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Index of first names

Ballad of Chevy Chase

 

 

This ballad was entered in the Stationers' Register in 1624. The title is alternatively spelled Chevy Chace. The ballad is generally thought to describe the Battle of Otterburn. Some of the verses correspond to the that battle, but not all. The Battle of Otterburn took place in 1388. At that Battle Henry Percy (Hotspur) was captured, not killed. He was killed in 1403 in an uprising against Henry IV.

According to Child another possibility is the border warfare between a Percy and a Douglas in 1435 or 1436. Henry Percy of Northumberland made a raid into Scotland with 4,000 men. He was met by William Douglas, Earl of Angus at Piperdene. There were great losses on each side, but the Scots prevailed.

A knight among the Scots there was
Who saw Earl Douglas die;
Who straight in wrath did vow revenge
Upon the Lord Percy:

Sir Hugh Montgomery was he called,
Who, with a spear full bright,
Well mounted on a gallant steed,
Ran fiercely through the fight;

And past the English archers all,
Without all dread or fear,
And through Earl Percy's body then
He thrust his hateful spear.

This fight did last from break of day
Till setting of the sun;
For when they rung the evening bell
The battle scarce was done.

And the Lord Maxwell in like case
Did with Earl Douglas die;
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 Chase
Under the greenwood tree.

Next day did many widows come
Their husbands to bewail;
They washed their wounds in brinish tears,
But all would not prevail.

Their bodies bathed in purple gore
They bore with tbem away;
They kissed their dead a thousand times
When they were clad in clay.

God save our king, and bless this land
With plenty, joy and peace,
And grant henceforth that foule debate
'Twixt noblemen may cease!

 

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017