The Hunting of the Cheviot
In order to preserve the historical integrity of the ballads in this section they are presented in their original dialects, which span a broad range. These ballads have been passed down through the centuries from many different regions of Great Britain before appearing in print. A synopsis of each ballad, in modern American English, is provided to aid in ease of comprehension of the dialects.
Read a synopsis of The Hunting of the Cheviot in modern American English.
The Perse owt off Northombarlonde,
And a vowe to God mayd he
That he wold hunte in the mowntayns
Off Chyviat within days thre,
In the magger of doughte Dogles,
And all that ever with him be.
The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat
He sayd he wold kyll, and cary them away:
"Be my feth," sayd the doughteti Doglas agayn,
"I wyll let that hontyng yf that I may.
Then the Perse owt off 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,
In Cheviat the hyllys so he;
They chylde may rue that ys un-born,
It wos the mor pitte.
The dryvars thorowe the woodes went,
For to reas the dear;
Bomen byckarte uppone the bent
With ther browd aros cleare.
Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went,
On every syde shear;
Greahondes thorowe the grevis glent,
For to kyll thear dear.
This began in Chyviat the hyls abone,
yerly on a Monnyn-day;
Be that it drewe to the oware off none,
A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay.
The blewe a mort uppone the bent,
The semblyde on sydis shear;
To the quyrry then the Perse went,
To se the bryttlynge off the deare.
He sayd, "It was the Doglas promys
This day to met me hear;
But I wyste he wolde faylle, verament;"
A great oth the Perse 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 mygtte meany.
Both with spear, bylle, and brande,
Yt was a myghtti sight to se;
Hardyar men, both off hart nor hande,
Wear not in Cristiante.
The wear twenti hondrith spear-men good;
Without any feale;
The wear borne along be the watter a Twynde,
Yth bowndes of Tividale.
"Leave of the brytlyng of the dear," he sayd,
"and to your boys lock ye tayk good hede;
For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne
Had ye never so mickle nede."
The doughtei Dogglas on a stede,
He rode alle his men beforne;
His armour 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 Cyviat chays,
In the spyt of myn and of me."
The first mane that ever him an answear mayd,
Yt was the good lord Perse:
"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 hartes in all Chyviat
We have kyld, and cast to carry them away:"
"Be my troth," sayd the doughete Dogglas agayn,
"Therefor the ton of us shall de this day."
Then sayd the doughte Doglas
Unto the lord Perse:
"To kyll alle thes giltles men,
Alas, it wear great pitte!
"But, Perse, Thowe art a lorde of lande,
I am a yerle callyd within my contre;
Let all our men uppone a parti stande,
And do the battell off the and of me."
Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne", sayd the lorde Perse,
"Who-so-ever ther-to says nay!
Be my troth, doughtte Doglas," he says,
"Thou shalt never 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 Wytharynton was his nam;
"It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde," he says,
"To Kyng Herry the Fourth for sham.
"I wat youe byn great lordes twaw,
I am a poor squyar of lande;
I wylle never se my captayne fyght on a fylde,
And stande my selffe and loocke on,
But whylle I may my weppone welde,
I wylle no fayle both hart and hande."
That day, that day, that dredfull day!
The first fit here I fynde;
And youe wyll here any more a the hountynge a the Chyviat,
Yet ys there mor behynde.
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 uppon the bent,
A captayne good yenoughe,
And that was sene verament,
For he wrought hom both woo and wouche.
The Dogglas partyd his ost in thre,
Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde;
With suar spears off mygtte tre,
The cum in on every syde;
Thrughe our Yngglyshe archery
Gave many a wounde fulle wyde;
Many a doughete the garde to dy,
Which ganyde them no pryde.
The Ynglyshe men let ther boys be,
And pulde owt brandes that were 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 under foot dyd lyght.
At last the Duglas and the Perse met,
Lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne;
The swapte togethar tylle the both swat,
With swordes that wear of fyn myllan.
Thes worthe freckys for to fyght,
Ther-to the wear fulle fayne,
Tylle the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente,
"Yelde the,Perse," sayde the Doglas,
And i feth I shalle the brynge
Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis
Of Jamy our Skottish kynge.
"Thou shalte have they ransom fre,
I hight the hear this thinge;
Forr the manfullyste man yet art thowe
That ever I conqueryd in filde fighttynge."
"Nay," sayd the lord Perse,
"I told it the beforne,
That I wolde never yeldyde be
To no man of a woman born."
With that ther cam an arrowe hastely,
Forthe off a myghtte wane;
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas
In at the brest-bane.
Thorowe lyvar and longes bathe
The sharpte arrowe ys gane,
That never after in all his lyffe-days
He spayke mo wordes but ane:
That was, "Fygte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may,
For my lyff-days ben gan."
The Perse leanyde on his brande,
And saw the Duglas de;
He tooke the dede mane by the hande,
And sayd, "Wo ys me for the!"
To have savyde thy lyffe, I wolde have partyde with
My landes for years thre,
For a beter man, of hart nare of hande,
Was nat in all the north contre."
Off all that se a Skottishe knyght,
Was callyd Ser Hewe the Monggombyrry;
He saw the Duglas to the deth was dyght,
He spendyd a spear, a trusti tre.
He rod uppone a corsiare
Throughe a hondrith archery:
He never synttyde, nar never blane,
Tylle he cam to the good lord Perse.
He set uppone the lorde Perse
A dynte that was full soare;
With a suar spear of a myghtte tre
Clean thorow the body he the Perse ber,
A the tothar syde that a man myght se
A large cloth-yard and mare:
Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Cristiante
Then that day slan wear ther.
An archar off Northomberlonde
Say slean was the lord Perse;
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 never 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 tocke 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
West away but seventi and thre;
Of twenti hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde,
But even five and fifti.
But all wear slayne Cheviat within;
The hade no strenthe to stand on hy;
The chylde may rue that ys unborne,
It was the more pitte.
Thear was slayne, withe the lord Perse,
Ser Johan of Agerstone,
Ser Rogar, the hinde Hartly,
Ser Wyllyam, the bolde Hearone.
Ser Jorg, the worthe Loumle,
A knyghte of great renowen,
Ser Raff, the ryche Rugbe,
With dyntes wear beaten dowene.
For Wetharryngton my harte was wo,
That ever 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 Davvy Lwdale, that worthe was,
His sistars son was he.
Ser Charls a Murre in that place,
That never 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 wepying tears,
Cam to fache ther makys away.
Tivydale may carpe off care,
Northombarlond may mayk grea mon,
For towe such captayns as slayne wear thear
On the March-parti shall never 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 never be."
Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone,
Till the fourth Harry our kynge,
That lord Perse, leyff-tenante of the Marchis,
He lay slayne Chyviat within.
"God have merci on his solle," sayde 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, Perse, 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 Perse
He dyde the battel of Hombylldown;
Wher syx and thritte Skottishe knyghtes
On a day wear beaten down;
Glendale glytteryde on ther amour bryght,
Over castille, towar and town.
This was the hontyne off the Cheaviat,
That tear begane this spurn;
Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe
Call it the battell of Otterburn.
At Otterburn begane this spurne,
Uppone a Monnynday;
Ther was the doughte Doglas slean,
The Perse never went away.
Ther was never a tym on the Marchepartes
Sen the Doglas and the Perse met,
But yt ys mervele and the rede blude ronne not,
As the reane doys in the stret.
Jhesue Crist our balys bete,
And to the blys us brynge!
Thus was the hountynge of the Chivyat:
God sen us alle good endyng!
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