The Project Gutenberg EBook of English and Scottish Ballads, Volume VII
(of 8), by Various

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Title: English and Scottish Ballads, Volume VII (of 8)

Author: Various

Editor: Francis James Child

Release Date: October 13, 2012 [EBook #41044]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Simon Gardner, Dianna Adair, Louise Davies and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by the Digital & Multimedia
Center, Michigan State University Libraries.)

Transcriber's Notes

Archaic, dialect and inconsistent spellings and hyphenation have been retained as in the original. Minor corrections to format and punctuation together with regularisation of poetry line numbering have been made without comment. Any other changes to the text have been listed at the end of the book.

Notes with reference to ballad line numbers are presented at the end of each ballad and the presence of a note is indicated by links in the text.

[Pg i]





[Pg ii] Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by Little, Brown and Company, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


[Pg iii]


BOOK VII. (Continued.)
4 a.The Battle of Otterbourne [Percy]3
4 b.The Battle of Otterbourne [Scott]19
5 a.The Hunting of the Cheviot25
5 b.Chevy-Chace43
6.Sir Andrew Barton55
7.Flodden Field71
8 a.Queen Jeanie74
8 b.The Death of Queen Jane77
9.The Murder of the King of Scots78
10.The Rising in the North82
11.Northumberland betrayed by Douglas92
12.King of Scots and Andrew Browne103
13.Mary Ambree108
14.Brave Lord Willoughbey114
15 a.The Bonny Earl of Murray [Ramsay]119
15 b.The Bonnie Earl of Murray [Finlay]121
16.The Winning of Cales123
17.Sir John Suckling's Campaign128
18.The Battle of Philiphaugh131
19.The Gallant Grahams137
20.The Battle of Loudon Hill144
21.The Battle of Bothwell Bridge148
22.The Battle of Killiecrankie152
23.The Battle of Sheriff-Muir156
24.Lord Derwentwater164
25.The Battle of Tranent-Muir, or of Preston-Pans167
The Battle of Otterburn177
The Battle of Harlaw180
King Henrie the Fifth's Conquest190
Jane Shore194
Sir Andrew Barton201
The Battle of Corichie210
The Battle of Balrinnes (or Glenlivet)214
Bonny John Seton230
The Haws of Cromdale234
The Battle of Alford238
The Battle of Pentland Hills240
The Reading Skirmish243
Undaunted Londonderry247
Pr[oe]lium Gillicrankianum251
The Boyne Water253
The Woman Warrior257
The Battle of Sheriff-Muir260
Up and war them a', Willie264
The Marquis of Huntley's Retreat267
Johnie Cope274
King Leir and his three Daughters276
Fair Rosamond283
Queen Eleanor's Fall292
The Duchess of Suffolk's Calamity299
The Life and Death of Thomas Stukely306
Lord Delaware314
The Battle of Harlaw (Traditional version)317

[Pg iv]

[Pg 1]



[Pg 3]


In the twelfth year of Richard II. (1388,) the Scots assembled an extensive army, with the intention of invading England on a grand scale, in revenge for a previous incursion made by that sovereign. But information having been received that the Northumbrians were gathering in considerable force for a counter-invasion, it was thought prudent not to attempt to carry out the original enterprise. While, therefore, the main body of the army, commanded by the Earl of Fife, the Scottish king's second son, ravaged the western borders of England, a detachment of three or four thousand chosen men, under the Earl of Douglas, penetrated by a swift march into the Bishopric of Durham, and laid waste the country with fire and sword. Returning in triumph from this inroad, Douglas passed insultingly before the gates of Newcastle, where Sir Harry Percy lay in garrison. This fiery warrior, though he could not venture to cope with forces far superior to his own, sallied out to break a lance with his hereditary foe. In a skirmish before the town he lost his spear and pennon, which Douglas swore he would plant as a trophy on the highest tower of his castle, unless it should be that very night retaken by the owner. Hotspur was deterred from[Pg 4] accepting this challenge immediately, by the apprehension that Douglas would be able to effect a union with the main body of the Scottish army before he could be overtaken, but when he learned, the second day, that the Earl was retreating with ostentatious slowness, he hastily got together a company of eight or ten thousand men, and set forth in pursuit.

The English forces, under the command of Hotspur and his brother, Sir Ralph Percy, came up with the Scots at Otterbourne, a small village about thirty miles from Newcastle, on the evening of the 15th of August. Their numbers were more than double the Scots, but they were fatigued with a long march. Percy fell at once on the camp of Douglas, and a desperate action ensued. The victory seemed to be inclining to the English, when the Scottish leader, as the last means of reanimating his followers, rushed on the advancing enemy with heroic daring, and cleared a way with his battle-axe into the middle of their ranks. All but alone and unsupported, Douglas was overpowered by numbers, and sunk beneath three mortal wounds. The Scots, encouraged by the furious charge of their chieftain, and ignorant of his fate, renewed the struggle with vigor. Ralph Percy was made prisoner by the Earl Mareschal, and soon after Hotspur himself by Lord Montgomery. Many other Englishmen of rank had the same fate. After a long fight, maintained with extraordinary bravery on both sides, the English retired and left the Scots masters of the field. (See Sir W. Scott's History of Scotland, i. 225.)

The ballad which follows, printed from the fourth or revised edition of Percy's Reliques (vol. i. p. 21), was derived from a manuscript in the Cotton library[Pg 5] (Cleopatra, c. iv. fol. 64), thought to be written about the middle of the sixteenth century. In the earlier editions, a less perfect copy, from the Harleian collection, had been used. Hume of Godscroft, speaking of the songs made on the battle of Otterbourne, says, "the Scots song made of Otterbourne telleth the time—about Lammas; and also the occasion—to take preys out of England; also the dividing armies betwixt the Earls of Fife and Douglas, and their several journeys, almost as in the authentic history," and proceeds to quote the first stanza of the present ballad. Again, it is said that at Lammas, when the Scotch husbandmen are busy at getting in their hay, the season has been over for a month in most parts of England. From these circumstances, and the occurrence of certain Scottish words, the first part of The Battle of Otterbourne has been regarded as a Scottish composition, retouched by an English hand.

A somewhat mutilated version of this ballad was published in Herd's Scottish Songs. This, though defective, well deserves a place in our Appendix. Sir Walter Scott inserted in the Minstrelsy another edition made up by him from two copies obtained from the recitation of old persons residing in Ettrick Forest, and it is here subjoined to Percy's version.

Genealogical notices of the personages mentioned in this and the following ballad will be found in Percy's Reliques and in Scott's Minstrelsy.

Yt felle abowght the Lamasse tyde,
Whan husbonds wynn ther haye,
The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd hym to ryde,
In Ynglond to take a praye.[Pg 6]
The yerlle of Fyffe, withowghten stryffe,5
He bowynd hym over Sulway:
The grete wolde ever together ryde;
That race they may rue for aye.
Over Ottercap hyll they came in,
And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge,10
Upon Grene Leyton they lyghted dowyn,
Styrande many a stagge;
And boldely brent Northomberlonde,
And haryed many a towyn;
They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange,15
To battell that were not bowyn.[Pg 7]
Than spake a berne upon the bent,
Of comforte that was not colde,
And sayd, "We have brent Northomberlond,
We have all welth in holde.20
"Now we have haryed all Bamboroweshyre,
All the welth in the worlde have wee;
I rede we ryde to Newe Castell,
So styll and stalwurthlye."
Uppon the morowe, when it was daye,25
The standards schone fulle bryght;
To the Newe Castelle the toke the waye,
And thether they cam fulle ryght.
Sir Henry Percy laye at the Newe Castelle,
I telle yow withowtten drede;30
He had byn a march-man all hys dayes,
And kepte Barwyke upon Twede.
To the Newe Castell when they cam,
The Skottes they cryde on hyght,
"Syr Harye Percy, and thow byste within,35
Com to the fylde, and fyght:
"For we have brente Northomberlonde,
Thy eritage good and ryght;
And syne my logeyng I have take,
[Pg 8]With my brande dubbyd many a knyght."40
Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles,
The Skottyssh oste for to se;
"And thow hast brente Northomberlond,
Full sore it rewyth me.
"Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre,45
Thow hast done me grete envye;
For the trespasse thow hast me done,
The tone of us schall dye."
"Where schall I byde the?" sayd the Dowglas,
"Or where wylte thow come to me?"50
"At Otterborne in the hygh way,
Ther maist thow well logeed be.
"The roo full rekeles ther sche rinnes,
To make the game and glee;
The fawkon and the fesaunt both,55
Amonge the holtes on hye.
"Ther maist thow have thy welth at wyll,
"Well looged ther maist be;
Yt schall not be long or I com the tyll,"
Sayd Syr Harry Percye.60
"Ther schall I byde the," sayd the Dowglas,
"By the fayth of my bodye:"
"Thether schall I com," sayd Syr Harry Percy
"My trowth I plyght to the."[Pg 9]
A pype of wyne he gave them over the walles,65
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;70
He tooke his logeyng at Oterborne
Uppon a Wedynsday.
And there he pyght hys standerd dowyn,
Hys gettyng more and lesse,
And syne he warned hys men to goo75
To chose ther geldyngs gresse.
A Skottysshe knyght hoved upon the bent,
A wache I dare well saye;
So was he ware on the noble Percy
In the dawnynge of the daye.80
He prycked to his pavyleon dore,
As faste as he myght ronne;
"Awaken, Dowglas," cryed the knyght,
"For hys love, that syttes yn trone.
"Awaken, Dowglas," cryed the knyght,85
"For thow maiste waken wyth wynne;
Yender have I spyed the prowde Percy,
And seven standardes wyth hym."[Pg 10]
"Nay by my trowth," the Douglas sayed,
"It ys but a fayned taylle;90
He durste not loke on my bred banner,
For all Ynglonde so haylle.
"Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell,
That stonds so fayre on Tyne?
For all the men the Percy hade,95
He cowde not garre me ones to dyne."
He stepped owt at hys pavelyon dore,
To loke and it were lesse;
"Araye yow, lordyngs, one and all,
For here bygynnes no peysse.100
"The yerle of Mentayne, thow art my eme,
The forwarde I gyve to the:
The yerlle of Huntlay cawte and kene,
He schall wyth the be.
"The lorde of Bowghan, in armure bryght,105
On the other hand he schall be;[Pg 11]
Lord Jhonstone and Lorde Maxwell,
They to schall be wyth me.
"Swynton, fayre fylde upon your pryde!
To batell make yow bowen,110
Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Stewarde,
Syr Jhon of Agurstone!"

6. i. e. over Solway frith. This evidently refers to the other division of the Scottish army, which came in by way of Carlisle.—Percy.

9-11. 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 Tynedale-ward. Rodeliffe—(or, as it is more usually pronounced, Rodeley—) Cragge is a noted cliff near Rodeley, a small village in the parish of Hartburn, in Morpeth-ward. Green Leyton is another small village in the same parish of Hartburn, and is southeast of Rodeley. Both the original MSS. read here, corruptly, Hoppertop and Lynton.—P.

12. Many a styrande stage, in both MSS. Motherwell would retain this reading, because stagge signifies in Scotland a young stallion, and by supplying "off" the line would make sense. It was one of the Border laws, he remarks, that the Scottish array of battle should be on foot (see v. 15 of the Second Part). Horses were used but for a retreat or pursuit.

77. the best bent, MS.

101. The Earl of Menteith. At the time of the battle the earldom of Menteith was possessed by Robert Earl of Fife, who was in command of the main body of the army, and consequently not with Douglas.

103. The reference is to Sir John Gordon. The use of this designation shows, says Percy, that the ballad was not composed before 1449. In that year the title of Earl of Huntly was first conferred on Alexander Seaton, who married the grand-daughter of the Gordon of Otterbourne.

105. The Earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II.


The Perssy came byfore hys oste,
Wych was ever a gentyll knyght;
Upon the Dowglas lowde can he crye,
"I wyll holde that I have hyght.
"For thow haste brente Northumberlonde,5
And done me grete envye;
For thys trespasse thou hast me done,
The tone of us schall dye."
The Dowglas answerde hym agayne
With grete wurds up on hye,10
And sayd, "I have twenty agaynst the one,
Byholde, and thow maiste see."
Wyth that the Percye was grevyd sore,
For sothe as I yow saye;[Pg 12]
He lyghted dowyn upon his fote,15
And schoote his horsse clene away.
Every man sawe that he dyd soo,
That ryall was ever in rowght;
Every man schoote hys horsse him froo,
And lyght hym rowynde abowght.20
Thus Syr Hary Percye toke the fylde,
For soth, as I yow saye;
Jesu Cryste in hevyn on hyght
Dyd helpe hym well that daye.
But nyne thowzand, ther was no moo,25
The cronykle wyll not layne;
Forty thowsande Skottes and fowre
That day fowght them agayne.
But when the batell byganne to joyne,
In hast ther came a knyght;30
'Then' letters fayre furth hath he tayne,
And thus he sayd full ryght:
"My lorde, your father he gretes yow well,
Wyth many a noble knyght;
He desyres yow to byde35
That he may see thys fyght.
"The Baron of Grastoke ys com owt of the west,
With him a noble companye;[Pg 13]
All they loge at your fathers thys nyght,
And the battell fayne wold they see.40
"For Jesus love," sayd Syr Harye Percy,
"That dyed for yow and me,
Wende to my lorde my father agayne,
And saye thou saw me not with yee.
"My trowth ys plyght to yonne Skottysh knyght,45
It nedes me not to layne,
That I schulde byde hym upon thys bent,
And I have hys trowth agayne.
"And if that I wende off thys grownde,
For soth, unfoughten awaye,50
He wolde me call but a kowarde knyght
In hys londe another daye.
"Yet had I lever to be rynde and rente,
By Mary, that mykel maye,
Then ever my manhod schulde be reprovyd55
Wyth a Skotte another daye.
"Wherefore schote, archars, for my sake,
And let scharpe arowes flee;
Mynstrells, play up for your waryson,
And well quyt it schall be.60
"Every man thynke on hys trewe love,
And marke hym to the Trenite;[Pg 14]
For to God I make myne avowe
Thys day wyll I not fle."
The blodye harte in the Dowglas armes,65
Hys standerde stode on hye;
That every man myght full well knowe;
By syde stode starres thre.
The whyte lyon on the Ynglysh parte,
Forsoth, as I yow sayne,70
The lucetts and the cressawnts both;
The Skotts faught them agayne.
Uppon Sent Andrewe lowde cane they crye,
And thrysse they schowte on hyght,
And syne marked them one owr Ynglysshe men,75
As I have tolde yow ryght.
Sent George the bryght, owr ladyes knyght,
To name they were full fayne;
Owr Ynglysshe men they cryde on hyght,
And thrysse the schowtte agayne.80
Wyth that, scharpe arowes bygan to flee,
I tell yow in sertayne;
Men of armes byganne to joyne,
Many a dowghty man was ther slayne.
The Percy and the Dowglas mette,85
That ether of other was fayne;[Pg 15]
They schapped together, whyll that the swette,
With swords of fyne collayne;
Tyll the bloode from ther bassonnetts ranne,
As the roke doth in the rayne;90
"Yelde the to me," sayd the Dowglas,
"Or ells thow schalt be slayne.
"For I see by thy bryght bassonet,
Thow art sum man of myght;
And so I do by thy burnysshed brande;95
"Thow art an yerle, or ells a knyght.
"By my good faythe," sayd the noble Percy,
"Now haste thou rede full ryght;
Yet wyll I never yelde me to the,
Whyll I may stonde and fyght."100
They swapped together, whyll that they swette,
Wyth swordes scharpe and long;
Ych on other so faste they beette,
Tyll ther helmes cam in peyses dowyn.
The Percy was a man of strenghth,105
I tell yow in thys stounde;
He smote the Dowglas at the swordes length,
That he felle to the growynde.[Pg 16]
The sworde was scharpe, and sore can byte,
I tell yow in sertayne;110
To the harte he cowde hym smyte,
Thus was the Dowglas slayne.
The stonderds stode styll on eke syde,
With many a grevous grone;
Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght,115
And many a dowghty man was slayne.
Ther was no freke that ther wolde flye,
But styffly in stowre can stond,
Ychone hewyng on other whyll they myght drye,
Wyth many a bayllefull bronde.120
Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde,
For soth and sertenly,
Syr James a Dowglas ther was slayne,
That daye that he cowde dye.
The yerle of Mentaye he was slayne,125
Grysely groned uppon the growynd;
Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Steward,
Syr John of Agurstonne.
Syr Charlles Morrey in that place,
[Pg 17]That never a fote wold flye;130
Sir Hughe Maxwelle, a lorde he was,
With the Dowglas dyd he dye.
Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde,
For soth as I yow saye,
Of fowre and forty thowsande Scotts135
Went but eyghtene awaye.
Ther was slayne upon the Ynglysshe syde,
For soth and sertenlye,
A gentell knyght, Sir John Fitz-hughe,
Yt was the more petye.140
Syr James Harebotell ther was slayne,
For hym ther hartes were sore;
The gentyll Lovelle ther was slayne,
That the Percyes standerd bore.
Ther was slayne uppon the Ynglyssh perte,145
For soth as I yow saye,
Of nyne thowsand Ynglyssh men
Fyve hondert cam awaye.
The other were slayne in the fylde;
Cryste kepe their sowles from wo!150
Seying ther was so few fryndes
Agaynst so many a foo.[Pg 18]
Then one the morne they mayd them beeres
Of byrch, and haysell graye;
Many a wydowe with wepyng teyres155
Ther makes they fette awaye.
Thys fraye bygan at Otterborne,
Bytwene the nyghte and the day:
Ther the Dowglas lost hys lyfe,
And the Percy was lede awaye.160
Then was ther a Scottyshe prisoner tayne,
Syr Hughe Mongomery was hys name;
For soth as I yow saye,
He borowed the Percy home agayne.
Now let us all for the Percy praye165
To Jesu most of myght,
To bryng hys sowle to the blysse of heven,
For he was a gentyll knyght.

96. Being all in armour he could not know him.—P.

128. Both the MSS. read here Sir James, but see above, Pt. I. ver. 112.—P.

143. Covelle, MS.

162. Supposed to be son of Lord John Montgomery, who took Hotspur prisoner. In The Hunting of the Cheviot this Sir Hugh is said to have been slain with an arrow.

[Pg 19]


From Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, i. 354. In the Complaynt of Scotland (1548), "The Persee and the Mongumrye met," (v. 117 of this piece,) occurs as the title, or rather the catchword, of one of the popular songs of the time.

It fell about the Lammas tide,
When the muir-men win their hay,
The doughty Douglas bound him to ride
Into England, to drive a prey.
He chose the Gordons and the Græmes,5
With them the Lindesays, light and gay;
But the Jardines wald not with him ride,
And they rue it to this day.
And he has burn'd the dales of Tyne,
[Pg 20]And part of Bambroughshire;10
And three good towers on Reidswire fells,
He left them all on fire.
And he march'd up to Newcastle,
And rode it round about;
"O wha's the lord of this castle,15
Or wha's the lady o't?"
But up spake proud Lord Percy then,
And O but he spake hie!
"I am the lord of this castle,
My wife's the lady gay."20
"If thou'rt the lord of this castle,
Sae weel it pleases me!
For, ere I cross the Border fells,
The tane of us shall die."
He took a lang spear in his hand,25
Shod with the metal free,
And for to meet the Douglas there,
He rode right furiouslie.
But O how pale his lady look'd,
Frae aff the castle wa',30
When down before the Scottish spear
She saw proud Percy fa'.
"Had we twa been upon the green,
And never an eye to see,[Pg 21]
I wad hae had you, flesh and fell;35
But your sword sall gae wi' me."
"But gae ye up to Otterbourne,
And wait there dayis three;
And if I come not ere three dayis end,
A fause knight ca' ye me."40
"The Otterbourne's a bonnie burn;
'Tis pleasant there to be;
But there is nought at Otterbourne,
To feed my men and me.
"The deer rins wild on hill and dale,45
The birds fly wild from tree to tree;
But there is neither bread nor kale,
To fend my men and me.
"Yet I will stay at Otterbourne,
Where you shall welcome be;50
And if ye come not at three dayis end,
A fause lord I'll ca' thee."
"Thither will I come," proud Percy said,
"By the might of Our Ladye!"
"There will I bide thee," said the Douglas,55
"My troth I plight to thee."[Pg 22]
They lighted high on Otterbourne,
Upon the bent sae brown;
They lighted high on Otterbourne,
And threw their pallions down.60
And he that had a bonnie boy,
Sent out his horse to grass;
And he that had not a bonnie boy,
His ain servant he was.
But up then spake a little page,65
Before the peep of dawn—
"O waken ye, waken ye, my good lord,
For Percy's hard at hand."
"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud!
Sae loud I hear ye lie:70
For Percy had not men yestreen
To dight my men and me.
"But I have dream'd a dreary dream,
Beyond the Isle of Sky;
I saw a dead man win a fight,75
And I think that man was I."
He belted on his guid braid sword,
And to the field he ran;
But he forgot the helmet good,
[Pg 23]That should have kept his brain.80
When Percy wi' the Douglas met,
I wat he was fu' fain;
They swakked their swords, till sair they swat,
And the blood ran down like rain.
But Percy with his good broad sword,85
That could so sharply wound,
Has wounded Douglas on the brow,
Till he fell to the ground.
Then he call'd on his little foot-page,
And said—"Run speedilie,90
And fetch my ain dear sister's son,
Sir Hugh Montgomery.
"My nephew good," the Douglas said,
"What recks the death of ane!
Last night I dream'd a dreary dream,95
And I ken the day's thy ain.
"My wound is deep; I fain would sleep;
Take thou the vanguard of the three,
And hide me by the braken bush,
That grows on yonder lilye lee.100
"O bury me by the braken bush,
Beneath the blooming brier,
Let never living mortal ken
That ere a kindly Scot lies here."[Pg 24]
He lifted up that noble lord,105
Wi' the saut tear in his ee;
He hid him in the braken bush,
That his merrie-men might not see.
The moon was clear, the day drew near,
The spears in flinders flew,110
But mony a gallant Englishman
Ere day the Scotsmen slew.
The Gordons good, in English blood
They steep'd their hose and shoon;
The Lindsays flew like fire about,115
Till all the fray was done.
The Percy and Montgomery met,
That either of other were fain;
They swapped swords, and they twa swat,
And aye the blood ran down between.120
"Now yield thee, yield thee, Percy," he said,
"Or else I vow I'll lay thee low!"
"To whom must I yield," quoth Earl Percy,
"Now that I see it must be so?"
"Thou shalt not yield to lord nor loun,125
Nor yet shalt thou yield to me;
But yield thee to the braken bush,
That grows upon yon lilye lee."[Pg 25]
"I will not yield to a braken bush,
Nor yet will I yield to a brier;130
But I would yield to Earl Douglas,
Or Sir Hugh the Montgomery, if he were here."
As soon as he knew it was Montgomery,
He struck his sword's point in the gronde;
The Montgomery was a courteous knight,135
And quickly took him by the honde.
This deed was done at the Otterbourne,
About the breaking of the day;
Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush,
And the Percy led captive away.140

6. "Light" is the appropriated designation of the Lindsays, as "gay" is that of the Gordons.

7. The Jardines were a clan of hardy West-Border men. Their chief was Jardine of Applegirth. Their refusal to ride with Douglas was, probably, the result of one of those perpetual feuds, which usually rent to pieces a Scottish army.—S.

35. Douglas insinuates that Percy was rescued by his soldiers.—S.

140. Douglas was really buried in Melrose Abbey, where his tomb is still to be seen.


In the Battle of Otterbourne the story is told with all the usual accuracy of tradition, and the usual fairness of partizans. Not so with the following ballad, which is founded on the same event. "That which is commonly sung of the Hunting of Cheviot," says Hume of Godscroft truly, "seemeth indeed poetical, and a [Pg 26]mere fiction, perhaps to stir up virtue; yet a fiction whereof there is no mention either in the Scottish or English chronicle." When this ballad arose we do not know, but we may suppose that a considerable time would elapse before a minstrel would venture to treat an historical event with so much freedom.

We must, however, allow some force to these remarks of Percy: "With regard to the subject of this ballad, although it has no countenance from history, there is room to think it had originally some foundation in fact. It was one of the laws of the Marches, frequently renewed between the nations, that neither party should hunt in the other's borders, without leave from the proprietors or their deputies. There had long been a rivalship between the two martial families of Percy and Douglas, which, heightened by the national quarrel, must have produced frequent challenges and struggles for superiority, petty invasions of their respective domains, and sharp contests for the point of honour; which would not always be recorded in history. Something of this kind, we may suppose, gave rise to the ancient ballad of the Hunting a' the Cheviat. Percy Earl of Northumberland had vowed to hunt for three days in the Scottish border, without condescending to ask leave from Earl Douglas, who was either lord of the soil, or lord warden of the Marches. Douglas would not fail to resent the insult, and endeavour to repel the intruders by force: this would naturally produce a sharp conflict between the two parties; something of which, it is probable, did really happen, though not attended with the tragical circumstances recorded in the ballad: for these are evidently borrowed from the Battle of Otter[Pg 27]bourn, a very different event, but which aftertimes would easily confound with it."[1]

The ballad as here printed is of the same age as the preceding. It is extracted from Hearne's Preface to the History of Guilielmus Neubrigensis, p. lxxxii. Hearne derived his copy from a manuscript in the Ashmolean collection at Oxford, and printed the text in long lines, which, according to custom, are now broken up into two.

The manuscript copy is subscribed at the end "Expliceth quoth Rychard Sheale." Richard Sheale (it has been shown by a writer in the British Bibliographer, vol. iv. p. 97-105) was a minstrel by profession, and several other pieces in the same MS. have a like signature with this. On this ground it has been very strangely concluded that Sheale was not, as Percy and Ritson supposed, the transcriber, but the actual author of this noble ballad. The glaring objection of the antiquity of the language has[Pg 28] been met, first, by the supposition that the author belonged to the north of England, and afterwards, when it appeared that Sheale lived at Tamworth, about a hundred miles from London, by the allegation that the language of a person in humble life in Warwickshire or Staffordshire would be very far behind the current speech of the metropolis. It happens, however, that the language of the ballad is very much older than the other compositions of Sheale, as a moment's inspection will show. Besides, Sheale's poetical abilities were manifestly of the lowest order, and although he styles himself "minstrel," we have no reason to think that he ever composed ballads. He speaks of his memory being at one time so decayed that he "could neither sing nor talk." Being a mere ballad-singer and story-teller, he would naturally be dependent on that faculty. The fact is very obvious, that Richard Sheale was a mere reciter of songs and tales; at any rate, that all we have to thank him for in the matter of Chevy Chase is for committing to paper the only old copy that has come down to our times.[2]

The Hunting of the Cheviot is mentioned in the Complaynt of Scotland with other, very ancient, ballads. It was consequently popular in Scotland in 1548, ten years before the time that we know Sheale to have written anything. The mention of James the Scottish King forbids us to assign this piece an earlier date than the reign of Henry VI.

It has been customary to understand Sidney's[Pg 29] saying of the "old song of Percy and Douglas"—that it moved his heart more than a trumpet—exclusively of Chevy Chase. There is no question which ballad would stand higher in the estimation of the gentle knight, but the terms by which the war-song he admired is described are of course equally applicable to The Battle of Otterbourne. By the way we may remark that if we do understand Sidney to have meant Chevy Chase, then, whatever opinion writers of our day may have of its antiquity, and however probable it may seem to them that Chevy Chase was written by a contemporary of Sir Philip, it appeared to the author of the Defence of Poetry to be "evil apparelled in the dust and cobweb of an uncivil age"!

[1] The Editor of the Reliques afterwards met with the following passage in Collins's Peerage, which he thought might throw some light on the question of the origin of the ballad.

"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 [IId Earl, son of Hotspur], and Earl William Douglas, of Angus, with a small army of about four thousand 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."

[2] We regret that even Dr. Rimbault has hastily sanctioned this ascription of Chevy-Chase to the "sely" minstrel of Tamworth.


The Persè owt off Northombarlande,
And a vowe to God mayd he,
That he wold hunte in the mountayns
Off Chyviat within days thre,
In the mauger of doughtè Dogles,5
And all that ever with him be.
The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat
He sayd he wold kill, and cary them away:
"Be my feth," sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn,
[Pg 30]"I wyll let that hontyng yf that I may."10
Then the Persè owt of Banborowe cam,
With him a myghtee meany;
With fifteen hondrith archares bold off blood and bone,
The wear chosen owt of shyars thre.
This begane on a Monday at morn,15
In Cheviat the hillys so he;
The chyld may rue that ys un-born,
It was the mor pittè.
The dryvars throrowe the woodès went,
For to reas the dear;20
Bomen byckarte uppone the bent
With ther browd aras cleare.
Then the wyld thorowe the woodès went,
On every sydè shear;
Grea-hondes thorowe the grevis glent,25
For to kyll thear dear.
The begane in Chyviat the hyls above,
Yerly on a Monnyn day;[Pg 31]
Be that it drewe to the oware off none,
A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay.30
The blewe a mort uppone the bent,
The semblyd on sydis shear;
To the quyrry then the Persè went,
To se the bryttlynge off the deare.
He sayd, "It was the Duglas promys35
This day to met me hear;
But I wyste he wold faylle, verament:"
A great oth the Persè swear.
At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde
Lokyde at his hand full ny;40
He was war a' the doughetie Doglas comynge,
With him a myghttè meany;
Both with spear, byll, and brande;
Yt was a myghti sight to se;
Hardyar men, both off hart nar hande,45
Wear not in Christiantè.
The wear twenty hondrith spear-men good,
Withowtè any feale;
The wear borne along be the watter a Twyde,
[Pg 32]Yth' bowndes of Tividale.50
"Leave of the brytlyng of the dear," he sayde,
"And to your bowys lock ye tayk good heed;
For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne
Had ye never so mickle ned."
The dougheti Dogglas on a stede55
He rode att his men beforne;
His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede;
A bolder barne was never born.
"Tell me whos men ye ar," he says,
"Or whos men that ye be:60
Who gave youe leave to hunte in this Chyviat chays,
In the spyt of me?"
The first mane that ever him an answear mayd,
Yt was the good lord Persè:
"We wyll not tell the whoys men we ar," he says,65
"Nor whos men that we be;
But we wyll hount hear in this chays,
In the spyt of thyne and of the.
"The fattiste hartes in all Chyviat
We have kyld, and cast to carry them a-way:"70
"Be my troth," sayd the doughtè Dogglas agayn,
"Ther-for the ton of us shall de this day."[Pg 33]
Then sayd the doughtè Doglas
Unto the lord Persè:
"To kyll all thes giltles men,75
Alas, it wear great pittè!
"But, Persè, thowe art a lord of lande,
I am a yerle callyd within my contrè;
Let all our men uppone a parti stande,
And do the battell off the and of me."80
"Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne," sayd the lord Persè,
"Whosoever ther-to says nay;
Be my troth, doughttè Doglas," he says,
"Thow shalt never se that day.
"Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France,85
Nor for no man of a woman born,
But, and fortune be my chance,
I dar met him, on man for on."
Then bespayke a squyar off Northombarlonde,
Richard Wytharyngton was him nam;90
"It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde," he says,
"To kyng Herry the fourth for sham.[Pg 34]
"I wat youe byn great lordes twaw,
I am a poor squyar of lande;
I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde,95
And stande myselffe, and loocke on,
But whyll I may my weppone welde,
I wyll not [fayl] both hart and hande."
That day, that day, that dredfull day!
The first fit here I fynde;100
And youe wyll here any mor a' the hountyng a' the Chyviat,
Yet ys ther mor behynd.

5. magger.

11. The the.

13. archardes.

14. By these shyars thre is probably meant three districts in Northumberland, which still go by the name of shires, and are all in the neighbourhood of Cheviot. These are Islandshire, being the district so named from Holy-Island: Norehamshire, so called from the town and castle of Noreham (or Norham): and Bamboroughshire, the ward or hundred belonging to Bamborough-castle and town.—Percy.

31. blwe a mot.

41. ath the.

43. brylly.

52. boys.

71. agay.

81. sayd the the.

99. "That day, that day, that gentil day," is cited in The Complaynt of Scotland, (ii. 101,) not, we imagine, as the title of a ballad (any more than "The Persee and the Mongumrye met," ante, p. 19,) but as a line by which the song containing it might be recalled.


The Yngglyshe men hade ther bowys yebent,
Ther hartes were good yenoughe;
The first off arros that the shote off,
Seven skore spear-men the sloughe.[Pg 35]
Yet byddys the yerle Doglas uppon the bent,5
A captayne good yenoughe,
And that was sene verament,
For he wrought hom both woo and wouche.
The Dogglas pertyd his ost or thre,
Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde,10
With suar spears off myghttè tre,
The cum in on every syde:
Thrughe our Yngglyshe archery
Gave many a wounde full wyde;
Many a doughete the garde to dy,15
Which ganyde them no pryde.
The Ynglyshe men let thear bowys be,
And pulde owt brandes that wer bright;
It was a hevy syght to se
Bryght swordes on basnites lyght.20
Throrowe ryche male and myneyeple,
Many sterne the stroke downe streght;
Many a freyke that was full fre,
Ther undar foot dyd lyght.
At last the Duglas and the Persè met,25
Lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne;[Pg 36]
The swapte togethar tyll the both swat,
With swordes that wear of fyn myllàn.
Thes worthè freckys for to fyght,
Ther-to the wear full fayne,30
Tyll the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente,
As ever dyd heal or rayne.
"Holde the, Persè," sayde the Doglas,
"And i' feth I shall the brynge
Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis35
Of Jamy our Scottish kynge.
"Thoue shalte have thy ransom fre,
I hight the hear this thinge,
For the manfullyste man yet art thowe,
That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng."40
"Nay," sayd the lord Persè,
"I tolde it the beforne,
That I wolde never yeldyde be
To no man of a woman born."
With that ther cam an arrowe hastely,45
Forthe off a myghttè wane;
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas
In at the brest bane.[Pg 37]
Throroue lyvar and longs, bathe
The sharp arrowe ys gane,50
That never after in all his lyffe-days,
He spayke mo wordes but ane:
That was, "Fyghte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may,
For my lyff-days ben gan."
The Persè leanyde on his brande,55
And sawe the Duglas de;
He tooke the dede mane be the hande,
And sayd, "Wo ys me for the!
"To have savyde thy lyffe, I wolde have pertyde with
My landes for years thre,60
For a better man, of hart nare of hande,
Was not in all the north contrè."
Off all that se a Skottishe knyght,
Was callyd Sir Hewe the Monggonbyrry;
He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght,65
He spendyd a spear, a trusti tre:—
He rod uppon a corsiare
Throughe a hondrith archery:
He never stynttyde, nar never blane,
Tyll he cam to the good lord Persè.70
He set uppone the lord Persè
A dynte that was full soare;[Pg 38]
With a suar spear of a myghttè tre
Clean thorow the body he the Persè ber,
A' the tothar syde that a man myght se75
A large cloth yard and mare:
Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Cristiantè,
Then that day slain wear ther.
An archar off Northomberlonde
Say slean was the lord Persè;80
He bar a bende-bowe in his hand,
Was made off trusti tre.
An arow, that a cloth yarde was lang,
To th' harde stele haylde he;
A dynt that was both sad and soar,85
He sat on Sir Hewe the Monggonbyrry.
The dynt yt was both sad and soar,
That he on Monggonberry sete;
The swane-fethars, that his arrowe bar,
With his hart-blood the wear wete.90
Ther was never a freak wone foot wolde fle,
But still in stour dyd stand,
Heawyng on yche othar, whyll the myght dre,
With many a balfull brande.[Pg 39]
This battell begane in Chyviat95
An owar befor the none,
And when even-song bell was rang,
The battell was nat half done.
The tooke on ethar hand
Be the lyght off the mone;100
Many hade no strength for to stande,
In Chyviat the hillys aboun.
Of fifteen hondrith archars of Ynglonde
Went away but fifti and thre;
Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde,105
But even five and fifti:
But all wear slayne Cheviat within;
The hade no strenge to stand on hy;
The chylde may rue that ys unborne,
It was the mor pittè.110
Thear was slayne withe the lord Persè,
Sir John of Agerstone,
Sir Rogar, the hinde Hartly,
Sir Wyllyam, the bolde Hearone.
Sir Jorg, the worthè Lovele,115
A knyght of great renowen,
Sir Raff, the ryche Rugbè,
With dyntes wear beaten dowene.[Pg 40]
For Wetharryngton my harte was wo,
That ever he slayne shulde be;120
For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to,
Yet he knyled and fought on hys kny.
Ther was slayne with the dougheti Duglas,
Sir Hewe the Monggonbyrry,
Sir Davy Lwdale, that worthè was,125
His sistars son was he:
His Charls a Murrè in that place,
That never a foot wolde fle;
Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was,
With the Doglas dyd he dey.130
So on the morrowe the mayde them byears
Off birch and hasell so gray;
Many wedous with wepyng tears
Cam to fach ther makys away.
Tivydale may carpe off care,135
Northombarlond may mayk grat mon,
For towe such captayns as slayne wear thear,
On the March-perti shall never be non.
Word ys commen to Eddenburrowe,
To Jamy the Skottishe kyng,140
That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches,
He lay slean Chyviot with-in.[Pg 41]
His handdes dyd he weal and wryng,
He sayd, "Alas, and woe ys me!"
Such an othar captayn Skotland within,145
He sayd, ye-feth shuld never be.
Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone,
Till the fourth Harry our kyng,
That lord Persè, leyff-tenante of the Merchis,
He lay slayne Chyviat within.150
"God have merci on his soll," sayd kyng Harry,
"Good lord, yf thy will it be!
I have a hondrith captayns in Ynglonde," he sayd,
"As good as ever was he:
But Persè, and I brook my lyffe,155
Thy deth well quyte shall be."
As our noble kyng mayd his a-vowe,
Lyke a noble prince of renowen,
For the deth of the lord Persè
He dyde the battell of Hombyll-down:160
Wher syx and thritté Skottishe knyghtes
On a day wear beaten down:
Glendale glytteryde on ther armor bryght,
Over castill, towar, and town.[Pg 42]
This was the Hontynge off the Cheviat;165
That tear begane this spurn:
Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe,
Call it the Battell of Otterburn.
At Otterburn began this spurne
Uppon a Monnyn day:170
Ther was the dougghtè Doglas slean,
The Persè never went away.
Ther was never a tym on the March-partes
Sen the Doglas and the Persè met,
But yt was marvele, and the rede blude ronne not,175
As the reane doys in the stret.
Jhesue Christ our ballys bete,
And to the blys us brynge!
Thus was the Hountynge of the Chivyat:
God send us all good endyng!180

1-4. It is well known that the ancient English weapon was the long-bow, and that this nation excelled all others in archery, while the Scottish warriors chiefly depended on the use of the spear. This characteristic difference never escapes our ancient bard.—Percy.

