Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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accepting this challenge immediately, by the appre­hension that Dougla3 would be able to effect a union with the main body of the Scottish army before he could be overtaken, but when he learned, the second day, that the Earl was retreating with ostentatious slowness, he hastily got together a company of eight or ten thousand men, and set forth in pursuit. '
The English forces, under the command of Hot­spur and his brother, Sir Ralph Percy, came up with the Scots at Otterbourne, a small village about thirty miles from Newcastle, on the evening of the 15th of August. Their numbers were more than double the Scots, but they were fatigued with a long march. Percy fell at once on the camp of Douglas, and a des­perate action ensued. The victory seemed to be in­clining to the English, when the Scottish leader, as the last means of reanimating his followers, rushed on the advancing enemy with heroic daring, and cleared a way with his battle-axe into the middle of their ranks. All but alone and unsupported, Douglas was over­powered by numbers, and sunk beneath three mortal wounds. The Scots, encouraged by the furious charge of their chieftain, and ignorant of his fate, renewed the struggle with vigor. Ralph Percy was made prisoner by the Earl Mareschal, and soon after Hotspur him­self by Lord Montgomery. Many other Englishmen of rank had the same fate. After a long fight, main­tained with extraordinary bravery on both sides, the English retired and left the Scots masters of the field. (See Sir W. Scott's History of Scotland, i. 225.)
The ballad which follows, printed from the fourth or revised edition of Percy's Reliques (vol. i. p. 21), was derived from a manuscript in the Cotton library