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And the Lord Maxwell in like case
Did with Erle Douglas dye;
Scarce fifty-five did flye.
Went home but fifty-three;
Under the greene wood tree.
Their husbands to bewayle;
But all wold not prevayle.
They bore with them away:
Ere they were cladd in clay.
Where Scotlands king did raigne,
Was with an arrow slaine. “O heavy newes,” King James did say;
“Scottland can witnesse bee, I have not any captaine more
Of such account as hee.”
Within as short a space,
Was slaine in Chevy-Chace. “Now God be with him," said our king,
“Sith it will noe better bee; I trust I have, within my realme,
Five hundred as good as hee. “ Yett shall not Scotts nor Scotland say,
But I will vengeance take, I'll be revenged on them all,
For brave Erle Percyes sake.”
This vow full well the king perform'd
After, at Humbledowne;
With lordes of great renowne.
Did many thousands dye:
Made by the Erle Percy.
God save our king, and bless this land
In plentye, joy, and peace;
'Twixt noblemen may cease!
*** Since the former impression of these volumes hath been published a new edition of Collins's Peerage, 1779, &c., 9 vols. 8vo, which contains, in volume ii. p. 334, an historical passage that may be thought to throw considerable light on the subject of the preceding ballad : viz.
“In this .... year, 1436, according to Hector Boethius, was fought the battle of Pepperden, not far from the Cheviot Hills, between the Earl of Northumberland (second Earl, son of Hotspur] and Earl William Douglas, of Angus, with a small army of about 4000 men each, in which the latter had the advantage. As this seems to have been a private conflict between these two great chieftains of the Borders, rather than a national war, it has been thought to have given rise to the celebrated old ballad of Chevy-Chase, which, to render it more pathetic and interesting, has been heightened with tragical incidents wholly fictitious.”—See Ridpath's Border Hist., 4to, p. 401.
The surnames in the foregoing ballad are altered, either by accident or design, from the old original copy, and in common editions extremely corrupted. They are here rectified, as much as they could be. Thus,
Page 189, ver. 202. Egerton.] This name is restored instead of Ogerton, com. ed.) from the Editor's folio MS. The pieces in that MS. appear to have been collected, and many of them composed (among which might be this ballad) by an inhabitant of Cheshire ; who was willing to pay a compliment here to one of his countrymen, of the eminent family De or Of Egerton (so the name was first written), ancestors of the present Duke of Bridgwater : and this he could do with the more propriety, as the Percies had formerly great interest in that county : at the fatal battle of Shrewsbury all the flower of the Cheshire gentlemen lost their lives fighting in the cause of Hotspur.
Ver. 203. Ratcliff.] This was a family much distinguished in Northumberland. Edw. Radcliffe, mil., was sheriff of that county in 17 of Hen. VII., and others of the same surname afterwards.—See Fuller, p. 313. Sir George Ratcliff, knt., was one of the commissioners of inclosure in 1552. See Nicholson, p. 330. Of this family was the late Earl of Derwentwater, who was beheaded in 1715. The Editor's folio MS. however reads here “ Sir Robert Harcliffe and Sir William.”
The Harcleys were an eminent family in Cumberland.-See Fuller, p. 224. Whether this may be thought to be the same name I do not determine.
Ver. 204. Baron.] This is apparently altered (not to say corrupted) from Hearone, in page 10, ver. 114.
Ver. 207. Raby.) This might be intended to celebrate one of the ancient possessors of Raby Castle, in the county of Durham. Yet it is written Rebbye in the fol. MS., and looks like a corruption of Rugby or Rokeby, an eminent family in Yorkshire. See pp. 10, 25. It will not be wondered that the Percies should be thought to bring followers out of that county, where they themselves were originally seated, and had always such extensive property and influence.
Ver. 215. Murray.] So the Scottish copy. In the common edition it is Carrel or Currel; and Morrell in the fol. MS.
Ver. 217. Murray.) So the Scot. edit.—The com, copies read Murrel. The fol. MS. gives the line in the following peculiar manner,
“Sir Roger Heuer of Harcliffe too.”
