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THE BATTLE OF OTTERBOURNE. 5
(Cleopatra, c. iv. fol. 64), thought to be written about the middle of the sixteenth century. In the earlier editions, a less perfect copy, from the Harleian collection, had been used. Hume of Godscroft, speaking of the songs made on the battle of Otterbourne, says, " the Scots song made of Otterbourne telleth the time—about Lammas; and also the occasion—to take preys out of England; also the dividing armies betwixt the Earls of Fife and Douglas, and their several journeys, almost as in the authentic history," and proceeds to quote the first stanza of the present ballad. Again, it is said that at Lammas, when the Scotch husbandmen are busy at getting in their hay, the season has been over for a month in most parts of England. From these circumstances, and the occurrence of certain Scottish words, the first part of The Battle of Otterbourne has been regarded as a Scottish composition, retouched by an English hand.
A somewhat mutilated version of this ballad was published in Herd's Scottish Songs. This, though defective, well deserves a place in our Appendix. Sir Walter Scott inserted in the Minstrelsy another edition made up by him from two copies obtained from the recitation of old persons residing in Ettrick Forest, and it is here subjoined to Percy's version.
Genealogical notices of the personages mentioned in this and the following ballad will be found in Percy's Reliques and in Scotf s Minstrelsy.
Yt felle abowght the Lamasse tyde,
Whan husbonds wynn ther haye, The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd hym to ryde,
In Ynglond to take a praye.