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and of every age. “I never heard,” said | signed for the place of meeting. The Sir Philip Sidney — no bad judge either castle of Jedburgh, it is true, was theo io of poetry or " the old song of the hands of the English. But in the deep Percie and Douglas, that I found not my forests which encircled it, and in the wild heart moved more than with a trumpet, mountain glens which radiated from it in and yet it is sung but by some blinde all directions, a large force might muster, crowder, with no rougher voice than rude it was thought, without attracting atten. skill." “I had rather be the author of tion. So secluded were the dark recesses Chevy Chase,'" said Ben Jonson, “than of its woods, tha not many years before, of all my works.”. Almost within our own when all the country round was in possesday, at the firesides of Northumberland sion of the English, a body of Scottish during the long winter evenings, the mov- nobles with their followers, had, like ing recital of the exploits of the two rival Robin Hood and his men in Sherwood leaders formed a never-sating source of Forest, resided there in safety for several amusement and delight* Yet the poem, years. despite its powerful appeal to English On the appointed day an army, such as patriotism and English bravery, is not had not been seen, it was said, for sixty only unhistorical: it has absolutely no years, assembled at the place of meeting connection with the battle which it is sup. It consisted of twelve hundred lances, and posed to describe. It is the account of a forty thousand rank and file. The young mere predatory raid for which it is hard to Earl of Douglas was the first to arrive. find even a foundation in fact. The scene After him came John, Earl of Moray, and is laid in the time of James I., when both his brother George, Earl of Duobar and Percy and Douglas were dead and buried. March ; the Earls of Fife, Sutherland, and Times, places, and persons are confound. Mar; Douglas, the grim Lord of Galloed in an inextricable mass of jumble and way, the two Lindsays, - Sir William and confusion. Somewhat more trustworthy, Sir James, — Sir John Swinton, Sir John indeed, is the old ballad, preserved in the Sandilands, Sir Patrick Dunbar, Sir Si. Cottonian Library, known by the name of mon Glendinning, and many another bor. “ The Battle of Oiterburn." Yet here, too, der knight and squire. Each baron led his its dramatic merits have destroyed its his own vassals. Each knight was attended torical worth. Altered and embellished in by two or three squires. Each man-at. its descent from one generation of min. arms had his sergeants to hold his horse, strels to another, its value as evidence is to buckle his armor, and to perform the small. But, fortunately for us, the subject same duties towards him which the squires had as many attractions for the annalists fulfilled towards the knights. Captains as for the minstrels. It was like the taste and men-at-arms were alike in the highest of a sorbidden pleasure to the monkish his. spirits, and they encouraged each other torians of the period to turn from their with the assurance that they would effect jejune task of chronicliny treaties and such an inroad as should be remembered councils and the arid details of the records by the English for twenty years to come, of their respective monasteries to describe The inore completely to mature their plans, the flash and glitter of knightly swords, a further meeting was arranged when they and the ever-changing movements of an had reached the little Church of Zedon, almost heroic conflict. And though we a few miles nearer the English border. see the battle now only athwart the barred Though his sons, five sons-in-law, and a windows of the cloister cell, and through nephew were among the leaders of the eyes dimmed by years of mortification and host, the project had been, as usual, careseclusion from the world, the yellow pages fully concealed from the Scottish king. It on which its story is written still teem had not, however, escaped the notice of with life, and are still aglow with the the English. Henry Percy, surnamed stroke and parry of human passion and Hotspur - then in his twenty-third year the surge and flow of chivalrous instincts. - the eldest son of the aged Earl of
Early in spring, at a great meeting held Northumberland, recently appointed by at Aberdeen, under the pretext of a sol. Richard a warden of the English marches, emn festival the Church, a fresh foray his father and his brother Ralph and all into England was determined upon by the border lords. Summonses were issued Kirk-Yetholm at the foot of the Cheviot Hills, or more
The Zedon of Froissart is either the gipsy town of for the gathering of the feudal host, and probably Southdean on the Jed, about ten miles from the neighborhood of Jedburgh was as. Jedburgh and four from Redeswire, the place at which the north-country chivalry, were by | English would proceed by way of Carlisle. means of spies, who, as heralds and min. This was valuable intelligence. The strels, travelled with ease and safety Scottish lords looked at each other but throughout the length and breadth of the were silent. The prisoner having been land – fully as cognizant of their move- removed a spirited debate ensued. It ments as were the Scottish lords them- was evident their plans must be changed. selves. They knew all about the assem. A united attack upon England was imbly at Aberdeen. They had heard of the possible. The only way to defeat the muster at Jedburgh. They had observed arrangements of the English was to enter the unwonted agitation which prevailed England by both the eastern and the through the whole country-side; and very western marches. By such tactics and secretly they were in course of making by such alone could this counter invasion their preparations to resist the threat of Scotland be prevented. eoed attack. Meantime, to gain still more It was agreed to divide the host into complete information, they resolved to two army corps. While the largest divis. send a spy to the gathering at the foot of ion with the baggage, under the command the Cheviots.
