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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Battle of Otterbourne

By Old Ballad

IT fell about the Lammas-tide,

When the muir-men win their hay,

The doughty Douglas bound him to ride

Into England, to drive a prey.

He chose the Gordons and the Græmes,

With them the Lindesays, light and gay;

But the Jardines wald 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 Reidswire fells,

He left them all on fire.

And he marched up to Newcastle,

And rode it round about;

“O, wha ’s the lord of this castle,

Or wha ’s the lady o’t?”

But up spake proud Lord Percy then,

And O but he spake hie!

“I am the lord of this castle,

My wife ’s the lady gay.”

“If thou ’rt the lord of this castle,

Sae weel it pleases me!

For, ere I cross the Border fells,

The tane of us shall dee.”

He took a lang spear in his hand,

Shod with the metal free,

And for to meet the Douglas there

He rode right furiouslie.

But O how pale his lady looked,

Frae aff the castle wa’,

When down before the Scottish spear

She saw proud Percy fa’.

“Had we twa been upon the green,

And never an eye to see,

I wad hae had you, flesh and fell;

But your sword sail gae wi’ me.

“But gae ye up to Otterbourne,

And wait there dayis three;

And if I come not ere three dayis end,

A fause knight ca’ ye me.”


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 have 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 guid 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 swat,

And the blood ran down like rain.

But Percy with his good broad sword,

That could so sharply wound,

Has wounded Douglas on the brow,

Till he fell to the ground.


This deed was done at the Otterbourne,

About the breaking of the day;

Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush,

And the Percy led captive away.