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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 Scottish woods
Three summer's days to take;
The chiefest harts in Chevy Chase
To kill and bear away.
The tidings to Earl Douglas came
In Scotland, where he lay;
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 back-sides 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:
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:
Lo! yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;
Full twenty hundred Scottish 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:
And now with me, my countrymen,
Your courage forth advance;
For never was there champion yet,
In Scotland or in France,
That ever did on horseback come,
But, if my hap it were,
I durst encounter man for man,
With him to break a spear.
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?
The man that first did answer make,
Was noble Percy he:
Who said, We list not to declare,
Nor show whose men we be:
Yet will we spend our dearest blood,
Thy chiefest harts 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,
That e'er my captain fought on foot,
And I stood looking on:
You be two earls, said Witherington,
And I a squire alone :
I'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 threescore 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 ev'ry 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.
Yield thee, Lord Percy, Douglas said;
In faith I will thee bring,
Where thou shalt high advanced be,
By James our Scottish 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
Then leaving life, Earl Percy took
The dead man by the hand:
And said, Earl Douglas, for thy life
Would I have lost my land!
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 he was 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.
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:
Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
So right the shaft he set,
The grey-goose wing that was thereon
In his heart-blood was wet.
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 Ratcliff, and Sir John,
Sir James that bold baron:
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.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery;
Sir Charles Currel, that from the field
One foot would never fly;
Sir Charles Murrel 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 like wise,
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 greenwood-tree.
Next day did many widows come,
Their husbands to bewail;
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,
But all would not prevail.
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.
This news was brought to Edinburgh,
Where Scotland's king did reign,
That brave Earl Douglas suddenly
Was with an arrow slain.
O 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 my realm
Five hundred good as he.
Yet shall not Scot nor Scotland say,
But I will vengeance take;
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.
God save the king, and bless the land
In plenty, joy, and peace;
And grant henceforth, that foul debate "Twixt noblemen may cease.
§ 103. Song. Sir Cauline. There is something peculiar in the metre of this old
ballad; it is unusual to meet with redundant stanzas of six lines; but the occasional insertion of a double third or fourth line, as ver. 31, 44, &c. is an irregularity I do not remember to have seen elsewhere. It may be proper to inform the reader before he comes to Pt. 2, ver. 110, 111, that the round table was not peculiar to the reign of king Arthur, but was common in all the ages of chivalry. The proclaiming a great tournament (probably with some peculiar solemnities) was called "holding a Round Table." Dugdale tells us, that the great baron Roger de Mortimer, "having procured the honor of knighthood to be conferred 'on his three sons' by king Edward I. he, at his own costs, caused a tournament to be held at Kenilworth, where he sumptuously entertained an hundred knights and as many ladies, for three days; the like whereof was never before in England; and there began the round table, (so called by reason that the place wherein they practised those feats was environed with a strong wall made in a round form) and upon the fourth day, the golden lion, in sign of triumph, being yielded to him, he carried it (with all the company) to Warwick." It may farther be added that Matthew Paris frequently calls justs and tournaments Hastiludia Mensa Rotunda.
As to what will be observed in this ballad, of the art of healing being practised by a young princess; it is no more than what is usual in all the old romances, and was conformable to real manners; it being a practice derived from the earliest times among all the Gothic and Celtic nations, for women, even of the highest rank, to exercise the art of surgery. In the Northern Chronicles we also find the young damsels stanching the wounds of their lovers, and the wives those of their husbands. And even so late as the time of queen Elizabeth, it is mentioned among the accomplishments of the ladies of her court, that "the eldest of them are skilful in surgery." See Harrison's Description of England, prefixed to Hollingshed's Chronicle, &c.
The First Part.
IN Ireland, ferr over the sea,
There dwelleth a bonnye kinge;
And with him a yong and comlye knighte,
Men call him Syr Cauline.
The kinge had a lady to his daughter,
In fashyon she hath no peere;
And princely wightes that ladye wooed,
To be theyr wedded feere.
Syr Cauline loveth her best of all,
But nothing durst he saye;
Ne descreeve his counsayl to no man
But dearlye he lovde this may.
Till on a daye it so beffell,
Great dill to him was dight;
The maydens love removde his mind,
To care-bed went the knighte.
One while he spred his arms him fro,
One while he spred them nye;
And aye! but I winne that ladyes love,
For dole now I mun dye.
And when our parish-masse was done,
Our kinge was bowne to dyne:
He says, Where is Syr Cauline,
That is wont to serve the wyne ?
