And when he to the Douglas came, 25 He halched him right courteouslie; Say'd, "Welcome, welcome, noble earle, Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee."
When he had in Lough-leven been Many a month and many a day, 30 To the regent the lord warden sent, That bannisht earle for to betray.
He offered him great store of gold, And wrote a letter fair to see, Saying, "Good my lord, grant me my boon, 35 And yield that banisht man to mee."
Earle Percy at the supper sate, With many a goodly gentleman; The wylie Douglas then bespake, And thus to flyte with him began. 40
"What makes you be so sad, my lord, And in your mind so sorrowfullye?
To-morrow a shootinge will bee held Among the lords of the North countrye.
"The butts are sett, the shooting's made, 45 And there will be great royaltye; And I am sworne into my bille, Thither to bring my Lord Percye."
"I'll give thee my hand, thou gentle Douglas, And here by my true faith," quoth hee, 50 "If thou wilt ryde to the worldes end I will ryde in thy companye."
And then bespake a lady faire, Mary a Douglas was her name; "You shall byde here, good English lord, 55 My brother is a traiterous man.
"He is a traitor stout and stronge, As I tell you in privitie; For he hath tane liverance of the erle,[L59]
Into England nowe to 'liver thee." 60
"Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady, The regent is a noble lord: Ne for the gold in all England The Douglas wold not break his word.
"When the regent was a banisht man, 65 With me he did faire welcome find; And whether weal or woe betide, I still shall find him true and kind.
"Between England and Scotland it wold breake truce, And friends againe they wold never bee, 70 If they shold 'liver a banisht erle, Was driven out of his own countrie."
"Alas! alas! my lord," she sayes, "Nowe mickle is their traitorie; Then lett my brother ryde his wayes, 75 And tell those English lords from thee,
"How that you cannot with him ryde, Because you are in an ile of the sea,[L78]
Then ere my brother come againe, To Edenborow castle Ile carry thee. 80
"To the Lord Hume I will thee bring; He is well knowne a true Scots lord, And he will lose both land and life, Ere he with thee will break his word."
"Much is my woe," Lord Percy sayd, 85 "When I thinke on my own countre, When I thinke on the heavye happe My friends have suffered there for mee.
"Much is my woe," Lord Percy sayd, "And sore those wars my minde distresse; 90 Where many a widow lost her mate, And many a child was fatherlesse.
"And now that I a banisht man Shold bring such evil happe with mee, To cause my faire and noble friends 95 To be suspect of treacherie,
"This rives my heart with double woe; And lever had I dye this day, Than thinke a Douglas can be false, Or ever he will his guest betray." 100
"If you'll give me no trust, my lord, Nor unto mee no credence yield, Yet step one moment here aside, Ile showe you all your foes in field."
"Lady, I never loved witchcraft, 105 Never dealt in privy wyle; But evermore held the high-waye Of truth and honour, free from guile."
"If you'll not come yourselfe, my lorde, Yet send your chamberlaine with mee, 110 Let me but speak three words with him, And he shall come again to thee."
James Swynard with that lady went, She showed him through the weme of her ring How many English lords there were 115 Waiting for his master and him.
"And who walkes yonder, my good lady, So royallye on yonder greene?"
"O yonder is the Lord Hunsden:[L119]
Alas! he'll doe you drie and teene." 120
"And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye, That walkes so proudly him beside?"
"That is Sir William Drury," shee sayd,[L123]
"A keene captaine hee is and tryde."
"How many miles is itt, madame, 125 Betwixt yond English lords and mee?"
"Marry, it is thrice fifty miles, To saile to them upon the sea.
"I never was on English ground, Ne never sawe it with mine eye, 130 But as my book it sheweth mee, And through my ring I may descrye.
"My mother shee was a witch ladye, And of her skille she learned mee; She wold let me see out of Lough-leven 135 What they did in London cite."
"But who is yond, thou lady faire, That looketh with sic an austerne face?"
"Yonder is Sir John Foster," quoth shee,[L139]
"Alas! he'll do ye sore disgrace." 140
He pulled his hatt downe over his browe; He wept, in his heart he was full of woe; And he is gone to his noble lord, Those sorrowful tidings him to show.
"Now nay, now nay, good James Swynard, 145 I may not believe that witch lade; The Douglasses were ever true, And they can ne'er prove false to mee.
"I have now in Lough-leven been The most part of these years three, 150 Yett have I never had noe outrake, Ne no good games that I cold see.
"Therefore I'll to yond shooting wend, As to the Douglas I have hight: Betide me weale, betide me woe, 155 He ne'er shall find my promise light."
He writhe a gold ring from his finger, And gave itt to that gay lade: Sayes, "It was all that I cold save, In Harley woods where I cold bee." 160
"And wilt thou goe, thou noble lord?
Then farewell truth and honeste, And farewell heart, and farewell hand, For never more I shall thee see."
The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd, 165 And all the saylors were on borde; Then William Douglas took to his boat, And with him went that noble lord.
Then he cast up a silver wand, Says, "Gentle lady, fare thee well!" 170 The lady fett a sigh soe deep, And in a dead swoone down shee fell.
"Now let us goe back, Douglas," he sayd, "A sickness hath taken yond faire lade; If ought befall yond lady but good, 175 Then blamed for ever I shall bee."
"Come on, come on, my lord," he sayes, "Come on, come on, and let her bee; There's ladyes enow in Lough-leven For to cheere that gay lade." 180
"If you'll not turne yourself, my lord, Let me goe with my chamberlaine; We will but comfort that faire lady, And wee will return to you againe."
"Come on, come on, my lord," he sayes, 185 "Come on, come on, and let her bee; My sister is craftye, and wold beguile A thousand such as you and mee."
"When they had sayled fifty myle, Now fifty mile upon the sea, 190 Hee sent his man to ask the Douglas, When they shold that shooting see."
"Faire words," quoth he, "they make fooles faine, And that by thee and thy lord is seen; You may hap to thinke itt soone enough, 195 Ere you that shooting reach, I ween."
Jamye his hatt pulled over his browe, He thought his lord then was betray'd; And he is to Erle Percy againe, To tell him what the Douglas sayd. 200