Page images

• Yield thee, Lord Percy, (Douglas said,

- In faith I will thee bring • Where thou shalt high advanced be

By James our Scotish king:

Thy ransom I will freely give,

• And thus report of thee, · Thou art the most courageous knight

"That ever I did see.'

'No, Douglas, (quoth Earl Percy then,)

Thy proffer I do scorn ; I will not yield to any Scot 'That ever yet was born.'

With that there came an arrow keen,

Out of an English bow, Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,

A deep and deadly blow :

Who never spoke more words than these,

Fight on, my merry men all; • For why, my life is at an end,

" Lord Percy sees my fall!

Then leaving life, Earl Percy took

The dead man by the hand,
And said, 'Earl Douglas, for thy life
Would I had lost



O Christ! my very heart doth bleed,

• With sorrow for thy sake; . For sure, a more renowned knight

- Mischance did never take."

A knight amongst the Scots there was,

Which saw Earl Douglas die,
Who straight in wrath did vow revenge

Upon the Earl Percy :

Sir Hugh Montgomery was he call’d;

Who, with a spear most bright,
Well mounted on a gallant steed,

Ran fiercely through the fight;

And pass’d the English archers all,

Without all dread or fear;
And through Earl Percy's body then

He thrust his hateful spear:

With such a vehement force and might

He did his body gore,
The spear went through the other side

A large cloth-yard, and more.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

So thus did both these nobles die,

Whose courage none could stain :
An English archer then perceiv'd

The noble earl was slain:

He had a bow bent in his hand,

Made of a trusty tree;
An arrow of a cloth-yard long

Up to the head drew he:

[ocr errors]

Against Sir Hugh Montgomery

So right the shaft he set,
The grey-goose-wing that was thereon

In his heart-blood was wetu

This fight did last from break of day

Till setting of the sun ;
For when they rung the evening bell,

The battle scarce was done.

With the Earl Percy there was slain

Sir John of Ogerton,
Sir Robert Ratcliffe, and Sir John,

Sir James that bold baròn :

And, with Sir George, and good Sir James,

Both knights of good account,
Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slain,
Whose prowess

did surmount.

For Witherington needs must I wail,

As one in doleful dumps;
For when his legs were smitten off,

He fought upon his stumps.

That is, says Percy,' the curfew bell, usually rung at eight o'clock. But this ingenious conjecture happens, unfortunately, to be an egregious mistake. The evening bell is the bell for vespers, or six o'clock prayers, as the learned commentator might have observed in transcribing or printing the original ballad, which expressly tells us, that • When Even Song Bell was rang, the battell was not half done.' That it was formerly looked upon as an uncommon, and, perhaps, irreligious circumstance, for a Christian army to continue engaged after the ringing of this bell, appears from a similar passage in the ancient Spanish romance of ANT LO BLANCH (Barcelona, 1497, folio); where it is said, “ E continuant toste’ps la batailla era iu quasi hora de vespres,&c. (Capitol clvii.) “ L'heure de Vêpres approchoit, et le combat duroit encore.” (Traduc. Fran. i. 293.)

[ocr errors]

And with Earl Douglas there was slain

Sir Hugh Montgomery;
Sir Charles Currèl, that from the field

One foot would never fly;

[ocr errors]

Sir Charles Murrèl of Ratcliffe too,

His sister's son was he;
Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd,

Yet saved could not be.

And the Lord Maxwell, in likewise,

Did with Earl Douglas die:
Of twenty hundred Scottish spears,

Scarce fifty-five did fly.


Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,

Went home but fifty-three :
The rest were slain in Chevy-chase,

Under the green-wood tree.


Next day did many widows come,

Their husbands bewail;
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,

But all would not prevail.

[ocr errors]

Their bodies, bath'd in purple blood,

They bore with them away;
They kiss'd them dead a thousand times,

When they were clad in clay.*

[ocr errors]

[It is hardly possible to read these pathetic stanzas, without reverting to the admirably-imagined representation of Chevy-chase the day after the battle,' by Mr. Bird; lately exhibited in the gallery of the British Institution, and now engraving in metzotinto by Mr. Young.]


This news was brought to Edinburgh,

Where Scotland's king did reign, That brave Earl Douglas suddenly

Was with an arrow slain.

• heavy news! (King James did say)

Scotland can witness be, I have not any captain more "Of such account as he!'

Like tidings to King Henry came,

Within as short a space,
That Percy of Northumberland

Was slain in Chevy-chase.

Now God be with him! (said our king,)

Sith 'twill no better be; " I trust I have within


realm • Five hundred as good as he!

take ;

" Yet shall not Scot nor Scotland say,

" But I will vengeance * And be revenged on them all,

For brave Lord Percy's sake.'

This vow full well the king perform'd,

After, on Humbledown;
In one day, fifty knights were slain,

With lords of great renown;

And of the rest of small account,

Did many hundreds die.
Thus ended the hunting of Chevy-chase,

Made by the Earl Percy.

« PreviousContinue »