Ver. 219. Lamb.] The folio MS. has
“Sir David Lamwell well esteemed.”
This seems evidently corrupted from Lwdale or Liddell, in the old copy, pp. 10, 25.
Death's Final Conquest. These fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a solemn funeral song in a play of James Shirley's, entitled The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses : no date, 8vo.-Shirley flourished as a dramatic writer early in the reign of Charles I.; but he outlived the Restoration. His death happened Oct. 29, 1666, æt. 72.
This little poem was written long after many of those that follow, but is inserted here as a kind of dirge to the foregoing piece. It is said to have been a favourite song with King Charles II.
The glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
Death lays his icy hands on kings :
Scepter and crown
Must tumble down,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds ;
All heads must come
To the cold tomb,
The Rising in the North. The subject of this ballad is the great Northern insurrection in the twelfth year of Elizabeth, 1569, which proved so fatal to Thomas Percy, the seventh Earl of Northumberland.
There had not long before been a secret negotiation entered into between some of the Scottish and English nobility, to bring about a marriage between Mary, Queen of Scots, at that time a prisoner ir England, and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent character and firmly attached to the Protestant religion. This match was pro posed to all the most considerable of the English nobility, and among the rest to the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, two noblemen very powerful in the north. As it seemed to promise a speedy and safe conclusion of the troubles in Scotland, with many advantages to the crown of England, they all consented to it, provided it should prove agreeable to Queen Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester (Elizabeth's favourite) undertook to break the matter to her; but before he could
find an opportunity, the affair had come to her ears by other hands, and she was thrown into a violent flame. The Duke of Norfolk, with several of his friends, was committed to the Tower, and summons were sent to the northern earls instantly to make their appearance at court. It is said that the Earl of Northumberland, who was a man of a mild and gentle nature, was deliberating with himself whether he should not obey the message, and rely upon the queen's candour and clemency, when he was forced into desperate measures by a sudden report at midnight, November 14, that a party of his enemies were come to seize on his person. The earl was then at his house at Topcliffe in Yorkshire ; when rising hastily out of bed, he withdrew to the Earl of Westmoreland, at Brancepeth, where the country came in to them, and pressed them to take arms in their own defence. They accordingly set up their standards, declaring their intent was to restore the ancient religion, to get the succession of the crown firmly settled, and to prevent the destruction of the ancient nobility, &c. Their common banner? (on which was displayed the Cross, together with the five wounds of Christ) was borne by an ancient gentleman, Richard Norton, Esq., of NortonConyers; who with his sons (among whom, Christopher, Marmaduke, and Thomas, are expressly named by Camden) distinguished himself on this occasion. Having entered Durham, they tore the Bible, &c., and caused mass to be said there: they then marched on to Cliffordmoor, near Wetherbye, where they mustered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on to York; but altering their minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle, which Sir George Bowes held out against them for eleven days. The two earls, who spent their large estates in hospitality, and were extremely beloved on that account, were masters of little ready money ; the Earl of Northumberland bringing with him only 8000 crowns, and the Earl of Westmoreland nothing at all for the subsistence of their forces, they were not able to march to London, as they had at first intended. In these circumstances, Westmoreland began so visibly to despond, that many of his men slunk away; though Northumberland still kept up his resolution, and was master of the field till December 13, when the Earl of Sussex, accompanied with Lord Hunsden and others, having marched out of York at the head of a large body of forces, and being followed by a still larger army under the command of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the insurgents retreated northward towards the borders, and there dismissing their followers, made their escape into Scotland. Though this insurrection had been suppressed with so little bloodshed, the Earl of Sussex and Sir George Bowes, marshal of the army, put vast numbers to death by martial law, without any regular trial. The former of these caused at Durham sixty-three constables to be hanged at once ; and the latter made his boast, that for sixty miles in length and forty in breadth, betwixt Newcastle and Wetherbye, there was bardly a town or village wherein be had not executed some of the inhabitants. This exceeds the cruelties
1 This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad.
2 Besides this, the ballad mentions the separate banners of the two noblemen.