17. boys.

18. briggt.

22. done.

26. to, i. e. tow.

32. ran.

33. helde.

36. Scottih.

45. a narrowe. So again in v. 83, and a nowar in v. 96. This transference of final n to the succeeding word is of common occurrence in old poetry.

87. sar.

88. of.

99. a word has dropped out.

102. abou.

115. lo[=u]le.

125. Lwdale, i. e. Liddel.

132. gay.

149. cheyff.

163. Glendale is one of the seven wards of Northumberland. In this district the village of Homildown is situated, about a mile from Wooler. On the 14th of September, 1402, a battle was fought at this place between the Percys and Archibald, Earl of Douglas, in which the Scots were totally routed, and Douglas taken prisoner.

170. Nonnyn.

[Pg 43]


The text of this later ballad of Chevy-Chace is given as it appears in Old Ballads (1723), vol. i. p. 111, and in Durfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. iv. p. 289, and differs very slightly from that of the Reliques (i. 265), where the ballad was printed from the folio MS., compared with two other black-letter copies.

The age of this version of the story is not known, but it is certainly not later, says Dr. Rimbault, than the reign of Charles the Second. Addison's papers in the Spectator (Nos. 70 and 74) evince so true a perception of the merits of this ballad, shorn as it is of the most striking beauties of the grand original, that we cannot but deeply regret his never having seen the ancient and genuine copy, which was published by Hearne only a few days after Addison died. Well might the Spectator dissent from the judgment of Sidney, if this were the rude and ill-apparelled song of a barbarous age.

God prosper long our noble king,
Our lives and safeties all;
A woful hunting once there did
In Chevy-Chace befall.
To drive the deer with hound and horn,5
Erle Piercy took his way;
The child may rue that is unborn,
The hunting of that day.[Pg 44]
The stout Earl of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,10
His pleasure in the Scottish woods
Three summer's days to take;
The chiefest harts in Chevy-Chace
To kill and bear away:
The tidings to Earl Douglas came,15
In Scotland where he lay.
Who sent Earl Piercy present word,
He would prevent his sport;
The English earl not fearing this,
Did to the woods resort,20
With fifteen hundred bow-men bold
All chosen men of might,
Who knew full well in time of need
To aim their shafts aright.
The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran,25
To chase the fallow deer;
On Monday they began to hunt,
When day-light did appear.
And long before high noon they had
An hundred fat bucks slain;30
Then having din'd, the drovers went
To rouze them up again.[Pg 45]
The bow-men muster'd on the hills,
Well able to endure;
Their backsides all, with special care,35
That day were guarded sure.
The hounds ran swiftly thro' the woods,
The nimble deer to take,
And with their cries the hills and dales
An eccho shrill did make.40
Lord Piercy to the quarry went,
To view the tender deere;
Quoth he, "Earl Douglas promised
This day to meet me heer.
"If that I thought he would not come,45
No longer would I stay."
With that, a brave young gentleman
Thus to the Earl did say:
"Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;50
Full twenty hundred Scottish spears,
All marching in our sight.
"All men of pleasant Tividale,
Fast by the river Tweed:"
"Then cease your sport," Erle Piercy said,55
"And take your bows with speed.[Pg 46]
"And now with me, my countrymen,
Your courage forth advance;
For there was never champion yet
In Scotland or in France,60
"That ever did on horseback come,
But, if my hap it were,
I durst encounter man for man,
With him to break a spear."
Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed,65
Most like a baron bold,
Rode foremost of the company,
Whose armour shone like gold.
"Show me," he said, "whose men you be,
That hunt so boldly here,70
That, without my consent, do chase
And kill my fallow-deer."
The man that first did answer make
Was noble Piercy he;
Who said, "We list not to declare,75
Nor show whose men we be.
"Yet we will spend our dearest blood,
Thy chiefest hart to slay;"
Then Douglas swore a solemn oath,
[Pg 47]And thus in rage did say;80
"Ere thus I will out-braved be,
One of us two shall dye:
I know thee well, an earl thou art;
Lord Piercy, so am I.
"But trust me, Piercy, pity it were,85
And great offence, to kill
Any of these our harmless men,
For they have done no ill.
"Let thou and I the battel try,
And set our men aside:90
"Accurs'd be he," Lord Piercy said,
"By whom this is deny'd."
Then stept a gallant squire forth,
(Witherington was his name)
Who said, "I would not have it told95
To Henry our king for shame,
"That ere my captaine fought on foot,
And I stood looking on:
You be two earls," said Witherington,
"And I a squire alone.100
"I'll do the best that do I may,
While I have power to stand;
While I have power to wield my sword,
I'll fight with heart and hand."[Pg 48]
Our English archers bent their bows,105
Their hearts were good and true;
At the first flight of arrows sent,
Full three score Scots they slew.
To drive the deer with hound and horn,
Earl Douglas had the bent;110
A captain mov'd with mickle pride
The spears to shivers sent.
They clos'd full fast on every side,
No slacknes there was found;
And many a gallant gentleman115
Lay gasping on the ground.
O Christ! it was a grief to see,
And likewise for to hear,
The cries of men lying in their gore,
And scatter'd here and there.120
At last these two stout earls did meet,
Like captains of great might;
Like lions mov'd they laid on load,
And made a cruel fight.
They fought until they both did sweat,125
With swords of temper'd steel;
Until the blood, like drops of rain,
They trickling down did feel.[Pg 49]
"Yield thee, Lord Piercy," Douglas said;
"In faith I will thee bring,130
Where thou shalt high advanced be
By James, our Scottish king.
"Thy ransom I will freely give,
And thus report of thee,
Thou art the most couragious knight135
That ever I did see.
"No, Douglas," quoth Earl Piercy then,
"Thy proffer I do scorn;
I will not yield to any Scot
That ever yet was born."140
With that, there came an arrow keen
Out of an English bow,
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,
A deep and deadly blow:
Who never spoke more words than these,145
"Fight on, my merry men all;
For why, my life is at an end,
Lord Piercy sees my fall."
Then leaving life, Earl Piercy took
The dead man by the hand;150
And said, "Earl Douglas, for thy life
Would I had lost my land![Pg 50]
"O Christ! my very heart doth bleed
With sorrow for thy sake;
For sure, a more renowned knight155
Mischance did never take."
A knight amongst the Scots there was,
Which saw Earl Douglas dye,
Who straight in wrath did vow revenge
Upon the Earl Piercy.160
Sir Hugh Montgomery was he call'd,
Who, with a spear most bright,
Well-mounted on a gallant steed,
Ran fiercely thro' the fight;
And pass'd the English archers all,165
Without all dread or fear,
And through Earl Piercy's body then
He thrust his hateful spear.
With such a veh'ment force and might
He did his body gore,170
The spear ran through the other side
A large cloth-yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles dye,
Whose courage none could stain;
An English archer then perceiv'd175
The noble earl was slain.[Pg 51]
He had a bow bent in his hand,
Made of a trusty tree;
An arrow of a cloth-yard long
Up to the head drew he.180
Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
So right his shaft he set,
The grey goose-wing that was thereon
In his heart's blood was wet.
This fight did last from break of day185
Till setting of the sun;
For when they rung the evening-bell,
The battel scarce was done.
With the Earl Piercy, there was slain
Sir John of Ogerton,190
Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John,
Sir James, that bold baron.
And with Sir George and good Sir James,
Both knights of good account,
Good Sir Ralph Rabby there was slain,195
Whose prowess did surmount.[Pg 52]
For Witherington needs must I wail,
As one in doleful dumps;
For when his legs were smitten off,
He fought upon his stumps.200
And with Earl Douglas, there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery,
Sir Charles Currel, that from the field
One foot would never fly.
Sir Charles Murrel, of Ratcliff, too,205
His sister's son was he;
Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd,
Yet saved could not bee.
And the Lord Maxwell in like wise
Did with Earl Douglas dye;210
Of twenty hundred Scottish spears
Scarce fifty-five did fly.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,
Went home but fifty-three;
The rest were slain in Chevy-Chace,215
Under the green-wood tree.[Pg 53]
Next day did many widows come,
Their husbands to bewail;
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,
But all would not prevail.220
Their bodies, bath'd in purple blood,
They bore with them away:
They kiss'd them dead a thousand times,
When they were clad in clay.
This news was brought to Edinburgh,225
Where Scotland's king did reign,
That brave Earl Douglas suddenly
Was with an arrow slain.
"O heavy news," King James did say;
"Scotland can witness be,230
I have not any captain more
Of such account as he."
Like tidings to King Henry came,
Within as short a space,
That Piercy of Northumberland235
Was slaine in Chevy-Chace.
"Now God be with him," said our king,
"Sith 't will no better be;
I trust I have within my realm
[Pg 54]Five hundred as good as he.240
"Yet shall not Scot nor Scotland say,
But I will vengeance take,
And be revenged on them all,
For brave Earl Piercy's sake."
This vow full well the king perform'd,245
After, on Humbledown;
In one day, fifty knights were slain,
With lords of great renown.
And of the rest, of small account,
Did many thousands dye:250
Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chace,
Made by the Earl Piercy.
God save the king, and bless the land
In plenty, joy, and peace;
And grant henceforth, that foul debate255
'Twixt noblemen may cease!

62. since.—O. B.

123. Percy has lions wood.

137. To.

187. Sc. the Curfew bell, usually rung at eight o'clock; to which the modernizer apparently alludes, instead of the "Evensong bell," or bell for vespers of the original author, before the Reformation.—Percy.

198. "I, as one in deep concern, must lament." The construction here has generally been misunderstood.—P.

This phrase may help us to determine the date of the authorship of the ballad. "Doleful dumps" suggested nothing ludicrous to a writer of the age of Elizabeth, but not long after became burlesque. The observation is Percy's.

220. They.—O. B.

[Pg 55]


From Percy's Reliques, ii. 193.

"The transactions which did the greatest honour to the Earl of Surrey and his family at this time [A. D. 1511], was their behaviour in the case of Barton, a Scotch sea-officer. This gentleman's father having suffered by sea from the Portuguese, he had obtained letters of marque for his two sons to make reprisals upon the subjects of Portugal. It is extremely probable, that the court of Scotland granted these letters with no very honest intention. The council-board of England, at which the Earl of Surrey held the chief place, was daily pestered with complaints from the sailors and merchants, that Barton, who was called Sir Andrew Barton, under pretence of searching for Portuguese goods, interrupted the English navigation. Henry's situation at that time rendered him backward from breaking with Scotland, so that their complaints were but coldly received. The Earl of Surrey, however, could not smother his indignation, but gallantly declared at the council-board, that while he had an estate that could furnish out a ship, or a son that was capable of commanding one, the narrow seas should not be infested.

"Sir Andrew Barton, who commanded the two Scotch ships, had the reputation of being one of the ablest sea officers of his time. By his depredations,[Pg 56] he had amassed great wealth, and his ships were very richly laden. Henry, notwithstanding his situation, could not refuse the generous offer made by the Earl of Surrey. Two ships were immediately fitted out, and put to sea with letters of marque, under his two sons, Sir Thomas and Sir Edward Howard. After encountering a great deal of foul weather, Sir Thomas came up with the Lion, which was commanded by Sir Andrew Barton in person; and Sir Edward came up with the Union, Barton's other ship [called by Hall, the Bark of Scotland]. The engagement which ensued was extremely obstinate on both sides; but at last the fortune of the Howards prevailed. Sir Andrew was killed, fighting bravely, and encouraging his men with his whistle, to hold out to the last; and the two Scotch ships, with their crews, were carried into the River Thames [Aug. 2, 1511]." (Guthrie's Peerage, as quoted by Percy.)

An old copy in the precious Manuscript furnished the foundation for Percy's edition of this noble ballad. The editor states that the text of the original was so incorrect as to require emendations from black-letter copies and from conjecture. These emendations, where they are noted, we have for the most part disregarded. We would fain believe that nothing except a defect in the manuscript could have reconciled the Bishop to adopting the four lines with which the ballad now begins.

The common, or black-letter copies, are somewhat abridged as well as modernized. One of these is given in the Appendix.[Pg 57]


When Flora with her fragrant flowers
Bedeckt the earth so trim and gaye,
And Neptune with his daintye showers
Came to present the monthe of Maye,
King Henrye rode to take the ayre,5
Over the river of Thames past hee;
When eighty merchants of London came,
And downe they knelt upon their knee.
"O yee are welcome, rich merchànts,
Good saylors, welcome unto mee:"10
They swore by the rood, they were saylors good,
But rich merchànts they cold not bee.
"To France nor Flanders dare we pass,
Nor Bordeaux voyage dare we fare;
And all for a robber that lyes on the seas,15
Who robbs us of our merchant ware."
King Henrye frownd, and turned him rounde,
And swore by the Lord that was mickle of might,
"I thought he had not beene in the world,
Durst have wrought England such unright."20
The merchants sighed, and said, "Alas!"
And thus they did their answer frame;[Pg 58]
"He is a proud Scott, that robbs on the seas,
And Sir Andrewe Barton is his name."
The king lookt over his left shoulder,25
And an angrye look then looked hee;
"Have I never a lorde in all my realme,
Will feitch yond traytor unto mee?"
"Yea, that dare I," Lord Charles Howard sayes;
"Yea, that dare I, with heart and hand;30
If it please your grace to give me leave,
Myselfe will be the only man."
"Thou art but yong," the kyng replyed,
"Yond Scott hath numbred manye a yeare:"
"Trust me, my liege, Ile make him quail,35
Or before my prince I will never appeare."
"Then bowemen and gunners thou shalt have,
And chuse them over my realme so free;
Besides good mariners, and shipp-boyes,
To guide the great shipp on the sea."40
The first man that Lord Howard chose,
Was the ablest gunner in all the realm,
Thoughe he was threescore yeeres and ten;
Good Peter Simon was his name.
"Peter," sais hee, "I must to the sea,45
To bring home a traytor live or dead;
Before all others I have chosen thee,
Of a hundred gunners to be the head."[Pg 59]
"If you, my lord, have chosen mee
Of a hundred gunners to be the head,50
Then hang me up on your maine-mast tree,
If I misse my marke one shilling bread."
My lord then chose a boweman rare,
Whose active hands had gained fame;
In Yorkshire was this gentleman borne,55
And William Horseley was his name.
"Horsley," sayd he, "I must with speede
Go seeke a traytor on the sea,
And now of a hundred bowemen brave
To be the head I have chosen thee."60
"If you," quoth hee, "have chosen mee
Of a hundred bowemen to be the head,
On your main-mast Ile hanged bee,
If I miss twelvescore one penny bread."
With pikes, and gunnes, and bowemen bold,65
This noble Howard is gone to the sea;
With a valyant heart and a pleasant cheare,
Out at Thames mouth sayled he.
And days he scant had sayled three,
Upon the journey he tooke in hand,70
But there he mett with a noble shipp,
And stoutely made itt stay and stand.
"Thou must tell me," Lord Howard said,
"Now who thou art, and what's thy name;[Pg 60]
And shewe me where thy dwelling is,75
And whither bound, and whence thou came."
"My name is Henry Hunt," quoth hee,
With a heavye heart, and a carefull mind;
"I and my shipp doe both belong
To the Newcastle that stands upon Tyne."80
"Hast thou not heard, nowe, Henrye Hunt,
As thou hast sayled by daye and by night,
Of a Scottish robber on the seas;
Men call him Sir Andrew Barton, knight?"
Then ever he sighed, and sayd "Alas!"85
With a grieved mind, and well-away,
"But over-well I knowe that wight;
I was his prisoner yesterday.
"As I was sayling uppon the sea,
A Burdeaux voyage for to fare,90
To his hach-borde he clasped me,
And robd me of all my merchant ware.
And mickle debts, God wot, I owe,
And every man will have his owne,
And I am nowe to London bounde,95
Of our gracious king to beg a boone."
"That shall not need," Lord Howard sais;
"Lett me but once that robber see,
For every penny tane thee froe[Pg 61]
It shall be doubled shillings three."100
"Nowe Gode forefend," the merchant said,
"That you shold seek soe far amisse!
God keepe you out of that traitors hands!
Full litle ye wott what a man hee is.
"Hee is brasse within, and steele without,105
With beames on his topcastle stronge;
And eighteen pieces of ordinance
He carries on each side along.
And he hath a pinnace deerlye dight,
St. Andrewes crosse, that is his guide;110
His pinnace beareth ninescore men,
And fifteen canons on each side.
"Were ye twentye shippes, and he but one,
I sweare by kirke, and bower, and hall,
He wold overcome them everye one,115
If once his beames they doe downe fall."
"This is cold comfort," sais my lord,
"To wellcome a stranger thus to the sea:[Pg 62]
Yet Ile bring him and his shipp to shore,
Or to Scotland hee shall carrye mee."120
"Then a noble gunner you must have,
And he must aim well with his ee,
And sinke his pinnace into the sea,
Or else hee never orecome will bee.
And if you chance his shipp to borde,125
This counsel I must give withall,
Let no man to his topcastle goe
To strive to let his beams downe fall.
"And seven pieces of ordinance,
I pray your honour lend to mee,130
On each side of my shipp along,
And I will lead you on the sea.
A glasse Ile sett, that may be seene,
Whether you sayle by day or night;
And to-morrowe, I sweare, by nine of the clocke,
You shall meet with Sir Andrewe Barton, knight."135

1-4. from the printed copy.

54. from the printed copy.

91. The MS. has here archborde, but in Part II. v. 5, hachebord.

115. It should seem from hence, that before our marine artillery was brought to its present perfection, some naval commanders had recourse to instruments or machines, similar in use, though perhaps unlike in construction, to the heavy Dolphins made of lead or iron used by the ancient Greeks; which they suspended from beams or yards fastened to the mast, and which they precipitately let fall on the enemies' ships, in order to sink them, by beating holes through the bottoms of their undecked triremes, or otherwise damaging them.—Percy.


The merchant sett my lorde a glasse,
Soe well apparent in his sight,
And on the morrowe, by nine of the clocke,
He shewed him Sir Andrewe Barton, knight.[Pg 63]
His hachebord it was hached with gold,5
Soe deerlye dight it dazzled the ee;
"Nowe by my faith," Lord Howarde sais,
"This is a gallant sight to see.
"Take in your ancyents, standards eke,
So close that no man may them see;10
And put me forth a white willowe wand,
As merchants use to sayle the sea."
But they stirred neither top nor mast;
Stoutly they past Sir Andrew by;
"What English churles are yonder," he sayd,15
"That can soe litle curtesye?
"Now by the roode, three yeares and more
I have been admirall over the sea,
And never an English nor Portingall
Without my leave can passe this way."20
Then called he forth his stout pinnàce;
"Fetch backe yond pedlars nowe to mee:
I sweare by the masse, yon English churles
Shall all hang att my maine-mast tree."
With that the pinnace itt shott off;25
Full well Lord Howard might it ken;
For itt stroke down my lord's fore-mast,
And killed fourteen of his men.
"Come hither, Simon," sayes my lord,[Pg 64]
"Looke that thy word be true, thou said;30
For at my main-mast thou shalt hang,
If thou misse thy marke one shilling bread."
Simon was old, but his heart itt was bold;
His ordinance he laid right lowe,
He put in chaine full nine yardes long,35
With other great shott, lesse and moe,
And he lette goe his great gunnes shott;
Soe well he settled itt with his ee,
The first sight that Sir Andrew sawe,
He see his pinnace sunke in the sea.40
And when he saw his pinnace sunke,
Lord, how his heart with rage did swell!
"Nowe cutt my ropes, itt is time to be gon;
Ile fetch yond pedlars backe mysell."
When my lord sawe Sir Andrewe loose,45
Within his heart hee was full faine;
"Nowe spread your ancyents, strike up drummes,
Sound all your trumpetts out amaine."
"Fight on, my men," Sir Andrewe sais,
"Weale, howsoever this geere will sway;50
Itt is my lord admirall of Englànd,
Is come to seeke mee on the sea."
Simon had a sonne, who shott right well,
That did Sir Andrewe mickle scare;
In att his decke he gave a shott,55
Killed threescore of his men of warre.[Pg 65]
Then Henrye Hunt, with rigour hott,
Came bravely on the other side;
Soone he drove downe his fore-mast tree,
And killed fourscore men beside.60
"Nowe, out alas!" Sir Andrewe cryed,
"What may a man now thinke or say?
Yonder merchant theefe, that pierceth mee,
He was my prisoner yesterday.
"Come hither to me, thou Gordon good,65
That aye wast readye att my call;
I will give thee three hundred pounds,
If thou wilt let my beames downe fall."
Lord Howard hee then calld in haste,
"Horselye, see thou be true in stead;70
For thou shalt at the maine-mast hang,
If thou misse twelvescore one penny bread."
Then Gordon swarved the maine-mast tree,
He swarved it with might and maine;
But Horseley with a bearing arrowe,75
Stroke the Gordon through the braine;
And he fell unto the haches again,
And sore his deadlye wounde did bleede:
Then word went through Sir Andrews men,
How that the Gordon hee was dead.80
"Come hither to mee, James Hambilton,
Thou art my only sisters sonne;
If thou wilt let my beames downe fall,[Pg 66]
Six hundred nobles thou hast wonne."
With that he swarved the main-mast tree,85
He swarved it with nimble art;
But Horseley with a broad arrowe
Pierced the Hambilton thorough the heart.
And downe he fell upon the deck,
That with his blood did streame amaine:90
Then every Scott cryed, "Well-away!
Alas a comelye youth is slaine!"
All woe begone was Sir Andrew then,
With griefe and rage his heart did swell;
"Go fetch me forth my armour of proofe,95
For I will to the topcastle mysell.
"Goe fetch me forth my armour of proofe,
That gilded is with gold soe cleare;
God be with my brother John of Barton!
Against the Portingalls hee it ware.100
And when he had on this armour of proofe,
He was a gallant sight to see;
Ah! nere didst thou meet with living wight,
My deere brothèr, could cope with thee."
"Come hither, Horseley," sayes my lord,105
"And looke your shaft that itt goe right;
Shoot a good shoote in time of need,
And for it thou shalt be made a knight."[Pg 67]
"Ile shoot my best," quoth Horseley then,109
"Your honour shall see, with might and maine;
But if I were hanged at your maine-mast,
I have now left but arrowes twaine."
Sir Andrew he did swarve the tree,
With right good will he swarved then,
Upon his breast did Horseley hitt,115
But the arrow bounded back agen.
Then Horseley spyed a privye place,
With a perfect eye, in a secrette part;
Under the spole of his right arme
He smote Sir Andrew to the heart.120
"Fight on, my men," Sir Andrew sayes,
"A little Ime hurt, but yett not slaine;
Ile but lye downe and bleede a while,
And then Ile rise and fight againe.
Fight on, my men," Sir Andrew sayes,125
"And never flinche before the foe;
And stand fast by St. Andrewes crosse,
Untill you heare my whistle blowe."
They never heard his whistle blow,
Which made their hearts waxe sore adread:130
Then Horseley sayd, "Aboard, my lord,
For well I wott Sir Andrew's dead."[Pg 68]
They boarded then his noble shipp,
They boarded it with might and maine;
Eighteen score Scots alive they found,135
The rest were either maimed or slaine.
Lord Howard tooke a sword in hand,
And off he smote Sir Andrewes head;
"I must have left England many a daye,
If thou wert alive as thou art dead."140
He caused his body to be cast
Over the hatchbord into the sea,
And about his middle three hundred crownes:
"Wherever thou land, this will bury thee."
Thus from the warres Lord Howard came,145
And backe he sayled ore the maine;
With mickle joy and triumphìng
Into Thames mouth he came againe.
Lord Howard then a letter wrote,
And sealed it with seale and ring;150
"Such a noble prize have I brought to your grace
As never did subject to a king.
"Sir Andrewes shipp I bring with mee,
A braver shipp was never none;
Nowe hath your grace two shipps of warr,155
Before in England was but one."[Pg 69]
King Henryes grace with royall cheere
Welcomed the noble Howard home;
"And where," said he, "is this rover stout,
That I myselfe may give the doome?"160
"The rover, he is safe, my leige,
Full many a fadom in the sea;
If he were alive as he is dead,
I must have left England many a day.
And your grace may thank four men i' the ship165
For the victory wee have wonne;
These are William Horseley, Henry Hunt,
And Peter Simon, and his sonne."
"To Henry Hunt," the king then sayd,
"In lieu of what was from thee tane,170
A noble a day now thou shalt have,
Sir Andrewes jewels and his chayne.
And Horseley thou shalt be a knight,
And lands and livings shalt have store;
Howard shall be Erle Surrye hight,175
As Howards erst have beene before.
"Nowe, Peter Simon, thou art old,
I will maintaine thee and thy sonne;[Pg 70]
And the men shall have five hundred markes
For the good service they have done."180
Then in came the queene with ladyes fair,
To see Sir Andrewe Barton, knight;
They weend that hee were brought on shore,
And thought to have seen a gallant sight.
But when they see his deadlye face,185
And eyes soe hollow in his head,
"I wold give," quoth the king, "a thousand markes,
This man were alive as hee is dead.
Yett for the manfull part hee playd,
Which fought soe well with heart and hand,190
His men shall have twelvepence a day,
Till they come to my brother kings high land."

13. i.e. did not salute.

84. pounds. MS.

121-4. This stanza occurs also in Johnie Armstrang, vol. vi. p. 44.

156. That is the Great Harry, built in 1504, at an expense of fourteen thousand pounds. "She was," says Hume, "properly speaking, the first ship in the English navy. Before this period, when the prince wanted a fleet, he had no other expedient than hiring or pressing ships from the merchants."

175-6.... Erle of Nottingham, And soe was never, &c. MS.

[Pg 71]


From Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 70.

"The battle of Flodden, in Northumberland, was fought the 9th of September, 1513, being the fifth year of King Henry the Eighth (who, with a great army, was then before Terouen in France), between Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, commander-in-chief of the English forces, and James the Fourth, King of Scots, with an inferior army of 15,000 men, who were entirely routed with great slaughter, their heroic sovereign being left dead upon the field.

"The following ballad may possibly be as ancient as any thing we have on the subject. It is given from The most pleasant and delectible history of John Winchcomb, otherwise called Jack of Newberry, written by Thomas Deloney, who thus speaks of it: 'In disgrace of the Scots, and in remembrance of the famous atchieved victory, the commons of England made this song, which to this day is not forgotten of many.'"

This ballad is very evidently not the work of Deloney, but derived by him from tradition.

There is a piece called Flodden Field in Herd's Scottish Songs, i. 86. It is made up of certain ridiculous anonymous verses, and of the stanzas written by Miss Jane Elliot and by Mrs. Cockburn to the old air The Flowers of the Forest,—"I've heard them lilting," and "I've seen the smiling." The first and last lines of the first stanza of Miss Elliot's verses are from an ancient and now forgotten song.[Pg 72]

"I've heard them lilting at the ewes milking
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away."

A lady repeated to Sir Walter Scott another fragment of the original ballad.

"I ride single on my saddle,
For the flowers of the forest are a' wede away."

Minstrelsy, iii. 333.

King Jamie hath made a vow,
Keep it well if he may!
That he will be at lovely London
Upon Saint James his day.
"Upon Saint James his day at noon,5
At fair London will I be,
And all the lords in merry Scotland,
They shall dine there with me."
Then bespake good Queen Margaret,
The tears fell from her eye:10
"Leave off these wars, most noble king,
Keep your fidelity.
"The water runs swift and wondrous deep
From bottom unto the brim;
My brother Henry hath men good enough,15
England is hard to win."[Pg 73]
"Away," quoth he, "with this silly fool!
In prison fast let her lye:
For she is come of the English blood,
And for these words she shall die."20
With that bespake Lord Thomas Howard,
The Queens chamberlain that day;
"If that you put Queen Margaret to death,
Scotland shall rue it alway."
Then in a rage King Jamie did say,25
"Away with this foolish mome!
He shall be hang'd, and the other burn'd,
So soon as I come home."
At Flodden-field the Scots came in,
Which made our Englishmen fain;30
At Bramstone-green this battel was seen,
There was King Jamie slain.
Then presently the Scots did fly,
Their cannons they left behind;
Their ensigns gay were won all away,35
Our souldiers did beat them blind.
To tell you plain, twelve thousand were slain
That to the fight did stand,
And many a prisoner took that day,
[Pg 74]The best in all Scotland.40
That day made many a fatherless child,
And many a widow poor,
And many a Scottish gay lady
Sate weeping in her bower.
Jack with a fether was lapt all in lether,45
His boastings were all in vain;
He had such a chance with [a] new morrice-dance,
He never went home again.

41-44. This stanza is the sixth in Deloney's copy, and is there clearly misplaced.

44. sweeping.


Jane Seymour, queen of Henry VIII., died shortly after giving birth to Prince Edward (Oct. 1537). There was a report that the Cæsarian operation had been necessary to effect the delivery, and on this story the present ballad is founded.

There is a woful ditty on this subject in The Crown Garland of Golden Roses, Percy Society, vol. vi. p. 29 (or Collection of Old Ballads, ii. 115). The following piece is popular throughout Scotland. It is taken from Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 116. A fragment had been previously published in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i. 182. We have added another, but imperfect, version from a recent publication.[Pg 75]

Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, travel'd six weeks and more,
Till women and midwives had quite gi'en her o'er;
"O if ye were women as women should be,
Ye would send for a doctor, a doctor to me!"
The doctor was called for and set by her bedside,5
"What aileth thee, my ladie, thine eyes seem so red?"
"O doctor, O doctor, will ye do this for me,
To rip up my two sides, and save my babie?"
"Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, that's the thing I'll ne'er do,
To rip up your two sides to save your babie:"10
Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, travel'd six weeks and more,
Till midwives and doctors had quite gi'en her o'er.
"O if ye were doctors as doctors should be,
Ye would send for King Henry, King Henry to me:"
King Henry was called for, and sat by her bedside,15
"What aileth thee, Jeanie, what aileth my bride?"
"King Henry, King Henry, will ye do this for me,
To rip up my two sides, and save my babie?"[Pg 76]
"Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, that's what I'll never do,
To rip up your two sides to save your babie."20
But with sighing and sobbing she's fallen in a swoon,
Her side it was ript up, and her babie was found;
At this bonie babie's christ'ning there was meikle joy and mirth,
But bonnie Queen Jeanie lies cold in the earth.
Six and six coaches, and six and six more,25
And royal King Henry went mourning before;
O two and two gentlemen carried her away,
But royal King Henry went weeping away.
O black were their stockings, and black were their bands,
And black were the weapons they held in their hands;30
O black were their mufflers, and black were their shoes,
And black were the cheverons they drew on their luves.
They mourned in the kitchen, and they mourn'd in the ha',
But royal King Henry mourn'd langest of a'.
Farewell to fair England, farewell for evermore,35
For the fair flower of England will never shine more!
[Pg 77]


From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, edited by Robert Bell, p. 113. Taken down from the singing of a young gipsy girl.

Queen Jane was in travail for six weeks or more,
Till the women grew tired and fain would give o'er,
"O women, O women, good wives if ye be,
Go send for King Henrie, and bring him to me!"
King Henrie was sent for, he came with all speed,5
In a gownd of green velvet from heel to the head;
"King Henrie, King Henrie, if kind Henrie you be,
Send for a surgeon, and bring him to me!"
The surgeon was sent for, he came with all speed,
In a gownd of black velvet from heel to the head;10
He gave her rich caudle, but the death-sleep slept she,
Then her right side was opened, and the babe was set free.
The babe it was christened, and put out and nursed,
While the royal Queen Jane she lay cold in the dust.[Pg 78]

So black was the mourning, and white were the wands,15
Yellow, yellow the torches they bore in their hands;
The bells they were muffled, and mournful did play,
While the royal Queen Jane she lay cold in the clay.
Six knights and six lords bore her corpse through the grounds,
Six dukes followed after, in black mourning gownds,20
The flower of Old England was laid in cold clay,
Whilst the royal King Henrie came weeping away.


Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, ii. 210.

"The catastrophe of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, the unfortunate husband of Mary Queen of Scots, is the subject of this ballad. It is here related in that partial imperfect manner, in which such an event would naturally strike the subjects of another kingdom, of which he was a native. Henry appears to have been a vain, capricious, worthless young man,[Pg 79] of weak understanding, and dissolute morals. But the beauty of his person, and the inexperience of his youth, would dispose mankind to treat him with an indulgence, which the cruelty of his murder would afterwards convert into the most tender pity and regret: and then imagination would not fail to adorn his memory with all those virtues he ought to have possessed.

"Darnley, who had been born and educated in England, was but in his 21st year when he was murdered, Feb. 9, 1567-8. This crime was perpetrated by the Earl of Bothwell, not out of respect to the memory of Riccio, but in order to pave the way for his own marriage with the queen.

"This ballad (printed, with a few corrections, from the Editor's folio MS.) seems to have been written soon after Mary's escape into England in 1568, see v. 65.—It will be remembered, at v. 5, that this princess was Queen Dowager of France, having been first married to Francis II., who died Dec. 4, 1560."—Percy.

Woe worth, woe worth thee, false Scotlànde!
For thou hast ever wrought by sleight;
The worthyest prince that ever was borne,
You hanged under a cloud by night.
The Queene of France a letter wrote,5
And sealed itt with harte and ringe;
And bade him come Scotland within,
And shee wold marry and crowne him kinge.[Pg 80]
To be a king is a pleasant thing,
To bee a prince unto a peere:10
But you have heard, and soe have I too,
A man may well buy gold too deare.
There was an Italyan in that place,
Was as well beloved as ever was hee,
Lord David [Rizzio] was his name,15
Chamberlaine to the queene was hee.
If the king had risen forth of his place,
He wold have sate him downe in the cheare,
And tho itt beseemed him not so well,
Altho the kinge had beene present there.20
Some lords in Scotlande waxed wrothe,
And quarrelled with him for the nonce;
I shall you tell how it befell,
Twelve daggers were in him att once.
When the queene saw her chamberlaine was slaine,25
For him her faire cheeks shee did weete,
And made a vowe, for a yeare and a day
The king and shee wold not come in one sheete.
Then some of the lords they waxed wrothe,
And made their vow all vehementlye,30
For the death of the queenes chamberlaine,
The king himselfe, how he shall dye.[Pg 81]
With gun-powder they strewed his roome,
And layd greene rushes in his way;
For the traitors thought that very night35
This worthye king for to betray.
To bedd the king he made him bowne;
To take his rest was his desire;
He was noe sooner cast on sleepe,
But his chamber was on a blasing fire.40
Up he lope, and the window brake,
And hee had thirtye foote to fall;
Lord Bodwell kept a privy watch,
Underneath his castle wall.
"Who have wee here?" Lord Bodwell sayd;45
"Now answer me, that I may know."
"King Henry the eighth my uncle was;
For his sweete sake some pitty show."
"Who have we here?" Lord Bodwell sayd;
"Now answer me when I doe speake."50
"Ah, Lord Bodwell, I know thee well;
Some pitty on me I pray thee take."
"Ile pitty thee as much," he sayd,
"And as much favor show to thee,
As thou didst to the queenes chamberlaine,55
That day thou deemedst him to die."[Pg 82]
Through halls and towers the king they ledd,
Through towers and castles that were nye,
Through an arbor into an orchàrd,
There on a peare-tree hanged him hye.60
When the governor of Scotland heard
How that the worthye king was slaine,
He persued the queen so bitterlye,
That in Scotland shee dare not remaine.
But shee is fledd into merry England,65
And here her residence hath taine,
And through the Queene of Englands grace,
In England now shee doth remaine.


