« PreviousContinue »
• 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,
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,
Upon the Earl Percy :
Sir Hugh Montgomery was he call’d;
Who, with a spear most bright,
Ran fiercely through the fight;
And pass’d the English archers all,
Without all dread or fear;
He thrust his hateful spear:
With such a vehement force and might
He did his body gore,
A large cloth-yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles die,
Whose courage none could stain :
The noble earl was slain:
He had a bow bent in his hand,
Made of a trusty tree;
Up to the head drew he:
Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
So right the shaft he set,
In his heart-blood was wetu
This fight did last from break of day
Till setting of the sun ;
The battle scarce was done.
With the Earl Percy there was slain
Sir John of Ogerton,
Sir James that bold baròn :
And, with Sir George, and good Sir James,
Both knights of good account,
For Witherington needs must I wail,
As one in doleful dumps;
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.)
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery;
One foot would never fly;
Sir Charles Murrèl of Ratcliffe too,
His sister's son was he;
Yet saved could not be.
And the Lord Maxwell, in likewise,
Did with Earl Douglas die:
Scarce fifty-five did fly.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,
Went home but fifty-three :
Under the green-wood tree.
Next day did many widows come,
Their husbands bewail;
But all would not prevail.
Their bodies, bath'd in purple blood,
They bore with them away;
When they were clad in clay.*
[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,
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!
" 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;
With lords of great renown;
And of the rest of small account,
Did many hundreds die.
Made by the Earl Percy.