Anonymous Olde English


Northumberland Betrayed By Douglas - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

'How long shall fortune faile me nowe,
And harrowe me with fear and dread?
How long shall I in bale abide,
In misery my life to lead?

'To fall from my bliss, alas the while!
It was my sore and heavye lott:
And I must leave my native land,
And I must live a man forgot.

'One gentle Armstrong I doe ken,
A Scot he is, much bound to mee;
He dwelleth on the Border side,
To him I'll goe right privilie.'

Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine,
With a heavy heart and wel-away,
When he with all his gallant men
On Bramham moor had lost the day.

But when he to the Armstrongs came,
They dealt with him all treacherouslye;
For they did strip that noble erle,
And ever an ill death may they dye!

False Hector to Earl Murray sent,
To shew him where his guest did hide,
Who sent him to te Lough-leven,
With William Douglas to abide.

And when he to the Douglas came,
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,
To the regent the lord warden sent,
That banisht erle 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,
And yield that banisht man to mee.'

Erle Percy at the supper sate,
With many a goodly gentleman;
The wylie Douglas then bespake,
And thus to flyte with him began.

'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 shootinge's made,
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,
'If thou wilt ride to the worldes end
I will ryde in thy companye.'

And then bespake a lady faire,
Mary a Douglas was her name;
'You shall bide here, good English Lord,
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
Into England nowe to 'liver thee.'

'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,
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,
If they shold 'liver a banisht erle,
Was driven out of his own countrie.'

'Alas! alas! my Lord,' she sayes,
'Nowe micke is their traitorie;
Then lett my brother ryde his wayes,
And tell those English lords from thee,

'How that you cannot with him ryde,
Because you are in an ile of the sea,
Then ere my brother come againe,
To Edenborrow castle Ile carry thee.

'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,
'When I thinke on my own countrie,
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;
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
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.'

'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,
Never dealt in privy wyle;
But evermore held the high-waye
Of truth and honours, free from guile.'

'If you'll not come yourselfe, my Lorde,
Yet send your chamberlaine with mee,
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
Waiting for his master and him.

'And who walkes yonder, my good lady,
So royallye on yonder greene?'
'O yonder is the Lord Hunsden:
Alas! he doe you drie and teene.'

'And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye,
That walkes so proudly him beside?'
'That is Sir William Drury,' shee sayd,
'A keene captaine hee is and tryde.'

'How many miles is itt, madame,
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,
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
What they did in London citie.'

'But who is yond, thou lady faire,
That looketh with sic an austerne face?'
'Yonder is Sir John Foster,' quoth shee,
'Alas! he'll do ye sore disgrace.'

He pulled his hatt down 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,
I may not believe that witch ladie;
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,
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,
He ne'er shall find my promise light.'

He writhe a gold ring from his finger,
And gave itt to that gay ladie:
Sayes, 'It was all that I cold save,
In Harley woods where I cold bee.'

'And wilt thou goe, thou noble Lord?
Then farewell truth and honestie,
And farewell heart, and farewell hand,
For never more I shall thee see.'

The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd,
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!'
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 ladie;
If ought befall yond lady but good,
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 ladie.'

'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,
'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,
Hee snt 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 think itt soon enough,
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.

'Hold upp thy head, man,' quoth his lord,
'Nor therefore lett thy courage fayle;
He did it but to prove thy heart,
To see if he cold make it quail.'

When they had other fifty sayld,
Other fifty mile upon the sea,
Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe,
Sayd, 'What wilt thou nowe doe with mee?'

'Looke that your brydle be wight, my Lord,
And your horse goe swift as shipp att sea;
Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe,
That you may pricke her while she'll away.'

'What needeth this, Douglas?' he sayth;
'What needest thou to flyte with mee?
For I was counted a horseman good
Before that ever I mett with thee.

'A false Hector hath my horse,
Who dealt with mee so treacherouslie;
A false Armstrong he hath my spurres,
And all the geere belongs to mee.'

When they had sayled other fifty mile,
Other fifty mile upon the sea,
They landed low by Berwicke side,
A deputed 'laird' landed Lord Percye.

Then he at Yorke was doomde to dye,
It was, alas! a sorrowful sight;
Thus they betrayed that noble earle,
Who ever was a gallant wight.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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