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O heavy newes, King James did say,
Scottland can witnesse bee, I have not any captaine more
Of such account as hee.
Like tydings to King Henry came,
Within as short a space, That Percy of Northumberland
Was slaine in Chevy-Chace :
Now God be with him, said our king,
Sith it will noe better bee;
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:
And of the rest, of small account,
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
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 4,000 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 279, 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 emi
nent 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 pag. 14, 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. 14, 36. 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.
Page 280, 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 Lambwell well esteemed." This seems evidently corrupted from Lwdale or Liddell, in the old copy, pp. 15, 37.
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;
Scepter and crown
Must tumble down,
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
They tame but one another still.
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
The garlands wither on your brow,
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 in England, and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent character, and firmly attached to the Protestant religion. This match was proposed to all the most considerable of the English nobility,
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