The Ballad of Chevy Chase

Early version - c.1430


The First Fit
THE PERSÈ owt off Northombarlonde, and avowe to God mayd he
That he wold hunte in the mowntayns off Chyviat within days thre,
In the magger of doughtè Dogles, and all that euer with him be.

The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat he sayd he wold kyll, and cary them away:
‘Be my feth,’ sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn, ‘I wyll let that hontyng yf that I may.’

Then the Persè owt off Banborowe cam, with him a myghtee meany,
With fifteen hondrith archares bold; the wear chosen owt of shyars thre.

This begane on a Monday at morn, in Cheviat the hillys so he;
The chylde may rue that ys vn-born, it wos the mor pittè.

The dryvars thorowe the woodees went, for to reas the dear;
Bomen byckarte vppone the bent with ther browd aros cleare.

Then the wyld thorowe the woodees went, on euery sydè shear;
Greahondes thorowe the grevis glent, for to kyll thear dear.

This begane in Chyviat the hyls abone, yerly on a Monnyn-day;
Be that it drewe to the oware off none, a hondrith fat hartees ded ther lay.

The blewe a mort vppone the bent, the semblyde on sydis shear;
To the quyrry then the Persè went, to se the bryttlynge off the deare.

He sayd, It was the Duglas promys this day to met me hear;
But I wyste he wolde faylle, verament; a great oth the Persè swear.

At the laste a squyar off Northomberlonde lokyde at his hand full ny;
He was war a the doughetie Doglas commynge, with him a myghttè meany.

Both with spear, bylle, and brande, yt was a myghtti sight to se;
Hardyar men, both off hart nor hande, wear not in Cristiantè.

The wear twenti hondrith spear-men good, withoute any feale;
The wear borne along be the watter a Twyde, yth bowndees of Tividale.

‘Leave of the brytlyng of the dear,’ he sayd, and to your bowys lock ye tayk good hede;
For neuer sithe ye wear on your mothars borne had ye neuer so mickle nede.’

The dougheti Dogglas on a stede, he rode alle his men beforne;
His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede; a boldar barne was never born.

‘Tell me whos men ye ar,’ he says, ‘or whos men that ye be:
Who gave youe leave to hunte in this Chyviat chays, in the spyt of myn and 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, ‘Nor whos men that we be;
But we wyll hounte hear in this chays, in the spyt of thyne and of the.

‘The fattiste hartees in all Chyviat we haue kyld, and cast to carry them away:’
‘Be my troth,’ sayd the doughetè Dogglas agayn, ‘therfor the ton of vs shal de this day.’

Then sayd the doughtè Doglas unto the lord Persè:
‘To kyll alle thes giltles men, alas, it wear great pittè!

But, Persè, thowe art a lord of lande, I am a yerle callyd within my contre;
Let all our men vppone a parti stande, and do the battell off the and of me.’

‘Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne,’ sayd the lorde Persè, ‘who-so-euer ther-to says nay!
‘Be my troth, doughtte Doglas,’ he says, ‘Thow shalt neuer se that day.

‘Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, 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;
‘It shal neuer be told in Sothe-Ynglonde,’ he says, ‘To Kyng Herry the Fourth for sham.

‘I wat youe byn great lordees twaw, I am a poor squyar of lande;
I wylle neuer se my captayne fyght on a fylde, and stande my selffe and loocke on,
But whylle I may my weppone welde, I wylle not “fayle” both hart and hande.’

That day, that day, that dredfull day! the first fit here I fynde;
And youe wyll here any mor a the hountynge a the Chyviat, yet ys ther mor behynde.


The Second Fit

The Yngglyshe men hade ther bowys yebent, ther hartes wer good yenoughe;
The first off arros that the shote off, seven skore spear-men the sloughe.

Yet byddys the yerle Doglas vppon the bent, a captayne good yenoughe,
And that was sene verament, for he wrought hom both woo and wouche.

The Doglas partyd his ost in thre, lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde;
With suar spears off myghtt tre, the cum in on euery syde;

Thrughe our Yngglyshe archery gave many a wounde fulle wyde;
Many a doughetè the garde to dy, which ganyde them no pryde.

The Ynglyshe men let ther bowys be, and pulde owt brandes that wer brighte;
It was a hevy syght to se bryght swordes on basnites lyght.

Thorowe ryche male and myneyeple, many sterne the strocke done streght;
Many a freyke that was fulle fre, ther vndar foot dyd lyght.

At last the Duglas and the Persè met, lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne;
The swapte toghethar tylle the both swat, with swordes that wear of fyn myllan.

Thes worthè freckys for to fyght, ther-to the wear fulle fayne,
Tylle the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente, as euer dyd heal or rayn.

‘Yelde the, Persè,’ sayde the Doglas, ‘and i feth I shalle the brynge
Wher thowe shalte haue a yerls wagis of Jamy our Skottish kynge.

‘Thoue shalte haue thy ransom fre, I hight the hear this thinge;
For the manfullyste man yet art thowe that euer I conqueryd in filde fighttynge.’

