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'Loe, yonder doth Erle Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;
Full twenty hundred Scottish speres
All marching in our sight;
"All men of pleasant Tivydale,
Fast by the river Tweede: "
"Then cease your sports," Erle Percy said,
"And take your bowes with speede:
"And now with me, my countrymen,
Your courage forth advance;
For never was there champion yett,
In Scottland or in France,
"That ever did on horsebacke come,
But if my hap it were,
I durst encounter man for man,
With him to break a spere."
Erle Douglas on his milk-white steede
Most like a baron bold,
Rode foremost of his company,
Whose armour shone like gold.
"Show me," said hee, "whose men you bee, That hunt soe boldly heere,
That, without my consent, do chase
And kill my fallow deere."
The first man that did answer make,
Was noble Percy he;
Who sayd, "Wee list not to declare,
Nor show whose men wee bee:
"Yet will we spend our deerest blood,
Thy cheefest harts to slay."
Then Douglas swore a solemne oathe,
And thus in rage did say,-
"Ere thus I will out-braved bee,
One of us two shall dye:
I know thee well, an erle thou art;
Lord Percy, soe am I.
"But trust me, Percy, pittye it were,
And great offence, to kill
Any of these our guiltless men,
For they have done no ill.
"Let thou and I the battell trye, And set our men aside."
"Shame on the man," Erle Percy sayd, 'By whome this is denyed."
Then stept a gallant squier forth,
Witherington was his name,
Who said, "I wold not have it told
To Henry our king for shame,
"That e'er my captaine fought on foote, And I stood looking on. You two bee erles," quo' Witherington, "And I a squier alone:
"Ile doe the best that doe I may,
While I have power to stand:
While I have power to weeld my sword,
Ile fight with heart and hand."
Our English archers bent their bowes,
Their hearts were good and trew;
Att the first flight of arrowes sent,
Full four-score Scots they slew.
Yet bides Erle Douglas on the bent,
As chieftain stout and good;
As valiant captain, all unmoved
The shock he firmly stood.
His host he parted had in three,
As leader warea and try'd;
And soon his spearmen on their foes
Bare down on every side.
Throughout the English archery
They dealt full many a wound:
But still our valiant Englishmen
All firmly kept their ground: And throwing straight their bowes away, They grasped their swords so bright: And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, On shields and helmets light.
They closed full fast on everye side,
Noe slackness there was found;
And many a gallant gentleman
Lay gasping on the ground.
Alack! it was a griefe to see,
How each one chose his spere,
And how the blood out of their brests
Did gush like water cleere.
At last these two stout erles did meet,
Like captaines of great might:
Like lyons wode, they layd on lode,
And made a cruell fight:
They fought untill they both did sweat,
With swords of tempered steel;
Untill the blood, like drops of rain,
They trickling down did feele.
"Yeeld thee, Lord Percy," Douglas sayd; “In faith I will thee bringe, Where thou shalt high advanced bee By James our Scottish king.
"Thy ransome I will freely give,
And this report of thee,
Thou art the most couragious knight,
That ever I did see."
Noe, Douglas," quoth Erle Percy then, "Thy proffer I doe scorne; I will not yeelde to any Scott, That ever yett was borne."
With that there came an arrow keene
Out of an English bow,
Which struck Erle Douglas to the heart,
A deepe and deadlye blow:
Who never spake more words than these,
"Fight on, my merry men all;
For why, my life is at an end;
Lord Percy sees my fall."
Then leaving life, Erle Percy tooke
The dead man by the hand;
And said, "Erle Douglas, for thy life,
Wold I have lost my land.
"Ah me! my verry heart doth bleed
With sorrow for thy sake;
For sure, a more redoubted knight
Mischance did never take."
A knight amongst the Scotts there was,
Which saw Erle Douglas dye,
Who streight in wrath did vow revenge
Upon the Erle Percy:
Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he call'd,
Who, with a spere full bright,
Well-mounted on a gallant steed,
Ran fiercely through the fight:
And past the English archers all,
Without a dread or feare;
And through Erle Percy's body then
He thrust his hateful spere;
With such vehement force and might
He did his body gore,
The staff ran through the other side
A large cloth yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles dye,
Whose courage none could staine:
An English archer then perceived
The noble erle was slaine;
He had a bow bent in his hand,
Made of a trusty tree;
An arrow of a cloth-yard long
To the hard head haled he:
Against Sir Hugh Mountgomery
So right the shaft he sett,
The grey goose wing that was thereon
In his heart's blood was wett.
This fight did last from breake of day
Till setting of the sunne;
For when they rung the evening-bell,
The battell scarce was done.
With stout Erle Percy, there was slaine Sir John of Egerton,
Sir Robert Ratcliffe, and Sir John,
Sir James the bold barròn.
And with Sir George and stout Sir James,
Both knights of good account,
Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine,
Whose prowesse did surmount.