But trust me, Percy, pittye it were,

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

For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battell trye,

And set our men aside.”
Accurst bee he,” Erle Percy sayd,

By whome this is denyed.”
Then stept a gallant squier forth,

Witherington was his name,
Who said, “I wold not have it told

To Henry our king for shame,
That ere my captaine fought on foote,

And I stood looking on,
You bee two erles,” sayd Witherington,

“And I, a squier alone :
Ile doe the best that doe I may,

While I have power to stand:
While I have power to weeld my sword,

Ile fight with hart and hand.”

Our English archers bent their bowes,

Their harts were good and trew;
Att the first flight of arrowes sent,

Full four-score Scots they slew.

'[Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent,

As Chieftain stout and good.
As valiant Captain, all unmov'd

The shock he firmly stood.

His host he parted had in three,

As Leader ware and try'd,
And soon his spearmen on their foes

Bare down on every side.

Throughout the English archery

They dealt full many a wound:
But still our valiant Englishmen

All firmly kept their ground:

i The four stanzas here inclosed in Brackets, which are borrowed chiefly from the ancient Copy, aro offered to the Reader instead of the following lines, which occur in the Editor'. folio MS.:

To drive the deere with hound and horne,

Douglas bade on the bent;
Two captaines moved with mickle mighly

Their speres to shivers went.

And throwing strait their bows away,

They grasp'd their swords so bright: And now sharp blows, a heavy shower,

On shields and helmets light.]

They closed full fast on everye side,

Noe slacknes there was found; And many a gallant gentleman

Lay gasping on the ground.

O Christ! it was a griefe to see,

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

And scattered here and there.

At last these two stout erles did meet,

Like captaines of great might: Like lyons wood, they layd on lode,

And made a cruell fight:

They fought untill they both did sweat,

With swords of tempered steele; Until the blood, like drops of rain,

They trickling downe did feele. “ Yeeld thee, Lord Percy,” Douglas sayd;

“In faith I will thee bringe, Where thou shalt high advanced bee

By James our Scottish king :

Thy ransome I will freely give,

And this report of thee,
Thou art the most couragious knight,

That ever I did see."

“Noe, Douglas," quoth Erle Percy then,

“Thy proffer I doe scorne; I will not yeelde to any Scott,

That ever yett was borne.”

With that, there came an arrow keene.

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

A deepe and deadlye blow:

Who never spake 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 liffe, Erle Percy tooke

The dead man by the hand;
And said, “Erle Douglas, for thy life

Wold I had lost my land.

O Christ! my verry hart doth bleed

With sorrow for thy sake;
For sure, a more redoubted knight

Mischance cold never take."

A knight amongst the Scotts there was,

Which saw Erle Douglas dye, Who streight in wrath did vow revenge

Upon the Lord Percye: Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he call’d,

Who, with a spere most bright, Well-mounted on a gallant steed,

Ran fiercely through the fight;

And past the English archers all,

Without all dread or feare;
And through Earl Percyes body then

He thrust his hatefull spere;

With such a vehement force and might

He did his body gore,
The staff ran through the other side

A large cloth-yard, and more.

So thus did both these nobles dye,

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

The noble erle was slaine;

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 hee:

Against Sir Hugh Mountgomerye,

So right the shaft he sett, The grey goose-winge that was thereon,

In his harts bloode was wett.

This fight did last from breake of day,

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

The battel scarce was done.

With stout Erle Percy, there was slaine,

Sir John of Egerton,
Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John,

Sir James that bold barròn :

And with Sir George and stout Sir James,

Both knights of good account,
Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine

Whose prowesse did surmount.

For Witherington needs must I wayle,

As one in doleful dumpes;
For when his leggs were smitten off,

He fought upon his stumpes.

And with Erle Douglas, there was slaine

Sir Hugh Mountgomerye,
Sir Charles Murray, that from the field

One foote wold never flee.

Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too,

His sisters sonne was hee;
Sir David Lamb, so well esteemid,

Yet saved cold not bee.

And the Lord Maxwell in like case

Did with Erle Douglas dye:
Of twenty hundred Scottish speres,

Scarce fifty-five did flye.

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,

Went home but fifty-three;
The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chase,

Under the greene woode tree.

Next day did many widdowes come,

Their husbands to bewayle; They washt their wounds in brinish teares,

But all wold not prevayle.

Theyr bodyes bathed in purple gore,

They bare with them away:
They kist them dead a thousand times,

Ere they were cladd in clay.

The newes was brought to Eddenborrow,

Where Scottlands king did raigne, That brave Erle Douglas suddenlye

Was with an arrow slaine :

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »