Page images
PDF
EPUB

And lang, lang may the maidens sit,

Wi' their gowd kaims in their hair,
A' waiting for their ain dear loves

For them they'll see na mair.

Half owre, half owre to Aberdour, *

'Tis fifty fathoms deep,
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,

Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.

* In Scott's “Border Minstrelsy,” this line reads

“O forty miles off Aberdeen;" but we are inclined to favour the reading

“Half owre, half owre to Aberdour." For, with submission to the opinion of Sir W. Scott, the meaning of this line is not that the shipwreck took place in the Frith of Forth, but midway between Aberdour and Norway. And, as it would seem from the narrative at the commencement of the ballad that Sir Patrick sailed from the Forth, it is but fair to infer that, in his disastrous voyage homeward, he would endeavour to make the same port. This opinion will be corroborated if we are correct in assigning the ballad to the historical event mentioned in the introductory remarks.—MOTHERWELL.

THE BATTLE OF OTTERBOURNE. The following edition of the Battle of Otterbourne is essentially different from that which is published in the “Reliques of Ancient Poetry,” and is obviously of Scottish composition. The particulars of that noted action are related by Froissart, with the highest encomium upon the valour of the combatants on each side. This song was first published from Mr Herd's “Collection of Scottish Songs and Ballads,” 2 vols. 8vo, Edin. 1774, but two recited copies have fortunately been obtained from the recitation of old persons residing at the head of Ettrick forest, by which the story is brought out and completed in a manner much more correspondent to the true history. -SIR WALTER SCOTT.

IT fell about the Lammas tide,

When the muir-men win their hay,
The doughty Earl of Douglas rode

Into England, to catch a prey.
He chose the Gordons and the Grames,

And the Lindesays, light and gay ;
But the Jardines would not with him ride,

And they rue it to this day.
And he has burned the dales of Tyne,

And part of Bambrough shire;
And three good towers on Roxburgh fells,

He left them all on fire.
“Yet I will stay at Otterbourne,
Where

you

shall welcome be;
And, if ye come not at three days' end,

A fause lord I'll ca’ thee.”
“Thither will I come,” proud Percy said,

"By the might of Our Ladye!” “There will I bide thee," said the Douglas,

“My troth I plight to thee.”

They lighted high on Otterbourne,

Upon the bent sae brown;
They lighted high on Otterbourne,

And threw their pallions down.

And he that had a bonnie boy,

Sent out his horse to grass ;
And he that had not a bonnie boy,

His ain servant he was.

But up then spake a little page,

Before the peep of dawn“O waken ye, waken ye, my good lord,

For Percy's hard at hand.” Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud!

Sae loud I hear ye lie;
For Percy had not men yestreen,

To dight my men and me.
“But I hae dreamed a dreary dream,

Beyond the Isle of Sky;
I saw a dead man win a fight,

And I think that man was I.”

He belted on his good braid sword,

And to the field he ran;
But he forgot the helmet good,

That should have kept his brain.
When Percy wi' the Douglas met,

I wat he was fu' fain! They swakked* their swords, till sair they But Percy with his good broadsword,

swat, And the blood ran down like rain.

“Swakked :" to throw violently; to cross.

That could so sharply wound, Has wounded Douglas on the brow,

Till he fell to the ground.

Then he called on his little foot-page,

And said—“Run speedilie,
And fetch my ain dear sister's son,

Sir Hugh Montgomery.”

“My nephew good,” the Douglas said,

“ What recks the death of ane! Last night I dreamed a dreary dream,

And I ken the day's thy ain.

“My wound is deep; I fain would sleep;

Take thou the foremost three, And hide me by the braken bush,

That grows on yonder lee.

“O bury me by the braken bush,

Beneath the blooming brier, But let not living mortal ken,

That a kindly Scot lies here."

He lifted up that noble lord,

Wi' the saut tear in his ee; He hid him in the braken bush,

That his merrie men might not see.

The moon was clear, the day drew near,

The spears in flinders flew, But mony a gallant Englishman

Ere day the Scotsmen slew.

The Gordons good, in English blood,

They steeped their hose and shoon;
The Lindsays flew like fire about,

Till all the fray was done.
The Percy and Montgomery met,

That either of other were fain;
They swapped swords, and they twa swat,

And the blude ran down between.

“Yield thee, O yield thee, Percy !” he said,

"Or else I'll lay thee low !” “To whom shall I yield,” said Earl Percy,

“Sin' I see it must be so ?”

“Thou shalt not yield to lord nor loun,

Nor yet shalt yield to me;
But yield thee to the braken * bush,

That grows on the lilye lee!”
“I will not yield to a braken bush,

Nor yet will I yield to a brier;
But I would yield to Earl Douglas,

Or Montgomery, if he were here."
As soon as he knew 'twas Montgomery,

He stuck his sword in the gronde ;
And the Montgomery was a courteous knight,

And quickly took him by the honde. This deed was done at Otterbourne,

At the breaking of the day; Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush,

And the Percy led captive away.

* "Braken :" fern.

« PreviousContinue »