The Battle of Otterburn

No: 161; variant: 161A

  1. YT fell abowght the Lamasse tyde, Whan husbondes wynnes ther haye, The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd hym to ryde, In Ynglond to take a praye.
  2. The yerlle of Fyffe, wythowghten stryffe, He bowynd hym over Sulway; The grete wolde ever to-gether ryde; That raysse they may rewe for aye.
  3. Over Hoppertope hyll they cam in, And so down by Rodclyffe crage: Vpon Grene Lynton they lyghted dowyn, Styrande many a stage.
  4. And boldely brente Northomberlond, And haryed many a towyn; They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange, To batell that were not bowyn.
  5. Than spake a berne vpon the bent, Of comforte that was not colde, And sayd, We haue brente Northomberlond, We haue all welth in holde.
  6. Now we haue haryed all Bamborowe schyre, All the welth in the worlde haue wee, I rede we ryde to Newe Castell, So styll and stalworthlye.
  7. Vpon the morowe, when it was day, The standerds schone full bryght; To the Newe Castell the toke the waye, And thether they cam full ryght.
  8. Syr Henry Perssy laye at the New Castell, I tell yow wythowtten drede; He had byn a march-man all hys dayes, And kepte Barwyke vpon Twede.
  9. To the Newe Castell when they cam, The Skottes they cryde on hyght, ‘Syr Hary Perssy, and thou byste within, Com to the fylde, and fyght.
  10. ‘For we haue brente Northomberlonde, Thy erytage good and ryght, And syne my logeyng I haue take Wyth my brande dubbyd many a knyght.’
  11. Syr Harry Perssy cam to the walles, The Skottyssch oste for to se, And sayd, And thou hast brente Northomberlond, Full sore it rewyth me.
  12. Yf thou hast haryed all Bamborowe schyre, Thow hast done me grete envye; For the trespasse thow hast me done, The tone of vs schall dye.
  13. ‘Where schall I byde the?’ sayd the Dowglas, ‘Or where wylte thow com to me?’ ‘At Otterborne, in the hygh way, [T]her mast thow well logeed be.
  14. ‘[T]he roo full rekeles ther sche rinnes, [T]o make the game a[nd] glee; ‘T]he fawken and the fesaunt both, Among the holtes on hye.
  15. ‘Ther mast thow haue thy welth at wyll, Well looged ther mast be; Yt schall not be long or I com the tyll,’ Sayd Syr Harry Perssye.
  16. ‘Ther schall I byde the,’ sayd the Dowglas, ‘By the fayth of my bodye:’ ‘Thether schall I com,’ sayd Syr Harry Perssy, ‘My trowth I plyght to the.’
  17. A pype of wyne he gaue them over the walles, For soth as I yow saye; Ther he mayd the Dowglasse drynke, And all hys ost that daye.
  18. The Dowglas turnyd hym homewarde agayne, For soth withowghten naye; He toke hys logeyng at Oterborne, Vpon a Wedynsday.
  19. And ther he pyght hys standerd dowyn, Hys getting more and lesse, And syne he warned hys men to goo To chose ther geldynges gresse.
  20. A Skottysshe knyght hoved vpon the bent, A wache I dare well saye; So was he ware on the noble Perssy, In the dawnyng of the daye.
  21. He prycked to hys pavyleon-dore, As faste as he myght ronne; ‘Awaken, Dowglas,’ cryed the knyght, ‘For hys love that syttes in trone.
  22. ‘Awaken, Dowglas,’ cryed the knyght, ‘For thow maste waken wyth wynne; Yender haue I spyed the prowde Perssye, And seven stondardes wyth hym.’
  23. ‘Nay by my trowth,’ the Dowglas sayed, ‘It ys but a fayned taylle; He durst not loke on my brede banner For all Ynglonde so haylle.
  24. ‘Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell, That stondes so fayre on Tyne? For all the men the Perssy had, He coude not garre me ones to dyne.’
  25. He stepped owt at his pavelyon-dore, To loke and it were lesse: ‘Araye yow, lordynges, one and all, For here bygynnes no peysse.
  26. ‘The yerle of Mentaye, thow arte my eme, The fowarde I gyve to the: The yerlle of Huntlay, cawte and kene, He schall be wyth the.
  27. ‘The lorde of Bowghan, in armure bryght, On the other hand he schall be; Lord Jhonstoune and Lorde Maxwell, They to schall be wyth me.
  28. ‘Swynton, fayre fylde vpon your pryde! To batell make yow bowen Syr Davy Skotte, Syr Water Stewarde, Syr Jhon of Agurstone!’
  29. The Perssy cam byfore hys oste, Wych was ever a gentyll knyght; Vpon the Dowglas lowde can he crye, ‘I wyll holde that I haue hyght.
  30. ‘For thou haste brente Northomberlonde, And done me grete envye; For thys trespasse thou hast me done, The tone of vs schall dye.’
  31. The Dowglas answerde hym agayne, Wyth grett wurdes vpon hye, And sayd, I haue twenty agaynst thy one, Byholde, and thou maste see.
  32. Wyth that the Perssy was grevyd sore, For soth as I yow saye; He lyghted dowyn vpon his foote, And schoote hys horsse clene awaye.
  33. Euery man sawe that he dyd soo, That ryall was euer in rowght; Euery man schoote hys horsse hym froo, And lyght hym rowynde abowght.
  34. Thus Syr Hary Perssye toke the fylde, For soth as I yow saye; Jhesu Cryste in hevyn on hyght Dyd helpe hym well that daye.
