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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Hunting of the Cheviot

By The Ballad

  • [This is the older and better version of the famous ballad. The younger version was the subject of Addison’s papers in the Spectator.]

  • 1.THE PERCY out of Northumberlande,

    and a vowe to God mayd he

    That he would hunte in the mountayns

    of Cheviot within days thre,

    In the magger of doughty Douglas,

    and all that ever with him be.

    2.The fattiste hartes in all Cheviot

    he sayd he would kyll, and cary them away:

    “Be my feth,” sayd the doughty Douglas agayn,

    “I will let that hontyng if that I may.”

    3.Then the Percy out of Banborowe cam,

    with him a myghtee meany,

    With fifteen hondred archares bold of blood and bone;

    they were chosen out of shyars thre.

    4.This began on a Monday at morn,

    in Cheviot the hillys so he;

    The chyld may rue that ys unborn,

    it was the more pittë.

    5.The dryvars thorowe the woodës went,

    for to reas the deer;

    Bowmen byckarte uppone the bent

    with their browd arrows cleare.

    6.Then the wyld thorowe the woodës went,

    on every sydë shear;

    Greahondës thorowe the grevis glent,

    for to kyll their deer.

    7.This begane in Cheviot the hyls abone,

    yerly on a Monnyn-day;

    Be that it drewe to the hour of noon,

    a hondred fat hartës ded ther lay.

    8.They blewe a mort uppone the bent,

    they semblyde on sydis shear;

    To the quyrry then the Percy went,

    to see the bryttlynge of the deere.

    9.He sayd, “It was the Douglas promys

    this day to met me hear;

    But I wyste he wolde faylle, verament;”

    a great oth the Percy swear.

    10.At the laste a squyar of Northumberlande

    lokyde at his hand full ny;

    He was war a the doughtie Douglas commynge,

    with him a myghtë meany.

    11.Both with spear, bylle, and brande,

    yt was a myghtë sight to se;

    Hardyar men, both of hart nor hande,

    were not in Cristiantë.

    12.They were twenty hondred spear-men good,

    withoute any fail;

    They were borne along be the water a Twyde,

    yth bowndës of Tividale.

    13.“Leave of the brytlyng of the deer,” he said,

    “and to your bows look ye tayk good hede;

    For never sithe ye were on your mothers borne

    had ye never so mickle nede.”

    14.The doughty Douglas on a stede,

    he rode alle his men beforne;

    His armor glytteyrde as dyd a glede;

    a boldar barne was never born.

    15.“Tell me whose men ye are,” he says,

    “or whose men that ye be:

    Who gave youe leave to hunte in this Cheviot chays,

    in the spyt of myn and of me.”

    16.The first man that ever him an answer mayd,

    yt was the good lord Percy:

    “We wyll not tell the whose men we are,” he says,

    “nor whose men that we be;

    But we wyll hounte here in this chays,

    in spyt of thyne and of the.

    17.“The fattiste hartës in all Cheviot

    we have kyld, and cast to carry them away:”

    “Be my troth,” sayd the doughty Douglas agayn,

    “therefor the tone of us shall die this day.”

    18.Then sayd the doughtë Douglas

    unto the lord Percy,

    “To kyll alle thes giltles men,

    alas, it wear great pittë!

    19.“But, Percy, thowe art a lord of lande,

    I am a yerle callyd within my contrë;

    Let all our men uppone a parti stande,

    and do the battell of the and of me.”

    20.“Nowe Cristes curse on his crowne,” sayd the lord Percy,

    “whosoever thereto says nay;

    Be my troth, doughty Douglas,” he says,

    “thow shalt never se that day.

    21.“Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nor France,

    nor for no man of a woman born,

    But, and fortune be my chance,

    I dar met him, one man for one.”

    22.Then bespayke a squyar of Northumberlande,

    Richard Wytharyngton was his name:

    “It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde,” he says.

    “To Kyng Herry the Fourth for shame.

    23.“I wat youe byn great lordës twa,

    I am a poor squyar of lande:

    I wylle never se my captayne fyght on a fylde,

    and stande my selffe and looke on,

    But whylle I may my weppone welde,

    I wylle not fayle both hart and hande.”

    24.That day, that day, that dredfull day!

    the first fit here I fynde;

    And you wyll hear any more a the hountyng a the Cheviot

    yet ys ther mor behynde.

    25.The Yngglyshe men had their bowys ybent,

    ther hartes were good yenoughe;

    The first of arrows that they shote off,

    seven skore spear-men they sloughe.

    26.Yet bides the yerle Douglas upon the bent,

    a captayne good yenoughe,

    And that was sene verament,

    for he wrought hem both wo and wouche.

    27.The Douglas partyd his host in thre,

    like a chief chieftain of pryde;

    With sure spears of myghtty tre,

    they cum in on every syde:

    28.Throughe our Yngglyshe archery

    gave many a wounde fulle wyde;

    Many a doughty they garde to dy,

    which ganyde them no pryde.

    29.The Ynglyshe men let ther bowës be,

    and pulde out brandes that were brighte;

    It was a heavy syght to se

    bryght swordes on basnites lyght.

    30.Thorowe ryche male and myneyeple,

    many sterne they strocke down straight;

    Many a freyke that was fulle fre,

    there under foot dyd lyght.

    31.At last the Douglas and the Percy met,

    lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne;

    The swapte together tylle they both swat,

    with swordes that were of fine milan.

    32.These worthy freckys for to fyght,

    ther-to they were fulle fayne,

    Tylle the bloode out off their basnetes sprente,

    as ever dyd hail or rayn.

    33.“Yield thee, Percy,” sayd the Douglas,

    “and i faith I shalle thee brynge

    Where thowe shalte have a yerls wagis

    of Jamy our Scottish kynge.