Percy's Reliques, i. 285.

The subject of this ballad is the insurrection of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, in the twelfth year of Queen Elizabeth, 1569.

These two noblemen were the leaders of the Catholic party in the North of England, and interested themselves warmly in various projects to restore Mary[Pg 83] Stuart to her liberty. When a marriage was proposed between the Duke of Norfolk and the Scottish Queen, they, with many of the first persons in the kingdom, entered zealously into the scheme, having the ulterior view, according to Hume, of placing Mary on the throne of England. Norfolk endeavored to conceal his plans from Elizabeth, until he should form a combination powerful enough to extort her consent, but the Queen received information betimes, and committed the Duke to the Tower. Several of his abettors were also taken into custody, and the two Northern Earls were summoned to appear at court, to answer to the charge of an intended rebellion. They had proceeded too far to trust themselves willingly in the hands of their enraged sovereign, and the summons precipitated them into an insurrection for which they were not prepared. They hastily gathered their followers, and published a manifesto, in which they declared that they maintained an unshaken allegiance to the Queen, and sought only to reëstablish the religion of their ancestors, and to restore the Duke of Norfolk to liberty and to the Queen's favor.

"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 Norton-Conyers: 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 Clifford Moor near Wetherbye, where they mustered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on to York; but, altering their[Pg 84] minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle, which Sir George Bowes held out against them for eleven days."—Percy.

The insurgents' army amounted to about six thousand men. The Earl of Sussex, supported by Lord Hunsdon and others, marched against them with seven thousand, and the Earl of Warwick with still greater forces. Before these superior numbers the rebels dispersed without striking a blow. Northumberland fled to the Scots, by whom, as we shall see in the next ballad, he was betrayed to Elizabeth. The Earl of Westmoreland escaped to Flanders, and died there in penury.

Another outbreak following close upon the above was suppressed by Lord Hunsdon. Great cruelties were exercised by the victorious party, no less than eight hundred having, it is said, suffered by the hands of the executioner.

The ballad was printed by Percy 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."

"The Fate of the Nortons," we need hardly say, forms the subject of Wordsworth's White Doe of Rylstone.

Listen, lively lordlings all,
Lithe and listen unto mee,
And I will sing of a noble earle,
The noblest earle in the north countrìe.[Pg 85]
Earle Percy is into his garden gone,5
And after him walkes his faire ladìe:
"I heard a bird sing in mine eare,
That I must either fight or flee."
"Now heaven forefend, my dearest lord,
That ever such harm should hap to thee;10
But goe to London to the court,
And faire fall truth and honestìe."
"Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay,
Alas! thy counsell suits not mee;
Mine enemies prevail so fast,15
That at the court I may not bee."
"O goe to the court yet, good my lord,
And take thy gallant men with thee;
If any dare to doe you wrong,
Then your warrant they may bee."20
"Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire,
The court is full of subtiltie;
And if I goe to the court, lady,
Never more I may thee see."
"Yet goe to the court, my lord," she sayes,25
"And I myselfe will ride wi' thee:
At court then for my dearest lord,
His faithfull borrowe I will bee."[Pg 86]
Now nay, now nay, my lady deare;
Far lever had I lose my life,30
Than leave among my cruell foes
My love in jeopardy and strife.
"But come thou hither, my little foot-page,
Come thou hither unto mee;
To maister Norton thou must goe35
In all the haste that ever may bee.
"Commend me to that gentleman,
And beare this letter here fro mee;
And say that earnestly I praye,
He will ryde in my companie."40
One while the little foot-page went,
And another while he ran;
Untill he came to his journeys end
The little foot-page never blan.
When to that gentleman he came,45
Down he kneeled on his knee,
And tooke the letter betwixt his hands,
And lett the gentleman it see.
And when the letter it was redd
Affore that goodlye companye,50
I-wis, if you the truthe wold know,
There was many a weepynge eye.[Pg 87]
He sayd, "Come hither, Christopher Norton,
A gallant youth thou seemst to bee;
What doest thou counsell me, my sonne,
Now that good erle's in jeopardy?"55
"Father, my counselle's fair and free;
That erle he is a noble lord,
And whatsoever to him you hight,
I wold not have you breake your word."60
"Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne,
Thy counsell well it liketh mee,
And if we speed and scape with life,
Well advanced shalt thou bee."
"Come you hither, mine nine good sonnes,65
Gallant men I trowe you bee:
How many of you, my children deare,
Will stand by that good erle and mee?"
Eight of them did answer make,
Eight of them spake hastilie,70
"O father, till the daye we dye
We'll stand by that good erle and thee."[Pg 88]
"Gramercy now, my children deare,
You showe yourselves right bold and brave;
And whethersoe'er I live or dye,75
A fathers blessing you shal have."
"But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton?
Thou art mine oldest sonn and heire;
Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast;
Whatever it bee, to mee declare."80
"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,85
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;90
And he that strikes against the crowne,
Ever an ill death may he dee."
Then rose that reverend gentleman,
And with him came a goodlye band,
To join with the brave Erle Percy,95
And all the flower o' Northumberland.[Pg 89]
With them the noble Nevill came,
The erle of Westmorland was hee:
At Wetherbye they mustred their host,
Thirteen thousand faire to see.100
Lord Westmorland his ancyent raisde,
The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye,
And three Dogs with golden collars
Were there sett out most royallye.
Erie Percy there his ancyent spred,105
The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire:[Pg 90]
The Nortons ancyent had the crosse,
And the five wounds our Lord did beare.
Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose,
After them some spoyle to make;110
Those noble erles turn'd backe againe,
And aye they vowed that knight to take.
That baron he to his castle fled
To Barnard castle then fled hee;
The uttermost walles were eathe to win,115
The earles have won them presentlìe.
The uttermost walles were lime and bricke,
But thoughe they won them soon anone,
Long e'er they wan the innermost walles,
For they were cut in rocke of stone.120
Then newes unto leeve London came,
In all the speede that ever might bee,
And word is brought to our royall queene
Of the rysing in the North countrie.
Her grace she turned her round about,125
And like a royall queene shee swore,
"I will ordayne them such a breakfast,
As never was in the North before."
Shee caus'd thirty thousand men be rays'd,
[Pg 91]With horse and harneis faire to see;130
She caused thirty thousand men be raised,
To take the earles i' th' North countrie.
Wi' them the false Erle Warwick went,
Th' Erle Sussex and the Lord Hunsden;
Untill they to Yorke castle came,
I-wiss they never stint ne blan.135
Now spred thy ancyent, Westmorland,
Thy dun bull faine would we spye:
And thou, the Erle o' Northumberland,
Now rayse thy half moone up on hye.140
But the dun bulle is fled and gone,
And the halfe moone vanished away:
The erles, though they were brave and bold,
Against soe many could not stay.
Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes,145
They doom'd to dye, alas for ruth!
Thy reverend lockes thee could not save,
Nor them their faire and blooming youthe.
Wi' them full many a gallant wight
They cruellye bereav'd of life:150
And many a childe made fatherlesse,
And widowed many a tender wife.

65. The Act of Attainder, 13th Elizabeth, only mentions Richard Norton, the father, and seven sons, and in "a list of the rebels in the late Northern rebellion that are fled beyond seas," the same seven sons are named. Richard Norton, the father, was living long after the rebellion in Spanish Flanders. See Sharp's Bishoprick Garland, p. 10.

102. The supporters of the Nevilles Earls of Westmoreland were two bulls argent, ducally collar'd gold, armed or, &c. But I have 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, Lord 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:

"Sett me up my faire Dun Bull,
With Gilden Hornes, hee beares all soe hye."—P.

106. 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.—P.

[Pg 92]


Percy's Reliques, i. 295.

The Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, after the dispersion of their forces took refuge with the Scots on the Borders. The Elliots drove them from Liddesdale, and they sought the protection of the Armstrongs in the Debatable Land. Northumberland took up his residence with a man of that tribe called Hector of Harlaw, relying on his plighted faith and on his gratitude for many past favors. By this miscreant the Earl was betrayed for money to the Regent Murray. He was confined in Lochleven Castle until 1572, when he was handed over to Lord Hunsden, and executed at York.

We are assured that this Hector, who had been rich, fell into poverty after his treachery, and became so infamous that "to take Hector's cloak" was a proverb for a man who betrayed his friend.

In Pinkerton's Poems from the Maitland MS. (pp. 219-234) are three bitter invectives on this subject. In one of these we are told that the traitor Eckie of Harlaw said he sold the Earl "to redeem his pledge," that is, says Scott, the pledge which had been exacted from him for his peaceable demeanor.

"The interposal of the Witch-Lady (v. 53)" hath some countenance from history; for, about twenty-five[Pg 93] 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 verse 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."—Percy.

"How long shall fortune faile me nowe,
And harrowe me with fear and dread?
How long shall I in bale abide,
In misery my life to lead?
"To fall from my bliss, alas the while!5
It was my sore and heavye lott;
And I must leave my native land,
And I must live a man forgot.
"One gentle Armstrong I doe ken,
A Scot he is, much bound to mee;10
He dwelleth on the Border side,
To him I'll goe right privilie."[Pg 94]
Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine,
With a heavy heart and wel-away,
When he with all his gallant men15
On Bramham moor had lost the day.
But when he to the Armstrongs came,
They dealt with him all treacherouslye;
For they did strip that noble earle,
And ever an ill death may they dye!20
False Hector to Earl Murray sent,
To shew him where his guest did hide,
Who sent him to the Lough-levèn,
With William Douglas to abide.
And when he to the Douglas came,25
He halched him right courteouslie;
Say'd, "Welcome, welcome, noble earle,
Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee."
When he had in Lough-leven been
Many a month and many a day,30
To the regent the lord warden sent,
That bannisht earle for to betray.
He offered him great store of gold,
And wrote a letter fair to see,
Saying, "Good my lord, grant me my boon,35
And yield that banisht man to mee."[Pg 95]
Earle Percy at the supper sate,
With many a goodly gentleman;
The wylie Douglas then bespake,
And thus to flyte with him began.40
"What makes you be so sad, my lord,
And in your mind so sorrowfullye?
To-morrow a shootinge will bee held
Among the lords of the North countrye.
"The butts are sett, the shooting's made,45
And there will be great royaltye;
And I am sworne into my bille,
Thither to bring my Lord Percye."
"I'll give thee my hand, thou gentle Douglas,
And here by my true faith," quoth hee,50
"If thou wilt ryde to the worldes end
I will ryde in thy companye."
And then bespake a lady faire,
Mary à Douglas was her name;
"You shall byde here, good English lord,55
My brother is a traiterous man.
"He is a traitor stout and stronge,
As I tell you in privitie;
For he hath tane liverance of the erle,
[Pg 96]Into England nowe to 'liver thee."60
"Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady,
The regent is a noble lord:
Ne for the gold in all Englànd
The Douglas wold not break his word.
"When the regent was a banisht man,65
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,70
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,75
And tell those English lords from thee,
"How that you cannot with him ryde,
Because you are in an ile of the sea,
Then ere my brother come againe,
[Pg 97]To Edenborow castle Ile carry thee.80
"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,85
"When I thinke on my own countrìe,
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;90
Where many a widow lost her mate,
And many a child was fatherlesse.
"And now that I a banisht man
Shold bring such evil happe with mee,
To cause my faire and noble friends95
To be suspect of treacherie,
"This rives my heart with double woe;
And lever had I dye this day,
Than thinke a Douglas can be false,
Or ever he will his guest betray."100
"If you'll give me no trust, my lord,
Nor unto mee no credence yield,
Yet step one moment here aside,
Ile showe you all your foes in field."[Pg 98]
"Lady, I never loved witchcraft,105
Never dealt in privy wyle;
But evermore held the high-waye
Of truth and honour, free from guile."
"If you'll not come yourselfe, my lorde,
Yet send your chamberlaine with mee,110
Let me but speak three words with him,
And he shall come again to thee."
James Swynard with that lady went,
She showed him through the weme of her ring
How many English lords there were115
Waiting for his master and him.
"And who walkes yonder, my good lady,
So royallye on yonder greene?"
"O yonder is the Lord Hunsden:
Alas! he'll doe you drie and teene."120
"And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye,
That walkes so proudly him beside?"
"That is Sir William Drury," shee sayd,
"A keene captaine hee is and tryde."
"How many miles is itt, madàme,125
Betwixt yond English lords and mee?"[Pg 99]
"Marry, it is thrice fifty miles,
To saile to them upon the sea.
"I never was on English ground,
Ne never sawe it with mine eye,130
But as my book it sheweth mee,
And through my ring I may descrye.
"My mother shee was a witch ladye,
And of her skille she learned mee;
She wold let me see out of Lough-leven135
What they did in London citìe."
"But who is yond, thou lady faire,
That looketh with sic an austerne face?"
"Yonder is Sir John Foster," quoth shee,
"Alas! he'll do ye sore disgrace."140
He pulled his hatt downe over his browe;
He wept, in his heart he was full of woe;
And he is gone to his noble lord,
Those sorrowful tidings him to show.
"Now nay, now nay, good James Swynàrd,145
I may not believe that witch ladìe;
The Douglasses were ever true,
And they can ne'er prove false to mee.[Pg 100]
"I have now in Lough-leven been
The most part of these years three,150
Yett have I never had noe outrake,
Ne no good games that I cold see.
"Therefore I'll to yond shooting wend,
As to the Douglas I have hight:
Betide me weale, betide me woe,155
He ne'er shall find my promise light."
He writhe a gold ring from his finger,
And gave itt to that gay ladìe:
Sayes, "It was all that I cold save,
In Harley woods where I cold bee."160
"And wilt thou goe, thou noble lord?
Then farewell truth and honestìe,
And farewell heart, and farewell hand,
For never more I shall thee see."
The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd,165
And all the saylors were on borde;
Then William Douglas took to his boat,
And with him went that noble lord.
Then he cast up a silver wand,
Says, "Gentle lady, fare thee well!"170
The lady fett a sigh soe deep,
And in a dead swoone down shee fell.[Pg 101]
"Now let us goe back, Douglas," he sayd,
"A sickness hath taken yond faire ladìe;
If ought befall yond lady but good,175
Then blamed for ever I shall bee."
"Come on, come on, my lord," he sayes,
"Come on, come on, and let her bee;
There's ladyes enow in Lough-leven
For to cheere that gay ladìe."180
"If you'll not turne yourself, my lord,
Let me goe with my chamberlaine;
We will but comfort that faire lady,
And wee will return to you againe."
"Come on, come on, my lord," he sayes,185
"Come on, come on, and let her bee;
My sister is craftye, and wold beguile
A thousand such as you and mee."
"When they had sayled fifty myle,
Now fifty mile upon the sea,190
Hee sent his man to ask the Douglas,
When they shold that shooting see."
"Faire words," quoth he, "they make fooles faine,
And that by thee and thy lord is seen;
You may hap to thinke itt soone enough,195
Ere you that shooting reach, I ween."[Pg 102]
Jamye his hatt pulled over his browe,
He thought his lord then was betray'd;
And he is to Erle Percy againe,
To tell him what the Douglas sayd.200
"Hold upp thy head, man," quoth his lord,
"Nor therefore lett thy courage fayle;
He did it but to prove thy heart,
To see if he cold make it quail."
When they had other fifty sayld,205
Other fifty mile upon the sea,
Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe,
Sayd, "What wilt thou nowe doe with mee?"
"Looke that your brydle be wight, my lord,
And your horse goe swift as shipp att sea;210
Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe,
That you may pricke her while shee'll away."
"What needeth this, Douglas?" he sayth;
"What needest thou to flyte with mee?
For I was counted a horseman good215
Before that ever I mett with thee.
"A false Hector hath my horse,
Who dealt with mee so treacherouslìe;
A false Armstrong hath my spurres,
[Pg 103]And all the geere belongs to mee."220
When they had sayled other fifty mile,
Other fifty mile upon the sea,
They landed low by Berwicke side,
A deputed laird landed Lord Percye.
Then he at Yorke was doomde to die,225
It was, alas! a sorrowful sight;
Thus they betrayed that noble earle,
Who ever was a gallant wight.

59. Of the Earl of Morton, the Regent.—P.

78. i. e. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea. Edinburgh was at that time in the hands of the opposite faction.—P.

119. The Lord Warden of the East Marches.—P.

123. Governor of Berwick.—P.

139. Warden of the Middle-march.—P.

224. fol. MS. reads land, and has not the following stanza.


From Reliques of English Poetry, ii. 217.

"This ballad is a proof of the little intercourse that subsisted between the Scots and English, before the accession of James I. to the crown of England. The tale which is here so circumstantially related, does not appear to have had the least foundation in history, but was probably built upon some confused hearsay report of the tumults in Scotland during the minority of that prince, and of the conspiracies formed by different factions to get possession of his person. It should seem from ver. 97 to have been written during the regency, or at least before the death, of the Earl of Morton, who was condemned and executed June 2, 1581; when James was in his fifteenth year.

"The original copy (preserved in the archives of[Pg 104] the Antiquarian Society, London,) is entitled, A new ballad, declaring the great treason conspired against the young king of Scots, and how one Andrew Browne, an English-man, which was the king's chamberlaine, prevented the same. To the tune of Milfield, or els to Green-sleeves. At the end is subjoined the name of the author, W. Elderton. 'Imprinted at London for Yarathe James, dwelling in Newgate Market, over against Ch. Church,' in black-letter folio."—Percy.

This ballad was licensed to James on the 30th of May, 1581.

Out alas! what a griefe is this,
That princes subjects cannot be true,
But still the devill hath some of his,
Will play their parts whatsoever ensue;
Forgetting what a grievous thing5
It is to offend the anointed king!
Alas for woe, why should it be so?
This makes a sorrowful heigh ho.
In Scotland is a bonnie kinge,
As proper a youth as neede to be,10
Well given to every happy thing,
That can be in a kinge to see:
Yet that unluckie country still,
Hath people given to craftie will.
Alas for woe, &c.15
On Whitsun eve it so befell,
A posset was made to give the king,[Pg 105]
Whereof his ladie nurse hard tell,
And that it was a poysoned thing:
She cryed, and called piteouslie,20
"Now help, or else the king shall die!"
Alas for woe, &c.
One Browne, that was an English man,
And hard the ladies piteous crye,
Out with his sword, and bestir'd him than,25
Out of the doores in haste to flie;
But all the doores were made so fast,
Out of a window he got at last.
Alas for woe, &c.
He met the bishop coming fast,30
Having the posset in his hande:
The sight of Browne made him aghast,
Who bad him stoutly staie and stand.
With him were two that ranne awa,
For feare that Browne would make a fray.35
Alas, for woe, &c.
"Bishop," quoth Browne, "what hast thou there?"
"Nothing at all, my friend," sayde he,
"But a posset to make the king good cheere."
"Is it so?" sayd Browne, "that will I see.40
First I will have thyself begin,
Before thou go any further in;
Be it weale or woe, it shall be so.
This makes a sorrowful heigh ho."[Pg 106]
The bishop sayde, "Browne, I doo know,45
Thou art a young man poore and bare;
Livings on thee I will bestowe;
Let me go on, take thou no care."
"No, no," quoth Browne, "I will not be
A traitour for all Christiantie:50
Happe well or woe, it shall be so.
Drink now with a sorrowfull," &c.
The bishop dranke, and by and by
His belly burst and he fell downe:
A just rewarde for his traitery!55
"This was a posset indeed," quoth Brown.
He serched the bishop, and found the keyes,
To come to the kinge when he did please.
Alas for woe, &c.
As soon as the king got word of this,60
He humbly fell uppon his knee,
And praysed God that he did misse
To tast of that extremity:
For that he did perceive and know,
His clergie would betray him so:65
Alas for woe, &c.
"Alas," he said, "unhappie realme,
My father, and grandfather slaine:[Pg 107]
My mother banished, O extreame
Unhappy fate, and bitter bayne!70
And now like treason wrought for me—
What more unhappie realme can be!"
Alas for woe, &c.
The king did call his nurse to his grace,
And gave her twenty poundes a yeere;75
And trustie Browne too in like case,
He knighted him with gallant geere,
And gave him lands and livings great,
For dooing such a manly feat,
As he did showe, to the bishop's woe,80
Which made, &c.
When all this treason done and past
Tooke not effect of traytery,
Another treason at the last,
They sought against his majestie;85
How they might make their kinge away
By a privie banket on a daye.
Alas for woe, &c.
'Another time' to sell the king
Beyonde the seas they had decreede:90
Three noble Earles heard of this thing,
And did prevent the same with speede.
For a letter came, with such a charme,
That they should doo their king no harme:
For further woe, if they did soe,95
Would make a sorrowful heigh hoe.[Pg 108]
The Earle Mourton told the Douglas then,
"Take heede you do not offend the king;
But shew yourselves like honest men
Obediently in every thing;100
For his godmother will not see
Her noble child misus'd to be
With any woe; for if it be so,
She will make," &c.
God graunt all subjects may be true,105
In England, Scotland, every where,
That no such daunger may ensue,
To put the prince or state in feare:
That God, the highest king, may see
Obedience as it ought to be.110
In wealth or woe, God graunt it be so,
To avoide the sorrowful heigh ho.

68. His father was Henry Lord Darnley. His grandfather, the old Earl of Lenox, regent of Scotland, and father of Lord Darnley, was murdered at Stirling, Sept. 5, 1571.—P.

101. Queen Elizabeth.


Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, ii. 230.

"In the year 1584, the Spaniards, under the command of Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, began to gain great advantages in Flanders and Brabant, by recovering many strongholds and cities from the[Pg 109] Hollanders, as Ghent (called then by the English Gaunt), Antwerp, Mechlin, &c. See Stow's Annals, p. 711. Some attempt made with the assistance of English volunteers to retrieve the former of those places, probably gave occasion to this ballad. I can find no mention of our heroine in history, but the following rhymes rendered her famous among our poets. Ben Jonson often mentions her, and calls any remarkable virago by her name. See his Epic[oe]ne, first acted in 1609, Act 4, sc. 2: his Tale of a Tub, Act 4, sc. 4: and his masque entitled The Fortunate Isles, 1626, where he quotes the very words of the ballad,

—— Mary Ambree,
(Who marched so free
To the siege of Gaunt,
And death could not daunt,
As the ballad doth vaunt)
Were a braver wight, &c.

She is also mentioned in Fletcher's Scornful Lady, Act 5, sub finem.

"This ballad is printed from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, improved from the Editor's folio MS., and by conjecture. The full title is, "The valourous acts performed at Gaunt by the brave bonnie lass Mary Ambree, who, in revenge of her lovers death, did play her part most gallantly". The tune is, The blind beggar, &c."—Percy.

When captaines couragious, whom death cold not daunte,
Did march to the siege of the citty of Gaunt,[Pg 110]
They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
And the formost in battle was Mary Ambree.
When [the] brave sergeant-major was slaine in her sight,5
Who was her true lover, her joy, and delight,
Because he was slaine most treacherouslìe,
Then vowd to revenge him Mary Ambree.
She clothed herselfe from the top to the toe,
In buffe of the bravest, most seemelye to showe;10
A faire shirt of male then slipped on shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lass, Mary Ambree?
A helmett of proofe shee strait did provide,
A stronge arminge-sword shee girt by her side,
On her hand a goodly faire gauntlett put shee:15
Was not this a brave bonny lass, Mary Ambree?
Then tooke shee her sworde and her targett in hand,
Bidding all such, as wold, [to] bee of her band;
To wayte on her person came thousand and three:
Was not this a brave bonny lass, Mary Ambree?20
"My soldiers," she saith, "soe valliant and bold,
Nowe followe your captaine, whom you doe beholde;[Pg 111]
Still formost in battell myselfe will I bee:"
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
Then cryed out her souldiers, and loude they did say,25
"Soe well thou becomest this gallant array,
Thy harte and thy weapons so well do agree,
Noe mayden was ever like Mary Ambree."
Shee cheared her souldiers, that foughten for life,30
With ancyent and standard, with drum and with fife,
With brave clanging trumpetts, that sounded so free;
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
"Before I will see the worst of you all
To come into danger of death or of thrall,
This hand and this life I will venture so free:"35
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
Shee ledd upp her souldiers in battaile array,
Gainst three times theyr number by breake of the daye;
Seven howers in skirmish continued shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?40
She filled the skyes with the smoke of her shott,
And her enemyes bodyes with bullets so hott;
For one of her owne men a score killed shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?[Pg 112]
And when her false gunner, to spoyle her intent,45
Away all her pellets and powder had sent,
Straight with her keen weapon shee slasht him in three:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
Being falselye betrayed for lucre of hyre,
At length she was forced to make a retyre;50
Then her souldiers into a strong castle drew shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lassee, Mary Ambree?
Her foes they besett her on everye side,
As thinking close siege shee cold never abide;
To beate down the walles they all did decree:55
But stoutlye deffyd them brave Mary Ambree.
Then tooke shee her sword and her targett in hand,
And mounting the walls all undaunted did stand,
There daring their captaines to match any three:
O what a brave captaine was Mary Ambree!60
"Now saye, English captaine, what woldest thou give
To ransome thy selfe, which else must not live?
Come yield thy selfe quicklye, or slaine thou must bee:"
Then smiled sweetlye brave Mary Ambree.[Pg 113]
"Ye captaines couragious, of valour so bold,65
Whom thinke you before you now you doe behold?"
"A knight, sir, of England, and captaine soe free,
Who shortleye with us a prisoner must bee."
"No captaine of England; behold in your sight
Two brests in my bosome, and therfore no knight:70
Noe knight, sirs, of England, nor captaine you see,
But a poor simple mayden called Mary Ambree."
"But art thou a woman, as thou dost declare,
Whose valor hath proved so undaunted in warre?
If England doth yield such brave mayden as thee,75
Full well may they conquer, faire Mary Ambree."
The prince of Great Parma heard of her renowne
Who long had advanced for Englands faire crowne;
Hee wooed her and sued her his mistress to bee,
And offerd rich presents to Mary Ambree.80
But this virtuous mayden despised them all:
"Ile nere sell my honour for purple nor pall;
A mayden of England, sir, never will bee
The whore of a monarcke," quoth Mary Ambree.[Pg 114]
Then to her owne country shee backe did returne,85
Still holding the foes of faire England in scorne;
Therfore English captaines of every degree
Sing forth the brave valours of Mary Ambree.

5. So P. C. Sir John Major in MS.


Percy's Reliques, ii. 235.

"Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, had, in the year 1586, distinguished himself at the siege of Zutphen, in the Low Countries. He was the year after made general of the English forces in the United Provinces, in room of the Earl of Leicester, who was recalled. This gave him an opportunity of signalizing his courage and military skill in several actions against the Spaniards. One of these, greatly exaggerated by popular report, is probably the subject of this old ballad, which, on account of its flattering encomiums on English valour, hath always been a favourite with the people.

"Lord Willoughbie died in 1601.—Both Norris and Turner were famous among the military men of that age.

"The subject of this ballad (which is printed from an old black-letter copy, with some conjectural emendations) may possibly receive illustration from what Chapman says in the dedication to his version of Homer's Frogs and Mice, concerning the brave and[Pg 115] memorable retreat of Sir John Norris, with only 1000 men, through the whole Spanish army, under the Duke of Parma, for three miles together." Percy.

Lord Willoughby was son of that Duchess of Suffolk, whose extraordinary adventures, while in exile on the continent during the reign of Queen Mary, are the subject of an often-printed ballad called the Duchess of Suffolk's Calamity. See Strange Histories, Percy Society, iii. 17, and the Appendix to this volume.

The fifteenth day of July,
With glistering spear and shield,
A famous fight in Flanders
Was foughten in the field:
The most couragious officers5
Were English captains three;
But the bravest man in battel
Was brave Lord Willoughbèy.
The next was Captain Norris,
A valiant man was hee;10
The other Captain Turner,
From field would never flee.
With fifteen hundred fighting men,
Alas! there were no more,
They fought with fourteen thousand then,15
Upon the bloody shore.
"Stand to it, noble pikemen,
And look you round about:[Pg 116]
And shoot you right, you bow-men,
And we will keep them out.20
You musquet and calìver men,
Do you prove true to me:
I'le be the formost man in fight,"
Says brave Lord Willoughbèy.
And then the bloody enemy25
They fiercely did assail,
And fought it out most furiously,
Not doubting to prevail.
The wounded men on both sides fell,
Most pitious for to see,30
Yet nothing could the courage quell
Of brave Lord Willoughbèy.
For seven hours, to all mens view,
This fight endured sore,
Until our men so feeble grew35
That they could fight no more;
And then upon dead horses,
Full savourly they eat,
And drank the puddle water,
They could no better get.40
When they had fed so freely,
They kneeled on the ground,
And praised God devoutly
For the favour they had found;
[Pg 117]And beating up their colours,45
The fight they did renew,
And turning tow'rds the Spaniard,
A thousand more they slew.
The sharp steel-pointed arrows,
And bullets thick did fly;50
Then did our valiant soldiers
Charge on most furiously:
Which made the Spaniards waver;
They thought it best to flee;
They fear'd the stout behaviour55
Of brave Lord Willoughbèy.
Then quoth the Spanish general,
"Come, let us march away;
I fear we shall be spoiled all
If here we longer stay;60
For yonder comes Lord Willoughbey,
With courage fierce and fell;
He will not give one inch of way
For all the devils in hell."
And then the fearful enemy65
Was quickly put to flight,
Our men persued couragiously,
And caught their forces quite;
But at [the] last they gave a shout,
Which ecchoed through the sky;70
"God and St. George for England!"
The conquerers did cry.[Pg 118]
This news was brought to England
With all the speed might be,
And soon our gracious queen was told75
Of this same victory.
"O this is brave Lord Willoughbey,
My love that ever won;
Of all the lords of honour,
'Tis he great deeds hath done."80
To the souldiers that were maimed
And wounded in the fray,
The queen allowed a pension
Of fifteen pence a day;
And from all costs and charges85
She quit and set them free:
And this she did all for the sake
Of brave Lord Willoughbèy.
Then courage, noble Englishmen,
And never be dismaid;90
If that we be but one to ten,
We will not be afraid
To fight with foraign enemies,
And set our nation free:
And thus I end the bloody bout95
Of brave Lord Willoughbèy.
[Pg 119]


From The Tea-Table Miscellany, ii. 188.

In consequence of a suspicion that the Earl of Murray had been party to an attempt of his cousin, the notorious Bothwell, against the person of the King (James VI.), a commission was issued for bringing Murray before the sovereign for examination. The arrest was inconsiderately entrusted to the Earl of Huntly, Murray's mortal enemy. The young earl was at that time peacefully residing at Dunnibirsel, the house of his mother, Lady Downe. Huntly surrounded the place and summoned the inmates to surrender, and the demand not being complied with, set fire to the mansion. Murray escaped from the flames, but was overtaken by his foes and savagely slain. The event took place on the night of the 7th of February, 1592.

The youth, beauty, and accomplishments of the victim of this outrage made him a favourite with the people, and there was a universal clamor for revenge. On the 10th of the month, proclamation was made for all noblemen and barons, in a great number of shires, to rise in arms, to join the King for the pursuit of the Earl of Huntly, who, however, surrendered himself, and was dismissed, on security for his appearance to answer for the crime. The moderation of James gave rise to a scandalous report, that the king countenanced[Pg 120] the murderer, out of jealousy for the favor with which the bonny earl was regarded by the Queen.

The ballad of Young Waters (vol. iii. p. 89) has, without convincing reasons, been supposed to be founded on the story of the Earl of Murray.

The first of the two pieces which follow is from Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany. The second, which may perhaps be a part of the same ballad, was first printed in Finlay's collection.

Ye Highlands, and ye Lawlands,
O where have you been?
They have slain the Earl of Murray,
And they laid him on the green.
"Now wae be to thee, Huntly!5
And wherefore did you sae?
I bade you bring him wi' you,
But forbade you him to slay."
He was a braw gallant,
And he rid at the ring;10
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
O he might hae been a king.
He was a braw gallant,
And he play'd at the ba';
And the bonny Earl of Murray15
Was the flower amang them a'.[Pg 121]
He was a braw gallant,
And he play'd at the glove;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
O he was the Queen's love.20
O lang will his lady
Look o'er the castle Down,
Ere she see the Earl of Murray
Come sounding thro' the town.


From Finlay's Scottish Ballads, ii. 21.

"Open the gates,
And let him come in;
He is my brother Huntly,
He'll do him nae harm."
The gates they were opent,5
They let him come in;
But fause traitor Huntly,
He did him great harm.
He's ben and ben,
And ben to his bed;10
And with a sharp rapier
He stabbed him dead.[Pg 122]
The lady came down the stair,
Wringing her hands;
"He has slain the Earl o' Murray,15
The flower o' Scotland."
But Huntly lap on his horse,
Rade to the king:
"Ye're welcome hame, Huntly,
And whare hae ye been?20
"Whare hae ye been?
And how hae ye sped?"
"I've killed the Earl o' Murray,
Dead in his bed."
"Foul fa' you, Huntly!25
And why did ye so?
You might have ta'en the Earl o' Murray
And saved his life too."
"Her bread it's to bake,
Her yill is to brew;30
My sister's a widow,
And sair do I rue.
"Her corn grows ripe,
Her meadows grow green,
But in bonny Dinnibristle35
I darena be seen."
[Pg 123]


This is one of many exulting effusions which were called forth by the taking of Cadiz (vulgarly called Cales). The town was captured on the 21st of June, 1596, the Earl of Effingham being high-admiral of the fleet, and Essex general of the land forces. Sir W. Raleigh, Lord Thomas Howard, and other distinguished soldiers had commands in the expedition. The praise here bestowed on Essex's humanity was richly deserved, and the booty taken by the conquerors is not exaggerated. The whole loss of the Spaniards, in their city and their fleet, was estimated at twenty millions of ducats.

We give this ballad from Deloney's Garland of Good Will, as reprinted by the Percy Society, vol. xxx. p. 113. The copy in the Reliques (ii. 241), which was corrected by the editor, differs but slightly from the present.

Long had the proud Spaniards
Advancèd to conquer us,
Threatening our country
With fire and sword;
Often preparing5
Their navy most sumptuous,
With all the provision
That Spain could afford.[Pg 124]
Dub a-dub, dub,
Thus strike the drums,10
Tan-ta-ra, ta-ra-ra,
The Englishman comes.
To the seas presently
Went our lord admiral,
With knights couragious,15
And captains full good;
The earl of Essex,
A prosperous general,
With him preparèd
To pass the salt flood.20
Dub a-dub, &c.
At Plymouth speedily,
Took they ships valiantly;
Braver ships never
Were seen under sail;
With their fair colours spread,25
And streamers o'er their head;
Now, bragging Spaniards,
Take heed of your tail.
Dub a-dub, &c.
Unto Cales cunningly,
Came we most happily,30
Where the kings navy
Did secretly ride;
Being upon their backs,
Piercing their buts of sack,[Pg 125]
Ere that the Spaniards35
Our coming descry'd.
Tan-ta-ra, ta-ra-ra,
The Englishman comes;
Bounce a-bounce, bounce a-bounce,
Off went the guns.40
Great was the crying,
Running and riding,
Which at that season
Was made at that place;
Then beacons were firèd,45
As need was requirèd;
To hide their great treasure,
They had little space:
"Alas!" they cryèd,
"English men comes."50
There you might see the ships,
How they were firèd fast,
And how the men drown'd
Themselves in the sea;
There you may hear them cry,55
Wail and weep piteously;
When as they saw no shift
To escape thence away.
Dub a-dub, &c.
The great Saint Philip,
[Pg 126]The pride of the Spaniards,60
Was burnt to the bottom,
And sunk in the sea;
But the Saint Andrew,
And eke the Saint Matthew,
We took in fight manfully,65
And brought them away.
Dub a-dub, &c.
The earl of Essex,
Most valiant and hardy,
With horsemen and footmen
March'd towards the town;70
The enemies which saw them,
Full greatly affrighted,
Did fly for their safeguard,
And durst not come down.
Dub a-dub, &c.
"Now," quoth the noble earl,75
"Courage, my soldiers all!
Fight, and be valiant,
And spoil you shall have;
And well rewarded all,
From the great to the small;80
But look that the women
And children you save."
Dub a-dub, &c.
The Spaniards at that sight,
Saw 'twas in vain to fight,[Pg 127]
Hung up their flags of truce,85
Yielding the town;
We march'd in presently,
Decking the walls on high
With our English colours,
Which purchas'd renown.90
Dub a-dub, &c.
Ent'ring the houses then,
And of the richest men,
For gold and treasure
We searchèd each day;
In some places we did find95
Pye baking in the oven,
Meat at the fire roasting,
And men run away.
Dub a-dub, &c.
Full of rich merchandise,
Every shop we did see,100
Damask and sattins
And velvet full fair;
Which soldiers measure out
By the length of their swords;
Of all commodities,105
Each one hath share.
Dub a-dub, &c.
Thus Cales was taken,
And our brave general[Pg 128]
March'd to the market-place,
There he did stand;110
There many prisoners
Of good account were took;
Many crav'd mercy,
And mercy they found.
Dub a-dub, &c.
When as our general115
Saw they delayèd time,
And would not ransom
The town as they said,
With their fair wainscots,
Their presses and bedsteads,120
Their joint-stools and tables,
A fire we made:
And when the town burnt in a flame,
With tan-ta-ra, tan-ta-ra-ra,
From thence we came.125


"When the Scottish Covenanters rose up in arms, and advanced to the English borders in 1639, many of the courtiers complimented the king by raising forces at their own expense. Among these none were more distinguished than the gallant Sir John Suck[Pg 129]ling, who raised a troop of horse, so richly accoutred, that it cost him 12,000l. The like expensive equipment of other parts of the army made the king remark, that "the Scots would fight stoutly, if it were but for the Englishmen's fine cloaths." When they came to action, the rugged Scots proved more than a match for the fine showy English: many of whom behaved remarkably ill, and among the rest this splendid troop of Sir John Suckling's." Percy.