Douglas and his men were to enter England. (Froise
sart ii., note to p. 362 : White's Outerburn, pote to p. * White's Otterburn, App., p. 132.
of Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway, A certain squire, well acquainted with marched upon Carlisle, the other, consist. the country, was accordingly despatched ing of three hundred picked lances and from Newcastle for the purpose. He two thousand infantry, led by the young reached Zedon as the Scottish barons Earl of Douglas, would invade Northum. were in consultation in the church. The berland. When both had been united, a Englishman entered and beard their de. fitting time and place would be selected liberations. But before the meeting broke to give battle to the English. After tak. up he thought it prudent to retire. Leav. ing an affectionate farewell of each other ing the church unobserved he went to the two divisions started, the one marchlook for his horse. It was gone. “A ing to the right and the other to the left. Scotsman,” says Froissart, “(for they are On Friday, the 7th August, the army of all thieves) had stolen him.” To have the Earl of Douglas crossed the border of made enquiry would have been to risk Redeswire. Moviog forward over Otterdetection. He, therefore, set out on foot, cop's Hill and down by Rothley Crag, booted and spurred as he was. But he it swept silently but swiftly through had scarcely gone about two bowshots Northumberland and forded the Tyne wben his appearance attracted the notice above Newburo.* Journeying through of two Scottish knights who were in con. byeroads, attacking neither town, castle, versation.
nor_manor, it reached the rich bishopric “That fellow," said the one, “las seem- of Durhan, without encountering opposijogly lost his horse, and yet he is making tion. So suddenly and secretly had the no attempt to seek for it."
march been conducted that the first intel. “On my troth!” replied the other, “I ligence of its arrival which the northdoubt much if he belongs to us. Let us country barons received, was the smoke follow and question bim.”
of burning houses and the crowds of fugi. He was soon overtaken. They asked tives hastening towards Newcastle. The him whence he came, whither be was go- Earl of Northumberland immediately deing, and what he had done with his horse. spatched his two sons - Hotspur and his His answers were contradictory and con. brother Ralph - to defend the city, while fused, and he was accordingly taken be- he himself remained at Alnwick to rouse fore the council of war. There, under the the district. Meantime, the Scots ad. threat of death, he was made to reveal the vanced through the fertile tract of country purpose for which he had come, and to between Durham and Newcastle, levelling supply his enemies with much the same peel and fortalice, devastating village and sort of information which he had expected grange, slaughtering and capturing the to obtain from them. The barons of inhabitants, and driving or carrying away Northumberland, he said, bad determined all the booty which they thought worth not to meet the Scotch. But as soon as appropriating. they had crossed the border, an English The flower of Northumberland had by army would enter Scotland and mete out this time collected within the walls of retaliatory devastation upon the lands of Newcastle. Barons and knights and the Border lords. If the Scots marched squires — all the gentry of the district upon Cumberland, the English would ad. from York northwards had rallied round vance upon Edinburgh by Berwick. If they pressed on towards Newcastle, the
# White's Otterburn, pp. 24-25.
Hotspur's standard; and the town was of which, in the shape of a few straggling filled with more than it could lodge. On birch and rowan trees, are still to be seen the 14th August, the Scottish army en. at no great distance from the spot.* camped before Newcastle, and took up its It was now the height of summer, and position on that side of the town which all over the rich upland pastures the huslooks towards Scotland.* It was the bandmen were gathering in their hay. earl's intention to have attacked the place. The heat, too, was very great, and the But so strong were its defences, that with Scots, fatigued by their exertions, were out the assistance of Archibald Douglas's not unwilling to rest for the remainder of division he saw but little prospect of such the day. They had work, too, before cess. For three days he lay waiting for them on the morrow.
