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Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes,
They doom'd to dye, alas for ruth !
Nor them their faire and blooming youthe.
They cruellye bereav'd of life :
And widowed many a tender wife.
Northumberland betrayed by Douglas. This ballad may be considered as the sequel of the preceding. After the unfortunate Earl of Northumberland had seen himself forsaken of his followers, he endeavoured to withdraw into Scotland, but falling into the hands of the thievish borderers, was stript and otherwise illtreated by them. At length he reached the house of Hector of Harlow, an Armstrong, with whom he hoped to lie concealed; for Hector had engaged his honour to be true to him, and was under great obligations to this unhappy nobleman. But this faithless wretch betrayed his guest for a sum of money to Murray, the regent of Scotland, who sent him to the castle of Lough-leven, then belonging to William Douglas. All the writers of that time assure us that Hector, who was rich before, fell shortly afterwards into poverty, and became so infamous, that to take Hector's eloak, grew into a proverb, to express a man who betrays his friend. See Camden, Carleton, Holingshed, &c.
Lord Northumberland continued in the castle of Lough-leven, till the year 1572; when James Douglas, Earl of Morton, being elected regent, he was given up to the Lord Hunsden at Berwick, and being carried to York, suffered death. As Morton's party depended on Elizabeth for protection, an elegant historian thinks “ It was scarce possible for them to refuse putting into her hands a person who had taken up arms against her. But as a sum of money was paid on that account, and shared between Morton and his kinsman Douglas, the former of whom during his exile in England had been much indebted to Northumberland's friendship, the abandoning this unhappy nobleman to inevitable destruction was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary act.”—Robertson's Hist.
So far history coincides with this ballad, which was apparently written by some northern bard, soon after the event. The interposal of the witch-lady (v. 53) is probably his own invention; yet even this hath some countenance from history; for about 25 years before, the Lady Jane Douglas, Lady Glamis, sister of the Earl of Angus, and nearly
related to Douglas of Lough-leven, had suffered death for the pretended crime of witchcraft; who, it is presumed, is the witch lady alluded to in v. 133.
The following is selected (like the former) from two copies, which contained great variations: one of them in the Editor's folio MS. In the other copy, some of the stanzas at the beginning of this ballad are nearly the same with what in that MS. are made to begin another ballad on the escape of the Earl of Westmoreland, who got safe into Flanders, and is feigned in the ballad to have undergone a great variety of adventures.
“How long shall fortune faile me nowe,
And harrowe me with fear and dread ?
In misery my life to lead ?
It was my sore and heavye lott:
And I must live a man forgot.
A Scot he is, much bound to mee;
To him I'll goe right privilìe.”
With a heavy heart and wel-away,
On Bramham moor had lost the day.
They dealt with him all treacherouslye;
And ever an ill death may they dye !
To shew him where his guest did hide,
With William Douglas to abide.
He halched him right curteouslìe ;
Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee."
When he had in Lough-leven been
Many a month and many a day,
That banisht erle for to betray.
And wrote a letter fair to see,
And yield that banisht man to mee."
With many a goodly gentleman;
And thus to flyte with him began.
And in your mind so sorrowfullyè ?
Among the lords of the North countryè.
And there will be great royaltye;
Thither to bring my Lord Percye.”
And here by my true faith,” quoth hee,
I will ryde in thy companye.”
Mary à Douglas was her name;
My brother is a traiterous man.
As I tell you in privitie;
Into England nowe to 'liver thee."
1 James Douglas, Earl of Morton, elected regent of Scotland Nov. 24, 1572.
2 Of one of the English Marches. Lord Hunsden. 3 Of the Earl of Morton, the regent.
“Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady,
The regent is a noble lord : Ne for the gold in all England,
The Douglas wold not break his word.
“ When the regent was a banisht man,
With me he did faire welcome find; And whether weal or woe betide,
I still shall find him true and kind. “ Between England and Scotland it wold breake truce,
And friends againe they wold never bee, If they shold 'liver a banisht erle,
Was driven out of his own countrie.” “Alas! alas ! my Lord,” she sayes,
- Nowe mickle is their traitorie; Then lett my brother ryde his wayes,
And tell those English lords from thee, “How that you cannot with him ryde,
Because you are in an ile of the sea, 4 Then ere my brother come againe,
To Edenborrow castle 5 lle carry thee. “To the Lord Hume I will thee bring;
He is well knowne a true Scots lord, And he will lose both land and life,
Ere he with thee will break his word.”
“Much is my woe,” Lord Percy sayd,
“When I thinke on my own countrie, When I thinke on the heavye happe
My friends have suffered there for mee.
“Much is my woe,” Lord Percy sayd,
“ And sore those wars my minde distresse; Where many a widow lost her mate,
And many a child was fatherlesse.
4 i. e. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea. 5 At that time in the hands of the opposite faction,
“And now that I, a banisht man,
Shold bring such evil happe with mee,
And lever had I dye this day,
100 “ If you'll give me no trust, my Lord,
Nor unto mee no credence yield,
Ile showe you all your foes in field.”
Never dealt in privy wyle;
Of truth and honours, free from guile.”
110 Let me but speak three words with him,
And he shall come again to thee."
She showed him through the weme of her ring
So royallyè on yonder greene ?"
120 “And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye,
That walkes so proudly him beside ?"
“A keene captàine hee is and tryde."
Betwixt yond English lords and mee?" “ Marry it is thrice fifty miles,
To saile to them upon the sea. • The Lord Warden of the East Marches. 7 Governor of Berwick.