"Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come, His men in armour bright; 50 Full twenty hundred Scottish spears, All marching in our sight.
"All men of pleasant Tividale, Fast by the river Tweed:"
"Then cease your sport," Erle Piercy said, 55 "And take your bows with speed.
"And now with me, my countrymen, Your courage forth advance; For there was never champion yet In Scotland or in France, 60
"That ever did on horseback come, But, if my hap it were,[L62]
I durst encounter man for man, With him to break a spear."
Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed, 65 Most like a baron bold, Rode foremost of the company, Whose armour shone like gold.
"Show me," he said, "whose men you be, That hunt so boldly here, 70 That, without my consent, do chase And kill my fallow-deer."
The man that first did answer make Was noble Piercy he; Who said, "We list not to declare, 75 Nor show whose men we be.
"Yet we will spend our dearest blood, Thy chiefest hart to slay;"
Then Douglas swore a solemn oath, And thus in rage did say; 80
"Ere thus I will out-braved be, One of us two shall dye: I know thee well, an earl thou art; Lord Piercy, so am I.
"But trust me, Piercy, pity it were, 85 And great offence, to kill Any of these our harmless men, For they have done no ill.
"Let thou and I the battel try, And set our men aside: 90 "Accurs'd be he," Lord Piercy said, "By whom this is deny'd."
Then stept a gallant squire forth, (Witherington was his name) Who said, "I would not have it told 95 To Henry our king for shame,
"That ere my captaine fought on foot, And I stood looking on: You be two earls," said Witherington, "And I a squire alone. 100
"I'll do the best that do I may, While I have power to stand; While I have power to wield my sword, I'll fight with heart and hand."
Our English archers bent their bows, 105 Their hearts were good and true; At the first flight of arrows sent, Full three score Scots they slew.
To drive the deer with hound and horn, Earl Douglas had the bent; 110 A captain mov'd with mickle pride The spears to shivers sent.
They clos'd full fast on every side, No slacknes there was found; And many a gallant gentleman 115 Lay gasping on the ground.
O Christ! it was a grief to see, And likewise for to hear, The cries of men lying in their gore, And scatter'd here and there. 120
At last these two stout earls did meet, Like captains of great might; Like lions mov'd they laid on load,[L123]
And made a cruel fight.
They fought until they both did sweat, 125 With swords of temper'd steel; Until the blood, like drops of rain, They trickling down did feel.
"Yield thee, Lord Piercy," Douglas said; "In faith I will thee bring, 130 Where thou shalt high advanced be By James, our Scottish king.
"Thy ransom I will freely give, And thus report of thee, Thou art the most couragious knight 135 That ever I did see.
"No, Douglas," quoth Earl Piercy then,[L137]
"Thy proffer I do scorn; I will not yield to any Scot That ever yet was born." 140
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, 145 "Fight on, my merry men all; For why, my life is at an end, Lord Piercy sees my fall."
Then leaving life, Earl Piercy took The dead man by the hand; 150 And said, "Earl Douglas, for thy life Would I had lost my land!
"O Christ! my very heart doth bleed With sorrow for thy sake; For sure, a more renowned knight 155 Mischance did never take."
A knight amongst the Scots there was, Which saw Earl Douglas dye, Who straight in wrath did vow revenge Upon the Earl Piercy. 160
Sir Hugh Montgomery was he call'd, Who, with a spear most bright, Well-mounted on a gallant steed, Ran fiercely thro' the fight;
And pass'd the English archers all, 165 Without all dread or fear, And through Earl Piercy's body then He thrust his hateful spear.
With such a veh'ment force and might He did his body gore, 170 The spear ran through the other side A large cloth-yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles dye, Whose courage none could stain; An English archer then perceiv'd 175 The noble earl was slain.
He had a bow bent in his hand, Made of a trusty tree; An arrow of a cloth-yard long Up to the head drew he. 180
Against Sir Hugh Montgomery So right his shaft he set, The grey goose-wing that was thereon In his heart's blood was wet.
This fight did last from break of day 185 Till setting of the sun; For when they rung the evening-bell,[L187]
The battel scarce was done.
With the Earl Piercy, there was slain Sir John of Ogerton, 190 Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John, Sir James, that bold baron.
And with Sir George and good Sir James, Both knights of good account, Good Sir Ralph Rabby there was slain, 195 Whose prowess did surmount.
For Witherington needs must I wail, As one in doleful dumps;[L198]
For when his legs were smitten off, He fought upon his stumps. 200
And with Earl Douglas, there was slain Sir Hugh Montgomery, Sir Charles Currel, that from the field One foot would never fly.
Sir Charles Murrel, of Ratcliff, too, 205 His sister's son was he; Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd, Yet saved could not bee.
And the Lord Maxwell in like wise Did with Earl Douglas dye; 210 Of twenty hundred Scottish spears Scarce fifty-five did fly.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, Went home but fifty-three; The rest were slain in Chevy-Chace, 215 Under the green-wood tree.
Next day did many widows come, Their husbands to bewail; They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears, But all would not prevail.[L220] 220
Their bodies, bath'd in purple blood, They bore with them away: They kiss'd them dead a thousand times, When they were clad in clay.
This news was brought to Edinburgh, 225 Where Scotland's king did reign, That brave Earl Douglas suddenly Was with an arrow slain.
"O heavy news," King James did say; "Scotland can witness be, 230 I have not any captain more Of such account as he."
Like tidings to King Henry came, Within as short a space, That Piercy of Northumberland 235 Was slaine in Chevy-Chace.