Not far from where reinforcements. During that time there they were camped, in the midst of a piece were almost constant skirmishes between of marshy ground, stood the tower of the besiegers and the besieged. Outside Otterburn; and this they were determined the moat which surrounded the town, the to raze. By all the unwritten laws of English had erected a species of wooden chivalry the challenge to the Percy would fortification after a fashion which was then have been incomplete had a single ground common on the Continent, and which their of provocation been left untried, recent wars with France had probably On the following day, Wednesday, the taught them. It consisted of upright 19th August, 1388, the light had scarcely grated palisades with openings about half dawned when their trumpet sounded for a foot wide, and so low that a horse might the attack. But the peel withstood all without much difficulty leap over them. At their efforts. In the afternoon, weary and these barriers the young knights on both worn out, and to say the truth, not a little sides fought daily. Many valiant deeds dispirited at their non-success, the troops were done with lances hand to hand. returned to their quarters. A council of The two gallant sons of the Earl of North war was hurriedly called to consider their umberland were always the first to arrive, further movements. Many were of opin. and generally the last to leave.
ion that the attack should be abandoned, In one of these many encounters, the and that the army, leaving its present Earl of Douglas, after a long conflict with position, should turn off to join the other Harry Percy, won bis spear with its silken division of the Scottish forces. But Doug. pennon attached, adding insult to the in- las took a different view. It was cowardly, jury by the assurance that he would carry he thought, to decamp without accomplishit with him into Scotland.
ing the enterprise they had undertaken. Nay, Earl of Douglas !” retorted Hot. Besides, he was still in hopes that Hot. spur, " that shall you never do."
spur would make an endeavor to recover “ You must come this night and seek it bis pennon before the Scots finally left then," replied the earl.
the country. His views prevailed. The But the night passed, and no effort troops proceeded to fortify their position. was made to redeem the banner. When They entrenched themselves behind a the morning broke, its pearl-embroidered double earthwork towards the north. They folds emblazoned with the white lion of laid down felled trees wherever their ram. the Percys, was still floating above the part was weak. The baggage and servants, pavilion of the Earl of Douglas. Long with their booty of sheep and cattle, they before the sun was up, the Scots were on placed on the side of the camp at the entheir way home. About four they reached trance of the marsh on both sides of the the castle of Pontelands, which they took road to Newcastle.t and burned. Then turning off in a north- The twilight came. The sun went down westerly direction, they made through over the Cheviots. Many of the men, exRedesdale to Otterburn, and encamped hausted with the labors of the day, retired on a little height, the site of an ancient to rest. The lords were supping in their Roman camp, above Greenchesters. On tents. They had laid aside their armor on the north their position was somewhat account of the closeness of the weather, exposed, but on the south and west it was and were clad in their “side.gowns only." protected by natural woods, some remains All of a sudden, a watchman on an ún.
trapped horse I was seen spurring towards * Ibid., p. 24..
the camp. The enemy was upon them, + Froissart, iii. 125.
| The banner is said to be still preserved in the fam- # Ibid., p. 31. ily of Douglas of Cavers. White's Otterburn, App., * Wyntoun ix. 8.
† Scotichronicon xiv., C. 53. § White's Otterburn, pp. 30-31.
