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While I have power to wield my sword,
Ile fight with heart and hand.'
Our English archers bent their bowes,
Their hearts were good and trew, At the first flight of arrowes sent,
Full fourscore Scots they slew. Yet bides Erle Douglas on the bent,
As Chieftain stout and good. As valiant Captain, all unmoved
The shock he firmly stood.
His host he parted had in three,
As leader ware and try'd,
Bare down on every side.
They dealt full many a wound; But still our valiant Englishmen
All firmly kept their ground,
And, throwing strait their bowes away,
They grasped their swords so bright, And now sharp blows, a heavy shower,
On shields and helmets light. They closed full fast on every side,
No slackness there was found; And many a gallant gentleman
Lay gasping on the ground.
O Christ! it was a griefe to see,
And likewise for to heare,
And scattered here and there!
At last these two stout erles did meet,
Like captaines of great might: Like lions wode, they laid on lode,
And made a cruel fight: They fought untill they both did sweat
With swords of tempered steele; Until the blood like drops of rain
They trickling downe did feele. "Yield thee, Lord Percy,' Douglas said;
'In faith I will thee bringe, Where thou shalt high advanced be
By James our Scottish king:
And this report of thee,
That ever I did see.'
'No, Douglas,' quoth Erle Percy then,
“Thy proffer I do scorne; I will not yield to any Scot,
That ever yet was borne.' With that, there came an arrow keene
Out of an English bow, Which struck Erle Douglas to the heart,
A deep and deadly blow:
Who never spake more words than these,
'Fight on, my merry men all; For why, my life is at an end;
Lord Percy sees my fall.'
The dead man by the hand;
Wold I had lost my land !
With sorrow for thy sake,
Mischance could never take.'
A knight amongst the Scots there was,
Which saw Erle Douglas dye,
Upon the Lord Percye.
Who, with a speare most bright,
Ran fiercely through the fight,
Without or dread or feare,
He thrust his hateful speare.
He did his body gore,
A large cloth-yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles dye,
Whose courage none could staine ! An English archer then perceived
The noble Erle was slaine:
He had a bow bent in his hand,
Made of a trusty tree;
Up to the head drew he;
So right the shaft he set,
In his heart's bloode was wet.
This fight did last from breake of day
Till setting of the sun;
The battle scarce was done.
With stout Erle Percy, there was slaine
Sir John of Egerton,
Sir James, that bold baròn;
Both knights of good account,
Whose prowesse did surmount.
As one in doleful dumpes;
For when his legs were smitten off,
He fought upon his stumpes.
And with Erle Douglas, there was slaine
Sir Hugh Mountgomerye,
One foote would never flee;
Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too,
His sister's sonne was he;
Yet saved he could not be;
And the Lord Maxwell in like case
Did with Erle Douglas dye:
Scarce fifty-five did flye.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,
Went home but fifty-three:
Under the greene woode tree.
Next day did many widdowes come,
Their husbands to bewayle;
But all wold not prevayle;
Their bodyes, bathed in purple gore,
They bore with them away;
Ere they were clad in clay.