This scoffing ballad, sometimes attributed to Suckling himself, is taken from the Musarum Deliciæ of Sir John Mennis and Dr. James Smith (p. 81 of the reprint, Upon Sir John Sucklings most warlike preparations for the Scotish warre). The former is said by Wood to have been the author. Percy's copy (Reliques, ii. 341) has one or two different readings.—The first stanza is a parody on John Dory.

Sir John got him an ambling nag,
To Scotland for to ride-a,
With a hundred horse more, all his own he swore,
To guard him on every side-a.
No errant-knight ever went to fight5
With halfe so gay a bravado,
Had you seen but his look, you'ld have sworn on a book,
Hee'ld have conquer'd a whole armado.
The ladies ran all to the windowes to see
[Pg 130]So gallant and warlike a sight-a,10
And as he pass'd by, they began to cry,
"Sir John, why will you go fight-a?"
But he, like a cruel knight, spurr'd on,
His heart did not relent-a;
For, till he came there, he shew'd no fear;15
Till then why should he repent-a?
The king (God bless him!) had singular hopes
Of him and all his troop-a:
The borderers they, as they met him on the way,
For joy did hollow and whoop-a.20
None lik'd him so well as his own colonel,
Who took him for John de Weart-a;
But when there were shows of gunning and blows,
My gallant was nothing so peart-a.
For when the Scots army came within sight,25
And all men prepared to fight-a,
He ran to his tent; they ask'd what he meant;
He swore he must needs goe s——- a.
The colonel sent for him back agen,
[Pg 131]To quarter him in the van-a,30
But Sir John did swear, he came not there
To be kill'd the very first man-a.
To cure his fear, he was sent to the rere,
Some ten miles back, and more-a;
Where he did play at tre trip for hay,35
And ne'er saw the enemy more-a.
But now there is peace, he's returned to increase
His money, which lately he spent-a;
But his lost honor must still lye in the dust;
At Barwick away it went-a.40


For till he came there, what had he to fear;
Or why should he repent-a?


22. John de Wert was a German general of reputation, and the terror of the French in the reign of Louis XIII. Hence his name became proverbial in France, where he was called De Vert. Percy.


From Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ii. 177.

By a rapid series of extraordinary victories, (see The Haws of Cromdale, and The Battle of Alford in the Appendix,) Montrose had subdued Scotland to the royal arms, from the Grampians to Edinburgh. After taking possession of the capital, he marched forward to the frontiers, with the intention of completing the subjugation of the southern provinces, and even of leading his wild array into England to the support of King Charles. Having traversed the Border, and strengthened his army (greatly diminished by the departure of the Irish and many of the Highlanders) with some small reinforcements, Montrose encamped on the 12th of September, 1645, at Philiphaugh, a large plain,[Pg 132] separated by the river Ettrick from the town of Selkirk, and extending in an easterly direction from a wooded hill, called the Harehead-wood, to a high ground which forms the banks of the river Tweed. Here the infantry were very conveniently disposed, while the general took up his quarters with all his cavalry at Selkirk, thus interposing a river between his horse and foot. This extraordinary error, whether rashness or oversight, was destined to be severely expiated. The very next morning, the Covenanters, under General David Lesly, recalled from England by the danger threatened their cause by the victories of Montrose, crossed the Ettrick and fell on the encampment of the infantry, unperceived by a single scout. A hopeless discomfiture was the natural consequence. Montrose, roused by the firing, arrived with a few of his cavalry too late to redeem the day, and beheld his army slaughtered, or scattered in a retreat in which he was himself fain to join. The fruit of all his victories was lost in this defeat, and he was never again able to make head in Scotland against the Covenanters.

The following ballad was first printed by Sir Walter Scott, with prefatory remarks which we have here abridged. It is preserved by tradition in Selkirkshire, and coincides closely with historical fact.

On Philiphaugh a fray began,
At Hairhead-wood it ended;
The Scots out o'er the Græmes they ran,
Sae merrily they bended.[Pg 133]
Sir David frae the Border came,5
Wi' heart an' hand came he;
Wi' him three thousand bonny Scots,
To bear him company.
Wi' him three thousand valiant men,
A noble sight to see!10
A cloud o' mist them weel conceal'd,
As close as e'er might be.
When they came to the Shaw burn,
Said he, "Sae weel we frame,
I think it is convenient15
That we should sing a psalm."
When they came to the Lingly burn,
As daylight did appear,
They spy'd an aged father,
And he did draw them near.20
"Come hither, aged father!"
Sir David he did cry,
"And tell me where Montrose lies,
With all his great army."[Pg 134]
"But first you must come tell to me,25
If friends or foes you be;
I fear you are Montrose's men,
Come frae the north country."
"No, we are nane o' Montrose's men,
Nor e'er intend to be;30
I am Sir David Lesly,
That's speaking unto thee."
"If you're Sir David Lesly,
As I think weel ye be,
I am sorry ye hae brought so few35
Into your company.
"There's fifteen thousand armed men
Encamped on yon lee;
Ye'll never be a bite to them,
For aught that I can see.40
"But halve your men in equal parts,
Your purpose to fulfill;
Let ae half keep the water side,
The rest gae round the hill.
"Your nether party fire must,45
Then beat a flying drum;[Pg 135]
And then they'll think the day's their ain,
And frae the trench they'll come.
"Then, those that are behind them, maun
Gie shot, baith grit and sma';50
And so, between your armies twa,
Ye may make them to fa'."
"O were ye ever a soldier?"
Sir David Lesly said;
"O yes; I was at Solway Flow,55
Where we were all betray'd.
"Again I was at curst Dunbar,
And was a pris'ner ta'en;
And many weary night and day
In prison I hae lien."60
"If ye will lead these men aright,
Rewarded shall ye be;
But, if that ye a traitor prove,
I'll hang thee on a tree."
"Sir, I will not a traitor prove;65
Montrose has plunder'd me;[Pg 136]
I'll do my best to banish him
Away frae this country."
He halved his men in equal parts,
His purpose to fulfill;70
The one part kept the water side,
The other gaed round the hill.
The nether party fired brisk,
Then turn'd and seem'd to rin;
And then they a' came frae the trench,75
And cry'd, "The day's our ain!"
The rest then ran into the trench,
And loosed their cannons a':
And thus, between his armies twa,
He made them fast to fa'.80
Now let us a' for Lesly pray,
And his brave company,
For they hae vanquish'd great Montrose,
Our cruel enemy.

13. A small stream that joins the Ettrick near Selkirk, on the south side of the river. S.

16. Various reading: "That we should take a dram." S.

17. A brook which falls into the Ettrick, from the north, a little above the Shaw burn. S.

37. Montrose's forces amounted to twelve or fifteen hundred foot, and about a thousand cavalry. Lesly had five or six thousand men, mostly horse.

55. It is a strange anachronism, to make this aged father state himself to have been at the battle of Solway Flow, which was fought a hundred years before Philiphaugh; and a still stranger, to mention that of Dunbar, which did not take place till five years after Montrose's defeat. S.

[Pg 137]


From Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ii. 187

In this lament for the melancholy fate of Montrose and his heroic companions, it was clearly the humble minstrel's aim to sketch the chief incidents in the great Marquis's career as the champion and the martyr of Royalty. The derangements and omissions which may be found in the verses as they now stand are but the natural effects of time. The ballad was first published in Scott's Minstrelsy, as obtained from tradition, with enlargements and corrections from an old printed copy (entitled The Gallant Grahams of Scotland) furnished by Ritson.

The summer following the rout at Philiphaugh, King Charles committed himself to the treacherous protection of the Presbyterians. They required of him that his faithful lieutenant should at once disband his forces and leave the country. During three years of exile, Montrose resided at various foreign courts, either quite inactive, or cultivating the friendship of the continental sovereigns, by whom he was overwhelmed with attentions and honors. The execution of the King drew from him a solemn oath "before God, angels, and men," that he would devote the rest of his life to the avenging the death of his master and reëstablishing his son on the throne. He received from Charles II. a renewal of his commission as Captain-General in Scotland, and while Charles was treating with the Commissioners of the Estates concerning his resto[Pg 138]ration (negotiations which Montrose regarded with no favor), set out for the Orkneys with a few hundred men, mostly Germans. His coming, even with this feeble band, struck a great terror into the Estates, and Lesly was ordered to march against him with four thousand men. Destitute of horse to bring him intelligence, Montrose was surprised at Corbiesdale, on the confines of Ross-shire, by a body of Covenanting cavalry under Colonel Strachan, which had been sent forward to check his progress. The whole of his little army was destroyed or made prisoners. Montrose escaped from the field after a desperate resistance, and finally gave himself up to Macleod of Assaint, who sold him to his enemies for four hundred bolls of meal!

"He was tried," says Scott, "for what was termed treason against the Estates of the Kingdom; and, despite the commission of Charles for his proceedings, he was condemned to die by a Parliament who acknowledged Charles to be their king, and whom, on that account only, Montrose acknowledged to be a Parliament."

(See Scott's Minstrelsy, Hume, ch. lx., and Napier's Montrose and the Covenanters.)

Now, fare thee well, sweet Ennerdale
Baith kith and countrie I bid adieu;
For I maun away, and I may not stay,
To some uncouth land which I never knew.[Pg 139]
To wear the blue I think it best,5
Of all the colours that I see;
And I'll wear it for the gallant Grahams,
That are banished from their countrie.
I have no gold, I have no land,
I have no pearl nor precious stane;10
But I wald sell my silken snood,
To see the gallant Grahams come hame.
In Wallace days, when they began,
Sir John the Graham did bear the gree
Through all the lands of Scotland wide:15
He was a lord of the south countrie.
And so was seen full many a time;
For the summer flowers did never spring,
But every Graham, in armour bright,
Would then appear before the king.20
They were all drest in armour sheen,
Upon the pleasant banks of Tay;[Pg 140]
Before a king they might be seen,
These gallant Grahams in their array.
At the Goukhead our camp we set,25
Our leaguer down there for to lay;
And, in the bonny summer light,
We rode our white horse and our gray.

Our false commander sold our king
Unto his deadly enemie,30
Who was the traitor, Cromwell, then;
So I care not what they do with me.
They have betray'd our noble prince,
And banish'd him from his royal crown;
But the gallant Grahams have ta'en in hand35
For to command those traitors down.

In Glen-Prosen we rendezvous'd,
March'd to Glenshie by night and day,
And took the town of Aberdeen,
And met the Campbells in their array.40
Five thousand men, in armour strong,
Did meet the gallant Grahams that day
At Inverlochie, where war began,
And scarce two thousand men were they.[Pg 141]
Gallant Montrose, that chieftain bold,45
Courageous in the best degree,
Did for the king fight well that day;
The Lord preserve his majestie!
Nathaniel Gordon, stout and bold,
Did for King Charles wear the blue;50
But the cavaliers they all were sold,
And brave Harthill, a cavalier too.
And Newton-Gordon, burd-alone,
And Dalgatie, both stout and keen,
And gallant Veitch upon the field,55
A braver face was never seen.[Pg 142]
Now, fare ye weel, Sweet Ennerdale!
Countrie and kin I quit ye free;
Cheer up your hearts, brave cavaliers,
For the Grahams are gone to High Germany.

Now brave Montrose he went to France,61
And to Germany, to gather fame;
And bold Aboyne is to the sea,
Young Huntly is his noble name.
Montrose again, that chieftain bold,65
Back unto Scotland fair he came,
For to redeem fair Scotland's land,
The pleasant, gallant, worthy Graham!
At the water of Carron he did begin,
And fought the battle to the end;70
Where there were kill'd, for our noble king,
Two thousand of our Danish men.
Gilbert Menzies, of high degree,
By whom the king's banner was borne;[Pg 143]
For a brave cavalier was he,75
But now to glory he is gone.
Then woe to Strachan, and Hacket baith!
And, Leslie, ill death may thou die!
For ye have betray'd the gallant Grahams,
Who aye were true to majestie.80
And the Laird of Assaint has seized Montrose,
And had him into Edinburgh town;
And frae his body taken the head,
And quarter'd him upon a trone.
And Huntly's gone the self-same way,85
And our noble king is also gone;
He suffer'd death for our nation,
Our mourning tears can ne'er be done.[Pg 144]
But our brave young king is now come home,
King Charles the Second in degree;90
The Lord send peace into his time,
And God preserve his majestie!

1. A corruption of Endrickdale. The principal and most ancient possessions of the Montrose family lie along the water of Endrick, in Dumbartonshire. S.

5. About the time when Montrose first occupied Aberdeen (1639) the Covenanters began to wear a blue ribbon, first as a scarf, afterwards in bunches in their caps. Hence the phrase of a true blue Whig. The blue ribbon was one of "Montrose's whimsies," and seems to have been retained by his followers (see v. 50) after he had left the Covenanters for the king.

14. The faithful friend and adherent of the immortal Wallace, slain at the battle of Falkirk. S.

37. Glen-Prosen is in Angus-shire. S.

49. Of the family of Gicht in Aberdeenshire. He was taken at Philiphaugh, and executed the 6th of January, 1646.

52. Leith, of Harthill, was a determined loyalist, and hated the Covenanters, by whom he had been severely treated. S.

53. Newton, for obvious reasons, was a common appellation of an estate, or barony, where a new edifice had been erected. Hence, for distinction's sake, it was anciently compounded with the name of the proprietor; as, Newton-Edmonstone, Newton-Don, Newton-Gordon, &c. Of Newtown, I only observe, that he was, like all his clan, a steady loyalist, and a follower of Montrose. S.

54. Sir Francis Hay, of Dalgatie, a steady cavalier, and a gentleman of great gallantry and accomplishments. He was a faithful follower of Montrose, and was taken prisoner with him at his last fatal battle. He was condemned to death with his illustrious general. S.

55. I presume this gentleman to have been David Veitch, brother to Veitch of Dawick, who, with many other of the Peebles-shire gentry, was taken at Philiphaugh. S.

64. James, Earl of Aboyne, who fled to France, and there died heart-broken. It is said his death was accelerated by the news of King Charles's execution. He became representative of the Gordon family (or Young Huntly, as the ballad expresses it) in consequence of the death of his elder brother, George, who fell in the battle of Alford. S.

72. Montrose's foreign auxiliaries, who, by the way, did not exceed 600 in all. S.

73. Gilbert Menzies, younger of Pitfoddells, carried the royal banner in Montrose's last battle. It bore the headless corpse of Charles I., with this motto, "Judge and revenge my cause, O Lord!" Menzies proved himself worthy of this noble trust, and, obstinately refusing quarter, died in defence of his charge. Montrose's Memoirs. S.

77. Sir Charles Hacket, an officer in the service of the Estates. S.

85. George Gordon, second Marquis of Huntly, one of the very few nobles in Scotland who had uniformly adhered to the King from the very beginning of the troubles, was beheaded by the sentence of the Parliament of Scotland (so calling themselves) upon the 22d March, 1649, one month and twenty-two days after the martyrdom of his master. S.


Graham of Claverhouse and Balfour of Kinloch, commonly called Burly, the principal persons mentioned in this ballad, are characters well known to the readers of Old Mortality, in the earlier chapters of which the skirmish at Loudon Hill is described.

A few weeks after the memorable assassination of Archbishop Sharpe, Robert Hamilton, a fierce Cameronian, Burly, and a few others of the proscribed "Westlan' men" resolved to take up arms against the government. They began their demonstrations by entering the royal burgh of Rutherglen, on the 29th of May, 1679 (which, as the anniversary of the Restoration, was appointed by Parliament to be kept as a holyday) extinguishing the bonfires made in honor of the occasion, and burning at the cross certain acts in favor of Prelacy and for the suppression of Conventicles. After this exploit, and affixing to the cross a solemn protest against the obnoxious acts, they encamped at Loudon Hill, being by this time increased to the number of five or six hundred men. Claver[Pg 145]house was in garrison at Glasgow, and immediately marched against the insurgents, with about a hundred and fifty cavalry. Hamilton, the commander of the Whigs, had skilfully posted his men in a boggy strait with a broad ditch in front, and the dragoons in attempting to charge were thrown into utter disorder. At this critical moment they were vigorously attacked by the rebels and easily routed. Claverhouse barely escaped being taken prisoner, and lost some twenty of his troopers, among them his cornet, Robert Graham, whose fate is alluded to in the ballad. Burly, though not the captain, was a prominent leader in this action. See Scott's Minstrelsy, vol. ii. 206, et seq.

You'l marvel when I tell ye o'
Our noble Burly and his train,
When last he march'd up through the land,
Wi' sax-and-twenty Westland men.
Than they I ne'er o' braver heard,5
For they had a' baith wit and skill;
They proved right well, as I heard tell,
As they cam up o'er Loudon Hill.
Weel prosper a' the gospel lads,
That are into the west countrie,10
Aye wicked Claver'se to demean,
And aye an ill deid may he die![Pg 146]
For he's drawn up i' battle rank,
An' that baith soon an' hastilie;
But they wha live till simmer come,15
Some bludie days for this will see.
But up spak cruel Claver'se, then,
Wi' hastie wit, an' wicked skill;
"Gae fire on yon Westlan' men;
I think it is my sov'reign's will."20
But up bespake his Cornet, then,
"It's be wi' nae consent o' me!
I ken I'll ne'er come back again,
An' mony mae as weel as me.
"There is not ane of a' yon men,25
But wha is worthy other three;
There is na ane amang them a',
That in his cause will stap to die.
"An' as for Burly, him I knaw;
He's a man of honour, birth, and fame;30
Gie him a sword into his hand,
He'll fight thysell an' other ten."
But up spake wicked Claver'se, then,
I wat his heart it raise fu' hie!
And he has cried that a' might hear,35
"Man, ye hae sair deceived me.[Pg 147]
"I never ken'd the like afore,
Na, never since I came frae hame,
That you sae cowardly here suld prove,
An' yet come of a noble Græme."40
But up bespake his Cornet then,
"Since that it is your honour's will,
Mysell shall be the foremost man
That shall gie fire on Loudon Hill.
"At your command I'll lead them on,45
But yet wi' nae consent o' me;
For weel I ken I'll ne'er return,
And mony mae as weel as me."
Then up he drew in battle rank;
I wat he had a bonny train!50
But the first time that bullets flew,
Aye he lost twenty o' his men.
Then back he came the way he gaed,
I wat right soon and suddenly!
He gave command amang his men,55
And sent them back, and bade them flee.
Then up came Burly, bauld an' stout,
Wi's little train o' Westland men,
Wha mair than either aince or twice
[Pg 148]In Edinburgh confined had been.60
They hae been up to London sent,
An' yet they're a' come safely down;
Sax troop o' horsemen they hae beat,
And chased them into Glasgow town.


From Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ii. 237.

The success of the Cameronians at Loudon Hill induced a considerable number of the moderate Presbyterians to join the army of the insurgents. But though increased numbers gave the revolt a more formidable appearance, they cannot be said to have added much to the strength of the rebels, since there was no concert between the two factions, each having its own set of officers, and issuing contrary orders at the same time. An army of ten thousand men under the Duke of Monmouth advanced from Edinburgh against these distracted allies, who, in all not more than four thousand, were encamped near Hamilton, on the western side of the Clyde, and had possession of the bridge between that point and the village of Bothwell. While the Duke was preparing to force a passage, the more moderate of the Whigs offered terms, and while they were debating the Duke's reply, the Cameronians, who bravely defended the bridge, were compelled to abandon their[Pg 149] post. The Duke's army then crossed the river without opposition, because the rebels were at that juncture occupied with cashiering their officers and electing new ones. The first discharge of Monmouth's cannon caused the cavalry of the Covenanters to wheel about, and their flight threw the foot into irrecoverable disorder. Four hundred of the rebels were killed, and a body of twelve hundred surrendered at discretion, and were preserved from death by the clemency of the Duke. This action took place on the 22d of June, 1679.

Scott informs us that there were two Gordons of Earlstoun engaged in the rebellion, a father and son. The former was not in the battle, but was met hastening to it by English dragoons, and was killed on his refusing to surrender. The son, who is supposed to be the person mentioned in the ballad, was of the milder Presbyterians, and fought only for freedom of conscience and relief from the tyrannical laws against non-conformists. He escaped from the battle, and after being several times condemned to die, was finally set at liberty, and restored to his forfeited estates.

In this ballad Claverhouse's unsparing pursuit of the fugitives is imputed to a desire to revenge the death of his kinsman at Loudon Hill, and his anger at being thwarted is, with great simplicity, asserted to have led to the execution of Monmouth.

Scott's copy of this ballad was given from recitation. In the First Series of Laing's Fugitive Scottish Poetry, there is an amusingly prosaic Covenanting ditty upon this subject, called Bothwell Lines, and in the Second Series, a Cavalier song, entitled The Battell of Bodwell Bridge, or The Kings Cavileers Triumph.[Pg 150]

"O, billie, billie, bonny billie,
Will ye go to the wood wi' me?
We'll ca' our horse hame masterless,
An' gar them trow slain men are we."
"O no, O no!" says Earlstoun,5
"For that's the thing that mauna be;
For I am sworn to Bothwell Hill,
Where I maun either gae or die."
So Earlstoun rose in the morning,
An' mounted by the break o' day;10
An' he has joined our Scottish lads,
As they were marching out the way.
"Now, farewell, father, and farewell, mother,
And fare ye weel, my sisters three;
An' fare ye weel, my Earlstoun,15
For thee again I'll never see!"
So they're awa' to Bothwell Hill,
An' waly they rode bonnily!
When the Duke o' Monmouth saw them comin',
He went to view their company.20
"Ye're welcome, lads," the Monmouth said,
"Ye're welcome, brave Scots lads, to me;
And sae are you, brave Earlstoun,
The foremost o' your company![Pg 151]
"But yield your weapons ane an a',25
O yield your weapons, lads, to me;
For gin ye'll yield your weapons up,
Ye'se a' gae hame to your country."
Out then spak a Lennox lad,
And waly but he spoke bonnily!30
"I winna yield my weapons up,
To you nor nae man that I see."
Then he set up the flag o' red,
A' set about wi' bonny blue;
"Since ye'll no cease, and be at peace,35
See that ye stand by ither true."
They stell'd their cannons on the height,
And showr'd their shot down in the howe;
An' beat our Scots lads even down,
Thick they lay slain on every knowe.40
As e'er you saw the rain down fa',
Or yet the arrow frae the bow,—
Sae our Scottish lads fell even down,
An' they lay slain on every knowe.
"O hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd,45
"Gie quarters to yon men for me!"
But wicked Claver'se swore an oath,
His Cornet's death revenged sud be.[Pg 152]
"O hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd,
"If onything you'll do for me;50
Hold up your hand, you cursed Græme,
Else a rebel to our king ye'll be."
Then wicked Claver'se turn'd about,
I wot an angry man was he;
And he has lifted up his hat,55
And cry'd, "God bless his Majesty!"
Than he's awa' to London town,
Aye e'en as fast as he can dree;
Fause witnesses he has wi' him ta'en,
And ta'en Monmouth's head frae his body.60
Alang the brae, beyond the brig,
Mony brave man lies cauld and still;
But lang we'll mind, and sair we'll rue,
The bloody battle of Bothwell Hill.


This battle was fought on the evening of the 27th of July, 1689, a little to the north of the pass of Killiecrankie, in the Highlands of Perthshire, between King William's army under General Mackay, and a body of Highlanders under the renowned Claverhouse,[Pg 153] the bravest and most faithful adherent of the house of Stuart. Mackay's troops, which were partly Dutch and partly English, amounted to 4,500 foot and two companies of horse. The Highlanders were not much more than half as numerous. They consisted of the followers of Maclean, Macdonald of Sky, Clanronald, Sir Evan Cameron of Lochiel, and others, with a few Irish. The left wing of Mackay's army was almost instantly routed by a furious charge of the Macleans. The right wing stood their ground manfully, and even repulsed the assault of the Macdonalds, but being taken in flank by the Camerons and a part of the Macleans, they were forced to retire and suffered great loss. While directing the oblique movement of the Camerons, Claverhouse received a mortal wound under the arm, and with him fell the cause of King James.

This ballad, which is taken from Herd's Scottish Songs, i. 163, was printed as a broadside near the time of the battle. The author is unknown. There was an old song called Killiecrankie, which, with some alterations, was inserted in Johnson's Museum (p. 302). It is also found in Hogg's Jacobite Relics, i. 32, with an additional stanza. A contemporary Latin ballad on the same event by Herbert Kennedy, a professor in the University of Edinburgh, is given in the Museum, and may be seen in our Appendix.

Clavers and his Highlandmen
Came down upo' the raw, man,
Who being stout, gave mony a clout;
The lads began to claw then.[Pg 154]
With sword and terge into their hand,5
Wi which they were nae slaw, man,
Wi mony a fearful heavy sigh,
The lads began to claw then.
O'er bush, o'er bank, o'er ditch, o'er stank,
She flang amang them a', man;10
The butter-box got mony knocks,
Their riggings paid for a' then.
They got their paiks, wi sudden straiks,
Which to their grief they saw, man:
Wi clinkum clankum o'er their crowns,15
The lads began to fa' then.
Hur skipt about, hur leapt about,
And flang amang them a', man;
The English blades got broken heads,
Their crowns were cleav'd in twa then.20
The durk and door made their last hour,
And prov'd their final fa', man;
They thought the devil had been there,
That play'd them sic a paw then.[Pg 155]
The Solemn League and Covenant25
Came whigging up the hills, man;
Thought Highland trews durst not refuse
For to subscribe their bills then.
In Willie's name, they thought nae ane
Durst stop their course at a', man,30
But hur-nane-sell, wi mony a knock,
Cry'd, "Furich-Whigs awa'," man.
Sir Evan Du, and his men true,
Came linking up the brink, man;
The Hogan Dutch they feared such,35
They bred a horrid stink then.
The true Maclean and his fierce men
Came in amang them a' man;
Nane durst withstand his heavy hand,
All fled and ran awa' then.40
Oh' on a ri, Oh' on a ri,
Why should she lose King Shames, man?
Oh' rig in di, Oh' rig in di,
She shall break a' her banes then;
With furichinish, an' stay a while,45
And speak a word or twa, man,
She's gi' a straike, out o'er the neck,
Before ye win awa' then.
O fy for shame, ye're three for ane,
Hur-nane-sell's won the day, man;50
King Shames' red-coats should be hung up,[Pg 156]
Because they ran awa' then.
Had bent their brows, like Highland trows,
And made as lang a stay, man,
They'd sav'd their king, that sacred thing,55
And Willie'd ran awa' then.

17. The Highlanders have only one pronoun, and as it happens to resemble the English her, it has caused the Lowlanders to have a general impression that they mistake the feminine for the masculine gender. It has even become a sort of nickname for them, as in the present case, and in a subsequent verse, (31,) where it is extended to her-nain-sell. Chambers, Scottish Songs, p. 48.


Fought on the 13th of November, 1715, between the Duke of Argyle, general of the forces of King George the First, and the Earl of Mar, for the Chevalier de St. George. The right wing of both armies, led by the respective commanders, was successful, and the left wing of both was routed. Hence the victory was claimed by both sides. The Chevalier's army was much the larger of the two, and all the advantages of the contest remained with the other party.

This ballad is printed in Herd's Scottish Songs, i. 170, and in many subsequent collections. It is ascribed by Burns to the "Rev. Murdoch M'Lellan, minister of Crathie, Dee-side." Our copy is taken from Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 1, where the stanzas in brackets appear for the first time. The notes are from Chambers's Scottish Songs, p. 408.

There are several other ballads upon this battle: Up and war them a', Willie, Johnson's Museum, p. 195, and (different) Herd's Scottish Songs, ii. 234: From Bogie Side, or, The Marquis's Raide, a false and scurrilous party song, Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 13: [Pg 157]A Dialogue between Will Lick-Ladle and Tom Clean-Cogue, &c., written by the Rev. John Barclay of Edinburgh, many years after the event: and The Battle of Sherramoor, altered and abridged by Burns from this last, for Johnson's Museum, (p. 290.) See Appendix.

There's some say that we wan, and some say that they wan,
And some say that nane wan at a', man;
But one thing I'm sure, that at Sherra-muir
A battle there was that I saw, man.
And we ran, and they ran, and they ran, and we ran,5
But Florence ran fastest of a', man.
Argyle and Belhaven, not frighted like Leven,
Which Rothes and Haddington saw, man;
For they all, with Wightman, advanc'd on the right, man,
While others took flight, being raw, man.10
And we ran, &c.
Lord Roxburgh was there, in order to share
With Douglas, who stood not in awe, man;[Pg 158]
Volunteerly to ramble with Lord Loudon Campbell,
Brave Ilay did suffer for a', man.
And we ran, &c.
Sir John Schaw, that great knight, with broad sword most bright,15
On horseback he briskly did charge, man;
A hero that's bold, none could him withhold,
He stoutly encounter'd the targemen.
And we ran, &c.
For the cowardly Whittam, for fear they should cut him,
Seeing glittering broad swords with a pa', man,
And that in such thrang, made Baird edicang,21
And from the brave clans ran awa, man.
And we ran, &c.
[The great Colonel Dow gade foremost, I trow,
When Whittam's dragoons ran awa, man;[Pg 159]
Except Sandy Baird, and Naughtan the laird,25
Their horse shaw'd their heels to them a', man.
And we ran, &c.]
Brave Mar and Panmure were firm, I am sure:
The latter was kidnapt awa, man;
With brisk men about, brave Harry retook
His brother, and laugh'd at them a', man.30
And we ran, &c.
Brave Marshall, and Lithgow, and Glengary's pith, too,
Assisted by brave Loggia, man,
And Gordons the bright, so boldly did fight,
That the redcoats took flight and awa, man.
And we ran, &c.
Strathmore and Clanronald cried still, "Advance, Donald,"35
Till both of these heroes did fa', man;
For there was such hashing, and broad swords a-clashing,
Brave Forfar himsel got a claw, man.
And we ran, &c.[Pg 160]
Lord Perth stood the storm, Seaforth but lukewarm,
Kilsyth, and Strathallan not slaw, man;40
And Hamilton pled the men were not bred,
For he had no fancy to fa', man.
And we ran, &c.
Brave gen'rous Southesk, Tullibardin was brisk,
Whose father indeed would not draw, man,
Into the same yoke, which serv'd for a cloak,45
To keep the estate 'twixt them twa, man.
And we ran, &c.
Lord Rollo not fear'd, Kintore and his beard,
Pitsligo and Ogilvie, a', man,
And brothers Balflours they stood the first show'rs,
Clackmannan and Burleigh did claw, man.50
And we ran, &c.[Pg 161]
But Cleppan fought pretty, and Strowan the witty,
A poet that pleases us a', man;
For mine is but rhyme in respect of what's fine,
Or what he is able to draw, man.
And we ran &c.
For Huntly and Sinclair, they both play'd the tinkler,55
With consciences black as a craw, man;
Some Angus and Fife men, they ran for their life, man,
And ne'er a Lot's wife there at a', man.
And we ran, &c.
Then Laurie the traitor, who betray'd his master,
His king, and his country, an' a', man,60
Pretending Mar might give orders to fight,
To the right of the army awa, man.
And we ran, &c.
Then Laurie, for fear of what he might hear,
Took Drummond's best horse, and awa, man:
'Stead of going to Perth, he crossed the Firth,65
Alongst Stirling bridge, and awa, man.
And we ran, &c.[Pg 162]
To London he press'd, and there he profess'd
That he behav'd best o' them a', man,
And so, without strife, got settled for life,
A hundred a-year to his fa', man.70
And we ran, &c.
In Borrowstounness he resides with disgrace,
Till his neck stand in need of a thraw, man;
And then in a tether he'll swing from a ladder,
And go off the stage with a pa', man.
And we ran, &c.
Rob Roy there stood watch on a hill, for to catch
The booty, for ought that I saw, man;76
For he ne'er advanc'd from the place he was stanc'd,
Till no more was to do there at a', man.
And we ran, &c.
So we all took the flight, and Moubray the wright,
And Lethem the smith was a braw man,80
For he took a fit of the gout, which was wit,
By judging it time to withdraw, man.
And we ran, &c.[Pg 163]
And trumpet Maclean, whose breeks were not clean,
Through misfortune he happen'd to fa', man;
By saving his neck, his trumpet did break,85
And came off without music at a', man.
And we ran, &c.
So there such a race was as ne'er in that place was,
And as little chace was at a', man;
From each other they run without touk of drum,
They did not make use of a paw, man.90
And we ran, &c.
[Whether we ran, or they ran, or we wan, or they wan,
Or if there was winning at a', man,
There no man can tell, save our brave genarell,
Who first began running of a', man.
And we ran, &c.
Wi' the Earl o' Seaforth, and the Cock o' the North;95
But Florence ran fastest of a', man,
Save the laird o' Phinaven, who sware to be even
W' any general or peer o' them a', man.]
And we ran, &c.

6. Florence was the Marquis of Huntly's horse. Hogg.

7-10. Lord Belhaven, the Earl of Leven, and the Earls of Rothes and Haddington, who all bore arms as volunteers in the royal army. Major-General Joseph Wightman, who commanded the centre of the royal army.

11-14. John, fifth Duke of Roxburgh, a loyal volunteer. Archibald, Duke of Douglas, who commanded a body of his vassals in the royal army. Hugh Campbell, third Earl of Loudoun, of the royal army. The Earl of Ilay, brother to the Duke of Argyle. He came up to the field only a few hours before the battle, and had the misfortune to be wounded.

15. Sir John Shaw of Greenock, an officer in the troop of volunteers, noted for his keen Whiggish spirit.

17. Major-General Whitham, who commanded the left wing of the King's army.

39-42. James, Lord Drummond, eldest son of the Earl of Perth, was Lieutenant-general of horse under Mar, and behaved with great gallantry. William Mackenzie, fifth Earl of Seaforth. The Viscount Kilsyth. The Viscount Strathallan. Lieutenant-general George Hamilton, commanding under the Earl of Mar.

27-30. James, Earl of Panmure. The Honourable Harry Maule of Kellie, brother to the foregoing, whom he recaptured after the engagement.

31-4. The Earls of Marischal and Linlithgow. The Chief of Glengary. Thomas Drummond of Logie Almond.

35-8. The Earl of Strathmore, killed in the battle. The Chief of Clanranald. The Earl of Forfar—on the King's side—wounded in the engagement.

43. James, fifth Earl of Southesk. The Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of Athole.

47-50. Lord Rollo. The Earl of Kintore. Lord Pitsligo. Lord Ogilvie, son of the Earl of Airly. Bruce, Laird of Clackmannan—the husband, I believe, of the old lady who knighted Robert Burns with the sword of Bruce, at Clackmannan Tower. Lord Burleigh.

51. Major William Clephane. Alexander Robertson of Struan, chief of the Robertsons.

55. Alexander, Marquis of Huntly, afterwards Duke of Gordon. The Master of Sinclair.

59-74. These four stanzas seem to refer to a circumstance reported at the time; namely, that a person had left the Duke of Argyle's army, and joined the Earl of Mar's, before the battle, intending to act as a spy; and that, being employed by Mar to inform the left wing that the right was victorious, he gave a contrary statement, and, after seeing them retire accordingly, went back again to the royal army.

75. The celebrated Rob Roy. This redoubted hero was prevented, by mixed motives, from joining either party. He could not fight against the Earl of Mar, consistent with his conscience, nor could he oppose the Duke of Argyle, without forfeiting the protection of a powerful friend.

93. This point is made at the expense of a contradiction. See v. 27.

95-7. The Cock of the North is an honorary popular title of the Duke of Gordon. Carnegy of Finhaven.

[Pg 164]


James Radcliff, Earl of Derwentwater, fell into the hands of the Whigs at the surrender of Preston, on the very day of the battle of Sheriff-Muir, and suffered death in February, 1716, for his participation in the rebellion. Smollet has described him as an amiable youth,—brave, open, generous, hospitable, and humane. "His fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the country in which he lived. He gave bread to multitudes of people whom he employed on his estate;—the poor, the widow, and the orphan rejoiced in his bounty." (History of England, quoted by Cromek.) We are told that the aurora borealis was remarkably vivid on the night of the earl's execution, and that this phenomenon is consequently still known in the north by the name of "Lord Derwentwater's Lights."