  35. But nyne thowzand, ther was no moo, The cronykle wyll not layne; Forty thowsande of Skottes and fowre That day fowght them agayne.
  36. But when the batell byganne to ioyne, In hast ther cam a knyght; The letters fayre furth hath he tayne, And thus he sayd full ryght:
  37. ‘My lorde your father he gretes yow well, Wyth many a noble knyght; He desyres yow to byde That he may see thys fyght.
  38. ‘The Baron of Grastoke ys com out of the west, Wyth hym a noble companye; All they loge at your fathers thys nyght, And the batell fayne wolde they see.’
  39. ‘For Jhesus love,’ sayd Syr Harye Perssy, ‘That dyed for yow and me, Wende to my lorde my father agayne, And saye thow sawe me not wyth yee.
  40. ‘My trowth ys plyght to yonne Skottysh knyght, It nedes me not to layne, That I schulde byde hym vpon thys bent, And I haue hys trowth agayne.
  41. ‘And if that I w[e]ynde of thys growende, For soth, onfowghten awaye, He wolde me call but a kowarde knyght In hys londe another daye.
  42. ‘Yet had I lever to be rynde and rente, By Mary, that mykkel maye, Then ever my manhood schulde be reprovyd Wyth a Skotte another day.
  43. ‘Wherfore schote, archars, for my sake, And let scharpe arowes flee; Mynstrells, playe vp for your waryson, And well quyt it schall bee.
  44. ‘Euery man thynke on hys trewe-love, And marke hym to the Trenite; For to God I make myne avowe Thys day wyll I not flee.’
  45. The blodye harte in the Dowglas armes, Hys standerde stode on hye, That euery man myght full well knowe; By syde stode starre:s thre.
  46. The whyte lyon on the Ynglyssh perte, For soth as I yow sayne, The lucettes and the cressawntes both; The Skottes favght them agayne.
  47. Vpon Sent Androwe lowde can they crye, And thrysse they schowte on hyght, And syne merked them one owr Ynglysshe men, As I haue tolde yow ryght.
  48. Sent George the bryght, owr ladyes knyght, To name they were full fayne; Owr Ynglyssh men they cryde on hyght, And thrysse the schowtte agayne.
  49. 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.
  50. The Perssy and the Dowglas mette, That ether of other was fayne; They swapped together whyll that the swette, Wyth swordes of fyne collayne:
  51. Tyll the bloode from ther bassonnettes ranne, As the roke doth in the rayne; ‘Yelde the to me,’ sayd the Dowglas, ‘Or elles thow schalt be slayne.
  52. ‘For I see by thy bryght bassonet, Thow arte sum man of myght; And so I do by thy burnysshed brande; Thow arte an yerle, or elles a knyght.’
  53. ‘By my good faythe,’ sayd the noble Perssye, ‘Now haste thow rede full ryght; Yet wyll I never yelde me to the, Whyll I may stonde and fyght.’
  54. They swapped together whyll that they swette, Wyth sworde:s scharpe and long; Ych on other so faste thee beette, Tyll ther helmes cam in peyses dowyn.
  55. The Perssy was a man of strenghth, I tell yow in thys stounde; He smote the Dowglas at the sworde:s length That he felle to the growynde.
  56. The sworde was scharpe, and sore can byte, I tell yow in sertayne; To the harte he cowde hym smyte, Thus was the Dowglas slayne.
  57. The stonderdes stode styll on eke a syde, Wyth many a grevous grone; Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght, And many a dowghty man was slayne.
  58. Ther was no freke that ther wolde flye, But styffely in stowre can stond, Ychone hewyng on other whyll they myght drye, Wyth many a bayllefull bronde.
  59. Ther was slayne vpon the Skotte:s syde, For soth and sertenly, Syr James a Dowglas ther was slayne, That day that he cowde dye.
  60. The yerlle of Mentaye he was slayne, Grysely groned vpon the growynd; Syr Davy Skotte, Syr Water Stewarde, Syr Jhon of Agurstoune.
  61. Syr Charlle:s Morrey in that place, That never a fote wold flee; Syr Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, Wyth the Dowglas dyd he dye.
  62. Ther was slayne vpon the Skotte:s syde, For soth as I yow saye, Of fowre and forty thowsande Scottes Went but eyghtene awaye.
  63. Ther was slayne vpon the Ynglysshe syde, For soth and sertenlye, A gentell knight, Syr Jhon Fechewe, Yt was the more pety.
  64. Syr James Hardbotell ther was slayne, For hym ther hartes were sore; The gentyll Lovell ther was slayne, That the Perssys standerd bore.
  65. Ther was slayne vpon the Ynglyssh perte, For soth as I yow saye, Of nyne thowsand Ynglyssh men Fyve hondert cam awaye.
  66. The other were slayne in the fylde; Cryste kepe ther sowlles from wo! Seyng ther was so fewe fryndes Agaynst so many a foo.
  67. Then on the morne they mayde them beerys Of byrch and haysell graye; Many a wydowe, wyth wepyng teyres, Ther makes they fette awaye.
  68. Thys fraye bygan at Otterborne, Bytwene the nyght and the day; Ther the Dowglas lost hys lyffe, And the Perssy was lede awaye.
  69. Then was ther a Scottysh prisoner tayne, Syr Hewe Mongomery was hys name; For soth as I yow saye, He borowed the Perssy home agayne.
  70. Now let vs all for the Perssy praye To Jhesu most of myght, To bryng hys sowlle to the blysse of heven, For he was a gentyll knyght.