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Of fifteen hondrith archers of Ynglonde
Went away but fifti and thre;
But even five and fifti :
The hade no strengthe to stand on he:
It was the mor pittè.
Sir John of Agerstone,
Sir Wyllyam, the bold Hearone.
A knyght of great renowen,
With dyntes wear beaten dowene.
That ever he slayne shulde be;
He knyled and fought on hys kne.
Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry,
His sistars son was he:
That never a foot wolde fle;
With the Duglas dyd he dey.
Off byrch and hasell so 'gray’;
Cam to fach ther makys a-way.
V. 108, strenge ... hy. P.C.
V. 115, lóule. P.C.
V. 132, gay. P.C. For the names in this and the foregoing page, see the remarks at the end of the next ballad.
: A common pleonasm.-See the next poem, Fit 2nd, v. 155. So Harding Tivydale may carpe off care,
Northombarlond may mayk grat mone,
On the March-perti shall never be none.
140 That dougheti Duglas, Lyff-tenant of the Merches,
He lay slean Chyviot with-in.
He sayd, “ Alas, and woe ys me!”
Till the fourth Harry our kyng,
150 “God have merci on his soll,” sayd Kyng Harry,
“ Good Lord, yf thy will it be!
“As good as ever was hee :
Lyke a noble prince of renowen,
160 Wher syx and thrittè Skottish knyghtes
On a day wear beaten down:
Over castill, towar, and town.
V. 149, cheyff tennante. P.C. in his Chronicle, chap. 140, fol. 148, describing the death of Richard 1., says,
He shrove him then unto Abbots thre
With great sobbyng ... and wepyng teares. So likewise Cavendish, in his Life of Cardinal Wolsey, chap. 12, p. 31, 4to. “When the Duke heard this, he replied with weeping teares,” &c.
This was the hontynge off the Cheviat;
Call it the Battell of Otterburn.
170 Ther was the dougghtè Doglas slean,
The Persè never went away.
Sen the Doglas and the Persè met,
As the reane doys in the stret.
And to the blys us brynge!
180 *** The style of this and the following ballad is uncommonly rugged and" uncouth, owing to their being writ in the very coarsest and broadest northern dialect.
The battle of Hombyll-down, or Humbledon, was fought Sept. 14, 1402 (anno 3 Hen. IV.), wherein the English, under the command of the E. of Northumberland and his son Hotspur, gained a complete victory over the Scots. The village of Humbledon is one mile northwest from Wooller in Northumberland. The battle was fought in the field below the village, near the present turnpike-road, in a spot called ever since Red-Rigge. Humbledon is in Glendale Ward, a district so named in this county, and mentioned above in ver. 163.
The Battle of Otterbourne. The only battle, wherein an Earl of Douglas was slain fighting with a Percy, was that of Otterbourn, which is the subject of this ballad. It is bere related with the allowable partiality of an English poet, and much in the same manner as it is recorded in the English Chronicles. The Scottish writers have, with a partiality at least as excusable, related it no less in their own favour. Luckily we have a very circumstantial narrative of the whole affair from Froissart, a French historian, who appears to be unbiassed. Froissart's relation is prolix;
I shall therefore give it as abridged by Carte, who has however had recourse to other authorities, and differs from Froissart in some things, which I shall note in the margin.
In the twelfth year of Richard II., 1388, “The Scots taking advantage of the confusions of this nation, and falling with a party into the west Marches, ravaged the country about Carlisle, and carried off 300 prisoners. It was with a much greater force, headed by some of the principal nobility, that, in the beginning of August, they invaded Northumberland : and having wasted part of the county of Durham, advanced to the gates of Newcastle ; where, in a skirmish, they took a penon' or colours 3 belonging to Henry Lord Percy, surnamed Hotspur, son to the Earl of Northumberland. In their retreat home, they attacked the castle of Otterbourn; and in the evening of August 9 (as tke English writers say, or rather, according to Froissart, August 15), after an unsuccessful assault, were surprised in their camp, which was very strong, by Henry, who at the first onset put them into a good deal of confusion. But James Earl of Douglas rallying his men, there ensued one of the best-fought actions that happened in that age; both armies showing the utmost bravery : 4 the Earl Douglas himself being slain on the spot; 5 the Earl of Murrey mortally wounded ; and Hotspur 6 with his brother, Ralph Percy, taken prisoners. These disasters on both sides have given occasion to the event of the engagements being disputed: Froissart (who derives his relation from a Scotch knight, two gentlemen of the same country, and as many of Foix ;) affirming that the Scots remained masters of the field; and the English writers insinuating the contrary. These last maintain that the English had the better of the day; but night
Froissart speaks of both parties (consisting in all of more than 40,000 men) as entering England at the same time; but the greater part by way of Carlisle.
