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The chiefest harts in Chevy Chase
To kill and bear away.
In Scotland, where he lay;
Who sent earl Percy present word
He would prevent his sport. The English earl, not fearing this,
Did to the woods resort,
With fifteen hundred bowmen bold,
All chosen men of might;
To aim their shafts aright.
The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran,
To chase the fallow deer;
When day-light did appear;
And, long before high noon, they had
A hundred fat bucks slain;
To rouse them up again.
The bowmen muster'd on the hills,
Well able to endure,
That day were guarded sure.
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,
The nimble deer to take;
An echo shrill did make.
Lord Percy to the quarry went,
To view the slaughter'd deer; Quoth he, ' Earl Douglas promised
This day to meet me here :
If that I thought he would not come,
No longer would I stay.'
Thus to the earl did say:
'Lo! yonder doth earl Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;
All marching in our sight;
. All men of pleasant Tividale,
Fast by the river Tweed.' • Then cease your sport,' earl Percy said,
* And take your bows with speed :
And now with me, my countrymen,
Your courage forth advance;
In Scotland or in France,
"That ever did on horseback come,
But, if my hap it were,
With him to break a spear.'
Earl Douglas, on a milk-white steed,
Most like a baron bold,
Whose arinour shone like gold :
Show me,' said he, 'whose men you be,
That hunt so boldly here;
And kill my fallow-deer?'
The man that first did answer make,
Was noble Percy he:
Nor show whose men we be:
" Yet will we spend our dearest blood,
Thy chiefest harts to slay.'
And thus in rage did say:
Ere thus I will ontbraved be,
One of us two shall die:
Lord Percy: so am I.
* But trust me, Percy, pity it were,
And great offence, to kill
For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battle try,
And set our men aside.' • Accurs'd be he,' lord Percy said,
By whom this is denied.'
Then stepp'd a gallant squire forth,
Witherington was his name,
To Henry our king, for shame,
• That e'er my captain fought on foot,
And I stood looking on :
* And I a squire alone :
"I'll do the best that do I may,
While I have strength to stand; While I have pow'r to wield my sword,
I'll fight with heart and hand.'
Our English archers bent their bows,
Their hearts were good and true; At the first flight of arrows sent,
Fall threescore Scots they slew.
To drive the deer with hound and horn,
Earl Douglas had the bent;
The spears to shivers sent.
They clos'd full fast on ev'ry side,
No slackness there was found; And many a gallant gentleman
Lay gasping on the ground.
O Christ! it was a grief to see,
And likewise for to hear
And scatter'd here and there.
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,
With swords of temper'd steel; Until the blood, like drops of rain,
They trickling dowu did feel.
• Yield thee, lord Percy, Douglas said ;
• In faith I will thee bring, Where thou shalt high advanced be,
By James our Scottish king.
• Thy ransom I will freely give,
And thus report of thee :
That ever I did see,'
No, Douglas,' quoth earl Percy then,
Thy proffer I do scorn; I will not yield to any Scot
That ever yet was born.'
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 :
Fight on, my merry men all; For why? my life is at an end :
Lord Percy sees my fall.'
Then leaving life, earl Percy took
The dead man by the hand :
Would I have lost my land !