Although this ballad is said to have been extremely popular in the North of England for a long time after the event which gave rise to it, no good copy has as yet been recovered. The following was obtained by Motherwell (Minstrelsy, p. 349) from the recitation of an old woman. Another copy, also from recitation but "restored to poetical propriety," is given in the Gentleman's Magazine, for June, 1825 (p. 489), and[Pg 165] fragments of a third in Notes and Queries, vol. xii. p. 492. Two spurious ballads on the death of Lord Derwentwater have been sometimes received as genuine: one by Allan Cunningham, first published in Cromek's Nithsdale and Galloway Song, p. 129, another (Lord Derwentwater's Goodnight) by Surtees, printed in Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 31. Still another modern imitation is Young Ratcliffe, in Sheldon's Minstrelsy of the English Border, p. 401.

There is a ballad on the disgraceful capitulation of Preston in Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 102, also, Northumberland Garland, p. 85, beginning "Mackintosh was a soldier brave."

Our King has wrote a long letter,
And sealed it ower with gold;
He sent it to my lord Dunwaters,
To read it if he could.
He has not sent it with a boy,5
Nor with any Scots lord;
But he's sent it with the noblest knight
E'er Scotland could afford.
The very first line that my lord did read,
He gave a smirkling smile;10
Before he had the half of it read,
The tears from his eyes did fall.
"Come saddle to me my horse," he said,
"Come saddle to me with speed;[Pg 166]
For I must away to fair London town,15
For to me there was ne'er more need."
Out and spoke his lady gay,
In childbed where she lay:
"I would have you make your will, my lord Dunwaters,
Before you go away."20
"I leave to you, my eldest son,
My houses and my land;
I leave to you, my youngest son,
Ten thousand pounds in hand.
"I leave to you, my lady gay, —25
You are my wedded wife, —
I leave to you, the third of my estate,
That'll keep you in a lady's life."
They had not rode a mile but one,
Till his horse fell owre a stane:30
"It's a warning good enough," my lord Dunwaters said,
"Alive I'll ne'er come hame."
When they came to fair London town,
Into the courtiers' hall,
The lords and knights of fair London town35
Did him a traitor call.[Pg 167]
"A traitor! a traitor!" says my lord,
"A traitor! how can that be?
An it be nae for the keeping five thousand men,
To fight for King Jamie.40
"O all you lords and knights in fair London town,
Come out and see me die;
O all you lords and knights in fair London town,
Be kind to my ladie.
"There's fifty pounds in my right pocket,45
Divide it to the poor;
There's other fifty in my left pocket,
Divide it from door to door."


Herd's Scottish Songs, i. 166: Ritson's Scotish Songs, ii. 76.

This ballad is the work of Adam Skirving, a clever and opulent farmer, father of Archibald Skirving, the portrait painter. It was printed shortly after the battle as a broadside, and next appeared in The Charmer, vol. ii. p. 349, Edinb. 1751. Neither of those editions contains the eleventh stanza. The foot-notes commonly attached to the subsequent re[Pg 168]prints are found in The Charmer. (Laing in Johnson's Museum, iv. 189*.)

To Skirving is also attributed with great probability the excellent satirical song of Johnnie Cope, or Cope are you waking yet. The original words are in Ritson, Scotish Songs, ii. 84: another set at p. 82: a third, with alterations and additions by Burns, in Johnson's Museum, p. 242. Allan Cunningham once heard a peasant boast that he could sing Johnnie Cope with all its nineteen variations. See Appendix.

The battle took place on the 22d of September, 1745, between the villages of Tranent and Prestonpans, a few miles from Edinburgh. The king's lieutenant-general, Sir John Cope, was disgracefully defeated by the Highlanders under Charles Edward, and nearly all his army killed or taken. The details of the conflict are vividly described in the 46th and 47th chapters of Waverley.

The Chevalier, being void of fear,
Did march up Birsle brae, man,
And thro' Tranent, e'er he did stent,
As fast as he could gae, man:
While General Cope did taunt and mock,5
Wi' mony a loud huzza, man;
But e'er next morn proclaim'd the cock,
We heard another craw, man.
The brave Lochiel, as I heard tell,
Led Camerons on in clouds, man;10
The morning fair, and clear the air,[Pg 169]
They loos'd with devilish thuds, man.
Down guns they threw, and swords they drew
And soon did chace them aff, man;
On Seaton-Crafts they buft their chafts,15
And gart them rin like daft, man.
The bluff dragoons swore blood and 'oons,
They'd make the rebels run, man;
And yet they flee when them they see,
And winna fire a gun, man:20
They turn'd their back, the foot they brake,
Such terror seiz'd them a', man;
Some wet their cheeks, some fyl'd their breeks,
And some for fear did fa', man.
The volunteers prick'd up their ears,25
And vow gin they were crouse, man;
But when the bairns saw't turn to earn'st,
They were not worth a louse man.
Maist feck gade hame; O fy for shame!
They'd better stay'd awa', man,30
Than wi' cockade to make parade,
And do nae good at a', man.
Menteith the great, when hersell sh—,
Un'wares did ding him o'er man;[Pg 170]
Yet wad nae stand to bear a hand,35
But aff fou fast did scour, man;
O'er Soutra hill, e'er he stood still,
Before he tasted meat, man:
Troth he may brag of his swift nag,
That bare him aff sae fleet, man.40
And Simpson keen, to clear the een
Of rebels far in wrang, man,
Did never strive wi' pistols five,
But gallop'd with the thrang, man:
He turn'd his back, and in a crack45
Was cleanly out of sight man;
And thought it best; it was nae jest
W' Highlanders to fight, man.
'Mangst a' the gang nane bade the bang
But twa, and ane was tane, man;50
For Campbell rade, but Myrie staid,
And sair he paid the kain, man;
Fell skelps he got, was war than shot,
Frae the sharp-edg'd claymore, man;
Frae many a spout came running out55
His reeking-het red gore, man.[Pg 171]
But Gard'ner brave did still behave
Like to a hero bright, man;
His courage true, like him were few
That still despised flight, man;60
For king and laws, and country's cause,
In honour's bed he lay, man;
His life, but not his courage, fled,
While he had breath to draw, man.
And Major Bowle, that worthy soul,65
Was brought down to the ground, man;
His horse being shot, it was his lot
For to get mony a wound, man:
Lieutenant Smith, of Irish birth,
Frae whom he call'd for aid, man,70
Being full of dread, lap o'er his head,
And wadna be gainsaid, man.
He made sic haste, sae spur'd his beast,
'Twas little there he saw, man;[Pg 172]
To Berwick rade, and safely said,75
The Scots were rebels a', man.
But let that end, for well 'tis kend
His use and wont to lie, man;
The Teague is naught, he never faught,
When he had room to flee, man.80
And Caddell drest, amang the rest,
With gun and good claymore, man,
On gelding grey he rode that way,
With pistols set before, man;
The cause was good, he'd spend his blood,85
Before that he would yield, man;
But the night before, he left the cor,
And never fac'd the field, man.
But gallant Roger, like a soger,
Stood and bravely fought, man;90
I'm wae to tell, at last he fell,
But mae down wi' him brought, man:
At point of death, wi' his last breath,
(Some standing round in ring, man,)
On's back lying flat, he wav'd his hat,95
And cry'd, God save the King, man.
Some Highland rogues, like hungry dogs,
Neglecting to pursue, man,
About they fac'd, and in great haste
Upon the booty flew, man;100
And they, as gain for all their pain,[Pg 173]
Are deck'd wi' spoils of war, man;
Fu' bald can tell how hernainsell
Was ne'er sae pra before, man.
At the thorn-tree, which you may see105
Bewest the meadow-mill, man,
There mony slain lay on the plain,
The clans pursuing still, man.
Sick unco' hacks, and deadly whacks,
I never saw the like, man;110
Lost hands and heads cost them their deads,
That fell near Preston-dyke, man.
That afternoon, when a was done,
I gaed to see the fray, man;
But had I wist what after past,115
I'd better staid away, man:
On Seaton sands, wi' nimble hands,
They pick'd my pockets bare, man;
But I wish ne'er to drie sick fear,
For a' the sum and mair, man.120

33. The minister of Longformacus, a volunteer; who, happening to come, the night before the battle, upon a Highlander easing nature at Preston, threw him over, and carried his gun as a trophy to Cope's camp.

41. Another volunteer Presbyterian minister, who said he would convince the rebels of their error by the dint of his pistols; having, for that purpose, two in his pockets, two in his holsters, and one in his belt.

51. Mr. Myrie was a student of physic, from Jamaica; he entered as a volunteer in Cope's army, and was miserably mangled by the broad-swords.

69. Lieutenant Smith, who left Major Bowle when lying on the field of battle, and unable to move with his wound, was of Irish extraction. It is reported that after the publication of the ballad, he sent Mr. Skirving a challenge to meet him at Haddington, and answer for his conduct in treating him with such opprobrium. "Gang awa back," said Mr. Skirving to the messenger, "and tell Mr. Smith, I have nae leisure to gae to Haddington, but if he likes to come here, I'll tak a look o' him, and if I think I can fecht him, I'll fecht him, and if no—I'll just do as he did at Preston—I'll rin awa'." Stenhouse.

[Pg 175]


[Pg 177]


In the versions of this ballad given in the body of this work, the Earl of Douglas is represented as falling by the hand of Harry Percy. In the ballad which follows, taken from Herd's Scottish Songs, i. 211, his death is ascribed to the revenge of an offended servant. Though there is not the slightest reason to give credence to this story, it has a certain foundation in tradition. Hume of Godscroft writes "there are that say, that he [Douglas] was not slain by the enemy, but by one of his own men, a groom of his chamber, whom he had struck the day before with a truncheon, in ordering of the battle, because he saw him make somewhat slowly to. And they name this man John Bickerton of Luffness, who left a part of his armour behind unfastened, and when he was in the greatest conflict, this servant of his came behind his back, and slew him thereat." Wintown says that the Earl was so intent on marshalling his forces, and so eager to be at the foe, that he neglected to arm himself carefully.—Scott's Minstrelsy, i. 350.

It fell, and about the Lammas time,
When husbandmen do win their hay,
Earl Douglas is to the English woods,
And a' with him to fetch a prey.[Pg 178]
He has chosen the Lindsays light,5
With them the gallant Gordons gay,
And the Earl of Fyfe, withouten strife,
And Sir Hugh Montgomery upon a grey.
They hae taken Northumberland,
And sae hae they the North-shire,10
And the Otter-dale, they burnt it hale,
And set it a' into the fire.
Out then spack a bonny boy,
That serv'd ane o' Earl Douglas kin,
"Methinks I see an English host,15
A-coming branken us upon."
"If this be true, my little boy,
An it be troth that thou tells me,
The brawest bower in Otterburn
This day shall be thy morning fee.20
"But if it be false, my little boy,
But and a lie that thou tells me,[Pg 179]
On the highest tree that's in Otterburn
With my awin hands I'll hing thee hie."
The boy's taen out his little penknife,25
That hanget low down by his gare,
And he gae Earl Douglas a deadly wound,
Alas, a deep wound and a sare!
Earl Douglas said to Sir Hugh Montgomery,
"Tack thou the vanguard o' the three,30
And bury me at yon bracken bush,
That stands upon yon lilly lee."
Then Percy and Montgomery met,
And weel I wat they war na fain;
They swapped swords, and they twa swat,35
And ay the blood ran down between.
"O yield thee, yield thee, Percy," he said,
"Or else I vow I'll lay thee low;
"Whom to shall I yield," said Earl Percy,
"Now that I see it maun be so?"40
"O yield thee to yon braken bush,
That grows upon yon lilly lee;
For there lies aneth yon braken bush
What aft has conquer'd mae than thee."
"I winna yield to a braken bush,45
Nor yet will I unto a brier;
But I wald yield to Earl Douglas,
Or Sir Hugh Montgomery, if he was here."[Pg 180]
As soon as he knew it was Montgomery,
He stuck his sword's point in the ground,50
And Sir Hugh Montgomery was a courteous knight.
And he quickly caught him by the hand.
This deed was done at Otterburn,
About the breaking o' the day;
Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush,55
And Percy led captive away.

13. At this place a recited copy, quoted by Finlay (Scottish Ballads, I. p. xviii.), has the following stanzas:—

Then out an spak a little wee boy,
And he was near o' Percy's kin,
"Methinks I see the English host,
A-coming branking us upon;
Wi' nine waggons scaling wide,
And seven banners bearing high;
It wad do any living gude
To see their bonny colours fly.

43, 44. Supplied by Motherwell from a recited copy.


From Ramsay's Evergreen, i. 78.

This battle took place at Harlaw, near Aberdeen, on the 24th of July, 1411. The conflict was occasioned by a dispute concerning the succession to the earldom of Ross, between Donald, Lord of the Isles, and the son of the Regent, Robert, Duke of Albany, whose claim was supported by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. The consequences of this battle were of the highest importance, inasmuch as the wild Celts of the Highlands and Islands received such a check that they never again combined for the conquest of the civilized parts of Scotland.

The Battle of Harlaw is one of the old ballads whose titles occur in the Complaynt of Scotland (1548). A bag-pipe tune of that name is mentioned in Drummond of Hawthornden's mock-heroic poem, the Polemo Middinia:

"Interea ante alios dux Piper Laius heros,
Præcedens, magnamque gerens cum burdine pypam
Incipit Harlai cunctis sonare Batellum."
[Pg 181]

Mr. Laing, in his Early Metrical Tales (p. xlv.) speaks of an edition printed in the year 1668 as being "in the curious library of old Robert Myln." No copy is now known to exist of a date anterior to that which was published in Ramsay's Evergreen. Of the age of this copy the most opposite opinions have been maintained, some regarding the ballad as contemporary with the event, and others insinuating that Ramsay, or one of his friends, is chargeable with the authorship. This last notion has no other ground than the freedom which Ramsay notoriously took with his texts, and that freedom has very likely been exercised in the present case. We shall, perhaps, be going quite as far as is prudent, if we acknowledge that this may be one of "the Scots poems wrote by the ingenious before 1600." Most readers will agree with Lord Hailes that the language is as recent as the days of Queen Mary, or of James the Sixth. Sibbald, in his Chronicle of Scottish Poetry, iii. 288, has stated other objections to receiving this ballad for ancient, which seem, however, to be satisfactorily answered by Finlay, Scottish Ballads, i. 160.

The copy of this ballad in The Thistle of Scotland, p. 75, is only Ramsay's, imperfectly remembered, or, what is quite as probable, here and there altered according to the taste of the illiterate editor. At page 92 of the same book, three stanzas are given of a burlesque song on this battle. A traditional ballad, recently recovered, is inserted at the end of this volume.

Frae Dunidier as I cam throuch,
Doun by the hill of Banochie,[Pg 182]
Allangst the lands of Garioch,
Grit pitie was to heir and se
The noys and dulesum hermonie,5
That evir that dreiry day did daw,
Cryand the corynoch on hie,
Alas! alas! for the Harlaw.
I marvlit quhat the matter meint,
All folks war in a fiery-fairy;10
I wist nocht quha was fae or freind,
Zit quietly I did me carrie.
But sen the days of auld King Hairy,
Sic slauchter was not hard nor sene,
And thair I had nae tyme to tairy,15
For bissiness in Aberdene.
Thus as I walkit on the way,
To Inverury as I went,
I met a man and bad him stay,
Requeisting him to mak me quaint20
Of the beginning and the event,
That happenit thair at the Harlaw:
Then he entreited me tak tent,
And he the truth sould to me schaw.
Grit Donald of the Yles did claim25
Unto the lands of Ross sum richt,
And to the governour he came,
Them for to haif, gif that he micht:
Quha saw his interest was but slicht,
And thairfore answerit with disdain;30
He hastit hame baith day and nicht,
And sent nae bodward back again.[Pg 183]
But Donald richt impatient
Of that answer Duke Robert gaif,
He vowed to God Omnipotent,35
All the hale lands of Ross to haif,
Or ells be graithed in his graif:
He wald not quat his richt for nocht,
Nor be abusit lyk a slaif;
That bargin sould be deirly bocht.40
Then haistylie he did command,
That all his weir-men should convene,
Ilk an well harnisit frae hand,
To meit and heir quhat he did mein:
He waxit wrath, and vowit tein,45
Sweirand he wald surpryse the North,
Subdew the brugh of Aberdene,
Mearns, Angus, and all Fyfe to Forth.
Thus with the weir-men of the Yles,
Quha war ay at his bidding bown,50
With money maid, with forss and wyls,
Richt far and neir, baith up and doun,
Throw mount and muir, frae town to town,
Allangst the lands of Ross he roars,
And all obey'd at his bandown,55
Evin frae the North to Suthren shoars.
Then all the countrie men did zield;
For nae resistans durst they mak,
Nor offer battill in the feild,
Be forss of arms to beir him bak.60
Syne they resolvit all and spak,
That best it was for thair behoif,[Pg 184]
They sould him for thair chiftain tak,
Believing weil he did them luve.
Then he a proclamation maid,65
All men to meet at Inverness,
Throw Murray land to mak a raid,
Frae Arthursyre unto Spey-ness.
And further mair, he sent express,
To schaw his collours and ensenzie,70
To all and sindry, mair and less,
Throchout the bounds of Byne and Enzie.
And then throw fair Straithbogie land
His purpose was for to pursew,
And quhasoevir durst gainstand,75
That race they should full sairly rew.
Then he bad all his men be trew,
And him defend by forss and slicht,
And promist them rewardis anew,
And mak them men of mekle micht.80
Without resistans, as he said,
Throw all these parts he stoutly past,
Quhair sum war wae, and sum war glaid,
But Garioch was all agast.
Throw all these feilds he sped him fast,85
For sic a sicht was never sene;
And then, forsuith, he langd at last
To se the bruch of Aberdene.
To hinder this prowd enterprise,
The stout and michty Erle of Marr90
With all his men in arms did ryse,[Pg 185]
Even frae Curgarf to Craigyvar:
And down the syde of Don richt far,
Angus and Mearns did all convene
To fecht, or Donald came sae nar95
The ryall bruch of Aberdene.
And thus the martial Erle of Marr
Marcht with his men in richt array;
Befoir the enemie was aware,
His banner bauldly did display.100
For weil enewch they kend the way,
And all their semblance weil they saw:
Without all dangir, or delay,
Come haistily to the Harlaw.
With him the braif Lord Ogilvy,105
Of Angus sheriff principall,
The constabill of gude Dundè,
The vanguard led before them all.
Suppose in number they war small,
Thay first richt bauldlie did pursew,110
And maid thair faes befor them fall,
Quha then that race did sairly rew.
And then the worthy Lord Salton,
The strong undoubted Laird of Drum,
The stalwart Laird of Lawristone,115
With ilk thair forces, all and sum.
Panmuir with all his men did cum,
The provost of braif Aberdene,
With trumpets and with tuick of drum,
[Pg 186]Came schortly in thair armour schene.120
These with the Earle of Marr came on,
In the reir-ward richt orderlie,
Thair enemies to sett upon;
In awfull manner hardily,
Togither vowit to live and die,125
Since they had marchit mony mylis,
For to suppress the tyrannie
Of douted Donald of the Yles.
But he in number ten to ane,
Richt subtilè alang did ryde,130
With Malcomtosch and fell Maclean,
With all thair power at thair syde;
Presumeand on thair strenth and pryde,
Without all feir or ony aw,
Richt bauldie battill did abyde,135
Hard by the town of fair Harlaw.
The armies met, the trumpet sounds,
The dandring drums alloud did touk,
Baith armies byding on the bounds,
Till ane of them the feild sould bruik.140
Nae help was thairfor, nane wald jouk,
Ferss was the fecht on ilka syde,
And on the ground lay mony a bouk
Of them that thair did battill byd.
With doutsum victorie they dealt,145
The bludy battil lastit lang;
Each man his nibours forss thair felt,
The weakest aft-tymes gat the wrang:
Thair was nae mowis thair them amang,
[Pg 187]Naithing was hard but heavy knocks,150
That eccho mad a dulefull sang,
Thairto resounding frae the rocks.
But Donalds men at last gaif back,
For they war all out of array:
The Earl of Marris men throw them brak,155
Pursewing shairply in thair way,
Thair enemys to tak or slay,
Be dynt of forss to gar them yield;
Quha war richt blyth to win away,
And sae for feirdness tint the feild.160
Then Donald fled, and that full fast,
To mountains hich for all his micht;
For he and his war all agast,
And ran till they war out of sicht;
And sae of Ross he lost his richt,165
Thocht mony men with hem he brocht;
Towards the Yles fled day and nicht,
And all he wan was deirlie bocht.
This is (quod he) the richt report
Of all that I did heir and knaw;170
Thocht my discourse be sumthing schort,
Tak this to be a richt suthe saw:
Contrairie God and the kings law,
Thair was spilt mekle Christian blude,
Into the battil of Harlaw:175
This is the sum, sae I conclude.
But zit a bonny quhyle abyde,
And I sall mak thee cleirly ken
Quhat slauchter was on ilkay syde,[Pg 188]
Of Lowland and of Highland men:180
Quha for thair awin haif evir bene;
These lazie lowns micht weil be spaird,
Chessit lyke deirs into their dens,
And gat thair waiges for reward.
Malcomtosh, of the clan heid cheif,185
Macklean, with his grit hauchty heid,
With all thair succour and relief,
War dulefully dung to the deid:
And now we are freid of thair feid,
They will not lang to cum again;190
Thousands with them, without remeid,
On Donald's syd that day war slain.
And on the uther syde war lost,
Into the feild that dismal day,
Chief men of worth, of mekle cost,195
To be lamentit sair for ay.
The Lord Saltoun of Rothemay,
A man of micht and mekle main;
Grit dolour was for his decay,
That sae unhappylie was slain.200
Of the best men amang them was
The gracious gude Lord Ogilvy,
The sheriff principal of Angus,
Renownit for truth and equitie,
For faith and magnanimitie:205
He had few fallows in the field,
Zet fell by fatall destinie,
For he nae ways wad grant to zield.[Pg 189]
Sir James Scrimgeor of Duddap, knicht,
Grit constabill of fair Dundè,210
Unto the dulefull deith was dicht:
The kingis cheif banner man was he,
A valziant man of chevalrie,
Quhais predecessors wan that place
At Spey, with gude King William frie,215
Gainst Murray and Macduncans race.
Gude Sir Allexander Irving,
The much renownit laird of Drum,
Nane in his days was bettir sene,
Quhen they war semblit all and sum.220
To praise him we sould not be dumm,
For valour, witt, and worthyness;
To end his days he ther did cum,
Quhois ransom is remeidyless.
And thair the knicht of Lawriston225
Was slain into his armour schene,
And gude Sir Robert Davidson,
Quha provest was of Aberdene:
The knicht of Panmure, as was sene,
A mortall man in armour bricht,230
Sir Thomas Murray, stout and kene,
Left to the warld thair last gude nicht.
Thair was not sen King Keneths days
Sic strange intestine crewel stryf
In Scotland sene, as ilk man says,235
Quhair mony liklie lost thair lyfe;
Quhilk maid divorce twene man and wyfe,
And mony childrene fatherless,[Pg 190]
Quhilk in this realme has bene full ryfe:
Lord help these lands, our wrangs redress.240
In July, on Saint James his even,
That four and twenty dismall day,
Twelve hundred, ten score and eleven
Of zeirs sen Chryst, the suthe to say,
Men will remember, as they may,245
Quhen thus the veritie they knaw,
And mony a ane may murn for ay,
The brim battil of the Harlaw.


Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England. Percy Society, vol. xvii. p. 52.

"From the singing of the late Francis King, of Skipton in Craven, an eccentric character, who was well known in the western dales of Yorkshire as 'the Skipton Minstrel.' King's version does not contain the third verse, which is obtained, as is also the title, from a modern broadside, from whence also one or two verbal corrections are made, of too trifling a nature to particularize. The tune to which King used to sing it, is the same as that of The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood."

Another ballad, much inferior in spirit to this, on the Battle of Agincourt, is to be found in The Crown Garland of Golden Roses (ed. 1659), Percy Soc. vol.[Pg 191] xv. p. 65. Percy inserted in the Reliques, ii. 26, a song on this battle. Another, quoted in Heywood's Edward Fourth, and therefore popular before 1600, is printed in Mr. Collier's preface to Shakespeare's Henry Fifth (new edition).

The story of the tennis-balls is adopted from the chronicles by Shakespeare. "It is reported by some historians," says Hume, "that the Dauphin, in derision of Henry's claims and dissolute character, sent him a box of tennis-balls, intimating that mere implements of play were better adapted to him than the instruments of war. But this story is by no means credible; the great offers made by the court of France show that they had already entertained a just idea of Henry's character, as well as of their own situation." History of England, ch. xix.

As our king lay musing on his bed,
He bethought himself upon a time
Of a tribute that was due from France,
Had not been paid for so long a time.
Down, a-down, a-down, a-down,
Down, a-down, a-down.
He callèd on his trusty page,5
His trusty page then callèd he,
"O you must go to the king of France,
O you must go right speedilie.
"And tell him of my tribute due,
Ten ton of gold that's due to me,10
That he must send me my tribute home,
Or in French land he soon will me see."[Pg 192]
O then away went the trusty page,
Away, away, and away went he,
Until he came to the king of France;15
Lo! he fell down on his bended knee.
"My master greets you, worthy Sire;
Ten ton of gold there is due, says he;
You must send him his tribute home,
Or in French land you will soon him see."20
"Your master's young, and of tender years,
Not fit to come into my degree;
But I will send him three tennis balls,
That with them learn to play may he."
O then away came the trusty page,25
Away, and away, and away came he,
Until he came to our gracious king;
Lo! he fell down on his bended knee.
"What news, what news, my trusty page,
What news, what news, hast thou brought to me?"30
"I've brought such news from the king of France,
That you and he will ne'er agree.
"He says you're young, and of tender years,
Not fit to come into his degree;
But he will send you three tennis balls,35
That with them you may learn to play."
O then bespoke our noble king,
A solemn vow then vowèd he;[Pg 193]
"I'll promise him such tennis balls,
As in French lands he ne'er did see.40
"Go, call up Cheshire and Lancashire,
And Derby hills, that are so free;
Not a married man, nor a widow's son,
For the widow's cry shall not go with me."
They called up Cheshire and Lancashire,45
And Derby lads that were so free;
Not a married man, nor a widow's son,
Yet they were a jovial bold companie.
O then he sailed to fair French land,
With drums and trumpets so merrilie;50
O then bespoke the king of France,
"Yonder comes proud king Henrie."
The first fire that the Frenchmen gave,
They killed our Englishmen so free;
We killed ten thousand of the French,55
And the rest of them they were forced to flee.
And then we marched to Paris gates,
With drums and trumpets so merrilie;
O then bespoke the king of France,
"Lord have mercy on my poor men and me!60
"Go! tell him I'll send home his tribute due,
Ten ton of gold that is due from me;
And the fairest flower that is in our French land
To the Rose of England it shall go free."
[Pg 194]


The story and character of Jane Shore can best be read in a charmingly written passage of Sir Thomas More's History of Edward Fifth, quoted in Percy's Reliques, ii. 268. The ballad adheres to matter of fact with a fidelity very uncommon. In Drayton's England's Heroical Epistles is one from Jane Shore to King Edward, and in the notes he thus gives her portrait: "Her stature was meane, her haire of a dark yellow, her face round and full, her eye gray, delicate harmony being betwixt each part's proportion, and each proportion's colour, her body fat, white, and smooth, her countenance cheerfull and like to her condition." (Cited by Percy.)

This ballad is taken from the Collection of 1723, vol. i. p. 145. The full title is: The Woeful Lamentation of Jane Shore, a Goldsmith's Wife in London, sometime King Edward the Fourth's Concubine. The same version, with trifling variations, is found in Percy's Reliques, ii. 274, and Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 128. In the Garland of Good Will there is another piece on the same subject, (Percy Society, vol. xxx. p. 9, The Lamentation of Shore's Wife,) and in the Collection of 1723, a burlesque song, called King Edward and Jane Shore (vol. i. p. 153).

If Rosamond, that was so fair,
Had cause her sorrow to declare,
Then let Jane Shore with sorrow sing,
That was beloved of a king.[Pg 195]
Then, wanton wives, in time amend,
For love and beauty will have end.
In maiden years my beauty bright5
Was loved dear by lord and knight;
But yet the love that they requir'd,
It was not as my friends desir'd.
My parents they, for thirst of gain,
A husband for me did obtain;10
And I, their pleasure to fulfil,
Was forc'd to wed against my will.
To Matthew Shore I was a wife,
Till lust brought ruin to my life;
And then my life I lewdly spent,15
Which makes my soul for to lament.
In Lombard-street I once did dwell,
As London yet can witness well;
Where many gallants did behold
My beauty in a shop of gold.20
I spread my plumes, as wantons do,
Some sweet and secret friende to wooe,
Because my love I did not find
Agreeing to my wanton mind.
At last my name in court did ring25
Into the ears of England's king,
Who came and lik'd, and love requir'd,
But I made coy what he desir'd.[Pg 196]
Yet Mistress Blague, a neighbour near,
Whose friendship I esteemed dear,30
Did say, "It is a gallant thing
To be beloved of a king."
By her perswasions I was led
For to defile my marriage-bed,
And wronge my wedded husband Shore,35
Whom I had lov'd ten years before.
In heart and mind I did rejoyce,
That I had made so sweet a choice;
And therefore did my state resign,
To be King Edward's concubine.40
From city then to court I went,
To reap the pleasures of content;
There had the joys that love could bring,
And knew the secrets of a king.
When I was thus advanc'd on high,45
Commanding Edward with mine eye,
For Mistress Blague I in short space
Obtain'd a living from his Grace.
No friend I had, but in short time
I made unto promotion climb;50
But yet for all this costly pride,
My husbande could not me abide.
His bed, tho' wronged by a king,
His heart with deadly grief did sting;[Pg 197]
From England then he goes away55
To end his life beyond the sea.
He could not live to see his name
Impaired by my wanton shame;
Altho' a prince of peerless might
Did reap the pleasure of his right.60
Long time I lived in the court,
With lords and ladies of great sort;
And when I smil'd, all men were glad,
But when I mourn'd, my prince grew sad.
But yet an honest mind I bore65
To helpless people, that were poor;
I still redress'd the orphan's cry,
And sav'd their lives condemn'd to dye.
I still had ruth on widows tears,
I succour'd babes of tender years;70
And never look'd for other gain
But love and thanks, for all my pain.
At last my royal king did dye,
And then my days of woe grew nigh;
When crook-back'd Richard got the crown,75
King Edward's friends were soon put down.
I then was punish'd for my sin,
That I so long had lived in;
Yea, every one that was his friend,
[Pg 198]This tyrant brought to shameful end.80
Then for my lewd and wanton life,
That made a strumpet of a wife,
I penance did in Lombard-street,
In shameful manner in a sheet:
Where many thousands did me view,85
Who late in court my credit knew;
Which made the tears run down my face,
To think upon my foul disgrace.
Not thus content, they took from mee
My goods, my livings, and my fee,90
And charg'd that none should me relieve,
Nor any succour to me give.
Then unto Mistress Blague I went,
To whom my jewels I had sent,
In hope thereby to ease my want,95
When riches fail'd, and love grew scant.
But she deny'd to me the same,
When in my need for them I came;
To recompence my former love,
Out of her doors she did me shove.100
So love did vanish with my state,
Which now my soul repents too late;
Therefore example take by me,
For friendship parts in poverty.
But yet one friend among the rest,105
Whom I before had seen distress'd,[Pg 199]
And sav'd his life, condemn'd to dye,
Did give me food to succour me:
For which, by law it was decreed
That he was hanged for that deed;110
His death did grieve me so much more,
Than had I dy'd myself therefore.
Then those to whom I had done good
Durst not afford mee any food;
Whereby in vain I begg'd all day,115
And still in streets by night I lay.
My gowns beset with pearl and gold,
Were turn'd to simple garments old;
My chains and jems and golden rings,
To filthy rags and loathsome things.120
Thus was I scorn'd of maid and wife,
For leading such a wicked life;
Both sucking babes and children small,
Did make a pastime at my fall.
I could not get one bit of bread,125
Whereby my hunger might be fed:
Nor drink, but such as channels yield,
Or stinking ditches in the field.
Thus, weary of my life, at length
I yielded up my vital strength,130
Within a ditch of loathsome scent,
Where carrion dogs do much frequent:[Pg 200]
The which now since my dying day,
Is Shoreditch call'd, as writers say;
Which is a witness of my sin,135
For being concubine to a king.
You wanton wives, that fall to lust,
Be you assur'd that God is just;
Whoredom shall not escape his hand,
Nor pride unpunish'd in this land.140
If God to me such shame did bring,
That yielded only to a king,
How shall they scape that daily run
To practise sin with every man?
You husbands, match not but for love,145
Lest some disliking after prove;
Women, be warn'd when you are wives,
What plagues are due to sinful lives:
Then, maids and wives, in time amend,
For love and beauty will have end.

56. upon.

81. rude.

114. restore.

134. But it had this name long before; being so called from its being a common sewer (vulgarly shore) or drain.—Percy.

[Pg 201]


This copy of Sir Andrew Barton is to be found in Old Ballads (1723) vol. i. 159, Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 204, Moore's Pictorial Book of Ancient Ballad Poetry, p. 256, and Early Naval Ballads of England, Percy Society, vol. ii. p. 4, with only exceedingly trifling variations. We have followed the last, where the ballad is given from a black-letter copy in the British Museum, "printed by and for W. O., and sold by the booksellers."

