No: 159; variant: 159A
- LORDINGES, listen, and hold you still;
Hearken to me a litle;
I shall you tell of the fairest battell
That euer in England beffell.
- For as it befell in Edward the Thirds dayes,
In England, where he ware the crowne,
Then all the cheefe chiualry of England
They busked and made them bowne.
- They chosen all the best archers
That in England might be found,
And all was to fight with the king of Ffrance,
Within a litle stounde.
- And when our king was ouer the water,
And on the salt sea gone,
Then tydings into Scotland came
That all England was gone.
- Bowes and arrowes they were all forth,
At home was not left a man
But shepards and millers both,
And priests with shauen crownes.
- Then the king of Scotts in a study stood,
As he was a man of great might;
He sware he wold hold his parlament in leeue London,
If he cold ryde there right.
- Then bespake a squier, of Scottland borne,
And sayd, My leege, apace,
Before you come to leeue London,
Full sore you’le rue that race.
- Ther beene bold yeomen in merry England,
Husbandmen stiffe and strong;
Sharpe swords they done weare,
Bearen bowes and arrowes longe.
- The King was angrye at that word;
A long sword out he drew,
And there befor his royall companye
His owne squier hee slew.
- Hard hansell had the Scottes that day,
That wrought them woe enoughe,
For then durst not a Scott speake a word
Ffor hanging att a boughe.
- ‘The Earle of Anguish, where art thou?
In my coate-armor thou shalt bee,
And thou shalt lead the forward
Thorrow the English countrye.
- ‘Take thee Yorke,’ then sayd the King,
‘In stead wheras it doth stand;
I’le make thy eldest sonne after thee
Heyre of all Northumberland.
- ‘The Earle of Vaughan, where be yee?
In my coate-armor thou shalt bee;
The high Peak and Darbyshire
I giue it thee to thy fee.’
- Then came in famous Douglas,
Saies, What shall my meede bee?
And I’le lead the vawward, lord,
Thorow the English countrye.
- ‘Take thee Worster,’ sayd the King,
‘Tuxburye, Killingworth, Burton vpon Trent;
Doe thou not say another day
But I haue giuen thee lands and rent.
- ‘Sir Richard of Edenborrow, where are yee?
A wise man in this warr!
I’le giue thee Bristow and the shire
The time that wee come there.
- ‘My lord Nevill, where beene yee?
You must in this warres bee;
I’le giue thee Shrewsburye,’ saies the King,
‘And Couentrye faire and free.
- ‘My lord of Hambleton, where art thou?
Thou art of my kin full nye;
I’le giue thee Lincolne and Lincolneshire,
And that’s enouge for thee.’
- By then came in William Douglas,
As breeme as any bore;
He kneeled him downe vpon his knees,
In his hart he sighed sore.
- Saies, I haue serued you, my louelye leege,
This thirty winters and four,
And in the Marches betweene England and Scottland
I haue beene wounded and beaten sore.
- For all the good service that I haue done,
What shall my meed bee?
And I will lead the vanward
Thorrow the English countrye.
- ‘Aske on, Douglas,’ said the king,
‘And granted it shall bee:’
‘Why then, I aske litle London,’ saies William Douglas,
‘Gotten giff that it bee.’
- The King was wrath, and rose away,
Saies, Nay, that cannot bee!
For that I will keepe for my cheefe chamber,
Gotten if it bee.
- But take thee North Wales and Weschaster,
The cuntrye all round about,
And rewarded thou shalt bee,
Of that take thou noe doubt.
- Fiue score knights he made on a day,
And dubbd them with his hands;
Rewarded them right worthilye
With the townes in merry England.
- And when the fresh knights they were made,
To battell the buske them bowne;
Iames Douglas went before,
And he thought to haue wonnen him shoone.
- But the were mett in a morning of May
With the comminaltye of litle England;
But there scaped neuer a man away,
Through the might of Christe:s hand.
- But all onely Iames Douglas;
In Durham in the ffeild
An arrow stroke him in the thye;
Fast flinge[s he] towards the King.
- The King looked toward litle Durham,
Saies, All things is not well!
For Iames Dowglas beares an arrow in his thye,
The head of it is of steele.
- ‘How now Iames?’ then said the King,
‘How now, how may this bee?
And where beene all thy merrymen
That thou tooke hence with thee?’
- ‘But cease, my king,’ saies Iames Douglas,
‘Aliue is not left a man!’
‘Now by my faith,’ saies the king of Scottes,
‘That gate was euill gone.
- ‘But I’le reuenge thy quarrell well,
And of that thou may be faine;
For one Scott will beate fiue Englishmen,
If the meeten them on the plaine.’
- ‘Now hold your tounge,’ saies Iames Douglas,
‘For in faith that is not soe;
For one English man is worth fiue Scotts,
When they meeten together thoe.
