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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 life, Earl Percy took
The dead man by the hand,
Would I had lost my land.
“O sad ! my very heart doth bleed
With sorrow for thy sake;
Mischance could never take,'
A knight among the Scots there was
Which saw Earl Douglas die,
Upon the Lord Percy,
Sir Hugh Montgomery was he called,
Who, with a spear most bright, Well mounted on a gallant steed,
Ran fiercely through the fight;
And past the English archers all,
Without all dread and fear;
He thrust his hateful spear ; 8
With such 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. An English archer then perceived
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's blood was wet.
This fight did last from break of day
Till setting of the sun ;
The battle scarce was done.
With brave Earl Percy there was slain
Sir John of Egerton,
Sir James, that bold baròn :
And with Sir George and stout Sir James,
Both knights of good account,
Whose prowess did surmount.'
As one in doleful dumps ; 10
He fought upon his stumps.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery ;
One foot would never flee.
Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too,
His sister's son was he;
Yet saved could not be.
And the Lord Maxwell in like case
Did with Earl Douglas die :
Scarce fifty-five did fly.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,
Went home but fifty-three ;
Under the greenwood tree.
Next day did many widows come,
Their husbands to bewail ; They washed their wounds in brinish tears ;
But all would not prevail.
Their bodies, bathed in purple gore,
They bare with them away ; They kissed them dead a thousand times,
Ere they were clad in clay.11
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 : 12
‘Scotland can witness be, I have not any captain more
Of such account as he.'
Now God be with him,' said our king,
Since it will no better be ;
Five hundred as good as he :
“Yet shall not Scots nor Scotland say
But I will vengeance take : I'll be revenged on them all
For brave Earl Percy's sake.'
This vow full well the king performed,
After, at Humbledown : 14
With lords of great renown;
Did many hundreds die : Thus ending the hunting of Chevy Chase,
Made by the Earl Percy.
God save our king, and bless this land,
In plenty, joy, and peace ;
'Twixt noblemen may cease.
1 Chevy Chase. This spirited ballad
commemorates the Battle of Otterburn, fought on the 19th August 1388 between James, Earl of Douglas, and Sir Henry Percy, the renowned Hotspur. Douglas fell in the hour of victory; and the English leader, along with his brother, Sir Ralph Percy, were taken captive. The writer of this ballad is unknown, but its majestic stanzas have frequently elicited the admiration of our best writers. Ben Jonson used to say that he would rather have been author of it than of all his own works; and Addison was so professed an admirer of it that he carefully scrutinises it, verse by verse, and compares it, so far as it goes, in sentiment and diction, with the immortal productions of Homer and Virgil. The author, whoever he may have been, sides with the English, but gives the Scots credit for their
valour. A like partiality is shewn in the Scottish version of the same conflict. See Scott's (Minstrelsy
of the Scottish Border. 2 Rue, regret. 3 Quarry, a heap of dead game. 4 List, wish, choose. 5 Out-braved, defied, bullied. 6 Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent.
Earl Douglas still keeps his ground. 7 Lay on loud, strike with loud blows. 8 And through Earl Percy's body then he
thrust his hateful spear. This stanza is historically incorrect; Hotspur was not slain at Otterburn, but the fate of a soldier awaited him in a more important field. He fell as leader of the
at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. 9 Surmount, excel. 10 Doleful dumps, a sad state of mind. 11 Ere they were clad in clay. Ere they
were buried. 12 'O heavy news !' King James did say.
The poet's historical knowledge is seriously at fault with regard to the monarchs of the two kingdoms towards the end of the 14th century. James I. did not succeed to the Scottish sceptre till his return from captivity in 1424; and Robert II., his grandfather, was king when the events narrated in
the ballad occurred. 13 King Henry. Richard II. was king
of England for eleven years before and eleven years after Chevy Chase.' He was succeeded in 1399
by Henry IV. 14 At Humbledown. The battle of
Homildon Hill was fought September 14, 1402. A considerable army of Scots, led by Earl Douglas, was routed by the English bowmen under the fiery Hotspur.
ALEXANDER’S FEAST ; OR, THE POWER OF MUSIC.
AN ODE FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY.1
By Philip's warlike son:
On his imperial throne :
His valiant peers were placed around,
So should desert in arms be crowned.
Happy, happy, happy pair;
None but the brave,
Timotheus, placed on high
Amid the tuneful choir,
With flying fingers touched the lyre :
And heavenly joys inspire.