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OF THEM IS
are so joyfull, that suche as be taken, they shall be ransomed or they go out of the felde; * so that shortely ECHE
so CONTENTE WITH OTHER, THAT AT THEIR DEPARTYNGE, CURTOYSLY THEY WILL SAYE, GOD THANKE
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 of Percy in the last stanza as dead. It was however written, in all likelihood, as early as the foregoing song, if not earlier; which perhaps may be inferred from the minute circumstances with which the story is related, many of which are recorded in no chronicle, and were probably preserved in the memory of old people.
* i.e. They scorn to take the advantage, or to keep them lingering in long captivity.
+ 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.
It will be observed, that the authors of these two poems have some lines in common; but which of them was the original proprietor, must depend upon their priority; and this the sagacity of the reader must determine.
Yr felle abowght the Lamasse tyde, vichare ona
When husbonds wynn ther haye,
In Ynglond to take a praye :
The yerlle of Fyffe,* withowghten stryffe,
He bowynd hym over Sulway: t
That race they may rue for aye.
Over · Ottercap’hyll they I came in,
And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge,
Ver. 2. wynn their heaye. Harl. MS. This is the Northumberland phrase to this day : by which they always express
getting in their hay.” The orig. MS. reads here winn their waye.
* Robert Stuart, second son of K. Robert II.
+ i.e. “over Solway frith.” This evidently refers to the other division of the Scottish army, which came in by way of Carlisle. Bowynd, or bounde hiin; i.e. hied him. Vide Gloss.
# They : sc. the Earl of Douglas and his party.—The several stations here mentioned, are well-known places in Northumberland. Ottercap hill is in the parish of Kirk-Whelpington, in Tynedaleward. Rodeliff- (or as it is more usually pronounced Rodeley-) Cragge is a noted cliff near Rodeley, a small village in the parish of Hartburn, in Morpethward : it lies south-east of Ottercap. Green Leyton is another small village in the same parish of Hartburn, and is south-east of Rodeley.-Both the orig. MSS. read here corruptly, Hoppertop and Lynton.
Upon Grene · Leyton' they lyghted dowyn,
Styrande many a stagge: *
And boldely brente Northomberlonde,
And haryed many a towyn;
To battell that were not bowyn.
Than spake a berne upon the bent,
Of comforte that was not colde,
We have all welth in holde.
Now we have haryed all Bamboroweshyre,
All the welth in the worlde have wee;
So styll and stalwurthlye.
Uppon the morowe, when it was daye,
The standards schone fulle bryght;
And thether they cam fulle ryght.
Sir Henry Percy laye at the Newe Castelle,
I telle yow withowtten drede ;
And kepte Barwyke upon Twede.
This line is corrupt in both the MSS. viz. 'Many a styrande stage.'--Stags have been killed within the present century on some of the large wastes in Northumberland.
+ Marche-man, i. e. a scourer of the Marches.
To the Newe Castell when they cam,
The Skottes they cryde on hyght,
Com to the fylde, and fyght:
For we have brente Northomberlonde,
Thy eritage good and ryght;
With my brande dubbyd many a knyght.
Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles,
The Skottyssh oste for to se;
Full sore it rewyth me.
Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre,
Thow hast done me grete envye ;
The tone of us schall dye.”
Where schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas ?
Or where wylte thow come to me ? “At Otterborne in the hygh way,*
Ther maist thow well logeed be.
V. 39, syne seems here to mean since. * Otterbourn stands near the old Watling-street road, in the parish of Elsdon. The Scots were encamped in a grassy plain near the river Read. The place were the Scots and English fought, is still called Battle Riggs.
The roo full rekeles ther sche rinnes,
Amonge the holtes on "hee.'
Ther maist thow have thy welth at wyll,
Well looged ther maist be.
Sayd Syr Harry Percye.
Ther schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas,
By the fayth of my bodye.
My trowth I plyght to the.
them over the walles, For soth, as I yow saye: Ther he mayd the Douglas drynke,
And all hys oste that daye.
The Dowglas turnyd hym homewarde agayne,
For soth withowghten naye,
Uppon a Wedyns-day:
And ther he pyght hys standerd dowyn,
Hys gettyng more and lesse, V. 53. Roe-bucks were to be found upon the wastes not far from Hexham in the reign of George I:- Whitfield, Esq., of Whitfield, is said to have destroyed the last of them. V. 56, hye. MSS.