When Flora with her fragrant flowers,
Bedeckt the earth so trim and gay,
And Neptune with his dainty showers,
Came to present the month of May,
King Henry would a-hunting ride;5
Over the river Thames passed he,
Unto a mountain-top also
Did walk, some pleasure for to see.
Where forty merchants he espy'd,
With fifty sail came towards him,10
Who then no sooner were arriv'd,
But on their knees did thus complain;
"An't please your grace, we cannot sail[Pg 202]
To France no voyage to be sure,
But Sir Andrew Barton makes us quail,15
And robs us of our marchant ware."
Vext was the king, and turning him,
Said to the lords of high degree,
"Have I ne'er a lord within my realm,
Dare fetch that traytor unto me?"20
To him reply'd Charles Lord Howard,
"I will, my liege, with heart and hand;
If it will please you grant me leave," he said,
"I will perform what you command."
To him then spoke King Henry,25
"I fear, my lord, you are too young."
"No whit at all, my liege," quoth he;
"I hope to prove in valour strong.
The Scotch knight I vow to seek,
In what place soever he be,30
And bring ashore with all his might,
Or into Scotland he shall carry me."
"A hundred men," the king then said,
"Out of my realm shall chosen be,
Besides sailors and ship-boys,35
To guide a great ship on the sea.
Bowmen and gunners of good skill,
Shall for this service chosen be,
And they at thy command and will
In all affairs shall wait on thee."40
Lord Howard call'd a gunner then,
Who was the best in all the realm,[Pg 203]
His age was threescore years and ten,
And Peter Simon was his name.
My lord call'd then a bow-man rare,45
Whose active hands had gained fame
A gentleman born in Yorkshire,
And William Horsely was his name.
"Horsely!" quoth he, "I must to sea,
To seek a traytor, with good speed:50
Of a hundred bow-men brave," quoth he,
"I have chosen thee to be the head."
"If you, my lord, have chosen me
Of a hundred men to be the head,
Upon the mainmast I'll hanged be,55
If twelve-score I miss one shilling's breadth."
Lord Howard then of courage bold,
Went to the sea with pleasant cheer,
Not curbed with winter's piercing cold,
Tho' it was the stormy time of year.60
Not long had he been on sea,
More in days than number three,
But one Henry Hunt then he espy'd,
A merchant of Newcastle was he.
To him Lord Howard call'd out amain,65
And strictly charged him to stand;
Demanding then from whence he came,
Or where he did intend to land.
The merchant then made answer soon,
With heavy heart and careful mind,70
"My lord, my ship it doth belong
Unto New-castle upon Tine."[Pg 204]
"Canst thou show me," the lord did say,
"As thou didst sail by day and night,
A Scottish rover on the sea,75
His name is Andrew Barton, knight?"
Then the merchant sighed and said,
With grieved mind and well-a-way,
"But over well I know that wight,
I was his prisoner yesterday.80
"As I, my lord, did sail from France,
A Burdeaue voyage to take so far,
I met with Sir Andrew Barton thence,
Who robb'd me of my merchant ware.
And mickle debts God knows I owe,85
And every man doth crave his own;
And I am bound to London now,
Of our gracious king to beg a boon."
"Show me him," said Lord Howard then,
"Let me once the villain see,90
And every penny he hath from thee ta'en,
I'll double the same with shillings three."
"Now, God forbid," the merchant said,
"I fear your aim that you will miss;
God bless you from his tyranny,95
For little you think what man he is.
"He is brass within and steel without,
His ship most huge and mighty strong,
With eighteen pieces of ordinance,
He carrieth on each side along.100
With beams for his top-castle,
As also being huge and high,[Pg 205]
That neither English nor Portugal
Can Sir Andrew Barton pass by."
"Hard news thou shewst," then said the lord,105
"To welcome stranger to the sea;
But as I said, I'll bring him aboard,
Or into Scotland he shall carry me."
The merchant said, "If thou will do so,
Take councel, then, I pray withal:110
Let no man to his top-castle go,
Nor strive to let his beams downfall.
"Lend me seven pieces of ordnance then,
Of each side of my ship," said he,
"And to-morrow, my Lord,115
Again I will your honour see.
A glass I set as may be seen,
Whether you sail by day or night;
And to-morrow, be sure before seven,
You shall see Sir Andrew Barton, knight."120
The merchant set my lord a glass,
So well apparent in his sight,
That on the morrow, as his promise was,
He saw Sir Andrew Barton, knight:
The lord then swore a mighty oath,125
"Now by the heavens that be of might,
By faith, believe me, and my troth,
I think he is a worthy knight."
"Fetch me my lyon out of hand,"
[Pg 206]Saith the lord, "with rose and streamer high;130
Set up withal a willow-wand,
That merchant like, I may pass by:"
Thus bravely did Lord Howard pass,
And on anchor rise so high;
No top-sail at last he cast,135
But as a foe did him defie.
Sir Andrew Barton seeing him
Thus scornfully to pass by,
As tho' he cared not a pin
For him and his company;140
Then called he his men amain,
"Fetch back yon pedlar now," quoth he,
"And ere this way he comes again,
I'll teach him well his courtesie."
A piece of ordnance soon was shot145
By this proud pirate fiercely then,
Into Lord Howard's middle deck,
Which cruel shot killed fourteen men.
He called then Peter Simon, he:
"Look how thy word do stand instead,150
For thou shall be hanged on main-mast,
If thou miss twelve score one penny breadth."
Then Peter Simon gave a shot,
Which did Sir Andrew mickle scare,
In at his deck it came so hot,155
Killed fifteen of his men of war.
"Alas," then said the pirate stout,
"I am in danger now I see;
This is some lord, I greatly fear,
[Pg 207]That is set on to conquer me."160
Then Henry Hunt, with rigour hot,
Came bravely on the other side,
Who likewise shot in at his deck,
And killed fifty of his men beside.
Then "Out alas," Sir Andrew cryd,165
"What may a man now think or say!
Yon merchant thief that pierceth me,
He was my prisoner yesterday."
Then did he on Gordion call
Unto the top castle for to go,170
And bid his beams he should let fall,
For he greatly fear'd an overthrow.
The lord call'd Horsely now in haste:
"Look that thy word stand in stead,
For thou shall be hanged on main mast,175
If thou miss twelve score a shilling's breadth."
Then up [the] mast tree swerved he,
This stout and mighty Gordion;
But Horsely he most happily
Shot him under his collar-bone:180
Then call'd he on his nephew then,
Said, "Sister's son, I have no mo,
Three hundred pound I will give thee,
If thou will to top-castle go."
Then stoutly he began to climb,185
From off the mast scorn'd to depart;
But Horsely soon prevented him,
And deadly pierced him to the heart.
His men being slain, then up amain
[Pg 208]Did this proud pirate climb with speed,190
For armour of proof he had on,
And did not dint of arrows dread.
"Come hither, Horseley," said the lord,
"See thou thy arrows aim aright;
Great means to thee I will afford,195
And if thou speedst, I'll make thee knight."
Sir Andrew did climb up the tree,
With right good will and all his main;
Then upon the breast hit Horsley he,
Till the arrow did return again.200
Then Horsley spied a private place,
With a perfect eye, in a secret part;
His arrow swiftly flew apace,
And smote Sir Andrew to the heart.
"Fight on, fight on, my merry men all,205
A little I am hurt, yet not slain;
I'll but lie down and bleed awhile,
And come and fight with you again.
"And do not," said he, "fear English rogues,
And of your foes stand not in awe,210
But stand fast by St. Andrew's crosse,
Until you hear my whistle blow."
They never heard this whistle blow,
Which made them all full sore afraid.
Then Horsely said, "My Lord, aboard,215
For now Sir Andrew Barton's dead."
Thus boarded they his gallant ship,
With right good will and all their main;
Eighteen score Scots alive in it,[Pg 209]
Besides as many more was slain.220
The lord went where Sir Andrew lay,
And quickly thence cut off his head;
"I should forsake England many a day,
If thou wert alive as thou art dead."
Thus from the wars Lord Howard came,225
With mickle joy and triumphing;
The pirate's head he brought along
For to present unto our king:
Who haply unto him did say,
Before he well knew what was done,230
"Where is the knight and pirate gay,
That I myself may give the doom?"
"You may thank God," then said the lord,
"And four men in the ship," quoth he,
"That we are safely come ashore,235
Sith you never had such an enemy;
That is Henry Hunt, and Peter Simon,
William Horsely, and Peter's son;
Therefore reward them for their pains,
For they did service at their turn."240
To the merchant therefore the King he said,
"In lieu of what he hath from thee tane,
I give thee a noble a-day,
Sir Andrew's whistle and his chain:
[Pg 210]To Peter Simon a crown a-day,245
And half-a-crown a-day to Peter's son,
And that was for a shot so gay,
Which bravely brought Sir Andrew down.
"Horsely, I will make thee a knight,
And in Yorkshire thou shalt dwell:250
Lord Howard shall Earl Bury hight,
For this act he deserveth well.
Ninety pound to our Englishmen,
Who in this fight did stoutly stand;
And twelve-pence a-day to the Scots, till they255
Come to my brother king's high land."

129-136. In some copies this stanza is wrongly placed after the next.

238. The services of Peter's son, not mentioned in this ballad, are duly recorded in the older, unabridged copy. See v. 53-56, on p. 64.


From Evans's Old Ballads, iii. 132.

The favor shown by Queen Mary to her brother Lord James Stuart, on her first coming to Scotland, excited a violent jealousy in Gordon, Earl of Huntly, who, as a Catholic, and the head of a loyal and powerful family in the North, expected no slight distinction from his sovereign. This jealousy broke out into open hostility when the Queen, in 1562, conferred on her brother the earldom of Murray, the honors and revenues of which had been enjoyed by Huntly since 1548. Mary was at this time on a progress in the northern part of her kingdom, attended by the new earl and a small escort. Huntly collected his[Pg 211] vassals and posted himself at a place called the Fair Bank, or Corichie, near Aberdeen. Murray having increased his forces by seven or eight hundred of the Forbeses and Leslies, who, although attached to the Huntly faction, dared not disobey the Queen's summons, marched to the attack. As little confidence could be placed in the good faith of the northern recruits, he ordered them to begin the battle. In obedience to this command, they advanced against the enemy, but instantly recoiled and retreated in a pretended panic on Murray's reserve, followed by the Gordons in disorder. The Queen's party received both the flying and the pursuers with an impenetrable front of lances. Huntly was repulsed, and the other northern clans, seeing how the victory was going, turned their swords upon their friends. Many of the Gordons were slain, and the Earl, who was old and fat, being thrown from his horse, was smothered in the retreat. His sons John and Adam were taken prisoners, and the former was put to death at Aberdeen the day after the battle.

The following ballad, it will be perceived, is utterly at variance with the facts of history. It was first printed in Evans's Old Ballads, and is said to be the composition of one Forbes, schoolmaster at Mary-Culter, on Dee-side. The dialect is broad Aberdeen.

Murn ye heighlands, and murn ye leighlands,
I trow ye hae meikle need;
For thi bonny burn o' Corichie
His run this day wi' bleid.[Pg 212]
Thi hopefu' laird o' Finliter,5
Erle Huntly's gallant son,
For thi love hi bare our beauteous quine
His gar't fair Scotland mone.
Hi his braken his ward in Aberdene,
Throu dreid o' thi fause Murry,10
And his gather't the gentle Gordone clan,
An' his father, auld Huntly.
Fain wid he tak our bonny guide quine,
An' beare hir awa' wi' him;
But Murry's slee wyles spoil't a' thi sport,15
An' reft him o' lyfe and lim.
Murry gar 't rayse thi tardy Merns men,
An' Angis, an' mony ane mair,
Erle Morton, and the Byres Lord Linsay,
An' campit at thi hill o' Fare.20
Erle Huntlie came wi' Haddo Gordone,
An' countit ane thusan men;
But Murry had abien twal hunder,
Wi' sax score horsemen and ten.
They soundit thi bougills an' the trumpits,25
An' marchit on in brave array,
Till the spiers an' the axis forgatherit,
An' than did begin thi fray.
Thi Gordones sae fercelie did fecht it,
[Pg 213]Withouten terrer or dreid,30
That mony o' Murry's men lay gaspin,
An' dyit thi grund wi theire bleid.
Then fause Murry feingit to flee them,
An' they pursuit at his backe,
Whan thi haf o' thi Gordones desertit,35
An' turnit wi' Murray in a crack.
Wi hether i' thir bonnits they turnit,
The traiter Haddo o' their heid,
An' slaid theire brithers an' their fatheris,
An' spoilit an' left them for deid.40
Then Murry cried to tak thi auld Gordone,
An' mony ane ran wi' speid;
But Stuart o' Inchbraik had him stickit,
An' out gushit thi fat lurdane's bleid.
Then they teuke his twa sones quick an' hale,45
An' bare them awa' to Aberdene;
But fair did our guide quine lament
Thi waeful chance that they were tane.
Erle Murry lost mony a gallant stout man;
Thi hopefu' laird o' Thornitune,50
Pittera's sons, an Egli's far fearit laird,
An mair to mi unkend, fell doune.
Erle Huntly mist ten score o' his bra' men,
Sum o' heigh an' sum o' leigh degree;
Skeenis youngest son, thi pryde o' a' the clan,
[Pg 214]Was ther fun' dead, he widna flee.55
This bloody fecht wis fercely faucht
Octobri's aught an' twinty day,
Crystis' fyfteen hundred thriscore yeir
An' twa will merk thi deidlie fray.60
But now the day maist waefu' came,
That day the quine did grite her fill,
For Huntly's gallant stalwart son,
Wis heidit on thi heidin hill.
Fyve noble Gordones wi' him hangit were65
Upon thi samen fatal playne;
Crule Murry gar't thi waefu' quine luke out,
And see hir lover an' liges slayne.
I wis our quine had better frinds,
I wis our country better peice;70
I wis our lords wid na' discord,
I wis our weirs at hame may ceise.

5. This.



When Philip the Second was preparing his Armada for the conquest of England, he spared no pains to induce James of Scotland to favor his enterprise. Elizabeth, on her part, was not less active to secure the friendship of a neighbor, who, by opening or closing his ports, might do so much to assist or to counteract the projects of her enemy. James had the[Pg 215] wisdom to see that it was not for his interest to ally himself with a power that sought the extinction of the faith which he professed, and the subjugation of a kingdom to which he was the heir. The Spanish overtures were rejected, and the great body of the people, warmly applauding the king's decision, entered into a combination to resist an attempt to land at any point on the Scottish coast. There was, nevertheless, a small party in Scotland which favoured the designs of Philip. At the head of this faction were the Catholic Earls of Huntly, Errol, and Angus. Even after the dispersion of the Armada, they kept up negotiations with the Prince of Parma and the King of Spain, in the hope of restoring the ancient religion, or at least of obtaining for themselves an equality of privileges with the Protestants. More than once were the leaders of this party committed to prison for overt acts of treason, and released by the clemency of the sovereign, but suffering as the Romanists did under the oppression of a fanatical majority, rebellion was their natural condition.

After various acts of insubordination, continued for a series of years, it was proved beyond question that the Catholic earls had signed papers for an invasion of Britain by 30,000 foreigners. A Convention of Estates, summoned to consider the affair, finally determined that the three earls should be exempt from further inquiry on account of this conspiracy, but that before the first day of February, 1594, they should either renounce the errors of Popery, or remove from the kingdom. The Catholic leaders, relying on the number of their supporters, and not less on the inaccessible nature of the country in which their estates[Pg 216] lay, scornfully rejected the choice proposed to them, renewed their connections with Spain, and were accordingly declared guilty of high treason and subjected to the doom of forfeiture.

King James's exchequer was at this time so low that it was impossible for him to undertake the enforcing of this sentence in person. He was obliged to delegate the office to the young Earl of Argyle, who was induced to accept the appointment by the promise of a portion of Huntly's forfeited estates. The prospect of booty and the authority of the chief of the Campbells drew together six or seven thousand Highlanders, to whom were joined some hundreds of men from the Western Islands, under the chief of Maclean. With this body, one fourth of whom carried firelocks, while the rest were armed after the Gaelic fashion, Argyle descended from the hills towards Huntly's castle of Strathbogie.

The chief of the Gordons, suddenly assailed, had no time to procure assistance from Angus. He collected about a thousand gentlemen of his own name, and Errol came to his aid with two or three hundred of the Hays. All these were men of birth, well armed and mounted, and to this small, but powerful, troop of cavalry, was added a train of six field pieces (engines very terrible to Highlanders), under the management of an excellent soldier, the very same Captain Ker, who has figured already in the ballad of Edom o' Gordon.

The armies encountered at a place called Belrinnes in a district called Glenlivet. The Highlanders were posted on a mountain-side, so steep that footmen could barely keep their hold. Notwithstanding this obstacle,[Pg 217] the Earls determined to attempt the ascent, and Errol, supported by Sir Patrick Gordon, led the Hays up the hill in the very face of the foe. While the vanguard was advancing, Ker brought some of his artillery to bear on Argyle's front, which threw the Highlanders into confusion, and caused some of them to fly. Errol's horsemen, however, were soon forced by the steepness of the mountain to wheel and move obliquely, and their flank being thus exposed, their horses suffered considerable damage from a volley of bullets and arrows. Upon this Huntly made a fierce attack upon Argyle's centre, and bore down his banner, and his cavalry soon after attaining to more even ground, where their horses could operate with efficiency, the Highlanders, who were destitute of lances, and so unable to withstand the shock, were driven down the other side of the hill, and put to utter rout. The chief of Maclean alone withstood the assault of the horsemen, and performed marvellous feats of bravery, but was at last forced off the field by his own soldiers, and Argyle himself was compelled to fly, weeping with anger. Of the Catholics, Sir Patrick Gordon, Huntley's uncle, was slain, with only twelve others. The loss of the other party was several hundred soldiers, besides some men of note, among them Campbell of Lochinzell.

This battle was fought on the third of October, 1594. The action is called the Battle of Glenlivet, or of Balrinnes, and also of Strath-aven.—See the 38th chapter of Sir W. Scott's History of Scotland, and the contemporary narrative in Dalzell's Scotish Poems of the Sixteenth Century, i. 136.

The ballad which follows is taken from the publica[Pg 218]tion of Dalzell just mentioned, vol. ii. p. 347. There is a copy in the Pepys Collection, and another in the Advocates' Library, printed at Edinburgh in 1681. The ballad is also printed, undoubtedly from a stall copy, in Scarce Ancient Ballads, p. 29. The first four stanzas had previously been given in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ii. 144. The older version of Dalzell is somewhat defective, and abounds in errors, which, as well as the vitiated orthography, are attributed to the ignorance of an English transcriber. The omissions are here supplied in the margin from the other copies.

Betuixt Dunother and Aberdein,
I rais and tuik the way,
Beleiuing weill it had not beine
Nought halff ane hour to day.
The lift was clad with cloudis gray,5
And owermaskit was the moone,
Quhilk me deceaued whair I lay,
And maid me ryss ouer soone.
On Towie Mounth I mett a man,
Weill grathed in his gear:10
Quoth I, "Quhat neues?" then he begane
To tell a fitt of warre.
Quoth he, "Of lait I heir,
Ane bloodie broust there was brouine,[Pg 219]
Zesterday, withouten moir,15
Upone ane hill at Strathdoune."

Then I, as any man wold be,25
Desyrous for to know
Mair of that taill he told to me,
The quhilk he said he sawe—
Be then the day began to daw,
And back with him I red;30
Then he began the soothe to schaw,
And on this wayis he said.
Macallenmore cam from the wast
With many a bow and brand;
To wast the Rinnes he thought best,35
The Earll of Huntlies land.
He swore that none should him gainestand,
Except that he war fay;
Bot all sould be at his comand
That dwelt be northen Tay.40
Then Huntlie, for to prevent that perrill,
Directit hastilie[Pg 220]
Unto the noble Erll of Erroll,
Besought him for supplie.
Quha said, "It is my deutie45
For to giue Huntlie support;
For if he lossis Strabolgie,
My Slaines will be ill hurt.
"Thairfoir I hald the subject vaine,
Wold rave us of our right;50
First sall one of us be slaine,
The uther tak the flight.
Suppose Argyll be muche of might,
Be force of Heigheland men;
We's be a motte into his sight,55
Or he pas hame againe.
"Be blaithe, my mirrie men, be blaithe,
Argyll sall have the worse,
Give he into this countrie kaithe,
I houpe in God[i]s cross."60
Then leap this lord upon his horss,
Ane warrlyk troupe at Torray;
To meit with Huntlie and his force,
They ryde to Elgine of Murray.
The samen night thir lordis meit;65
For utheris, who thought long,
(To tell zow all, I haue forgot)
The mirthe was them amonge.
Then playeris played, and songsters song,
To gled the mirrie host,70
Quho feared not thair foes strong,
Nor zet Argylles boste.[Pg 221]
They for two dayes wold not remove,
Bot blaithlie dranck the wyne,
Some to his lass, some to his loue,75
Some to his ladeis fyne.
And he that thought not for to blyne,
His mistres tockin tackes;
They kist it first, and set it syne
Upone thair helmes and jackes.80
They past thair tyme right wantonly,
Quhill word cam at ye last,
Argyll, with ane great armie,
Approached wondrous fast.
Then [out] of the toune thir barrones past,85
And Huntlie to them said,
"Good gentillmen, we will us cast
To Strathbolgie but bed."
Quhen they unto Strathbolgie came,
To that castell but dreid,90
Then to forsee how thingis might frame,[Pg 222]
For they had meikle neid,
They woned them unto the dead,
As kirkmen could devys;
Syne prayed to God that they might speed95
Off thair guid enterpryse.
Then evirie man himself did arme,
To meit Mackallanmorne,
Unto Strathdoune quho did great harme
The Wednesday beforne.100
As lyounes does poore lambes devoure,
With bloodie teethe and naillis,
They burnt the biggingis, tuik the store,
Syne slewe the peopillis sellis.
Besyd all this hie crueltie,105
He said, ere he should ceass,
The standing stonnes of Strathbolgie
Schould be his palione place.
Bot Huntlie said, "With Godis grace,
First we sall fight them ones;110
Perchance that they may tak the chess,
Ere they come to the stonnes."
Thir lordis keipt on at afternoone,
With all thair warrmen wight;
Then sped up to Cabrach sone,115
Whair they bed all that night.
Upone the morne, quhen day was light,
They rose and maid them boune
Intill ane castell that stood on hight,
[Pg 223]They call it Auchindoune.120
Besyd that castell, on a croft,
They stended pallionis ther;
Then spak a man that had bein oft
In jeopardie of warr:
"My lord, zour foes they ar to fear,125
Thoughe we war neuir so stoute;
Thairfoir comand some man of warre
To watche the rest about."
Be this was done, some gentillmen
Of noble kin and blood,130
To counsell with thir lordis begane,
Of matteris to concluide:
For weill aneughe they understood
The matter was of weght,
They had so manie men of good135
In battell for to fight.
The firstin man in counsall spak,
Good Errol it was he;
Who sayis, "I will the vaneguard tack
And leiding upone me.140
My Lord Huntlie, come succour me,
When ze sie me opprest;
For fra the feild I will not flie
So long as I may last."
Thair at some Gordones waxed wraithe,145
And said he did them wrong;
To lat this lord then they warre leath
First to [the] battell gange.
The meiting that was them amonge,[Pg 224]
Was no man that it hard,150
Bot Huntlie, with ane troupe full stronge,
Bed into the reir guarde.
Thir wer the number of thair force
Thir lordis to battell led:
Ane thousand gentillmen on horss,155
And some fotemen they had;
Thrie hundreth that schot arrowes bred,
Four scorr that hagbutis bore:
Thir war the number that they had
Of footmen with them suire.160
This worthy chevalrie
All merchand to the field;
Argyll, with ane great armie,
Upone ane hill had tane beild,
Aboyding them [with] speare and scheild,165
With bullettis, dartis, and bowes;
The men could weill thair wapones weild;
To meit them was no mowes.
When they so near uther war come,
That ilk man saw his foe,170
"Goe to, and assay the gaime," said some;
Bot Capitane Ker said, "No:[Pg 225]
First lat the gunes befoir us goe,
That they may break the order":
Quoth both the lordis, "Lat it be so,175
Or euer we goe forder."
Then Androw Gray, upone ane horss,
Betuixt the battillis red;
Makand the signe of holy cross,
In manus tuas he said.180
He lighted thair [the] gunes to led,
Quhill they cam to the rest;
Then Capitane Ker unto him sped,
And bad him shuit in haist.
"I will not [shuit]," quothe Androw Gray,185
"Quhill they cum over zonder hill;
We have an ower guid caus this dey,
Through misgydins to spill.
Goe back, and bid our men byd still,
Quhill they cum to the plaine;190
Then sall my shuitting doe them ill,
I will not shuit in vaine."
"Shuit up, shuit up," quothe Capitane Ker,
"Shuit up, to our comfort!"
The firsten shot [it] was to neir,195
It lighted all to schort.
The nixtin shot thair foes hurt,
It lighted wounderous weill:
Quoth Androw Gray, "I sie ane sport,
[Pg 226]Quhen they began to reill.200
"Goe toe, good mattes, and say the game,
Zonder folkis ar in a fray;
Lat sie how we can well with them,
Into thair disaray.
Goe, goe, it is not tyme to stay,205
All for my bennisoune;
Saue non this day ze may gar dye,
Quhill ze the feild haue wonne."
Then Errol haisted to the hight,
Whair he did battell byd;
With him went Auchindoune and Gight,
And Bonnitoune by his syd:220
Whair manie gentillman did with him byd,
Whos prais sould not be smored;
Bot Capitane Ker, that was thair gyde,
Red ay befoir my lord.
They war not manie men of werre,225
Bot they war wonder trewe;
With hagbutis, pistolet, bowe, and speare,
They did thair foes persewe,
Quhair bullettis, dartis, and arrowes flew,
[Pg 227]Als thick as haill or raine,230
Quhilk manie hurt, and some they slew,
Of horss and gentillmen.
Huntlie maid haist to succour him,
And charged furiouslie,
Quhair manie menis sight grew dim,235
The shottis so thick did flie;
Quhilk gart right manie doghtie die,
Of some on euerie syd;
Argyll with his tald hoste did flie,
Bot Macklenne did abyd.240
Macklene had one ane habershoune,
Ilk lord had one ane jack;
Togidder feirc[e]lie are they rune,
With manie a gunes crack.
The splenderis of thair spearis they break,245
Flewe up into the air,
Quhilk boore doune maney on thair back,
Againe ros neuer mair.
"Alace, I sie ane soré sight,"265
Said the Laird of Macklenne;
"Our feible folkis is tenne the flight,[Pg 228]
And left me myne allaine.
Now must I flie, or els be slaine,
Since they will not returne;"270
With that he ran ouer ane dyne,
Endlongis ane lytill burne.
Then after great Argylles hoste
Some horssmen tuik the chess,
Quha turned their backes for all thair bost,275
Contrair the fooles say[s].
They cried "oh," with manie "alace,"
Bot neuir for mercie sought;
Thairfoir the Gordones gaue no grace,
Becaus they craved it nought.280
Then some guidman perseiued sharpe,
With Erroll and Huntlie,
And thai with [a] capitane did carpe,
Quhais name was Ogilvie.
He sayis, "Gentillmen, lat see285
Who maniest slaine slaydis;
Save non this day ze may gar die,
For pleadis, nor ransome paynes."[Pg 229]
Lyk hartes, up howes and hillis thei ranne,
Quhair horsmen might not winn:290
"Reteir againe," quoth Huntlie then,
"Quhair we did first begin.
Heir lyes manie carved skinnes,
With manie ane bloodie beard,
For anie helpe, with litell dinne,295
Sall rotte aboue the eard."
When they cam to the hill againe,
The sett doune one thair knees,
Syne thanked God that they had slaine
Soe manie enimies.300
They ros befor Argylles eyis,
Maid Capitane Ker ane knight;
Syne bed among the dead bodies,
Whill they war out of sight.
This deid so doughtilie was done,
As I hard trewe men tell,
Upone ane Thursday afternoone,
St. Franecis ewill befell.[Pg 230]
Guid Auchindoune was slaine himself,325
With uther seven in battéll;
So was the Laird of Lochinzell,
Grate pitie was to tell.


Saying, "The ministers, I fear,
A bloody browst have brown,
For yesterday, withouthen mair,15
On the hill at Stradown,
I saw three lords in battle fight
Right furiously awhile,
Huntlie and Errol, as they hight,
Were both against Argyle.20
Turn back with me and ride a mile,
And I shall make it kend,
How they began, the form and stile,
And of the battles end."


36. landis.

88. beed.

91. fraine.

89-96. This stanza is unintelligible in Dalzell. It stands thus in Laing's copy.

When they unto Strathboggy came,
To council soon they geed,
For to see how things might frame,
For they had meikle need.
They voted then to do a deed
As kirkmen do devise,
And pray'd that they might find good speed
In that great interprise.

149. This line seems to be corrupted.

161. Some words are lost.

Thus with their noble cavalry
They marched to the field.


165. speares and scheildis.

167. weild thair wapones weill.

180. mannis.

187. then ower.


Then awful Erroll he can say
"Good fellows, follow me:210
I hope it shall be ours this day,
Or else therefore to die.
Tho they in number many be,
Set on, withoutten words;
Let ilk brave fellow brake his tree,215
And then pursue with swords."

213. many were.

219. within went.


Then some men said, "We will be sure
And take Maclean by course;250
Go to, for we are men anew
To bear him down by force."
But noble Errol had remorse,
And said, "It is not best,
For tho Argyle has got the worst,255
Let him gang with the rest.


"What greater honour could ye wish
In deeds of chivalry,
Or brave victory than this,
Where one has chac'd thrice three?260
Therefore, good fellows, let him be;
He'll die before he yield;
For he with his small company
Bade langest in the field."

281. perceiued.

286, 288. corrupted.


Now I have you already tauld,305
Huntly and Errol's men
Could scarce be thirteen hundred called,
The truth if ye would ken.
And yet Argyle his thousands ten
Were they that took the race,310
And tho that they were nine to ane,
They caused [them] take the chace.

308. he.

309. has.


Sae Argyle's boast it was in vain,
(He thought sure not to tyne)
That if he durst cum to the plain,315
He would gar every nine
Of his lay hold upon ilk man
Huntly and Errol had:
But yet for all his odds he ran
To tell how ill he sped.320

319. fled.

324. should be eve, or vigil.


This ballad is taken from Maidment's North Countrie Garland, p. 15. There is another version in Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 136 (The Death of John Seton).

John Seton of Pitmedden, a young and brave cavalier, was shot through the middle by a cannon ball, during the skirmish at the Bridge of Dee, while engaged, under the Viscount of Aboyne, in resisting the advance of Montrose upon the town of Aberdeen, in June, 1639. It was the hard fate of Aberdeen to suffer from the arms of Montrose, first, when he was general of the Covenanters, and again while he was[Pg 231] lieutenant for the King. The murder and pillage perpetrated in the town by the Irish after the defeat of Lord Burleigh, in 1644, have been made the subject of violent reproach by his enemies, but it may perhaps be said, that for all that exceeded the usual horrors of war, the heroic commander was not responsible. In Buchan's version of the present ballad, the clemency shown by Montrose on taking possession of the city in 1639 is commemorated in three stanzas worthy of preservation. The Covenanters were "resolved to have sacked it orderly."

Out it speeks the gallant Montrose,
(Grace on his fair body!)
"We winna burn the bonny burgh,
We'll even lat it be."
Then out it speaks the gallant Montrose,
"Your purpose I will break;
We winna burn the bonny burgh,
We'll never build its make.
"I see the women and their children
Climbing the craigs sae hie;
We'll sleep this night in the bonny burgh,
And even lat it be."

Upon the eighteenth day of June,
A dreary day to see,
The Southern lords did pitch their camp
Just at the bridge of Dee.
Bonny John Seton of Pitmeddin,
A bold baron was he,[Pg 232]
He made his testament ere he went out,
The wiser man was he.
He left his land to his young son,
His lady her dowry,10
A thousand crowns to his daughter Jean,
Yet on the nurse's knee.
Then out came his lady fair,
A tear into her e'e;
Says "Stay at home, my own good lord,15
O stay at home with me!"
He looked over his left shoulder,
Cried, "Souldiers, follow me!"
O then she looked in his face,
An angry woman was she:20
"God send me back my steed again,
But ne'er let me see thee!"
His name was Major Middleton
That manned the bridge of Dee;
His name was Colonel Henderson25
That let the cannons flee.
His name was Major Middleton
That manned the bridge of Dee;
And his name was Colonel Henderson
That dung Pitmeddin in three.30
Some rode on the black and gray,
And some rode on the brown,[Pg 233]
But the bonny John Seton
Lay gasping on the ground.
Then bye there comes a false Forbes,35
Was riding from Driminere;
Says "Here there lies a proud Seton,
This day they ride the rear."
Cragievar said to his men,
"You may play on your shield;40
For the proudest Seton in all the lan'
This day lies on the field."
"O spoil him, spoil him," cried Cragievar,
"Him spoiled let me see;
For on my word," said Cragievar,45
"He had no good will at me."
They took from him his armour clear,
His sword, likewise his shield;
Yea they have left him naked there
Upon the open field.50
The Highland men, they're clever men
At handling sword and shield,
But yet they are too naked men
To stay in battle field.
The Highland men are clever men55
At handling sword or gun,[Pg 234]
But yet they are too naked men
To bear the cannon's rung.
For a cannon's roar in a summer night
Is like thunder in the air;60
There's not a man in Highland dress
Can face the cannon's fire.

39. Sir William Forbes of Cragievar.

55-62. The Highlanders were thrown into great consternation by cannon shot, to which they were not accustomed. At the Raid of Stonehaven, just previous to the affair of the Bridge of Dee, the first volley made them wheel about and fly in disorder. They declared that they could not abide "the musket's mother."


Ritson's Scottish Songs, ii. 40. Johnson's Museum, p. 502.

This ballad, very popular in Scotland, was long sold on the stalls before it was received into the collections. A glance will show that it has at best been very imperfectly transmitted by oral tradition. In fact, the Ettrick Shepherd seems to be right in maintaining that two widely separated events are here jumbled together. The first five stanzas apparently refer to an action in May, 1690, when Sir Thomas Livingston surprised fifteen hundred Highlanders in their beds at Cromdale, and the remainder to the lost battle of Auldern, where Montrose, with far inferior forces, defeated Sir John Hurry with prodigious slaughter, on the 4th of May, 1645. Mr. Stenhouse[Pg 235] states, indeed, that after that imprudent division of the army of the Covenant which opened the way to the disaster at Auldern, Hurry surprised and routed at Cromdale a body of Highlanders under the lion-hearted Allaster Macdonald. But this check appears, by his own language, to have been too slight an affair to call forth such verses as those with which the ballad begins. See Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 157, Johnson's Museum (1853), iv. 428.

As I came in by Achendown,
A little wee bit frae the town,
When to the highlands I was bown,
To view the haws of Cromdale,
I met a man in tartan trews,5
I spier'd at him what was the news:
Quoth he, "The highland army rues
That e'er we came to Cromdale."
"We were in bed, sir, every man,
When the English host upon us came;10
A bloody battle then began
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
"The English horse they were so rude,
They bath'd their hoofs in highland blood,
But our brave clans they boldly stood,15
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
"But alas! we could no longer stay,
For o'er the hills we came away,[Pg 236]
And sore we do lament the day
That e'er we came to Cromdale."20

Thus the great Montrose did say,
"Can you direct the nearest way?
For I will o'er the hills this day,
And view the haws of Cromdale."
"Alas, my lord, you're not so strong;25
You scarcely have two thousand men,
And there's twenty thousand on the plain,
Stand rank and file on Cromdale."
Thus the great Montrose did say,
"I say, direct the nearest way,30
For I will o'er the hills this day,
And see the haws of Cromdale."
They were at dinner, every man,
When great Montrose upon them came;
A second battle then began35
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
The Grants, Mackenzies, and M'Kys,
Soon as Montrose they did espy,
O then they fought most vehemently,
Upon the haws of Cromdale.40
The M'Donalds, they return'd again,
The Camerons did their standard join,
M'Intosh play'd a bonny game,
Upon the haws of Cromdale.[Pg 237]
The M'Gregors fought like lyons bold,45
M'Phersons, none could them controul,
M'Lauchlins fought like loyal souls,
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
[M'Leans, M'Dougals, and M'Neals,
So boldly as they took the field,50
And made their enemies to yield,
Upon the haws of Cromdale.]
The Gordons boldly did advance,
The Fraziers [fought] with sword and lance,
The Grahams they made their heads to dance,55
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
The loyal Stewarts, with Montrose,
So boldly set upon their foes,
And brought them down with highland blows,
Upon the haws of Cromdale60
Of twenty thousand Cromwells men
Five hundred went to Aberdeen,
The rest of them lyes on the plain,
Upon the haws of Cromdale.
[Pg 238]


Two months after the defeat of Sir John Hurry at Auldern, Montrose utterly destroyed the other division of the covenanting army, under General Baillie, at Alford on the Don. On the 2d of July, the King's forces marched from Drumminor, and crossed the Don to Alford, Montrose and the Earl of Aboyne taking up their quarters in the castle of Asloun. Baillie, who was now in pursuit of the royalists, moved southward, and encamped on the day just mentioned, at Lesly. The next morning he crossed the river (halting on the way near a farm called Mill Hill), whereupon the battle took place. Montrose dearly purchased this new victory by the loss of Lord George Gordon, who commanded the right wing, not the left.

These fragmentary verses are from The Thistle of Scotland, p. 68.

The Graham[s and] Gordons of Aboyne
Camp'd at Drumminor bog;
At the castle there they lay all night,
And left them scarce a hog.
The black Baillie, that auld dog,5
Appeared on our right;
We quickly raise up frae the bog,
To Alford march'd that night.[Pg 239]
We lay at Lesly all night,
They camped at Asloun;10
And up we raise afore daylight,
To ding the beggars doun.
Before we was in battle rank,
We was anent Mill Hill;
I wat full weel they gar'd us rue,15
We gat fighting our fill.
They hunted us and dunted us,
They drave us here and there,
Untill three hundred of our men
Lay gasping in their lair.20
The Earl of Mar the right wing guided,
The colours stood him by;
Lord George Gordon the left wing guided,
Who well the sword could ply.
There came a ball shot frae the west25
That shot him through the back;
Although he was our enemy,
We grieved for his wreck.
We cannot say 'twas his own men,
But yet it came that way;30
In Scotland there was not a match
To that man where he lay.

15. fell.

[Pg 240]


Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ii. 203

"The insurrection commemorated and magnified in the following ballad, as indeed it has been in some histories, was, in itself, no very important affair. It began in Dumfries-shire, where Sir James Turner, a soldier of fortune, was employed to levy the arbitrary fines imposed for not attending the Episcopal churches. The people rose, seized his person, disarmed his soldiers, and, having continued together, resolved to march towards Edinburgh, expecting to be joined by their friends in that quarter. In this they were disappointed; and, being now diminished to half their numbers, they drew up on the Pentland Hills, at a place called Rullien Green. They were commanded by one Wallace; and here they awaited the approach of General Dalziel, of Binns; who, having marched to Calder, to meet them on the Lanark road, and finding, that, by passing through Collington, they had got to the other side of the hills, cut through the mountains and approached them. Wallace showed both spirit and judgment: he drew up his men in a very strong situation, and withstood two charges of Dalziel's cavalry; but, upon the third shock, the insurgents were broken and utterly dispersed. There was very little slaughter, as the cavalry of Dalziel were chiefly gentlemen, who pitied their oppressed and misguided countrymen. There were about fifty killed, and as many made prisoners. The battle was[Pg 241] fought on the 28th November, 1666; a day still observed by the scattered remnant of the Cameronian sect, who regularly hear a field-preaching upon the field of battle.

"I am obliged for a copy of the ballad to Mr. Livingston of Airds, who took it down from the recitation of an old woman residing on his estate.

"The gallant Grahams, mentioned in the text, are Graham of Claverhouse's horse." Scott.

