« PreviousContinue »
practised in the West after Monmouth's rebellion : but that was not the age of tenderness and humanity.
Such is the account collected from Stow, Speed, Camden, Guthrie, Carte, and Rapin ; it agrees in most particulars with the following ballad, which was apparently the production of some northern minstrel, who was well affected to the two noblemen. It is here printed from two MS. copies, one of them in the Editor's folio collection. They contained considerable variations, out of which such readings were chosen as seemed most poetical and consonant to history.
LISTEN, lively Lordings all,
Lithe and listen unto mee,
The noblest earle in the north countrie.
And after him walkes his faire Ladie : 3
That I must either fight or flee."
That ever such harm should hap to thee:
And faire fall truth and honestìe.”
“Now nay, now nay, my Ladye gay,
Alas! thy counsell suits not mee;
That at the court I may not bee."
And take thy gallant men with thee :
Then your warrant they may bee."
The court is full of subtiltie;
Never more I may thee see.”
“ And I myselfe will ryde wi' thee:
His faithfull borrowe I will bee." 3 This was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester.
“Now nay, now nay, my Lady deare;
Far lever had I lose my life,
My love in jeopardy and strife.
Come thou hither unto mee;
In all the haste that ever may bee.
And beare this letter here fro mee;
He will ryde in my companie.”
And another while he ran;
The little foot-page never blan.
Down he kneeled on his knee,
And lett the gentleman it see.
Affore that goodlye companye,
There was many a weeping eye.
A gallant youth thou seemst to bee;
Now that good erle's in jeopardy ?”
That erle he is a noble lord,
I wold not have you breake your word.”
Thy counsell well it liketh me,
Well advanced shalt thou bee.
V. 35, It is well known that the fate of the Nortons forms the theme of Wordsworth's White Doe of Rylstone. - Editor.
“Come you hither, my nine good sonnes,
Gallant men I trowe you bee: .
Will stand by that good erle and mee?”
Eight of them spake hastilie, “O father, till the daye we dye
We'll stand by that good erle and thee." “ Gramercy now, my children deare,
You showe yourselves right bold and brave; And whethersoe'er I live or dye,
A fathers blessing you shal have. “ But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton ?
Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire; Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast;
Whatever it bee, to mee declare.” “Father, you are an aged man;
Your head is white, your bearde is gray; It were a shame at these your yeares
For you to ryse in such a fray." “Now fye upon thee, coward Francis,
Thou never learnedst this of mee; When thou wert yong and tender of age,
Why did I make soe much of thee?” “ But, father, I will wend with you,
Unarm’d and naked will I bee;
Ever an ill death may he dee.”
And with him came a goodlye band, To join with the brave Erle Percy,
And all the flower o' Northumberland. With them the noble Nevill came,
The Erle of Westmorland was hee: At Wetherbye they mustred their host,
Thirteen thousand faire to see.
Lord Westmorland his ancyent raisde,
The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye,
Were there sett out most royallye.
The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire : 5
And the five wounds our Lord did beare.
4 Ver. 102, Dun Bull, &c.] The supporters of the Nevilles, Earls of Westmoreland, were two bulīs argent, ducally collar'd gold, armed or, &o. But I ve not discovered the device mentioned in the ballad among the badges, &c., given by that house. This, however, is certain, that among those of the Nevilles, Lords Abergavenny. (who were of the same family is a dun cow with a golden collar: and the Nevilles of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the Westmoreland branch) gave for their crest in 1513, a dog's (greyhound's) head, erased. So that it is not improbable but Charles Neville, the unhappy Earl of Westmoreland here mentioned, might on this occasion give the above device on his banner. After all, our old minstrel's verses here may have undergone some corruption; for, in another ballad in the same folio MS., and apparently written by the same hand, containing the Sequel of this Lord Westmoreland's history, his banner is thus described, more conformable to his known bearings:
“ Sette me up my faire Dun Bull,
Wi' th' Gilden Hornes, hee beares so hye."
5 Ver. 106, The Halfe-Moone, &c.] The silver crescent is a well-known crest or badge of the Northumberland family. It was probably brought home from some of the crusades against the Sarazens. In an ancient Pedigree in verse, finely illuminated on a roll of vellum, and written in the reign of Henry VII. (in possession of the family), we have this fabulous account given of its original. The author begins with accounting for the name of Gernon or Algernon, often borne by the Percies: who, he says, were
. Gernons fyrst named of Brutys bloude of Troy :
In the dark ages, no family was deemed considerable that did not derivo its descent from the Trojan Brutus; or that was not distinguished by prodigies and miracles.
Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose,
110 Those noble erles turn'd backe againe,
And aye they vowed that knight to take.
To Barnard castle then fled hee;
But thoughe they won them soon anone,
120 Then newes unto leeve London came,
In all the speede that ever might bee,
Of the rysing in the North countrie.
As never was in the North before.”
130 She caused thirty thousand men be raised,
To take the earles i' th' North countrie.
Th' Erle Sussex and the Lord Hunsdèn;
I wiss, they never stint ne blan.
Thy dun bull faine would we spye :
Now rayse thy half-moone up on hye.
And the halfe-moone vanished away :
Against soe many could not stay. 6 This is quite in character: her majesty would sometimes swear at her nobles, as well as box their ears.