    34.“Thou shalte have thy ransom fre,

    I hight the here this thinge;

    For the manfullyste man yet art thow

    that ever I conqueryd in fielde fighttynge.”

    35.“Nay,” sayd the lord Percy,

    “I tolde it thee beforne,

    That I wolde never yeldyde be

    to no man of a woman born.”

    36.With that ther came an arrow hastely,

    forthe off a myghtty wane;

    It hath strekene the yerle Douglas

    in at the brest-bane.

    37.Thorowe lyvar and lungës bothe

    the sharpe arrowe ys gane,

    That never after in all his lyfe-days

    he spayke mo wordës but ane:

    That was, “Fyghte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may,

    for my lyfe-days ben gane.”

    38.The Percy leanyde on his brande,

    and sawe the Douglas de;

    He tooke the dead man by the hande,

    and said, “Wo ys me for thee!

    39.“To have savyde thy lyfe, I would have partyde with

    my landes for years three,

    For a better man, of hart nor of hande,

    was not in all the north contrë.”

    40.Of all that see a Scottish knyght,

    was callyd Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry;

    He saw the Douglas to the death was dyght,

    he spendyd a spear, a trusti tree.

    41.He rode upon a corsiare

    throughe a hondred archery;

    He never stynttyde nor never blane,

    till he came to the good lord Percy.

    42.He set upon the lorde Percy

    a dynte that was full sore;

    With a sure spear of a myghttë tree

    clean thorow the body he the Percy ber,

    43.A the tother syde that a man might see

    a large cloth-yard and mare;

    Two better captayns were not in Cristiantë

    than that day slain were there.

    44.An archer off Northumberlande

    saw slain was the lord Percy;

    He bore a bende bowe in his hand,

    was made of trusti tree;

    45.An arrow, that a cloth-yarde was long,

    to the harde stele halyde he;

    A dynt that was both sad and soar

    he set on Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry.

    46.The dynt yt was both sad and sore,

    that he of Monggombyrry set;

    The swane-fethars that his arrowe bar

    with his hart-blood they were wet.

    47.There was never a freak one foot wolde flee,

    but still in stour dyd stand,

    Hewyng on eache other, whyle they myghte dree,

    with many a balefull brande.

    48.This battell begane in Cheviot

    an hour before the none,

    And when even-songe bell was rang,

    the battell was not half done.

    49.They took … on either hande

    by the lyght of the mone;

    Many hade no strength for to stande,

    in Cheviot the hillys abon.

    50.Of fifteen hundred archers of Ynglonde

    went away but seventy and three;

    Of twenty hundred spear-men of Scotlonde,

    but even five and fifty.

    51.But all were slayne Cheviot within;

    they had no strength to stand on hy;

    The chylde may rue that ys unborne,

    it was the more pittë.

    52.There was slayne, withe the lord Percy,

    Sir John of Agerstone,

    Sir Rogar, the hinde Hartly,

    Sir Wyllyam, the bold Hearone.

    53.Sir George, the worthy Loumle,

    a knyghte of great renown,

    Sir Raff, the ryche Rugbe,

    with dyntes were beaten downe.

    54.For Wetharryngton my harte was wo,

    that ever he slayne shulde be;

    For when both his leggis were hewyn in to,

    yet he kneeled and fought on hys knee.

    55.There was slayne, with the doughty Douglas,

    Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry,

    Sir Davy Lwdale, that worthy was,

    his sister’s son was he.

    56.Sir Charles a Murrë in that place,

    that never a foot wolde fle;

    Sir Hewe Maxwelle, a lorde he was,

    with the Douglas dyd he die.

    57.So on the morrowe they mayde them biers

    off birch and hasell so gray;

    Many widows, with weepyng tears,

    came to fetch ther makys away.

    58.Tivydale may carpe of care,

    Northumberland may mayk great moan,

    For two such captayns as slayne were there,

    on the March-parti shall never be none.

    59.Word ys commen to Eddenburrowe,

    to Jamy the Scottische kynge,

    That doughty Douglas, lyff-tenant of the Marches,

    he lay slean Cheviot within.

    60.His handdës dyd he weal and wryng,

    he sayd, “Alas, and woe ys me!

    Such an othar captayn Skotland within,”

    he sayd, “i-faith should never be.”

    61.Worde ys commyn to lovely Londone,

    till the fourth Harry our kynge,

    That lord Percy, leyff-tenante of the Marchis,

    he lay slayne Cheviot within.

    62.“God have merci on his soule,” sayde Kyng Harry,

    “good lord, yf thy will it be!

    I have a hondred captayns in Ynglonde,” he sayd,

    “as good as ever was he:

    But Percy, and I brook my lyfe,

    thy deth well quyte shall be.”

    63.As our noble kynge mayd his avowe,

    lyke a noble prince of renown,

    For the deth of the lord Percy

    he dyd the battle of Hombyll-down:

    64.Where syx and thirty Skottishe knyghtes

    on a day were beaten down:

    Glendale glytteryde on their armor bryght,

    over castille, towar, and town.

    65.This was the hontynge of the Cheviot,

    that tear begane this spurn;

    Old men that knowen the grownde well enoughe

    call it the battell of Otterburn.

    66.At Otterburn begane this spurne

    upon a Monnynday;

    There was the doughty Douglas slean,

    the Percy never went away.

    67.There was never a tyme on the Marche-partës

    sen the Douglas and the Percy met,

    But yt ys mervele and the rede blude ronne not,

    as the rain does in the stret.

    68.Jesus Christ our balës bete,

    and to the bliss us bring!

    Thus was the hunting of the Cheviot;

    God send us alle good ending!