I Battle of Otterburn, Percy's Reliques i. 25.
he cried.* His abrupt call to arms threw | having obtained an almost bloodless vic. the whole encampment into confusion. tory. The knights flew to their armor. The Meanwhile the Scottish leaders, observ. Earl of Douglas hurried to marshal his ing his error, hastily ordered a body of
In the disorder which everywhere infantry to join the servants and keep up prevailed cuissarts and greaves and bra. the skirmish. They themselves having siers were forgotten. The Earl of Moray completed their arming and separated had not time to don his helmet. The their men into three divisions, under the Earl of Douglas had no leisure to give his respective pennons of the Earl of Douglas own arming a thought. Above the din and the two gallant brothers the Earls of aod bustle, the clang of armorers closing March and Moray, his kinsmen, left the rivets up, the bugle calls summoning the camp in silence, and crossing round its troops to their respective standards, the rear, marched along a mountain ridge covneighing of horses and the tramp of hurry: ered with hot and scrub, till they had ing feet, cries of " A Percy! a Percy !" reached the higher ground. Then falling were now distinctly heard; and soon on upon the English flank, with wild shouts the crest of a hill, disposed in two divi- and banners displayed,* they charged into sions, with banners flying, and the dying the midst of their enemies. Their opposunset glipting on the bright armor of the nents, taken aback, speedily turned and koights, the forces of Hotspur might be faced their foes. seen pricking forward to meet their foes. The battle now raged. Cries of “A The Percy had at last come to retrieve Percy!” “A Douglas !” “St. George ! ” his pennon.
“St. Andrew!” and many another warlike Impatient to wipe out the insult to his slogan resounded over the field. Lances chivalry, without waiting for the Bishop were shattered, saddles emptied, battle. of Durham, who, eager to avenge the axes broken. Under the bright light of devastation of his bishopric, had collected the harvest moon, the shimmer of flashing his vassals and was hastening to his as. swords gleamed on every side. So close sistance, he had left Newcastle in the was the impact of the contending forces; foredoon after dinner, and, with six hun. that the English archers had not room to dred spears of knights and squires and draw their bows. As the Scots, discomupwards of eight thousand infantry, had fited in the first onset, were in the act of travelled the eight short leagues which retiring, Douglas, burning to win renown, separated hims from the Scots. With ordered his banner to advance. Hotspur this force, which stood in the proportion and his brother Sir Ralph immediately of three to one to that of his enemies, vic- hastened forward to oppose bim. The tory, he thought, was certain.
banners met, and a deadly struggle ensued It had been arranged that the first " bat-between the knights and squires on either tle,” coosisting of the greater part of the side. “ There was no ho between them," troops, under the command of Hotspur says Froissart, “so long as spears, swords, bimself and his brother Ralph, should axes, or daggers endured.” † " Cowards meet the Earl of Douglas if he was dis. there had no place, but hardiness reigned posed to fight. While they were thus with goodly feats of arms.” The banner engaged, the other, under Sir Matthew of Douglas with its crowned heart, surRedman and Sir Robert Ogle, would at: mounted by the three stars, was at one tack the tents and destroy and slay all time in imminent danger, and would have they found. Percy accordingly pressed been captured but for the valiant defence on towards the camp; but mistaking the of Sir Patrick Hepburn and his son. At huts of the servants, which were partially length the Scots, unable to resist the su. concealed by trees, for the pavilions of the perior number of the English, began to lords, his first attack was directed against give way. At this juncture the Earl of the cooking galley's and camp kitchens. Douglas, seizing a double-handed battle. For a time those who were in charge were axe, closely followed by his warlike chap. able to withstand the onset of the En. lain, Richard Lundie, afterwards Archdea. glish, but overpowered at length they were con of Aberdeen, and a devoted handful forced to fee. Seeing this Sir Matthew of his personal friends, dashed, like an. Redman with his followers immediately started in pursuit, whilst Hotspur, rejoić
† Ho, hoo, an interjection of stopping or desisting: ing in the sight, congratulated himself on hence stoppage. (Glossary, Percy's Reliques, i. 357)
“So in Langham's letter concerning Queen Elizabeth's
entertainment at Kellingworth Castle, 1575, ‘Heer was • Scotichron. xiv., C. 53.
no ho in devout drynking.'” (Percy's Reliques i., † Wyntoun ix. 8.
note to p. 20.)
