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OD prosper long our noble king,
Our lives and safeties all ;
A woful hunting once there did i In Chevy-Chase befall;
To drive the deer with hound and horn,
Earl Percy took his way;
The hunting of that day.
The stout Earl of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,
Three summer days to take ;
The chiefest harts in Chevy-Chase
To kill and bear away. These tidings to Earl Douglas came,
In Scotland where he lay :
Who sent Earl Percy present word,
He would prevent his sport.
Did to the woods resort
With fifteen hundred bow-men bold;
All chosen men of might, Who knew full well in time of need
To aim their shafts aright.
The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran,
To chase the fallow deer:
Ere day-light did appear;
And long before high noon they had
An hundred fat bucks slain ; Then having din'd, the drovers went
To rouse the deer again.
The bow-men mustered on the hills,
Well able to endure ;
That day were guarded sure.
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,
The nimble deer to take,
An echo shrill did make.
Lord Percy to the quarry went,
To view the slaughter'd deer ; Quoth he, Earl Douglas promised
This day to meet me here :
But if I thought he would not come,
No longer would I stay.
Thus to the earl did say :
Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;
All marching in our sight;
All men of pleasant Teviotdale,
Fast by the river Tweed : O cease your sport, Earl Percy said,
And take your bows with speed :
And now with me, my countrymen,
Your courage forth advance ; For never was there champion yet
In Scotland or in France,
That ever did on horseback come,
But if my hap it were,
With him to break a spear.
Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed,
Most like a baron bold,
Whose armour shone like gold.
Show me, said he, whose men you be,
That hunt so boldly here, hat, without my consent, do chase And kill my fallow-deer ?
The man that first did answer make,
Was noble Percy he;
Nor show whose men we be :
Yet will we spend our dearest blood,
Thy chiefest harts to slay. Then Douglas swore a solemn oath,
And thus in rage did say,
Ere thus will I out-braved be,
One of us two shall die : I know thee well, an earl thou art ;
Lord Percy, so am I.
But trust me, Percy, pity 'twere,
And great offence to kill
For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battle try,
And set our men aside. Accurst be he, Earl Percy said,
By whom this is denied.