? And, accordiny to the ballad, that part of Northumberland called Bamboroughshire, a large tract of land so named from the town and castle of Bamborough, formerly the residence of the Northumbrian kings.
This circumstance is omitted in the ballad. Hotspur and Douglas were two young warriors much of the same age.
* Froissart says the English exceeded the Scots in number three to one, but that these had the advantage of the ground, and were also fresh from sleep, while the English were greatly fatigued with their previous march.
5 By Henry L. Percy according to this ballad, and our old English historians, as Stow, Speed, &c.; but borne down by numbers, if we may believe Froissart.
6 Hotspur (after a very sharp conflict) was taken prisoner by John Lord Montgomery, whose eldest son, Sir Hugh, was slain in the same action with an arrow, according to Crawfurd's Peerage (and seems also to be alluded to in the foregoing ballad, p. 13), but taken prisoner and exchanged for Hotspur, according to this ballad.
? Froissart (according to the Eng. translation) says he had his account from two squires of England, and from a knight and squire of Scotland, soon after the battle.
coming on, some of the northern lords, coming with the Bishop of Durham to their assistance, killed many of them by mistake, supposing them to be Scots; and the Earl of Dunbar at the same time falling on another side upon Hotspur, took him and his brother prisoners, and carried them off while both parties were fighting. It is at least certain, that immediately after this battle the Scots engaged in it made the best of their way home: and the same party was taken by the other corps about Carlisle.”
Such is the account collected by Carte, in which he seems not to be free from partiality: for prejudice must own that Froissart's circumstantial account carries a great appearance of truth, and he gives the victory to the Scots. He however does justice to the courage of both parties; and represents their mutual generosity in such a light, that the present age might edify by the example. “The Englyshmen on the one partye, and Scottes on the other party, are good men of warre, for whan they mete, there is a hard fighte without sparynge. There is no hoo 8 betwene them as long as spears, swordes, axes, or dagers wyll endure : but lay on eche upon other: and whan they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtayned the victory, they than glorifye so in their dedes of armes, and are so joyfull, that suche as be taken, they shall be ransomed or they go out of the felde;o so that shortely ECHE OF THEM IS SO CONTENTE WITH OTHER, THAT AT THEIR DEPARTYNGE, CURTOYSLY THEY WILL SAYE, GOD THANKE YOU. But in fyghtynge one with another there is no playe, nor sparynge.”— Froissart's Cronycle (as translated by Sir Johan Bourchier Lord Berners), cap. cxlij.
The following ballad is (in this present edition) printed from an old MS. in the Cotton Library : (Cleopatra, c. iv.), and contains many stanzas more than were in the former copy, which was transcribed from a MS. in the Harleian Collection [No. 293, fol. 52). In the Cotton MS, this poem has no title, but in the Harleian copy it is thus inscribed, “ A songe made in R. 2. his tyme of the battele of Otterburne, betweene Lord Henry Percye earle of Northomberlande and the earle Douglas of Scotlande. Anno 1388.” But this title is erroneous, and added by some ignorant transcriber of after-times : for, 1. The battle was not fought by the Earl of Northumberland, who was absent, nor is once mentioned in the ballad; but by his son Sir HENRY PERCY, Knt., surnamed HOTSPUR (in those times they did not usually give the title of LORD to an earl's eldest son). 2. Although the battle was fought in Richard II.'s time, the song is evidently of later date, as appears from the poet's quoting the Chronicles in Pt. II. ver. 26; and speaking
8 So in Langham's letter concerning Q. Elizabeth's entertainment at Killingworth Castle, 1575, 12mo, p. 61, “Heer was no ho in devout drinkyng."
oire. They scorn to take the advantage, or to keep them lingering in long captivity.
i The notice of this MS. I must acknowledge, with many other obligations, owing to the friendship of Thomas Tyrwhitt, Esq., late Clerk of the House of Commons