,

And set our men aside.'
Accurs'd be he, (Lord Percy said,)

By whom this is denied.'

Then stepp'd a gallant squire forth,

Witherington was his name,
Who said, "I would not have it told

" To Henry our king, for shame,

s That e'er my captain fought on foot,

And I stood looking on: ! You be two earls, (said Witherington)

' And I a squire alone :

« l'll do the best that do I may,

" While I have strength to stand; • While I have pow'r to wield my sword,

' I'll fight with heart and hand.'

Our English archers bent their bows,

Their hearts were good and true; At the first flight of arrows sent,

Full three-score Scots they slew.

To drive the deer with hound and horn,

Earl Douglas had the bent ;
A captain mov'd with mickle pride,

The spears to shivers sent.

They clos'd full fast on every side,

No slackness there was found; And many a gallant gentleman

Lay gasping on the ground.

O Christ! it was a grief to see,

And likewise for to hear
The cries of men lying in their gore,

And scatter'd here and there.

At last these two stout earls did meet,

Like captains of great might; Like lions mov'd, they laid on load,

And made a cruel fight.

They fought until they both did sweat,

With swords of temper'd steel; Until the blood like drops of rain,

They trickling down did feel.

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