The Battle of Otterburn
No: 161; variant: 161B
- IT fell and about the Lammas time,
When husbandmen do win their hay,
Earl Douglass is to the English woods,
And a’ with him to fetch a prey.
- He has chosen the Lindsays light,
With them the gallant Gordons gay,
And the Earl of Fyfe, withouten strife,
And Sir Hugh Montgomery upon a grey.
- They have taken Northumberland,
And sae hae they the north shire,
And the Otter Dale, they hae burnt it hale,
And set it a’ into fire.
- Out then spake a bonny boy,
That servd ane o Earl Douglass kin;
Methinks I see an English host,
A-coming branken us upon.
- ‘If this be true, my little boy,
And it be troth that thou tells me,
The brawest bower in Otterburn
This day shall be thy morning-fee.
- ‘But if it be fase, my little boy,
But and a lie that thou tells me,
On the highest tree that’s in Otterburn
With my ain hands I’ll hing thee high.’
- The boy’s taen out his little penknife,
That hanget low down by his gare,
And he gaed Earl Douglass a deadly wound,
Alack! a deep wound and a sare.
- Earl Douglas said to Sir Hugh Montgomery,
Take thou the vanguard o the three,
And bury me at yon braken-bush,
That stands upon yon lilly lee.
- Then Percy and Montgomery met,
And weel a wot they warna fain;
They swaped swords, and they twa swat,
And ay the blood ran down between.
- ‘O yield thee, yield thee, Percy,’ he said,
‘Or else I vow I’ll lay thee low;’
‘Whom to shall I yield,’ said Earl Percy,
‘Now I see it maun be so?’
- ‘O yield thee to yon braken-bush,
That grows upon yon lilly lee;
. . . .
. . . .
- ‘I winna yield to a braken-bush,
Nor yet will I unto a brier;
But I would yield to Earl Douglass,
Or Sir Hugh Montgomery, if he was here.’
- As soon as he knew it was Montgomery,
He stuck his sword’s point in the ground,
And Sir Hugh Montgomery was a courteous knight,
And he quickly broght him by the hand.
- This deed was done at Otterburn,
About the breaking of the day;
Earl Douglass was buried at the braken-bush,
And Percy led captive away.