Then aunswerde him a courteous knighte,
And fast his handes gan wringe :
Syr Cauline is sick and like to dye
Without a good leechinge.
Fetche me downe my daughter deere,
She is a leeche fulle fine:
Goe take him doughe, and the baken bread,
And serve him with the wyne soe red;
Lothe I were him to tine.
Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes,
Her maydens followyng nye:
O well, she sayth, how doth my lord?
O sicke, thou fayre ladyè.
Now ryse up wightlye, man, for shame,
Never lye soe cowardlee;
For it is told in my father's halle,
You dye for love of mee.
Fayre ladye, it is for your love
That all this dill I drye :
For if you wold comfort me with a kisse,
Then were I brought from bale to blisse,
No longer would I lye.
Syr knighte, my father is a kinge,
I am his only heire;
Alas! and well you knowe, syr Knighte,
I never can be your feere.
O ladye, thou art a kinges daughter,
And I am not thy peere,
But let me doe some deedes of armes,
To be youre bacheleere.
Some deeds of armes if thou wilt doe,
My bacheleere to be,
(But ever and aye my heart would rue,
Giff harm should happe to thee,)
Upon Eldridge hill there groweth a thorne,
Upon the mores brodínge;
And dare ye, syr knighte, wake there all nighte,
Untill the fair morninge?
For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle of mighte,
Will examine you beforne;
And never man bare life away,
But he did him scath and scorne.
That knighte he is a foul paynim,
And large of limb and bone;
And but it heaven may be thy speede,
Thy life it is but gone.
Nowe on the Eldridge hills Ile walke,
For thy sake, fair ladie;
And Ile either bring you a ready tokén,
Or Ile never more you see.
The ladye is gone to her own chaumbère,
Her maydens following bright:
Syr Cauline lop'd from care-bed soone,
And to the Eldridge hills is gone,
For to wake there all night.
Unto midnight, that the moone did rise,
He walked up and downe;
Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe
Over the bents soe browne.
Quoth hee, If cryance come till my heart,
I am far from any good towne.
And soon he spyde on the mores so broad
A furyous wight and fell;
A ladye bright his brydle led,
Clad in a fayre kyrtèll :
And soe fast he called on syr Cauline,
O man, I reede thee flye,
For but if cryance come till thy heart,
I weene but thou mun dye.
He sayth, No cryance comes till my heart,
Nor, in fayth, I will not flee;
For, cause thou minged not Christ before,
The less me dreadeth thee.
The Eldridge knighte he pricked his steed;
Syr Cauline bold abode':
Then either shooke his trustye speare,
And the timber these two children * bare
So soon in sunder slode.
Then took they out theyr two good swordes,
And layden on full faste,
Till helme and hawkbere, mail and sheelde,
They all were well-nye brast.
The Eldridge knight was mickle of might,
And stiffe in stower did stand;
But syr Cauline with a backward stroke
He smote off his right hand;
That soone he with paine and lacke of bloud
Fell downe on that lay-land.
Then up syr Cauline lift his brande
All over his head so hye:
And here I sweare by the holy roode,
Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye.
Then up and came that ladye brighte,
Faste wringing of her hande :
For the maydens love, that most you love,
Withhold that deadly brande:
For the maydens love, that most you love,
Now smyte no more I praye;
And aye whatever thou wilt, my lord,
He shall thy hests obaye.
Now swear to mee, thou Eldridge knighte,
And here on this lay-land,
That thou wilt believe on Christ his laye,
And thereto plight thy hand :
And that thou never on Eldridge come
To sporte, ganon, or playe;
And that thou here give up thy armes
Until thy dying day.
And he took off those ringès five
As bright as fire and brent.
As light as leafe on tree :
I wys he neither stint ne blanne,
Till he his ladye see.
Home then pricked syr
Then downe he knelt upon his knee
Before that ladye gay :
O ladye, I have been on the Eldridge hills:
These tokens I bring way.
Now welcome, welcome, syr Cauline,
Thrice welcome unto mee,
For now I perceive thou art a true knighte,
Of valor bold and free.
O ladye, I am thy own true knighte,
Thy hests for to obaye;
And mought I hope to winne thy love!-
Ne more his tonge colde say.
The ladye blushed scarlette redde,
And fette a gentill sighe:
Alas! sir knighte, how may this bee,
For my degree's soe highe?
But sith thou hast hight, thou comely youth,
To be my batchilere,
Ile promise if thee I may not wedde
I will have none other fere.
Then shee held forthe her lily-white hand
Towards that knighte so free:
He gave to it one gentill kisse,
His heart was brought from bale to blisse,
The teares sterte from his ee.