- ‘For they are as egar men to fight
As a faulcon vpon a pray;
Alas! if euer the winne the vanward,
There scapes noe man away.’
- ‘O peace thy talking,’ said the King,
‘They bee but English knaues,
But shepards and millers both,
And preists with their staues.’
- The King sent forth one of his heralds of armes
To vew the Englishmen:
‘Be of good cheere,’ the herald said,
‘For against one wee bee ten.’
- ‘Who leades those ladds?’ said the king of Scottes,
‘Thou herald, tell thou mee:’
The herald said, The Bishopp of Durham
Is captaine of that companye.
- ‘For the Bishopp hath spred the King’s banner,
And to battell he buskes him bowne:’
‘I sweare by St. Andrewes bones,’ saies the King,
‘I’le rapp that preist on the crowne.’
- The King looked towards litle Durham,
And that hee well beheld,
That the Earle Percy was well armed,
With his battell-axe entred the feild.
- The King looket againe towards litle Durham,
Four ancyents there see hee;
There were to standards, six in a valley,
He cold not see them with his eye.
- My Lord of Yorke was one of them,
My Lord of Carlile was the other,
And my Lord Ffluwilliams,
The one came with the other.
- The Bishopp of Durham commanded his men,
And shortlye he them bade,
That neuer a man shold goe to the feild to fight
Till he had serued his God.
- Fiue hundred preists said masse that day
In Durham in the feild,
And afterwards, as I hard say,
They bare both speare and sheeld.
- The Bishopp of Durham orders himselfe to fight,
With his battell-axe in his hand;
He said, This day now I will fight
As long as I can stand!
- ‘And soe will I,’ sayd my Lord of Carlile,
‘In this faire morning gay;’
‘And soe will I,’ said my Lord Ffluwilliams,
‘For Mary, that myld may.’
- Our English archers bent their bowes
Shortlye and anon;
They shott ouer the Scottish oast
And scantlye toucht a man.
- ‘Hold downe your hands,’ sayd the Bishopp of Durham,
‘My archers good and true:’
The second shoote that the shott,
Full sore the Scottes itt rue.
- The Bishopp of Durham spoke on hye,
That both partyes might heare:
‘Be of good cheere, my merrymen all,
The Scotts flyen, and changen there cheere.’
- But as the saidden, soe the didden,
They fell on heape:s hye;
Our Englishmen laid on with their bowes,
As fast as they might dree.
- The king of Scotts in a studye stood
Amongst his companye;
An arrow stoke him thorrow the nose,
And thorrow his armorye.
- The King went to a marsh-side
And light beside his steede;
He leaned him downe on his sword-hilts,
To let his nose bleede.
- There followed him a yeaman of merry England,
His name was Iohn of Coplande:
‘Yeeld thee, traytor!’ saies Coplande then,
‘Thy liffe lyes in my hand.’
- ‘How shold I yeeld me,’ sayes the King,
‘And thou art noe gentleman?’
‘Noe, by my troth,’ sayes Copland there,
‘I am but a poore yeaman.
- ‘What art thou better then I, Sir King?
Tell me if that thou can!
What art thou better then I, Sir King,
Now we be but man to man?’
- The King smote angerly at Copland then,
Angerly in that stonde;
And then Copland was a bold yeaman,
And bore the King to the ground.
- He sett the King upon a palfrey,
Himselfe upon a steede;
He tooke him by the bridle-rayne,
Towards London he can him lead.
- And when to London that he came,
The King from Ffrance was new come home,
And there unto the king of Scottes
He sayd these words anon.
- ‘How like you my shepards and my millers?
My priests with shaven crownes?’
‘By my fayth, they are the sorest fighting men
That ever I mett on the ground.
- ‘There was never a yeaman in merry England
But he was worth a Scottish knight:’
‘I, by my troth,’ said King Edward, and laughe,
‘For you fought all against the right.’
- But now the prince of merry England,
Worthilye under his sheelde,
Hath taken the king of Ffrance,
At Poytiers in the ffeelde.
- The prince did present his father with that food,
The louely king off Ffrance,
And fforward of his iourney he is gone:
God send us all good chance!
- ‘You are welcome, brother!’ sayd the king of Scotts, to the king of Ffrance,
‘For I am come hither to soone;
Christ leeve that I had taken my way
Unto the court of Roome!’
- ‘And soe wold I,’ said the king of Ffrance,
‘When I came over the streame,
That I had taken my iourney
- Thus ends the battell of ffaire Durham,
In one morning of May,
The battell of Cressey, and the battle of Potyers,
All within one monthe:s day.
- Then was welthe and welfare in mery England,
Solaces, game, and glee,
And every man loved other well,
And the King loved good yeomanrye.
- But God that made the grasse to growe,
And leaves on greenwoode tree,
Now save and keepe our noble king,
And maintaine good yeomanry!