The gallant Grahams cam from the west,
Wi' their horses black as ony craw;
The Lothian lads they marched fast,
To be at the Rhyns o' Gallowa.
Betwixt Dumfries town and Argyle,5
The lads they marched mony a mile;
Souters and tailors unto them drew,
Their covenants for to renew.
The Whigs, they, wi' their merry cracks,
Gar'd the poor pedlars lay down their packs;10
But aye sinsyne they do repent
The renewing o' their Covenant.
At the Mauchline muir, where they were review'd,
Ten thousand men in armour show'd;
But, ere they came to the Brockie's burn,15
The half of them did back return.
General Dalyell, as I hear tell,
Was our lieutenant-general;[Pg 242]
And Captain Welsh, wi' his wit and skill,
Was to guide them on to the Pentland hill.20
General Dalyell held to the hill,
Asking at them what was their will;
And who gave them this protestation,
To rise in arms against the nation?
"Although we all in armour be,25
It's not against his majesty;
Nor yet to spill our neighbour's bluid,
But wi' the country we'll conclude."
"Lay down your arms, in the King's name,
And ye shall a' gae safely hame;"30
But they a' cried out wi' ae consent,
"We'll fight for a broken Covenant."
"O well," says he, "since it is so,
A wilfu' man never wanted woe:"
He then gave a sign unto his lads,35
And they drew up in their brigades.
The trumpets blew, and the colours flew,
And every man to his armour drew;
The Whigs were never so much aghast,
As to see their saddles toom sae fast.40
The cleverest men stood in the van,
The Whigs they took their heels and ran;
But such a raking was never seen,
As the raking o' the Rullien Green.
[Pg 243]


Several companies, principally Irish, belonging to the army of King James, and stationed at Reading, had quitted the town in consequence of a report that the Prince of Orange was advancing in that direction with the main body of his forces. On the departure of the garrison, the people of Reading at once invited the Prince to take possession of the place, and secure them against the Irish. But the King's troops, having learned that it was only a small detachment of William's soldiers, and not the main army, by whom they were threatened, returned and reoccupied their post. Here they were attacked by two hundred and fifty of the Dutch, and though numbering six hundred, were soon put to flight, with the loss of their colors and of fifty men, the assailants losing but five. This skirmish occurred on Sunday, the 9th of December, 1688.

This piece is extracted from Croker's Historical Songs of Ireland, p. 14, Percy Society, vol. i., and was there given from a collection of printed ballads in the British Museum. The burden seems to be derived from the following stanza of Lilli burlero:

"Now, now de heretics all go down,
Lilli, &c.
By Chreist and St. Patrick de nation's our own,
Lilli, &c.
[Pg 244]


Five hundred papishes came there,
To make a final end
Of all the town, in time of prayer,
But God did them defend.

To the tune of Lilli borlero. Licensed according to order. Printed for J. D. in the year 1688.

We came into brave Reading by night,
Five hundred horsemen proper and tall;
Yet not resolved fairly to fight,
But for to cut the throats of them all.
Most of us was Irish Papists,5
Who vowed to kill, then plunder the town;
We this never doubted, but soon we were routed,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we all go down.
In Reading town we ne'er went to bed;
Every soul there mounted his horse,10
Hoping next day to fill them with dread;
Yet I swear by St. Patrick's cross,
We most shamefully was routed:
Fortune was pleased to give us a frown,
And blasted our glory: I'll tell you the story,15
By Chreest and St. Patrick we all go down.
We thought to slay them all in their sleep,
But by my shoul, were never the near,[Pg 245]
The hereticks their guard did so keep,
Which put us in a trembling fear.20
We concluded something further,
To seize the churches all in the town,
With killing and slaying, while they were a praying,
But we were routed, and soon run down.
Nay, before noon, we vowed to despatch25
Every man, nay, woman and child;
This in our hearts we freely did hatch,
Vowing to make a prey of the spoil.
But we straightways was prevented,
When we did hope for fame and renown;30
In less than an hour we [are] forcéd to scoure;
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we are run down.
We were resolved Reading to clear,
Having in hand the flourishing sword;
The bloody sceen was soon to appear,35
For we did then but wait for the word:
While the ministers were preaching,
We were resolved to have at their gown;
But straight was surrounded, and clearly confounded,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we all go down.40
Just as we all were fit to fall on,
In came the Dutch with fury and speed;
And amongst them there was not a man,
But what was rarely mounted indeed;
And rid up as fierce as tygers,45
Knitting their brows, they on us did frown;
Not one of them idle, their teeth held their bridle,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we were run down.[Pg 246]
They never stood to use many words,
But in all haste up to us they flocked,50
In their right hands their flourishing swords,
And their left carbines ready cock'd.
We were forced to fly before them,
Thorow the lanes and streets of the town;
While they pursued after, and threaten'd a slaughter,55
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we were run down.
Then being fairly put to the rout,
Hunted and drove before 'um like dogs,
Our captain bid us then face about,
But we wisht for our Irish bogs.60
Having no great mind for fighting,
The Dutch did drive us thorow the town;
Our foreheads we crossed, yet still was unhorsed,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down.
We threw away our swords and carbines,65
Pistols and cloaks lay strow'd on the lands;
Cutting off boots for running, uds-doyns,
One pair of heels was worth two pair of hands.
Then we called on sweet St. Coleman,
Hoping he might our victory crown;70
But Dutchmen pursuing poor Teagues to our ruin,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down.
Never was Teagues in so much distress,
As the whole world may well understand;
When we came here, we thought to possess75
Worthy estates of houses and land:[Pg 247]
But we find 'tis all a story,
Fortune is pleased on us to frown:
Instead of our riches, we stink in our breeches,
By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down.80
They call a thing a three-legged mare,
Where they will fit each neck with a nooze,
Then with our beads to say our last prayer,
After all this to die in our shoes.
Thence we pack to purgatory;85
For us let all the Jesuits pray;
Farewell, Father Peters, here's some of your creatures
Would have you to follow the self-same way.

69, Edward Coleman, hanged at Tyburn in 1678, for his participation in the Popish Plot.—Croker.


The story of the siege of Londonderry, "the most memorable in the annals of the British isles," is eloquently told in the twelfth chapter of Macaulay's History of England. It lasted one hundred and five days, from the middle of April to the first of August (1689). During that time the garrison had been reduced from about seven thousand men to about three thousand. Famine and pestilence slew more than the fire of the enemy. In the last month of the siege, there was scarcely any thing left to eat in the city but salted hides and tallow. The price of a dog's paw was five shillings and sixpence, and rats that had[Pg 248] fed on the bodies of the dead were eagerly hunted and slain. The courage and self-devotion of the defenders, animated by a lofty public spirit and sustained by religious zeal, were at last rewarded by a glorious triumph, and will never cease to be celebrated with pride and enthusiasm by the Protestants of Ireland.

The ballad is here given as printed in Croker's Historical Songs of Ireland, p. 46, from a black letter copy in the British Museum. The whole title runs thus: Undaunted Londonderry; or, the Victorious Protestants' constant success against the proud French and Irish Forces. To the Tune of Lilli Borlero.

Protestant boys, both valliant and stout,
Fear not the strength and frown of Rome,
Thousands of them are put to the rout,
Brave Londonderry tells 'um their doom.
For their cannons roar like thunder,5
Being resolved the town to maintain
For William and Mary, still brave Londonderry
Will give the proud French and Tories their bane.
Time after time, with powder and balls,
Protestant souls they did 'um salute,10
That before Londonderry's stout walls
Many are slain and taken to boot.
Nay, their noble Duke of Berwick,
Many reports, is happily tane,[Pg 249]
Where still they confine him, and will not resign him,
Till they have given the Tories their bane.16
Into the town their bombs they did throw,
Being resolved to fire the same,
Hoping thereby to lay it all low,
Could they but raise it into a flame.20
But the polititious Walker,
By an intreague did quail them again,
And blasted the glory of French, Teague, and Tory;
By policy, boys, he gave them their bane.
Thundering stones they laid on the wall,25
Ready against the enemy came,
With which they vow'd the Tories to mawl,
Whene'er they dare approach but the same.
And another sweet invention,
The which in brief I reckon to name;30
A sharp, bloody slaughter did soon follow after,
Among the proud French, and gave them their bane.
Stubble and straw in parcels they laid,
The which they straightways kindled with speed;
By this intreague the French was betrayed,35
Thinking the town was fired indeed.
Then they placed their scaling ladders,
And o'er the walls did scour amain;
Yet strait, to their wonder, they were cut in sunder,
[Pg 250]Thus Frenchmen and Tories met with their bane.40
Suddenly then they opened their gate,
Sallying forth with vigor and might;
And, as the truth I here may relate,
Protestant boys did valliantly fight,
Taking many chief commanders,45
While the sharp fray they thus did maintain,
With vigorous courses, they routed their forces,
And many poor Teagues did meet with their bane.
While with their blood the cause they have sealed,
Heaven upon their actions did frown;50
Protestants took the spoil of the field,
Cannons full five they brought to the town.
With a lusty, large, great mortar,
Thus they returned with honor and gain,
While Papists did scour from Protestant power,55
As fearing they all should suffer their bane.
In a short time we hope to arrive
With a vast army to Ireland,
And the affairs so well we'll contrive
That they shall ne'er have power to stand60
Gainst King William and Queen Mary,
Who on the throne does flourish and reign;
We'll down with the faction that make the distraction,
And give the proud French and Tories their bane.

13. In a sally which was made by the garrison towards the end of April, the Duke of Berwick is said to have received a slight wound in the back.

21. The Rev. George Walker, rector of the parish of Donaghmore, the hero of the defence. His statue now stands on a lofty pillar, rising from a bastion which for a long time sustained the heaviest fire of the besiegers.

[Pg 251]


From Johnson's Museum, p. 105.

Grahamius notabilis coegerat montanos,
Qui clypeis et gladiis fugarunt Anglicanos;
Fugerant Vallicolæ, atque Puritani,
Cacavere Batavi et Cameroniani.
Grahamius mirabilis, fortissimus Alcides,
Cujus regi fuerat intemerata fides,
Agiles monticolas marte inspiravit,
Et duplicatum numerum hostium profligavit.
Nobilis apparuit Fermilodunensis,
Cujus in rebelles stringebatur ensis;
Nobilis et sanguine, nobilior virtute,
Regi devotissimus intus et in cute.
Pitcurius heroicus, Hector Scoticanus,
Cui mens fidelis fuerat et invicta manus,
Capita rebellium, is excerebravit,
Hostes unitissimos ille dimicavit.
Glengarius magnanimus atque bellicosus,
Functus ut Eneas, pro rege animosus,
Fortis atque strenuus, hostes expugnavit,
Sanguine rebellium campos coloravit.
Surrexerat fideliter Donaldus Insulanus,
Pugnaverat viriliter, cum copiis Skyanis,
Pater atque filii non dissimularunt,
Sed pro rege proprio unanimes pugnarunt.
Macleanius, circumdatus tribo martiali,
Semper, devinctissimus familiæ regali,[Pg 252]
Fortiter pugnaverat, more atavorum,
Deinde dissipaverat turmas Batavorum.
Strenuus Lochielius, multo Camerone,
Hostes ense peremit, et abrio pugione;
Istos et intrepidos Orco dedicavit,
Impedimenta hostium Blaro reportavit.
Macneillius de Bara, Glencous Kepochanus,
Ballechinus, cum fratre, Stuartus Apianus,
Pro Jacobo Septimo fortiter gessere,
Pugiles fortissimi, feliciter vicere.
Canonicus clarissimus Gallovidianus,
Acer et indomitus, consilioque sanus,
Ibi dux adfuerat, spectabilis persona,
Nam pro tuenda patria, hunc peperit Bellona.
Ducalidoni dominum spreverat gradivus,
Nobilis et juvenis, fortis et activus:
Nam cum nativum principem exulem audiret,
Redit ex Hungaria ut regi inserviret.
Illic et adfuerat tutor Ranaldorum,
Qui strenue pugnaverat cum copiis virorum;
Et ipse Capetaneus, aetate puerili,
Intentus est ad pr[oe]lium, spiritu virili.
Glenmoristonus junior, optimus bellator
Subito jam factus, hactenus venator,
Perduelles Whiggeos ut pecora prostravit,
Ense et fulmineo Mackaium fugavit.
Regibus et legibus, Scotici constantes,
Vos clypeis et gladiis pro principe pugnantes,
Vestra est victoria, vestra est et gloria,
In cantis et historia perpes est memoria!
[Pg 253]


This momentous battle was fought on the 1st of July, 1690. James had a strong position and thirty thousand men, two thirds of whom were a worthless rabble. William had thirty-six thousand splendid soldiers. The loss on neither side was great. Of James's troops there fell fifteen hundred, the flower of his army; of the conqueror's not more than five, but with them the great Duke of Schomberg. The present version of this ballad is from Croker's Historical Songs of Ireland, p. 60, given from a MS. copy in the editor's possession.

July the first, in Oldbridge town,
There was a grievous battle,
Where many a man lay on the ground,
By the cannons that did rattle,
King James he pitched his tents between5
The lines for to retire;
But King William threw his bomb-balls in,
And set them all on fire.
Thereat enraged, they vow'd revenge,
[Pg 254]Upon King William's forces;10
And often did cry vehemently,
That they would stop their courses.
A bullet from the Irish came,
Which grazed King William's arm;
They thought his majesty was slain,15
Yet it did him little harm.
Duke Schomberg then, in friendly care,
His king would often caution
To shun the spot where bullets hot
Retain'd their rapid motion.20
But William said—"He don't deserve
The name of Faith's defender,
That would not venture life and limb
To make a foe surrender."
When we the Boyne began to cross,25
The enemy they descended;
But few of our brave men were lost,
So stoutly we defended.
The horse was the first that marchéd o'er,
The foot soon followed a'ter,30
But brave Duke Schomberg was no more,
By venturing over the water.
When valiant Schomberg he was slain,
King William thus accosted
His warlike men, for to march on,35
And he would be the foremost.
"Brave boys," he said, "be not dismayed
For the losing of one commander;
For God will be our king this day,
[Pg 255]And I'll be general under."40
Then stoutly we the Boyne did cross,
To give our enemies battle;
Our cannon, to our foes great cost,
Like thundering claps did rattle,
In majestic mien our prince rode o'er,45
His men soon followed a'ter;
With blows and shouts put our foes to the route,
The day we crossed the water.
The Protestants of Drogheda
Have reasons to be thankful,50
That they were not to bondage brought,
They being but a handful.
First to the Tholsel they were brought,
And tied at Milmount a'ter,
But brave King William set them free,55
By venturing over the water.
The cunning French, near to Duleek
Had taken up their quarters,
And fenced themselves on every side,
[Pg 256]Still waiting for new orders.60
But in the dead time of the night,
They set the field on fire;
And long before the morning light,
To Dublin they did retire.
Then said King William to his men,65
After the French departed,
"I'm glad," said he, "that none of ye
Seeméd to be faint-hearted.
So sheath your swords, and rest awhile,
In time we'll follow a'ter:"70
These words he uttered with a smile,
The day he crossed the water.
Come, let us all, with heart and voice,
Applaud our lives' defender,
Who at the Boyne his valour shewed,75
And made his foes surrender,
To God above the praise we'll give,
Both now and ever a'ter,
And bless the glorious memory79
Of King William that crossed the Boyne water.

1. The Dutch guards first entered the river Boyne at a ford opposite to the little village of Oldbridge.—Croker.

54. "After the battle of the Boyne, the Popish garrison of Drogheda took the Protestants out of prison, into which they had thrown them, and carried them to the Mount; where they expected the cannon would play, if King William's forces besieged the town. They tied them together, and set them to receive the shot; but their hearts failed them who were to defend the place, and so it pleased God to preserve the poor Protestants."—Memoirs of Ireland, &c., cited by Croker.

57. "When, in the course of the day, the battle approached James's position on the hill of Donore, the warlike prince retired to a more secure distance at Duleek, where he soon put himself at the head of his French allies, and led the retreat; the King and the French coming off without a scar."—O'Driscol, cited by Croker.

[Pg 257]


Who liv'd in Cow-Cross, near West-Smithfield; who, changing her apparel, entered herself on board in quality of a soldier, and sailed to Ireland, where she valiantly behaved herself, particularly at the siege of Cork, where she lost her toes, and received a mortal wound in her body, of which she since died in her return to London.

From Durfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, v. 8.

Cork was taken September 27-29, 1690, by the Duke (then Earl) of Marlborough, with the coöperation of the Duke of Wirtemberg. The Duke of Grafton, then serving as a volunteer, was mortally wounded while advancing to the assault. Croker suggests that this lamentation for the heroine of Cow-Cross, "the Mary Ambree of her age," was one of the many indirect efforts made to bring the military skill of Marlborough into popular notice.

Let the females attend
To the lines which are penn'd,
For here I shall give a relation
Of a young marry'd wife,
Who did venture her life,5
For a soldier, a soldier she went from the nation.
She her husband did leave,
And did likewise receive
Her arms, and on board she did enter,
And right valiantly went,10
With a resolution bent
To the ocean, the ocean, her life there to venture.[Pg 258]
Yet of all the ship's crew,
Not a seaman that knew
They then had a woman so near 'em;15
On the ocean so deep
She her council did keep,
Ay, and therefore, and therefore she never did fear 'em.
She was valiant and bold,
And would not be controul'd20
By any that dare to offend her;
If a quarrel arose,
She would give him dry blows,
And the captain, the captain did highly commend her.
For he took her to be25
Then of no mean degree,
A gentleman's son, or a squire;
With a hand white and fair,
There was none could compare,
Which the captain, the captain did often admire.
On the Irish shore,31
Where the cannons did roar,
With many stout lads she was landed;
There her life to expose,
She lost two of her toes,35
And in battle, in battle was daily commended.
Under Grafton she fought
Like a brave hero stout,
And made the proud Tories retire;[Pg 259]
She in field did appear40
With a heart void of fear,
And she bravely, she bravely did charge and give fire.
While the battering balls
Did assault the strong walls
Of Cork, and sweet trumpets sounded,45
She did bravely advance
Where by unhappy chance
This young female, young female, alas! she was wounded.
At the end of the fray
Still she languishing lay,50
Then over the ocean they brought her,
To her own native shore:
Now they ne'er knew before
That a woman, a woman had been in that slaughter.
What she long had conceal'd55
Now at length she reveal'd,
That she was a woman that ventur'd;
Then to London with care
She did straitways repair,
But she dy'd, oh she dy'd, e'er the city she enter'd.60
When her parents beheld,
They with sorrow was fill'd,
For why, they did dearly adore her;
In her grave now she lies,
Tis not watery eyes,65
No, nor sighing, nor sighing that e'er can restore her.
[Pg 260]



(See p. 156. From Ritson's Scottish Songs, ii. 67.)

W. Pray came you here the fight to shun,
Or keep the sheep with me, man?
Or was you at the Sheriff-moor,
And did the battle see, man?
Pray tell whilk of the parties won?5
For well I wat I saw them run,
Both south and north, when they begun,
To pell and mell, and kill and fell,
With muskets snell, and pistols knell,
And some to hell10
Did flee, man.
T. But, my dear Will, I kenna still,
Whilk o' the twa did lose, man;
For well I wat they had good skill
To set upo' their foes, man:15
The red-coats they are train'd, you see,
The clans always disdain to flee,
Wha then should gain the victory?
But the Highland race, all in a brace,
With a swift pace, to the Whigs disgrace,20
Did put to chace
Their foes, man.[Pg 261]
W. Now how diel, Tam, can this be true?
I saw the chace gae north, man.
T. But well I wat they did pursue25
Them even unto Forth, man.
Frae Dumblain they ran in my own sight,
And got o'er the bridge with all their might,
And those at Stirling took their flight;
Gif only ye had been wi' me,30
You had seen them flee, of each degree,
For fear to die
Wi' sloth, man.
W. My sister Kate came o'er the hill,
Wi' crowdie unto me, man;35
She swore she saw them running still
Frae Perth unto Dundee, man.
The left wing gen'ral had na skill,
The Angus lads had no good will
That day their neighbours blood to spill;40
For fear by foes that they should lose
Their cogues of brose, all crying woes—
Yonder them goes,
D'ye see, man?
T. I see but few like gentlemen45
Amang yon frighted crew, man;
I fear my Lord Panmure be slain,
Or that he's ta'en just now, man:
For tho' his officers obey,
His cowardly commons run away,50
For fear the red-coats them should slay;
The sodgers hail make their hearts fail;[Pg 262]
See how they scale, and turn their tail,
And rin to flail
And plow, man.55
W. But now brave Angus comes again
Into the second fight, man;
They swear they'll either dye or gain,
No foes shall them affright, man:
Argyle's best forces they'll withstand,60
And boldly fight them sword in hand,
Give them a general to command,
A man of might, that will but fight,
And take delight to lead them right,
And ne'er desire65
The flight, man.
But Flandrekins they have no skill
To lead a Scotish force, man;
Their motions do our courage spill,
And put us to a loss, man.70
You'll hear of us far better news,
When we attack like Highland trews,
To hash, and slash, and smash and bruise,
Till the field, tho' braid, be all o'erspread,
But coat or plaid, wi' corpse that's dead75
In their cold bed,
That's moss, man.
T. Twa gen'rals frae the field did run,
Lords Huntley and Seaforth, man;[Pg 263]
They cry'd and run grim death to shun,80
Those heroes of the North, man;
They're fitter far for book or pen,
Than under Mars to lead on men;
Ere they came there they might well ken
That female hands could ne'er gain lands;85
'Tis Highland brands that countermands
Argathlean bands
Frae Forth, man.
W. The Camerons scow'r'd as they were mad,
Lifting their neighbours cows, man,90
M'Kenzie and the Stewart fled,
Without phil'beg or trews, man:
Had they behav'd like Donald's core,
And kill'd all those came them before,
Their king had gone to France no more:95
Then each Whig saint wad soon repent,
And strait recant his covenant,
And rent
It at the news, man.
T. M'Gregors they far off did stand,100
Badenach and Athol too, man;
I hear they wanted the command,
For I believe them true, man.
Perth, Fife, and Angus, wi' their horse,
Stood motionless, and some did worse,105
For, tho' the red-coats went them cross,
They did conspire for to admire
Clans run and fire, left wings retire,
While rights intire
[Pg 264]Pursue, man.110
W. But Scotland has not much to say,
For such a fight as this is,
Where baith did fight, baith run away;
The devil take the miss is
That every officer was not slain115
That run that day, and was not ta'en,
Either flying from or to Dumblain;
When Whig and Tory, in their 'fury,'
Strove for glory, to our sorrow,
The sad story120
Hush is.

67. By Flanderkins are meant Lieutenant-General Fanderbeck and Colonels Rantzaw and Cromstrom.—Hogg.


From Herd's Scotish Songs, ii. 234. The same in Ritson's Scotish Songs, ii. 73. Burns furnished a somewhat different version to Johnson's Museum (p. 195, also in Cromek's Select Scotish Songs, ii. 29), which he obtained from one Tom Neil, a carpenter in Edinburgh, who was famous for his singing of Scottish songs. The title and burden to this version is Up and warn a', Willie, an allusion, says Burns, to the crantara, or warning of a Highland clan to arms, which the Lowlanders, not understanding, have corrupted. There is another copy in Hogg's Jacobite Relics, ii. 18, which is nearly the same as the following.

When the Earl of Mar first raised his standard, and proclaimed the Chevalier, the ornamental ball on the top of the staff fell off, and the superstitious High[Pg 265]landers interpreted the circumstance as ominous of ill for their cause. This is the incident referred to in the third stanza.

When we went to the field of war,
And to the weapon-shaw, Willie,
With true design to stand our ground,
And chace our faes awa', Willie,
Lairds and lords came there bedeen,5
And vow gin they were pra', Willie:
Up and war 'em a', Willie,
War 'em, war 'em a', Willie.
And when our army was drawn up,
The bravest e'er I saw, Willie,10
We did not doubt to rax the rout,
And win the day and a', Willie;
Pipers play'd frae right to left,
"Fy, fourugh Whigs awa'," Willie.
Up and war, &c.15
But when our standard was set up,
So fierce the wind did bla', Willie,
The golden knop down from the top
Unto ground did fa', Willie:
Then second-sighted Sandy said,20
"We'll do nae good at a', Willie."
Up and war, &c.
When bra'ly they attack'd our left,
Our front, and flank, and a', Willie,
Our bald commander on the green,
[Pg 266]Our faes their left did ca', Willie,25
And there the greatest slaughter made
That e'er poor Tonald saw, Willie.
Up and war, &c.
First when they saw our Highland mob,
They swore they'd slay us a', Willie;
And yet ane fyl'd his breiks for fear,30
And so did rin awa', Willie:
We drave him back to Bonnybrigs,
Dragoons, and foot, and a', Willie.
Up and war, &c.
But when their gen'ral view'd our lines,
And them in order saw, Willie,35
He straight did march into the town,
And back his left did draw, Willie:
Thus we taught them the better gate,
To get a better fa', Willie.
Up and war, &c.
And then we rally'd on the hills,40
And bravely up did draw, Willie;
But gin ye spear wha wan the day,
I'll tell you what I saw, Willie:
We baith did fight, and baith were beat,
And baith did run awa', Willie.45
So there's my canty Highland sang
About the thing I saw, Willie.
[Pg 267]


See p. 156. From A New Book of Old Ballads, p. 30.

Hogg inserted this ballad in the Jacobite Relics, ii. 13, using, says Maidment, the editor of the publication cited above, a very imperfect manuscript copy. The following version was taken from the original broad-side, supposed to be unique. There are very considerable variations in the language of the two copies, and the order of the stanzas is quite different. This says Hogg, "is exclusively a party song, made by some of the Grants, or their adherents, in obloquy of their more potent neighbours, the Gordons. It is in a great measure untrue; for, though the Marquis of Huntley was on the left wing at the head of a body of horse, and among the gentlemen that fled, yet two battalions of Gordons, or at least of Gordon's vassals, perhaps mostly of the Clan Chattan, behaved themselves as well as any on the field, and were particularly instrumental in breaking the Whig cavalry, or the left wing of their army, and driving them back among their foot. On this account, as well as that of the bitter personalities that it contains, the "song is only curious as an inveterate party song, and not as a genuine humorous description of the fight that the Marquis and his friends were in. The latter part of[Pg 268] the [third] stanza seems to allude to an engagement that took place at Dollar, on the 24th October, a fortnight previous to the battle of Sheriffmuir. Mar had despatched a small body of cavalry to force an assessment from the town of Dunfermline, of which Argyle getting notice, sent out a stronger party, who surprised them early in the morning before daylight, and arrested them, killing some and taking seventeen prisoners, several of whom were Gordons. The last stanza [but one] evidently alludes to the final submission of the Marquis and the rest of the Gordons to King George's government, which they did to the Grants and the Earl of Sutherland. The former had previously taken possession of Castle Gordon; of course, the malicious bard of the Grants, with his ill-scraped pen, was not to let that instance of the humiliation of his illustrious neighbours pass unnoticed.—Jacobite Relics, vol. ii. p. 255.

From Bogie side to Bogie Gight,
The Gordons all conveen'd, man,
With all their might, to battle wight,
Together close they join'd, man,
To set their king upon the throne,5
And to protect the church, man;
But fy for shame! they soon ran hame,
And left him in the lurch, man.
Vow as the Marquis ran,
Coming from Dumblane, man!
Strabogie did b—t itself,
And Enzie was not clean, man.[Pg 269]
Their chieftain was a man of fame,
And doughty deeds had wrought, man,10
Which future ages still shall name,
And tell how well he fought, man.
For when the battle did begin,
Immediately his Grace, man,
Put spurs to Florance, and so ran15
By all, and wan the race, man.
Vow, &c.
The Marquis' horse was first sent forth,
Glenbucket's foot to back them,
To give a proof what they were worth,
If rebels durst attack them.20
With loud huzzas to Huntly's praise,
They near'd Dumfermling Green, man,
But fifty horse, and de'il ane mair,
Turn'd many a Highland clan, man.
Vow, &c.
The second chieftain of that clan,25
For fear that he should die, man,
To gain the honour of his name,
Rais'd first the mutinie, man.
And then he wrote unto his Grace,
The great Duke of Argyle, man,30
And swore, if he would grant him peace,
The Tories he'd beguile, man.
Vow, &c.[Pg 270]
The Master with the bullie's face,
And with the coward's heart, man,
Who never fails, to his disgrace,35
To act a traitor's part, man,
He join'd Drumboig, the greatest knave
In all the shire of Fife, man.
He was the first the cause did leave,
By council of his wife, man.40
Vow, &c.
A member of the tricking trade,
An Ogilvie by name, man,
Consulter of the grumbling club,
To his eternal shame, man,
Who would have thought, when he came out,45
That ever he would fail, man?
And like a fool, did eat the cow,
And worried on the tail, man.
Vow, &c.
Meffan Smith, at Sheriff Muir,
Gart folk believe he fought, man;50
But well it's known, that all he did,
That day it serv'd for nought, man.
For towards night, when Mar march'd off,
Smith was put in the rere, man;[Pg 271]
He curs'd, he swore, he baul[lè]d out,55
He would not stay for fear, man.
Vow, &c.
But at the first he seem'd to be
A man of good renown, man;
But when the grumbling work began,
He prov'd an arrant lown, man.60
Against Mar, and a royal war,
A letter he did forge, man;
Against his Prince, he wrote nonsense,
And swore by Royal George, man.
Vow, &c.
At Poineth boat, Mr. Francis Stewart,65
A valiant hero stood, man,
In acting of a royal part,
Cause of the royal blood, man.
But when at Sheriff Moor he found
That bolting would not do it,70
He, brother like, did quite his ground,
And ne're came back unto it.
Vow, &c.
Brunstane said it was not fear
That made him stay behind, man;
But that he had resolv'd that day75
To sleep in a whole skin, man.[Pg 272]
The gout, he said, made him take [bed],
When battle first began, man;
But when he heard his Marquis fled,
He took his heels and ran, man.80
Vow, &c.
Sir James of Park, he left his horse
In the middle of a wall, man;
And durst not stay to take him out,
For fear a knight should fall, man;
And Maien he let such a crack,85
And shewed a pantick fear, man;
And Craigieheads swore he was shot,
And curs'd the chance of wear, man.
Vow, &c.
When they march'd on the Sheriff Moor,
With courage stout and keen, man;90
Who would have thought the Gordons gay
That day should quite the green, man?
Auchleacher and Auchanachie,
And all the Gordon tribe, man,
Like their great Marquis, they could not95
The smell of powder bide, man.
Vow, &c.
Glenbuicket cryed, "Plague on you all,
For Gordons do no good, man;
For all that fled this day, it is
Them of the Seaton blood, man."100
Clashtirim said it was not so,
And that he'd make appear, man;[Pg 273]
For he, a Seaton, stood that day,
When Gordons ran for fear, man.
Vow, &c.
The Gordons they are kittle flaws,105
They'll fight with heart and hand, man;
When they met in Strathbogie raws
On Thursday afternoon, man;
But when the Grants came doun the brae,
Their Enzie shook for fear, man;110
And all the lairds rode up themselves,
With horse and riding gear, man.
Vow, &c.
Cluny plays his game of chess,
As sure as any thing, man;
And like the royal Gordons race,115
Gave check unto the king, man.
Without a queen, its clearly seen,
This game cannot recover;
I'd do my best, then in great haste
Play up the rook Hanover.120
Vow, &c.

3. weight.

4. closs.

15. His horse, so called from having been a present from the Grand Duke of Tuscany.—M.

33. Master of Sinclair, whose Court-Martial has been printed with an exceedingly interesting preface by Sir Walter Scott, as his contribution to the Roxburgh Club.

49. David Smith was then proprietor of Methven, an estate in Perthshire. He died in 1735. Douglas, in his Baronage, terms him, "a man of good parts, great sagacity, and economy."—M.

64. Altered in MS. to "German George."—M.

65. Brother to Charles, 5th Earl of Moray. Upon his brother's death, 7th October, 1735, he became the 6th Earl. He died in the 66th year of his age, on the 11th December, 1739.—M.

113. This seems rather Gordon of Cluny than Cluny Macpherson. The estate of Cluny has passed from the ancient race, though still possessed by a Gordon.—M.

[Pg 274]

JOHNIE COPE. See p. 168.

Johnson's Museum (1853), vol. iv. p. 220, Ritson's Scottish Songs, ii. 84.

Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar,
"Charlie meet me, an ye daur,
And I'll learn you the airt of war,
If you'll meet wi' me in the morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! are ye waking yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waking, I would wait
To gang to the coals i' the morning.
When Charlie looked the letter upon,5
He drew his sword the scabbard from,
"Come, follow me, my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnie Cope i' the morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
"Now, Johnie, be as good as your word,
Come let us try baith fire and sword,10
And dinna flee like a frighted bird,
That's chased frae its nest i' the morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
When Johnie Cope he heard of this,
He thought it wadna be amiss
To hae a horse in readiness,15
To flee awa i' the morning.
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.[Pg 275]
"Fye now, Johnie, get up and rin,
The Highland bagpipes mak a din;
It's best to sleep in a hale skin,
For 'twill be a bluddie morning."20
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
When Johnie Cope to Dunbar came
They spear'd at him, "Where's a' your men?"
"The deil confound me gin I ken,
For I left them a' i' the morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
"Now Johnie, troth, ye were na blate25
To come wi' the news o' your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a strait,
So early in the morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
"In faith," quo Johnie, "I got sic flegs
Wi' their claymores and filabegs,30
If I face them [again], deil break my legs,
So I wish you a' good morning."
Hey, Johnie Cope! &c.
[Pg 276]


From A Collection of Old Ballads, ii. 8. The same, with one or two trifling verbal differences, in Percy's Reliques, i. 246.

This story was originally told by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Britonum, lib. ii. c. 2. It occurs in two forms in the Gesta Romanorum: see Madden's Old English Versions, p. 44, p. 450.

Shakespeare's King Lear was first printed in 1608, and is supposed to have been written between 1603 and 1605. Another drama on the subject was printed in 1605, called The true Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella. This was probably only a new impression of a piece entered in the Stationers' Registers as early as 1594. The ballad which follows agrees with Shakespeare's play in several particulars in which Shakespeare varies from the older drama and from Holinshed, the authority of both dramas. The name Cordelia is also found in place of the Cordella of the Chronicle History; but, on the other hand, we have Ragan instead of Shakespeare's Regan. In the absence of a date, we are unable to determine whether the ballad was written prior to the play of King Lear, or was founded upon it.

King Leir once ruléd in this land
With princely power and peace,
And had all things, with hearts content,
That might his joys increase.
[Pg 277]Amongst those things that nature gave,5
Three daughters fair had he,
So princely seeming beautiful,
As fairer could not be.
So on a time it pleas'd the king
A question thus to move,10
Which of his daughters to his grace
Could shew the dearest love:
"For to my age you bring content,"
Quoth he, "then let me hear,
Which of you three in plighted troth15
The kindest will appear."
To whom the eldest thus began:
"Dear father, mind," quoth she,
"Before your face, to do you good,
My blood shall rendred be.20
And for your sake my bleeding heart
Shall here be cut in twain,
Ere that I see your reverend age
The smallest grief sustain."
"And so will I," the second said;25
"Dear father, for your sake,
The worst of all extremities
I'll gently undertake:
And serve your highness night and day
With diligence and love;30
That sweet content and quietness
Discomforts may remove."
"In doing so, you glad my soul,"
The aged king reply'd;[Pg 278]
"But what say'st thou, my youngest girl?35
How is thy love ally'd?"
"My love," quoth young Cordelia then,
"Which to your grace I owe,
Shall be the duty of a child,
And that is all I'll show."40
"And wilt thou shew no more," quoth he,
"Than doth thy duty bind?
I well perceive thy love is small,
When as no more I find.
Henceforth I banish thee my court;45
Thou art no child of mine;
Nor any part of this my realm
By favour shall be thine.
"Thy elder sisters' loves are more
Than well I can demand;50
To whom I equally bestow
My kingdom and my land,
My pompous state and all my goods,
That lovingly I may
With those thy sisters be maintain'd55
Until my dying day."
Thus flattering speeches won renown,
By these two sisters here;
The third had causeless banishment,
Yet was her love more dear.60
For poor Cordelia patiently
Went wandring up and down,
Unhelp'd, unpitied, gentle maid,
Through many an English town.[Pg 279]
Until at last in famous France65
She gentler fortunes found;
Though poor and bare, yet she was deem'd
The fairest on the ground:
Where when the king her virtues heard,
And this fair lady seen,70
With full consent of all his court
He made his wife and queen.
Her father, old King Leir, this while
With his two daughters staid;
Forgetful of their promis'd loves,75
Full soon the same decay'd;
And living in Queen Ragan's court,
The eldest of the twain,
She took from him his chiefest means,
And most of all his train.80
For whereas twenty men were wont
To wait with bended knee,
She gave allowance but to ten,
And after scarce to three,
Nay, one she thought too much for him;85
So took she all away,
In hope that in her court, good king,
He would no longer stay.
"Am I rewarded thus," quoth he,
"In giving all I have90
Unto my children, and to beg
For what I lately gave?
I'll go unto my Gonorel:[Pg 280]
My second child, I know,
Will be more kind and pitiful,95
And will relieve my woe."
Full fast he hies then to her court;
Where, when she hears his moan,
Return'd him answer, that she griev'd
That all his means were gone;100
But no way could relieve his wants;
Yet if that he would stay
Within her kitchen, he should have
What scullions gave away.
When he had heard, with bitter tears,105
He made his answer then;
"In what I did, let me be made
Example to all men.
I will return again," quoth he,
"Unto my Ragan's court;110
She will not use me thus, I hope,
But in a kinder sort."
Where when he came, she gave command
To drive him thence away:
When he was well within her court,115
She said, he would not stay.
Then back again to Gonorell
The woeful king did hie,
That in her kitchen he might have
What scullion boys set by.120
But there of that he was deny'd
Which she had promis'd late:[Pg 281]
For once refusing, he should not
Come after to her gate.
Thus twixt his daughters for relief125
He wandred up and down,
Being glad to feed on beggars food,
That lately wore a crown.
And calling to remembrance then
His youngest daughter's words,130
That said, the duty of a child
Was all that love affords—
But doubting to repair to her,
Whom he had banish'd so,
Grew frantick mad; for in his mind135
He bore the wounds of woe.
Which made him rend his milk-white locks
And tresses from his head,
And all with blood bestain his cheeks,
With age and honour spread.140
To hills and woods and watry founts
He made his hourly moan,
Till hills and woods and senseless things
Did seem to sigh and groan.
Ev'n thus posses'd with discontents,145
He passed o'er to France,
In hopes from fair Cordelia there
To find some gentler chance.
Most virtuous dame! which, when she heard
Of this her father's grief,150
As duty bound, she quickly sent
Him comfort and relief.[Pg 282]
And by a train of noble peers,
In brave and gallant sort,
She gave in charge he should be brought155
To Aganippus' court;
Whose royal king, with noble mind,
So freely gave consent
To muster up his knights at arms,
To fame and courage bent.160
And so to England came with speed,
To repossess King Leir,
And drive his daughters from their thrones
By his Cordelia dear.
Where she, true-hearted, noble queen,165
Was in the battel slain;
Yet he, good king, in his old days,
Possess'd his crown again.
But when he heard Cordelia's death,
Who died indeed for love170
Of her dear father, in whose cause
She did this battel move,
He swooning fell upon her breast,
From whence he never parted;
But on her bosom left his life175
That was so truly hearted.
The lords and nobles, when they saw
The end of these events,
The other sisters unto death
[Pg 283]They doomed by consents;180
And being dead, their crowns they left
Unto the next of kin:
Thus have you seen the fall of pride,
And disobedient sin.