But keep my counsayl, syr Cauline,
Ne let no man it knowe;
For an ever my father sholde it ken,
I wot he wolde us sloe.
From that day forthe that ladye fayre
Lovde syr Cauline the knighte:
From that daye forthe he only joyde
Whan shee was in his sight.
EVERYE white will have its blacke,
And every sweete its sowre:
This found the ladye Christabelle
In an untimely howre.
For so it befelle, as syr Cauline
Was with that ladye faire,
The king her father walked forthe
To take the evenyng aire :
And into the arboure as he went
To rest his wearye feet,
He found his daughter and syr Cauline
There sette in daliaunce sweet.
The kinge hee sterted forth, iwys,
And an angrye man was hee:
Now, traytoure, thou shalt hange or drawe,
And rewe shall thy ladie.
Then forth syr Cauline he was ledde,
And throwne in dungeon deepe;
And the ladye into a towre so hye,
There left to wayle and weepe.
The queene she was syr Caulines friend,
And to the kinge said she :
I pray you save syr Caulines life,
And let him banisht bee.
Now, dame, that traitor shall be sent
Across the salt sea fome:
But here I will make with thee a band,
If ever he come within this land,
A foule deathe is his doome.
All woe-begone was that gentill knight
To parte from his ladyè;
And many a time he sighed sore,
And caste a wistfulle eye:
Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte,
Farre lever had I dye.
Faire Christabelle, that ladye brighte,
Was had forthe of the towre:
But ever shee droopeth in her minde,
As, nipt by an ungentle winde,
Doth some faire lillye flowre.
And ever shee doth lament and weepe
To tint her lover soe;
Syr Cauline, thou little think'st on mee,
But I will still be true.
Manye a kinge, and manye a duke,
And lords of high degree,
Did sue to that fayre ladye of love;
But never she wolde them nee.
When many a daye was past and gone,
Ne comforte she colde finde,
The kinge proclaimed a tourneament,
To cheere his daughters mind:
And there came lords, and there came knightes,
Fro manye a farre countryè
To break a spere for theyr ladyes love,
Before that faire ladye.
And many a ladye there was sette
In purple and in palle;
But faire Christabelle soe woe-begone
Was the fayrest of them all.
Then many a knighte was mickle of might
Before his ladye gaye:
But a stranger wight, whom no man knewe,
He wan the prize eche daye.
His acton it was all of blacke,
His hewberke and his sheelde,
Ne noe man wist whence he did come,
Ne noe man knew where he did gone
When they came out the feelde.
And now three days were prestlye past
In feats of chivalrye,
When lo, upon the fourth morninge
A sorrowfulle sight they see.
A hugye giaunt stiff and starke,
All foule of limbe and lere;
Two goggling eyen like fire farden,
A mouthe from eare to eare.
Before him came a dwarffe full lowe,
That waited on his knee;
And at his backe five heads he bare,
All wan and pale of blee.
Sir, quoth the dwarffe, and louted lowe,
Behold that hend soldain!
Behold these heads I bear with me!
They are kings which he hath slain.
The Eldridge knighte is his own cousine,
Whom a knighte of thine hath shent:
And hee is come to avenge his wrong;
And to thee, all thy knightes among,
Defiance here hath sent.
But yette he will appease his wrath
Thy daughters love to winne :
And but thou yeelde him that fayre mayd,
Thy halls and towers must brenne.
Thy head, syr king, must go with mee;
Or else thy daughter deere ;
Or else within these lists soe broad
Thou must find him a peere.
The king he turned him round aboute,
And in his heart was woe;
Is there never a knighte of my round table,
This matter will undergo?
Is there never a knighte amongst yee all
Will fight for my daughter and mee?
Whoever will fight yon grimme soldàn,
Right faire his meede shall be ;
For he shall have my broad lay-lands,
And of my crowne be heyre;
And he shall winne fayre Christabelle,
To be his wedded fere.
But every knighte of his round tablè
Did stand both still and pale;
For whenever they lookt on the grim soldan,
It made their hearts to quail.
All woe-begone was that fayre ladyè,
When she saw no helpe was nye:
She cast her thought on her own true-love,
And the teares gusht from her eye.
Up then sterte the stranger knighte,
Said, Ladye, be not affray'd;
Ile fight for thee with this grimme soldan,
Thoughe he be unmacklye made.
And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde,
That lyeth within thy bowre,
I trust in Christe for to slay this fiende,
Thoughe he be stiffe in stowre.