‘Nay,’ sayd the lord Persè, ‘I tolde it the beforne,
That I wolde neuer yeldyde be to no man of a woman born.’

With that ther cam an arrowe hastely, forthe off a myghttè wane;
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas in at the brest-bane.

Thorowe lyvar and longees bathe the sharpe arrowe ys gane,
That neuer after in all his lyffe-days he spayke mo wordees but ane:
That was, Fyghte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may, for my lyff-days ben gan.

The Persè leanyde on his brande, and sawe the Duglas de;
He tooke the dede mane by the hande, and sayd, Wo ys me for the!

‘To haue savyde thy lyffe, I wolde haue partyde with my landes for years thre,
For a better man, of hart nare of hande, was nat in all the north contrè.’

Off all that se a Skottishe knyght, was callyd Ser Hewe the Monggombyrry;
He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght, he spendyd a spear, a trusti tre.

He rod vppone a corsiare throughe a hondrith archery:
He neuer stynttyde, nar neuer blane, tylle he cam to the good lord Persè.

He set vppone the lorde Persè a dynte that was full soare;
With a suar spear of a myghtè tre clean thorow the body he the Persè ber,

A the tothar syde that a man myght se a large cloth-yard and mare:
Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Cristiantè then that day slan wear ther.

An archar off Northomberlonde say slean was the lord Persè;
He bar a bende bowe in his hand, was made off trusti tre.

An arow that a cloth-yarde was lang to the harde stele halyde he;
A dynt that was both sad and soar he sat on Ser Hewe the Monggombyrry.

The dynt yt was both sad and sar that he of Monggomberry sete;
The swane-fethars that his arrowe bar with his hart-blood the wear wete.

Ther was neuer a freake wone foot wolde fle, but still in stour dyd stand,
Heawyng on yche othar, whylle the myghte dre, with many a balfull brande.

This battell begane in Chyviat an owar befor the none,
And when even-songe bell was rang, the battell was nat half done.

The tooke “on” ethar hande be the lyght off the mone;
Many hade no strenght for to stande, in Chyviat the hillys abon.

Of fifteen hondrith archars of Ynglonde went away but seuenti and thre;
Of twenti hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde, but even five and fifti.

But all wear slayne Cheviat within; the hade no strengthe to stand on hy;
The chylde may rue that ys unborne, it was the mor pittè.

Thear was slayne, withe the lord Persè, Ser Johan of Agerstone,
Ser Rogar, the hinde Hartly, Ser Wyllyam, the bolde Hearone.

Ser Jorg, the worthè Loumle, a knyghte of great renowen,
Ser Raff, the ryche Rugbe, with dyntes wear beaten dowene.

For Wetharryngton my harte was wo, that euer he slayne shulde be;
For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to, yet he knyled and fought on hys kny.

Ther was slayne, with the dougheti Duglas, Ser Hewe the Monggombyrry,
Ser Dauy Lwdale, that worthè was, his sistars son was he.

Ser Charls a Murrè in that place, that neuer a foot wolde fle;
Ser Hewe Maxwelle, a lorde he was, with the Doglas dyd he dey.

So on the morrowe the mayde them byears off birch and hasell so gray;
Many wedous, with wepyng tears, cam to fache ther makys away.

Tivydale may carpe off care, Northombarlond may mayk great mon,
For towe such captayns as slayne wear thear on the March-parti shall neuer be non.

Word ys commen to Eddenburrowe, to Jamy the Skottishe kynge,
That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Marches, he lay slean Chyviot within.

His handdes dyd he weal and wryng, he sayd, Alas, and woe ys me!
Such an othar captayn Skotland within, he sayd, ye-feth shuld neuer be.

Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone, till the fourth Harry our kynge,
That lord Persè, leyff-tenante of the Marchis, he lay slayne Chyviat within.

‘God haue merci on his solle,’ sayde Kyng Harry, ‘good lord, yf thy will it be!
I haue a hondrith captayns in Ynglonde,’ he sayd, ‘as good as euer was he:
But, Persè, and I brook my lyffe, thy deth well quyte shall be.’

As our noble kynge mayd his avowe, lyke a noble prince of renowen,
For the deth of the lord Persè he dyde the battell of Hombyll-down;

Wher syx and thrittè Skottishe knyghtes on a day wear beaten down;
Glendale glytteryde on ther armor bryght, over castille, towar, and town.

This was the hontynge off the Cheviat, that tear begane this spurn;
Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe call it the battell of Otterburn.

At Otterburn begane this spurne, vppone a Monnynday;
Ther was the doughtè Doglas slean, the Persè neuer went away.

Ther was neuer a tym on the Marche-partes sen the Doglas and the Persè met,
But yt ys mervele and the rede blude ronne not, as the reane doys in the stret.

Ihesue Crist our balys bete, and to the blys vs brynge!
Thus was the hountynge of the Chivyat: God send vs alle good endyng!

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