76 deny'd.

157. whose noble.


The celebrated mistress of Henry the Second was daughter to Walter Clifford, a baron of Herefordshire. She bore the king two sons, one of them while he was still Duke of Normandy. Before her death she retired to the convent of Godstow, and there she was buried; but Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, not courtly enough to distinguish between royal and vulgar immoralities, caused her body to be removed, and interred in the common cemetery, "lest Christian religion should grow in contempt."

The story of Queen Eleanor's poisoning her rival is not confirmed by the old writers, though they mention the labyrinth. All the romance in Rosamond's history appears to be the offspring of popular fancy. Percy has collected the principal passages from the chronicles in his preface to the ballad.

Fair Rosamond is the work of Thomas Deloney, a well-known ballad-maker who died about 1600. Our copy is the earliest that is known, and is taken from Deloney's Strange Histories, ed. of 1607, as reprinted by the Percy Society, vol. iii. p. 54. The same is found in the Crown Garland of Golden Roses, ed. 1659 (Per. Soc. vol. vi. p. 12), and in the Garland of Good Will, ed. 1678 (Per. Soc. vol. xxx. p. 1.):[Pg 284] and besides, with trifling variations, in A Collection of Old Ballads, i. 11, Percy's Reliques, ii. 151, and Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 120, from black-letter copies.

Another ballad with the title of the Unfortunate Concubine, or, Rosamond's Overthrow, is given in the collection of 1723, vol. i. p. 1. The story is also treated in the forty-first chapter of Warner's Albion's England. Warner has at least one good stanza,[3] which is more than can be said of this wretched, but very popular, production.

Some corrections have been adopted from the Crown Garland of Golden Roses.


With that she dasht her on the lips,
So dyèd double red;
Hard was the heart that gave the blow,
Soft were those lips that bled.

When as King Henrie rul'd this land,
The second of that name,
Beside the Queene, he dearly loved
A faire and princely dame.
Most peerelesse was her beautie found,5
Her favour, and her face;
A sweeter creature in this world
Did never prince imbrace.
Her crisped locks like threades of gold
Appeared to each mans sight;10
Her comely eyes, like orient pearles,
Did cast a heavenly light.
The blood within her cristall cheekes
Did such a cullour drive,[Pg 285]
As though the lilly and the rose15
For maistership did strive.
Yea Rosamond, fair Rosamond,
Her name was called so,
To whome dame Elinor, our queene,
Was knowne a cruell foe.20
The king therefore, for her defence
Against the furious queene,
At Woodstocke buylded such a bower,
The like was never seene.
Most curiously that bower was buylt,25
Of stone and timber strong;
A hundred and fiftie doores
Did to that bower belong:
And they so cunningly contriv'd,
With turning round about,30
That none but by a clew of thread
Could enter in or out.
And for his love and ladyes sake,
That was so fair and bright,
The keeping of this bower he gave35
Unto a valiant knight.
But fortune, that doth often frowne
Where she before did smile,
The kinges delight, the ladyes joy
Full soone she did beguile.40
For why, the kings ungracious sonne,
Whom he did high advance,
Against his father raised warres[Pg 286]
Within the realme of France.
But yet before our comely king45
The English land forsooke,
Of Rosamond, his ladye faire,
His farewell thus he tooke:
"My Rosamond, my onely Rose,
That pleaseth best mine eye,50
The fairest Rose in all the world
To feed my fantasie,—
"The flower of my affected heart,
Whose sweetness doth excell,
My royall Rose, a hundred times55
I bid thee now farewell!
"For I must leave my fairest flower,
My sweetest Rose, a space,
And crosse the seas to famous France,
Proude rebels to abace.60
"But yet, my Rose, be sure thou shalt
My comming shortly see,
And in my heart, while hence I am,
Ile beare my Rose with mee."
When Rosamond, that lady bright,65
Did heare the king say so,
The sorrow of her greeved heart
Her outward lookes did show.
And from her cleare and cristall eyes
The teares gusht out apace,70
Which, like the silver-pearled deaw,
Ran downe her comely face.[Pg 287]
Her lippes, like to a corrall red,
Did waxe both wan and pale,
And for the sorrow she conceived75
Her vitall spirits did fayle.
And falling downe all in a swound
Before King Henries face,
Full oft betweene his princely armes
Her corpes he did imbrace.80
And twenty times, with waterie eyes,
He kist her tender cheeke,
Untill she had received againe
Her senses milde and meeke.
"Why grieves my Rose, my sweetest Rose?"85
The king did ever say:
"Because," quoth she, "to bloody warres
My lord must part away.
"But sithe your Grace in forraine coastes,
Among your foes unkind,90
Must go to hazard life and limme,
Why should I stay behind?
"Nay, rather let me, like a page,
Your sword and target beare;
That on my breast the blow may light,95
Which should annoy you there.
"O let me, in your royall tent,
Prepare your bed at night,
And with sweet baths refresh your grace,[Pg 288]
At your returne from fight.100
"So I your presence may enjoy,
No toyle I will refuse;
But wanting you, my life is death:
Which doth true love abuse."
"Content thy selfe, my dearest friend,105
Thy rest at home shall bee,
In England's sweete and pleasant soyle;
For travaile fits not thee.
"Faire ladyes brooke not bloody warres;
Sweete peace their pleasures breede,110
The nourisher of hearts content,
Which fancie first doth feede.
"My Rose shall rest in Woodstocke bower,
With musickes sweete delight,
While I among the pierceing pikes115
Against my foes do fight.
"My Rose in robes of pearl and gold,
With diamonds richly dight,
Shall daunce the galliards of my love,
While I my foes do smite.120
"And you, Sir Thomas, whom I trust
To be my loves defence,
Be carefull of my gallant Rose
When I am parted hence."
[Pg 289]And therewithall he fetcht a sigh,125
As though his heart would breake:
And Rosamond, for inward griefe,
Not one plaine word could speake.
And at their parting well they might
In heart be grieved sore:130
After that day, faire Rosamond
The King did see no more.
For when his Grace had past the seas,
And into France was gone,
Queene Elinor, with envious heart,135
To Woodstocke came anone.
And foorth she cald this trusty knight
Which kept the curious bower,
Who, with his clew of twined threed,
Came from that famous flower.140
And when that they had wounded him,
The queene his threed did get,
And went where lady Rosamond
Was like an angell set.
And when the queene with stedfast eye145
Beheld her heavenly face,
She was amazed in her minde
At her exceeding grace.
"Cast off from thee thy robes," she sayd,
"That rich and costly be;150
And drinke thou up this deadly draught,
Which I have brought for thee."
But presently upon her knees
Sweet Rosamond did fall;[Pg 290]
And pardon of the queene she crav'd155
For her offences all.
"Take pittie on my youthfull yeares,"
Faire Rosamond did cry;
"And let me not with poyson strong
Inforcèd be to die.160
"I will renounce this sinfull life,
And in a cloyster bide;
Or else be banisht, if you please,
To range the world so wide.
"And for the fault which I have done,165
Though I was forst thereto,
Preserve my life, and punish me
As you thinke good to do."
And with these words, her lilly hands
She wrang full often there;170
And downe along her lovely cheekes
Proceeded many a teare.
But nothing could this furious queene
Therewith appeased bee;
The cup of deadly poyson filld,175
As she sat on her knee,
She gave the comely dame to drinke;
Who tooke it in her hand,
And from her bended knee arose,
And on her feet did stand.180
And casting up her eyes to heaven,
She did for mercy call;
And drinking up the poyson then,
Her life she lost withall.[Pg 291]
And when that death through every lim185
Had done his greatest spite,
Her chiefest foes did plaine confesse
She was a glorious wight.
Her body then they did intombe,
When life was fled away,190
At Godstow, neere [to] Oxford towne,
As may be seene this day.

77. sound.

83. he had reviv'd.—C. G.

94. shield: sword, Garl. G. W.

102. must refuse.

107. England.

117. robes and pearls of gold.

122. beare.


A Collection of Old Ballads, i. 97.

"I never was more surprised," says the editor of the Collection of 1723, "than at the sight of the following ballad; little expecting to see pride and wickedness laid to the charge of the most affable and most virtuous of women: whose glorious actions are not recorded by our historians only; for no foreign writers, who have touched upon those early times, have in silence passed over this illustrious princess, and every nation rings with the praise of Eleonora Isabella of Castile, King Edward's Queen. Father Le Monie, who (in his Gallérie des Femmes Fortes) has searched all Christendom round, from its very infancy to the last age, for five heroines, very partially bestows the first place upon one of his own country-women, but gives the second, with a far superior character, to this queen."

In this absurdly false and ignorant production, the well-beloved Eleonora of Castile is no doubt con[Pg 292]founded with her most unpopular mother-in-law, Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry the Third, whose luxurious habits, and quarrels with the city of London, might afford some shadow of a basis for the impossible slanders of the ballad-singer. Queenhithe was a quay, the tolls of which formed part of the revenue of the Queen, and Eleanor of Provence rendered herself extremely odious by compelling vessels, for the sake of her fees, to unlade there. Charing-cross was one of thirteen monuments raised by Edward the First at the stages, where his queen's body rested, on its progress from the place of her decease to Westminster. In the connection of both these places with the name of a Queen Eleanor may be found (as Miss Strickland suggests in her Lives of the Queens) the germ of the marvellous story of the disappearance at Charing-cross and the resurrection at Queenhithe.

That portion of the story which relates to the cruelty exercised by the queen towards the Lord Mayor's wife is borrowed from the Gesta Romanorum. See Madden's Old English Versions, &c. p. 226, Olimpus the Emperour. Peele's Chronicle History of Edward the First exhibits the same misrepresentations of Eleanor of Castile. See what is said of this play in connection with the ballad of Queen Eleanor's Confession, vol. vi. p. 209. The whole title of the ballad is:—

A Warning Piece to England against Pride and Wickedness:

Being the Fall of Queen Eleanor, Wife to Edward the First, King of England; who, for her pride, by God's Judgments, sunk into the Ground at Charing-cross and rose at Queenhithe.

[Pg 293]

When Edward was in England king,
The first of all that name,
Proud Ellinor he made his queen,
A stately Spanish dame:
Whose wicked life, and sinful pride,5
Thro' England did excel:
To dainty dames, and gallant maids,
This queen was known full well.
She was the first that did invent
In coaches brave to ride;10
She was the first that brought this land
To deadly sin of pride.
No English taylor here could serve
To make her rich attire;
But sent for taylors into Spain,15
To feed her vain desire.
They brought in fashions strange and new,
With golden garments bright;
The farthingale, and mighty ruff,
With gowns of rich delight:20
The London dames, in Spanish pride,
Did flourish every where;
Our English men, like women then,
Did wear long locks of hair.
Both man and child, both maid and wife,25
Were drown'd in pride of Spain:
And thought the Spanish taylors then
Our English men did stain:
Whereat the queen did much despite,
[Pg 294]To see our English men30
In vestures clad, as brave to see
As any Spaniard then.
She crav'd the king, that ev'ry man
That wore long locks of hair,
Might then be cut and polled all,35
Or shaved very near.
Whereat the king did seem content,
And soon thereto agreed;
And first commanded, that his own
Should then be cut with speed:40
And after that, to please his queen,
Proclaimed thro' the land,
That ev'ry man that wore long hair
Should poll him out of hand.
But yet this Spaniard, not content,45
To women bore a spite,
And then requested of the king,
Against all law and right,
That ev'ry womankind should have
Their right breast cut away;50
And then with burning irons sear'd,
The blood to stanch and stay!
King Edward then, perceiving well
Her spite to womankind,
Devised soon by policy55
To turn her bloody mind.
He sent for burning irons straight,
All sparkling hot to see;
And said, "O queen, come on thy way;[Pg 295]
"I will begin with thee."60
Which words did much displease the queen,
That penance to begin;
But ask'd him pardon on her knees;
Who gave her grace therein.
But afterwards she chanc'd to pass65
Along brave London streets,
Whereas the mayor of London's wife
In stately sort she meets;
With music, mirth, and melody,
Unto the church they went,70
To give God thanks, that to th' lord mayor
A noble son had sent.
It grieved much this spiteful queen,
To see that any one
Should so exceed in mirth and joy,75
Except herself alone:
For which, she after did devise
Within her bloody mind,
And practis'd still more secretly,
To kill this lady kind.80
Unto the mayor of London then
She sent her letters straight,
To send his lady to the court,
Upon her grace to wait.
But when the London lady came85
Before proud El'nor's face,
She stript her from her rich array,
And kept her vile and base.[Pg 296]
She sent her into Wales with speed,
And kept her secret there,90
And us'd her still more cruelly
Than ever man did hear.
She made her wash, she made her starch,
She made her drudge alway;
She made her nurse up children small,95
And labour night and day.
But this contented not the queen,
But shew'd her most despite;
She bound this lady to a post,
At twelve a clock at night;100
And as, poor lady, she stood bound,
The queen, in angry mood,
Bid set two snakes unto her breast,
That suck'd away her blood.
Thus died the mayor of London's wife,105
Most grievous for to hear;
Which made the Spaniard grow more proud,
As after shall appear.
The wheat that daily made her bread
Was bolted twenty times;110
The food that fed this stately dame,
Was boil'd in costly wines.
The water that did spring from ground,
She would not touch at all;
But wash'd her hands with the dew of heav'n,115
That on sweet roses fall.
She bath'd her body many a time[Pg 297]
In fountains fill'd with milk;
And ev'ry day did change attire,
In costly Median silk.120
But coming then to London back,
Within her coach of gold,
A tempest strange within the skies
This queen did there behold:
Out of which storm she could not go,125
But there remain'd a space;
Four horses could not stir the coach
A foot out of the place.
A judgment lately sent from heav'n,
For shedding guiltless blood,130
Upon this sinful queen, that slew
The London lady good!
King Edward then, as wisdom will'd,
Accus'd her of that deed;
But she denied, and wish'd that God135
Would send his wrath with speed,—
If that upon so vile a thing
Her heart did ever think,
She wish'd the ground might open wide,
And she therein might sink!140
With that, at Charing-cross she sunk
Into the ground alive,
And after rose with life again,
In London, at Queenhithe.
When, after that, she languish'd sore145
Full twenty days in pain,[Pg 298]
At last confess'd the lady's blood
Her guilty hand had slain:
And likewise, how that by a fryar
She had a base-born child;150
Whose sinful lusts and wickedness
Her marriage bed defil'd.
Thus have you heard the fall of pride,
A just reward of sin;
For those who will forswear themselves,155
God's vengeance daily win.
Beware of pride, ye courtly dames,
Both wives and maidens all;
Bear this imprinted on your mind,
That pride must have a fall.160


From Strange Histories, p. 17 (Percy Society, vol. iii). Other copies, with variations, are in The Crown-Garland of Golden Roses, Part II. p. 20 (Percy Society, vol. xv.), and A Collection of Old Ballads, iii. 91. The editor of Strange Histories informs us that a play on the same subject as the ballad was written by Thomas Drew, or Drue, early in the reign of James I., and printed in 1631, under the title of The Duchess of Suffolk, her Life. He remarks further that both play and ballad was founded upon the nar[Pg 299]rative of Fox, anno 1558 [Acts and Monuments, iii. 926, ed. 1641]; but the differences between Fox's account and the story which follows are altogether too great for this supposition to be true.

Katharine, daughter of Lord Willoughby of Eresby, was first married to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and after his death to Richard Bertie, Esq., with whom she was forced to fly from persecution in 1553, taking refuge first in the Low Countries, and afterwards in Poland.

When God had taken for our sinne
That prudent prince, King Edward, away,
Then bloudy Bonner did begin
His raging mallice to bewray;
All those that did the Gospell professe5
He persecuted more or lesse.
Thus, when the Lord on us did lower,
Many in pryson did he throw,
Tormenting them in Lollards tower,
Whereby they might the trueth forgoe:10
Then Cranmer, Ridley, and the rest,
Were burnt in fire, that Christ profest.
Smithfield was then with faggots fild,
And many places more beside;
At Coventry was Sanders kild,15
At Glocester eke good Hooper dyde;
And to escape this bloudy day,
Beyond-seas many fled away.[Pg 300]
Among the rest that sought reliefe
And for their faith in daunger stood,20
Lady Elizabeth was chiefe,
King Henries daughter of royall blood;
Which in the Tower prisoner did lie,
Looking each day when she should die.
The Dutchesse of Suffolke, seeing this,25
Whose life likewise the tyrant sought,
Who in the hope of heavenly blisse
Within God's word her comfort wrought,
For feare of death was faine to flie,
And leave her house most secretly.30
That for the love of Christ alone,
Her lands and goods she left behind,
Seeking still for that pretious stone,
The worde of trueth, so rare to find:
She with her nurse, her husband, and child,35
In poor array their sights beguild.
Thus through London they passed along,
Each one did passe a severall streete;
Thus all unknowne, escaping wrong,
At Billings-gate they all did meete:40
Like people poore, in Gravesend barge,
They simply went with all their charge.
And all along from Gravesend towne
With easie journeyes on foote they went;
Unto the sea-coast they came downe,45
To passe the seas was their intent;[Pg 301]
And God provided so that day,
That they tooke shippe and sayld away.
And with a prosperous gale of wind
In Flanders safe they did arive;50
This was to their great ease of minde,
Which from their hearts much woe did drive;
And so with thanks to God on hie,
They tooke their way to Germanie.
Thus as they traveld, thus disguisde,55
Upon the high way sodainely
By cruell theeves they were surprisde,
Assaulting their small companie;
And all their treasure and their store
They tooke away, and beate them sore.60
The nurse in middest of their fight
Laid downe the child upon the ground;
She ran away out of their sight,
And never after that was found:
Then did the Dutchesse make great mone65
With her good husband all alone.
The theeves had there their horses kilde,
And all their money quite had tooke;
The pretty babie, almost spild,
Was by their nurse likewise forsooke,70
And they farre from their friends did stand,
All succourlesse in a strange land.
The skies likewise began to scowle;
It hayld and raind in pittious sort;[Pg 302]
The way was long and wonderous foule;75
Then may I now full well report
Their griefe and sorrow was not small,
When this unhappy chaunce did fall.
Sometime the Dutchesse bore the child,
As wet as ever she could be,80
And when the lady kind and mild
Was wearie, then the child bore hee;
And thus they one another easde,
And with their fortunes were well pleasde.
And after many wearied steppes,85
All wet-shod both in durt and myre,
After much griefe, their hearts yet leapes,
(For labour doth some rest require);
A towne before them they did see,
But lodgd therein they could not bee.90
From house to house they both did goe,
Seeking where they that night might lie,
But want of money was their woe,
And still the babe with cold did crie;
With capp and knee they courtsey make,95
But none on them would pittie take.
Loe here a princesse of great blood
Did pray a peasant for reliefe,
With tears bedewed as she stood!
Yet few or none regardes her griefe;100
Her speech they could not understand,
But gave her a pennie in her hand.[Pg 303]
When all in vaine the paines was spent,
And that they could not house-roome get,
Into a church-porch then they went,105
To stand out of the raine and wet:
Then said the Dutchesse to her deare,
"O that we had some fier heere!"
Then did her husband so provide
That fire and coales he got with speede;110
She sate downe by the fiers side,
To dresse her daughter, that had neede;
And while she drest it in her lapp,
Her husband made the infant papp.
Anone the sexton thither came,115
And finding them there by the fire,
The drunken knave, all voyde of shame,
To drive them out was his desire:
And spurning forth this noble dame,
Her husbands wrath it did inflame.120
And all in furie as he stood,
He wroung the church-keies out of his hand,
And strooke him so, that all of blood
His head ran downe where he did stand;
Wherefor the sexton presently125
For helpe and ayde aloude did cry.
Then came the officers in hast,
And tooke the Dutchesse and her child,
And with her husband thus they past,
Like lambes beset with tygers wild,130
And to the governour were they brought,
Who understood them not in ought.[Pg 304]
Then Maister Bartue, brave and bold,
In Latine made a gallant speech,
Which all their miserie did unfold,135
And their high favour did beseech:
With that, a doctor sitting by
Did know the Dutchesse presently.
And thereupon arising straight,
With minde abashed at their sight,140
Unto them all that there did waight,
He thus brake forth, in wordes aright:
"Behold within your sight," quoth hee,
"A princesse of most high degree."
With that the governour and the rest145
Were all amazde the same to heare,
And welcomméd these new-come guestes
With reverence great and princely cheare;
And afterward conveyd they were
Unto their friend Prince Cassemere.150
A sonne she had in Germanie,
Peregrine Bartue cald by name,
Surnamde The Good Lord Willobie,
Of courage great and worthie fame.
Her daughter young, which with her went,155
Was afterward Countesse of Kent.
For when Queene Mary was deceast,
The Dutchesse home returnde againe,
Who was of sorrow quite releast
By Queene Elizabeth's happie raigne:160
For whose life and prosperitie
We may prayse God continually.

9. There is said to be a place so called in the archiepiscopal palace at Lambeth.

28. So, C. G. G. R., for which in.

[Pg 305]


Thomas Stuckley, says Fuller, "was a younger brother, of an ancient, wealthy, and worshipful family, nigh Ilfracombe in this county [Devon], being one of good parts; but valued the less by others, because overprized by himself. Having prodigally mis-spent his patrimony, he entered on several projects (the issue general of all decayed estates); and first pitched on the peopling of Florida, then newly found out, in the West Indies. So confident his ambition, that he blushed not to tell Queen Elizabeth, 'that he preferred rather to be sovereign of a mole-hill, than the highest subject to the greatest king in Christendom;' adding, moreover, 'that he was assured he should be a prince before his death.' 'I hope,' said Queen Elizabeth, 'I shall hear from you, when you are stated in your principality.' 'I will write unto you,' quoth Stuckley. 'In what language?' said the Queen. He returned, 'In the style of princes: To our dear sister.'

"His fair project of Florida being blasted for lack of money to pursue it, he went over into Ireland, where he was frustrated of the preferment he expected, and met such physic that turned his fever into frenzy; for hereafter resolving treacherously to[Pg 306] attempt what he could not loyally achieve, he went over into Italy.

"It is incredible how quickly he wrought himself through the notice into the favour, through the court into the chamber, yea closet, yea bosom of Pope Pius Quintus; so that some wise men thought his Holiness did forfeit a parcel of his infallibility in giving credit to such a glorioso, vaunting that with three thousand soldiers he would beat all the English out of Ireland.

"The Pope finding it cheaper to fill Stuckley's swelling sails with airy titles than real gifts, created him Baron of Ross, Viscount Murrough, Earl of Wexford, Marquis of Leinster; and then furnished this title-top-heavy general with eight hundred soldiers, paid by the King of Spain, for the Irish expedition.

"In passage thereunto, Stuckley lands at Portugal, just when Sebastian, the king thereof, with two Moorish kings, were undertaking a voyage into Africa. Stuckley, scorning to attend, is persuaded to accompany them. Some thought he wholly quitted his Irish design, partly because loath to be pent up in an island (the continent of Africa affording more elbow-room for his achievements); partly because so mutable his mind, he ever loved the last project (as mothers the youngest child) best. Others conceive he took this African in order to his Irish design; such his confidence of conquest, that his breakfast on the Turks would the better enable him to dine on the English in Ireland.

"Landing in Africa, Stuckley gave council which was safe, seasonable, and necessary; namely, that for two or three days they should refresh their land soldiers; whereof some were sick, and some were weak,[Pg 307] by reason of their tempestuous passage. This would not be heard; so furious was Don Sebastian to engage; as if he would pluck up the bays of victory out of the ground, before they were grown up; and so, in the battle of Alcaser, their army was wholly defeated: where Stuckley lost his life.

'A fatal fight, where in one day was slain,
Three kings that were, and one that would be fain!'

"This battle was fought anno 1578, where Stuckley, with his eight hundred men, behaved himself most valiantly, till overpowered with multitude." Worthies of England, by Nuttall, i. 414.

Mr. Dyce, in his prefatory note to Peele's Battle of Alcazar, having cited the above extract with several poetical notices of Stukeley, mentions another play founded on this adventurer's exploits (The Famous Historye of the Life and Death of Captaine Thomas Stukely), acted in 1596, and printed in 1605 (Peele's Works, ii. 85).

The ballad is from The Crown-Garland of Golden Roses (Percy Society, vol. vi.) p. 33. There are some verses on Stukeley's projected voyage to Florida in Mr. Collier's Old Ballads, in the first volume of the Percy Society, p. 73.

In the west of England
Borne there was, I understand,
A famous gallant in his dayes,
By birth a wealthy clothier's sonne;
Deeds of wonder he hath done,5
To purchase him a long and lasting praise.[Pg 308]
If I should tell his story,
Pride was all his glory,
And lusty Stukely he was call'd in court;
He serv'd a bishop of the west,10
And did accompany the best,
Maintaining still himselfe in gallant sort.
Being thus esteemed,
And every where well deemed,
He gain'd the favour of a London dame,15
Daughter to an alderman,
Curtis he was called then,
To whom a sutor gallantly he came.
When she his person spied,
He could not be denied,20
So brave a gentleman he was to see;
She was quickly made his wife,
In weale or woe to lead her life,
Her father willingly did so agree.
Thus, in state and pleasure,25
Full many daies they measure;
Till cruell death, with his regardles spight,
Bore old Curtis to his grave,
A thing which Stukely wisht to have,
That he might revell all in gold so bright.30
He was no sooner tombed,
But Stukely presumed
To spend a hundred pound that day in waste:
The bravest gallants of the land[Pg 309]
Had Stukelies purse at their command;35
Thus merrily the time away he pass'd.
Taverns and ordinaries
Were his cheefest braveries,
Goulden angells flew there up and downe;
Riots were his best delight,40
With stately feastings day and night;
In court and citty thus he won renowne.
Thus wasting land and living
By this lawlesse giving,
At last he sold the pavements of his yard,45
Which covered were with blocks of tin;
Old Curtis left the same to him,
Which he consumed vainely, as you heard.
Whereat his wife sore greeved,
Desir'd to be releeved;50
"Make much of me, dear husband," she did say:
"I'll make much more of thee," quoth he,
"Than any one shall, verily:
I'll sell thy clothes, and so will go away."
Cruelly thus hearted,55
Away from her he parted,
And travelled into Italy with speed:
There he flourisht many a day
In his silkes and rich array,
[Pg 310]And did the pleasures of a lady feed.60
It was the ladies pleasure
To give him gold and treasure,
And to maintaine him in great pomp and fame;
At last came newes assuredly
Of a battaile fought in Barbary,65
And he would valiantly go see the same.
Many a noble gallant
Sold both land and talent
To follow Stukely in this famous fight;
Whereas three kings in person would70
Adventurously, with courage bould,
Within the battaile shew themselves in sight.
Stukely and his followers all,
Of the king of Portugall
Had entertainement like to gentlemen:75
The king affected Stukely so,
That he his secrets all did know,
And bore his royall standard now and then.
Upon this day of honour
Each king did shew his banner;80
Morocco, and the King of Barbery,
Portugall, with all his train,
Bravely glister'd in the plain,
And gave the onset there most valiantly.
The cannons they resounded,85
Thund'ring drums rebounded,
"Kill, kill!" as then was all the soldiers cry;[Pg 311]
Mangled men lay on the ground,
And with blood the earth was dround,
The sun was likewise darken'd in the skye.90
Heaven was sore displeased,
And would not be appeased,
But tokens of God's heavy wrath did show
That he was angry at this war;
He sent a fearfull blazing star,95
Whereby these kings might their misfortunes know.
Bloody was this slaughter,
Or rather wilfull murther,
Where six score thousand fighting men were slain;
Three kings within this battaile died,100
With forty dukes and earles beside,
The like will never more be fought again.
With woful armes enfoulding,
Stukely stood beholding
This bloody sacrifice of soules that day:105
He, sighing, said, "I, wofull wight,
Against my conscience heere did fight,
And brought my followers all unto decay."
Being thus molested,
And with greefes oppressed,110
Those brave Italians that did sell their lands,
With Stukely thus to travel forth,
And venture life for little worth,
Upon him all did lay their murthering hands.[Pg 312]
Unto death thus wounded,115
His heart with sorrow swounded,
And to them all he made this heavy mone:
"Thus have I left my country deere,
To be so vilely murthered heere,
Even in this place whereas I am not known.120
"My life I have much wronged;
Of what to her belonged
I vainely spent in idle course of life.
What I have done is past, I see,
And bringeth nought but greef to me,125
Therefore grant now thy pardon, gentle wife!
"Life, I see, consumeth,
And death, I feel, presumeth
To change this life of mine into a new:
Yet this me greatest comfort brings,130
I liv'd and died in love of kings,
And so brave Stukely bids the world adew."
Stukelys life thus ended,
Was after death befrended,
And like a soldier buried gallantly;135
Where now there stands upon his grave
A stately temple, builded brave,
With golden turrets piercing in the skye.

38, 40 where.

72. fight.

[Pg 313]


No plausible foundation for this ballad has as yet been found in history. It has been suggested that Delaware is a corruption of De la Mare, a speaker of the House of Commons, and a great advocate of popular rights, in the reign of Edward the Third! But there is no accounting for the Dutch lord and the Welsh Duke of Devonshire on this or any other supposition.

The ballad is given from Lyle's Ancient Ballads and Songs, p. 135, as "noted down from the singing of a gentleman," and then "remodelled and smoothed down" by the editor. The same copy is printed in Dixon's Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs (Percy Society, vol. xvii.), p. 80, and in Bell's volume with the same title, p. 66.

In the Parliament House,
A great rout has been there,
Betwixt our good king
And the Lord Delaware:
Says Lord Delaware5
To his Majesty full soon,
"Will it please you, my Liege,
To grant me a boon?"
"What's your boon?" says the King,
[Pg 314]"Now let me understand."10
"It's, give me all the poor men
We've starving in this land;
And without delay, I'll hie me
To Lincolnshire,
To sow hemp-seed and flax-seed,15
And hang them all there.
"For with hempen cord it's better
To stop each poor man's breath,
Than with famine you should see
Your subjects starve to death."20
Up starts a Dutch lord,
Who to Delaware did say,
"Thou deservest to be stabb'd!"
Then he turned himself away:
"Thou deservest to be stabb'd,25
And the dogs have thine ears,
For insulting our king
In this parliament of peers."
Up sprang a Welsh lord,
The brave Duke of Devonshire,30
"In young Delaware's defence, I'll fight
This Dutch lord, my Sire.
"For he is in the right,
And I'll make it so appear:
Him I dare to single combat,35
For insulting Delaware."
A stage was soon erected,
And to combat they went,
For to kill, or to be kill'd,
[Pg 315]It was either's full intent.40
But the very first flourish,
When the heralds gave command,
The sword of brave Devonshire
Bent backward on his hand;
In suspense he paused awhile,45
Scann'd his foe before he strake,
Then against the king's armour,
His bent sword he brake.
Then he sprang from the stage,
To a soldier in the ring,50
Saying, "Lend your sword, that to an end
This tragedy we bring:
Though he's fighting me in armour,
While I am fighting bare,
Even more than this I'd venture55
For young Lord Delaware."
Leaping back on the stage,
Sword to buckler now resounds,
Till he left the Dutch lord
A bleeding in his wounds:60
This seeing, cries the King
To his guards without delay,
"Call Devonshire down,—
Take the dead man away!"
"No," says brave Devonshire,65
"I've fought him as a man;
Since he's dead, I will keep
The trophies I have won.
For he fought me in your armour,
[Pg 316]While I fought him bare,70
And the same you must win back, my Liege,
If ever you them wear."
God bless the Church of England,
May it prosper on each hand,
And also every poor man75
Now starving in this land;
And while I pray success may crown
Our king upon his throne,
I'll wish that every poor man
May long enjoy his own.80

[Pg 317]


Traditionary Version, from Aytoun's Scottish Ballads, i. 75.

"I am indebted to the kindness of Lady John Scott for the following extremely spirited ballad, which was taken down some years ago in Aberdeenshire, where it is still very popular. It is sung to a beautiful air, with the following refrain to each stanza:—

"Wi' a drie, drie, dredidronilie drie."
As I cam in by Garioch land,
And doun by Netherha',
There was fifty thousand Hielandmen,
A' marching to Harlaw.
As I cam on, and further on,5
And doun and by Balquhaim,
O there I met Sir James the Ross,
Wi' him Sir John the Græme.
"O cam ye frae the Highlands, man?
O cam ye a' the way?10
Saw ye Mac Donnell and his men,
As they cam frae the Skye?"
"Yes, we cam frae the Highlands, man,
And we cam a' the way,
And we saw Mac Donnell and his men,15
As they cam in frae Skye."[Pg 318]
"O was ye near Mac Donnell's men?
Did ye their number see?
Come, tell to me, John Hielandman,
What might their numbers be?"20
"Yes, we was near, and near eneugh,
And we their number saw;
There was fifty thousand Hielandmen,
A' marching to Harlaw."
"Gin that be true," said James the Ross,25
"We'll no come meikle speed;
We'll cry upon our merry men,
And turn our horses' head."
"O na, O na!" says John the Græme,
"That thing maun never be;30
The gallant Græmes were never beat,
We'll try what we can dee."
As I cam on, and further on,
And doun and by Harlaw,
They fell fu' close on ilka side,35
Sic straiks ye never saw.
They fell fu' close on ilka side,
Sic straiks ye never saw;
For ilka sword gaed clash for clash,
At the battle o' Harlaw.40
The Hielandmen wi' their lang swords,
They laid on as fu' sair,
And they drave back our merry men,
Three acres breadth and mair.[Pg 319]
Brave Forbés to his brother did say,45
"O brother, dinna ye see?
They beat us back on ilka side,
And we'll be forced to flee."
"O na! O na! my brother dear,
O na! that mauna be!50
You'll tak your gude sword in your hand,
And ye'll gang in wi' me."
Then back to back the brothers brave
Gaed in amang the thrang,
And they swept doun the Hielandmen,55
Wi' swords baith sharp and lang.
The first ae straik that Forbés strack,
He gar'd Mac Donnell reel;
And the neist ae straik that Forbés strack,
The brave Mac Donnell fell.60
And siccan a Pitlarichie
I'm sure ye never saw,
As was amang the Hielandmen,
When they saw Mac Donnell fa'.
And when they saw that he was dead,65
They turn'd and ran awa',
And they buried him in Legate's Den,
A large mile frae Harlaw.
Some rade, some ran, and some did gang,
They were o' sma' record,70
But Forbés and his merry men
They slew them a' the road.[Pg 320]
On Mononday at morning,
The battle it began;
On Saturday at gloamin',75
Ye'd scarce ken'd wha had wan.
And sic a weary buryin'
I'm sure ye never saw,
As was the Sunday after that,
On the muirs aneath Harlaw.80
Gin onybody speer at ye
For them we took awa',
Ye may tell them plain, and very plain,
They're sleeping at Harlaw.

[Pg 321]


Figures placed after words denote the pages in which they occur.

Transcriber's Notes

Page 39, line 101: changed "strenght" to "strength" (Many hade no strength for to stande,)

Page 108: line note anchor moved from line 67 to line 68.

Page 157, line 11: changed "orher" to "order" (Lord Roxburgh was there, in order to share)

Page 191, line 9-12: changed indentation of this verse to be consistent with the rest of the ballad.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of English and Scottish Ballads, Volume
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