* Ibid. ix. 8.
other Hector, into the midst of his ene- j knight.* The pursuit lasted for the remies, dealing such blows around him that mainder of the night, and was continued all rushed from him on every side. Few for a distance of five English miles. I in the darkness recognized in the central When at length the Scots returond to figure of that little band, round which the their camp, the numbers of the captured tide of battle now eddied with renewed exceeded that of the captors. It was and ever-rising vehemence, the gallant reckoned that the English loss amounted leader of the Scottish forces. At last he to fifteen hundred men ; $ while the Scots fell, pierced by three spears which had computed theirs at only a hundred slain, been pointed at him at once. He was and two hundred taken prisoners. | thrown to the ground fighting desperately. “ Never since the battle of BannockNo sooner was he down than his head was born,” says Froissart,“ did the Scots gain cleft with a battle-axe. A fourth spear a more complete or gainful victory." was thrust through his thigh. Then the was told me,” he continues, “and I be. main body of the English, pressing over lieve it, that they gained two hundred his prostrate form, carried the surging thousand francs for their ransoms.” Nor wave of combat to another part of the can he, although no friend to their race, field.
abstain from adding a word of commenda. When all were gone he strove to raise tion to the Scots on their treatment of himself, but fell back powerless. He was their prisoners. “When the Scots," alone and unattended save by his lion says, saw the English were discomfited hearted chaplain, now wounded himself, and surrendering on all sides, they be. who, battle.axe in hand, had never left haved courteously to them, saying, Sit him the whole night through. By his down and disarm yourselves for I am your side, covered with fifteen wounds from master,' but never insulted them more lances and other weapons, lay the dead than if they had been brothers.” Many body of his squire, Robert Hart. He too of the prisoners were ransomed before had fought by his master so long as the they left the field. “Eche of them is so power to fight remained. As he lay there contente with other, that at their departin mortal agony, there came up to him his ynge curtoysly they will saye, God thanke cousins, Sir John Lindsay and Sir John ye!” and Sir Walter Sinclair, and one or two Yet, after all, when the debit and credit others of his knights and squires. sides of the account are summed up, what
" Cousin !” said Sir John Sinclair, kneel- bad the nation gained by the victory? It ing by the side of the dying man, “how is difficult, indeed, to say. That the enfares it with you ?”
gagement had been conducted in strict “But indifferently," he replied. “I accordance with those artificial rules of have little hope of living. My heart be- honor which it was the fashion of the comes every moment more faint. But, times to approve, or that in courage and thanks to God! I die like most of my an- courtesy both parties had satisfied the cestors, on the field of battle! Raise up most exacting rules of chivalry, was my banner,” he continued, “it is lying on scarcely adequate compensation for the the ground, and shout. Douglas !' as if I lives of a hundred Scots lost in a battle were with you. They say a dead Douglas fought in defence of no principles and will win a field. To-night it shall be ac- undertaken in support of no claim. That complished. Farewell !”
it indeed diminished for a short season He was dead.
the severity of the border raids is perbaps Throwing a cloak over the body, Sir the greatest commeodation which can be John Sinclair lifted his standard; and bestowed upon it. once more the cry of “A Douglas ! a Before the dawn of day the field was Douglas !” rallied the disheartened Scots. The knights came spurring toyeiher from Sir John Montgomery, son of John, lord of Monte every part of the field. The Earls of Mosomery, the lineal ancestor of the present Earl of Eg
He was soon afterwards exchanged for Sir ray and March, with their banners and Hugh Montgomery, and for his ransom built the castle men trooped round the uplifted pennon.
of Penoon in Ayrshire.
† Scotichron. xiv. 54. There was one desperate and collective I Froissart ii. 127. charge, one crash of splintered lances, and § Scotichron. xiv. 654; Wyntoun ix 8; Froissart, ut then slowly and sullenly the English.com- supra, says: a thousand and forty.
il The victory has been claimed by the English menced to retreat. The dead man had chroniclers, Walsingham, Hist. Ang. Rich., ii. 361, gained the day. Hotspur himself was who also feigo a personal combat between Percy and
Douglas, in which the latter receives his death-blow. captured, and like his brother Sir Ralplı, See also poem entitled "Battle of Otterburn,” Percy's had to yield himself prisoner to a Scottish | Rel. i. 21–34.