One while the little foot-page went, And another while he ran; Untill he came to his journeys end The little foot-page never blan.
When to that gentleman he came, 45 Down he kneeled on his knee, And tooke the letter betwixt his hands, And lett the gentleman it see.
And when the letter it was redd Affore that goodlye companye, 50 I-wis, if you the truthe wold know, There was many a weepynge eye.
He sayd, "Come hither, Christopher Norton, A gallant youth thou seemst to bee; What doest thou counsell me, my sonne, Now that good erle's in jeopardy?" 55
"Father, my counselle's fair and free; That erle he is a noble lord, And whatsoever to him you hight, I wold not have you breake your word." 60
"Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne, Thy counsell well it liketh mee, And if we speed and scape with life, Well advanced shalt thou bee."
"Come you hither, mine nine good sonnes,[L65] 65 Gallant men I trowe you bee: How many of you, my children deare, Will stand by that good erle and mee?"
Eight of them did answer make, Eight of them spake hastilie, 70 "O father, till the daye we dye We'll stand by that good erle and thee."
"Gramercy now, my children deare, You showe yourselves right bold and brave; And whethersoe'er I live or dye, 75 A fathers blessing you shal have."
"But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton?
Thou art mine oldest sonn and heire; Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast; Whatever it bee, to mee declare." 80
"Father, you are an aged man; Your head is white, your bearde is gray; It were a shame at these your yeares For you to ryse in such a fray."
"Now fye upon thee, coward Francis, 85 Thou never learnedst this of mee; When thou wert yong and tender of age, Why did I make soe much of thee?"
"But, father, I will wend with you, Unarm'd and naked will I bee; 90 And he that strikes against the crowne, Ever an ill death may he dee."
Then rose that reverend gentleman, And with him came a goodlye band, To join with the brave Erle Percy, 95 And all the flower o' Northumberland.
With them the noble Nevill came, The erle of Westmorland was hee: At Wetherbye they mustred their host, Thirteen thousand faire to see. 100
Lord Westmorland his ancyent raisde, The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye,[L102]
And three Dogs with golden collars Were there sett out most royallye.
Erie Percy there his ancyent spred, 105 The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire:[L106]
The Nortons ancyent had the crosse, And the five wounds our Lord did beare.
Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose, After them some spoyle to make; 110 Those noble erles turn'd backe againe, And aye they vowed that knight to take.
That baron he to his castle fled To Barnard castle then fled hee; The uttermost walles were eathe to win, 115 The earles have won them presentle.
The uttermost walles were lime and bricke, But thoughe they won them soon anone, Long e'er they wan the innermost walles, For they were cut in rocke of stone. 120
Then newes unto leeve London came, In all the speede that ever might bee, And word is brought to our royall queene Of the rysing in the North countrie.
Her grace she turned her round about, 125 And like a royall queene shee swore, "I will ordayne them such a breakfast, As never was in the North before."
Shee caus'd thirty thousand men be rays'd, With horse and harneis faire to see; 130 She caused thirty thousand men be raised, To take the earles i' th' North countrie.
Wi' them the false Erle Warwick went, Th' Erle Sussex and the Lord Hunsden; Untill they to Yorke castle came, I-wiss they never stint ne blan. 135
Now spred thy ancyent, Westmorland, Thy dun bull faine would we spye: And thou, the Erle o' Northumberland, Now rayse thy half moone up on hye. 140
But the dun bulle is fled and gone, And the halfe moone vanished away: The erles, though they were brave and bold, Against soe many could not stay.
Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes, 145 They doom'd to dye, alas for ruth!
Thy reverend lockes thee could not save, Nor them their faire and blooming youthe.
Wi' them full many a gallant wight They cruellye bereav'd of life: 150 And many a childe made fatherlesse, And widowed many a tender wife.
65. The Act of Attainder, 13th Elizabeth, only mentions Richard Norton, the father, and _seven_ sons, and in "a list of the rebels in the late Northern rebellion that are fled beyond seas," the same seven sons are named. Richard Norton, the father, was living long after the rebellion in Spanish Flanders. See Sharp's _Bishoprick Garland_, p. 10.
102. The supporters of the Nevilles Earls of Westmoreland were two bulls argent, ducally collar'd gold, armed or, &c. But I have not discovered the device mentioned in the ballad, among the badges, &c., given by that house. This however is certain, that, among those of the Nevilles, Lord Abergavenny (who were of the same family), is a dun cow with a golden collar; and the Nevilles of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the Westmoreland branch), gave for their crest, in 1513, a dog's (greyhound's) head erased.--So that it is not improbable but Charles Neville, the unhappy Earl of Westmoreland here mentioned, might on this occasion give the above device on his banner.--After all, our old minstrel's verses here may have undergone some corruption; for, in another ballad in the same folio MS., and apparently written by the same hand, containing the sequel of this Lord Westmoreland's history, his banner is thus described, more conformable to his known bearings:
"_Sett me up my faire Dun Bull, With Gilden Hornes, hee beares all soe hye_."--P.
106. The Silver Crescent is a well-known crest or badge of the Northumberland family. It was probably brought home from some of the crusades against the Sarazens.--P.
NORTHUMBERLAND BETRAYED BY DOUGLAS.
Percy's _Reliques_, i. 295.
The Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, after the dispersion of their forces took refuge with the Scots on the Borders. The Elliots drove them from Liddesdale, and they sought the protection of the Armstrongs in the Debatable Land. Northumberland took up his residence with a man of that tribe called Hector of Harlaw, relying on his plighted faith and on his gratitude for many past favors. By this miscreant the Earl was betrayed for money to the Regent Murray. He was confined in Lochleven Castle until 1572, when he was handed over to Lord Hunsden, and executed at York.
We are assured that this Hector, who had been rich, fell into poverty after his treachery, and became so infamous that "to take Hector's cloak" was a proverb for a man who betrayed his friend.
In Pinkerton's _Poems from the Maitland MS_. (pp. 219-234) are three bitter invectives on this subject. In one of these we are told that the traitor Eckie of Harlaw said he sold the Earl "to redeem his pledge," that is, says Scott, the pledge which had been exacted from him for his peaceable demeanor.
"The interposal of the Witch-Lady (v. 53)" hath some countenance from history; for, about twenty-five years before, the Lady Jane Douglas, Lady Glamis, sister of the Earl of Angus, and nearly related to Douglas of Lough-leven, had suffered death for the pretended crime of witchcraft; who, it is presumed, is the witch-lady alluded to in verse 133.
"The following is selected (like the former) from two copies, which contained great variations; one of them in the Editor's folio MS. In the other copy some of the stanzas at the beginning of this ballad are nearly the same with what in that MS. are made to begin another ballad on the escape of the Earl of Westmoreland, who got safe into Flanders, and is feigned in the ballad to have undergone a great variety of adventures."--PERCY.
"How long shall fortune faile me nowe, And harrowe me with fear and dread?
How long shall I in bale abide, In misery my life to lead?
"To fall from my bliss, alas the while! 5 It was my sore and heavye lott; And I must leave my native land, And I must live a man forgot.
"One gentle Armstrong I doe ken, A Scot he is, much bound to mee; 10 He dwelleth on the Border side, To him I'll goe right privilie."
Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine, With a heavy heart and wel-away, When he with all his gallant men 15 On Bramham moor had lost the day.
But when he to the Armstrongs came, They dealt with him all treacherouslye; For they did strip that noble earle, And ever an ill death may they dye! 20
False Hector to Earl Murray sent, To shew him where his guest did hide, Who sent him to the Lough-leven, With William Douglas to abide.