The Englishmen had their bows ybent
Their hearts were good enow;
The first of arrows that they shot off,
Seven score spearmen they slew.
Yet bides the Earl Douglas upon the bent.
A captain good enow,
And that was seen, verament
For he wrought them both woo and woe.
The Douglas parted his host in three,
Like a chief chieftain of pride,
With sure spears of mighty tree,
They came in on every side;
Through our English archery
Gave many a wound full wide;
Many a doughty they gar'd to die
Which gained them no pride.
The Englishmen let their bows be
And pulled out brands that were bright;
It was a heavy sight to see
Bright swords on basnets light.
Thorough rich mail and maniple
Many stern they stroke down straight;
Many a freke that was full free
There under foot did light.
At last the Douglas and the Percy met,
Like to captains of might and of main;
They swapt together till they both sweat,
With swords that were of fine Milan.
These worthy frekes for to fight,
Thereto they were full fain,
Till the blood out of their basnets sprent,
As ever did hail or rain.
"Hold thee, Percy," said the Douglas,
"And i' faith I shall thee bring,
Where thou shalt have an earl's wages
Of Jamie our Scottish king.
"Thou shalt have thy ransom free,
I hight thee here this thing,
For the manfullest man yet art thou
That ever I conquered in field-fighting."
"Nay," said the Lord Percy,
"I told it thee beforne
That I would never yielded be
To no man of a woman born."
With that there came an arrow hastily
Forth of a mighty wane;
It hath stricken the Earl Douglas
In at the breast bane.
Thorough liver and lungs baith
The sharp arrow is gone
That never after in all his live days
He spake no words but one:
That was, "Fight ye, my merry men, while ye may,
For my life days be gone."
The Percy leaned on his brand
And saw the Douglas die.
He took the dead man by the hand
And said, "Woe is me for thee!
"To have saved thy life, I would have parted with
My lands for years three,
For a better man of heart nor of hand
Was not in all the north country."
Of all that saw a Scottish knight
Was called Sir Hugh Montgomery;
He saw the Douglas to the death was dight,
He spended a spear, a trusty tree:
He rode upon a courser
Thorough a hundred archery;
He never stinted, nor never blane,
Till he came to the good Lord Percy.
He set upon the Lord Percy
A dint that was full sore;
With a sure spear of a mighty tree
Clean through the body he the Percy bore,
At t' other side that a man might see
A large cloth-yard and mair;
Two better captains were not in Christianity,
Than that day slain were there.
An archer of Northumberland
Saw slain was the Lord Percy;
He bare a bend-bow in his hand
Was made of trusty tree.
An arrow that a cloth-yard was long
To the hard steel haled he;
A dint that was both sad and sore
He set on Sir Hugh Montgomery.
The dint it was both sad and sore
That he on Montgomery set;
The swan feathers that his arrow bore
With his heart blood they were wet.
There was never a freke one foot would flee
But still in scour did stand,
Hewing on each other, while they might dree
With many a baleful brand.
This battle began in Cheviot
An hour before the noon,
And when even-song bell was rung
The battle was not half done.
They took on either hand
By the light of the moon;
Many had no strength for to stand
In Cheviot the hills aboon.
Of fifteen hundred archers of England
Went away but fifty and three;
Of twenty hundred spearmen of Scotland
But even five and fiftie.
But all were slain Cheviot within;
They had no strength to stand on high;
The child may rue that is unborn
It was the more pitie.
There was slain with the Lord Percy,
Sir John of Agerstone,
Sir Roger, the hynd Hartley,
Sir William, the bold Heron.
Sir George, the worthy Lovel,
A knight of great renown,
Sir Ralph, the rich Rugby,
With dints were beaten down.
For Witherington my heart was woe
That ever he slain should be;
For when both his legs were hewn in two,
Yet he kneeled and fought on his knee.
There was slain with the doughty Douglas,
Sir Hugh Montgomery;
Sir Davy Liddall, that worthy was,
His sister's son was he.
Sir Charles o' Murray in that place
That never a foot would flee;
Sir Hugh Maxwell, a lord he was,
With the Douglas did he dee.
So on the morrow they made them biers
Of birch and hazel so gray;
Many widows with weeping tears
Came to fetch their mates away.
Tivydale may carp of care
Northumberland may make great moan,
For two such captains as slain were there,
On the March-party shall never be none.
Word has come to Edinborough
To Jamie the Scottish king,
That doughty Douglas, lieutenant of the Marches
He lay slain Cheviot within.
His handes did he weal and wring,
He said, "Alas! and wo is me!
Such an other captain Scotland within,"
He said, "i' faith should never be."
Word is come to lovely London
To the fourth Harry our king,
That Lord Percy, lieutenant of the Marches,
He lay slain, Cheviot within.
"God have mercy on his soul," said King Harry,
"Good Lord if thy will it be!
I have a hundred captains in England," he said,
"As good as ever was he.
But Percy, as I brook my life,
Thy death well quit shall be."
As our noble king made his avow,
Like a noble prince of renown,
For the death of the Lord Percy
He did the battle of Homildown;
Where six and thirty Scottish knights
On a day were beaten down;
Glendale glittered on their armor bright,
Over castle, tower and town.
This was the Hunting of the Cheviot
That tear began this spurn:
Old men that know the ground weel enow
Call it the battle of Otterbourn.
At Otterbourn began this spurn
Upon a Monanday;
There was the doughty Douglas slain,
The Percy never went away.
There was never a time on the March parties
Since the Douglas and Percy met,
But it was marvel, and the red blood ran not
As the rain does in the street.
And now may Heaven amend us all
And to the bliss us bring.
Thus was the Hunting of the Cheviot.
God send us all good ending.