Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
129. Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas

NOW list and lithe, you gentlemen,
  And I’st tell you the veretye,
How they have dealt with a banish’d man,
  Driven out of his owne countrye.

When as he came on Scottish ground,
  As woe and wonder be them amonge!
Full much was there traitorye
  They wrought the Erle of Northumberland.

When they were at the supper set,
  Before many goodly gentlemen,        10
They fell a flouting and mocking both,
  And said to the Erle of Northumberland:

‘What makes you be soe sad, my lord,
  And in your mind soe sorrowfullye?
In the north to-morrow there is a shooting,        15
  And thither thou’st goe, my Lord Percye.

‘The buttes are sett, and the shooting is made,
  And there is like to be great royaltye,
And I am sworne into my bill
  Thither to bring my Lord Percye.’        20

‘I’le give thee my hand, Douglas,’ he says,
  ‘And by the faith in my bodye,
If that thou wilt ryde to the worldis end,
  Then I’le ryde in thy companye.’

And then bespake the good ladye,
  Mary a Douglas was her name:
‘You shall byde here, good English lord;
  My brother is a traitorous man.

‘He is a traitor stout and stronge,
  As I’st tell you the veretye;        30
For he hath ta’en ’liverance of the Erle,
  And into England he will ’liver thee.’—

‘Now hold thy tongue, thou goodly ladye,
  Now all this talking let a-bee;
For all the gold that’s in Lough Leven,        35
  William wo’ld not ’liver mee.

‘It wo’ld breake truce betweene England and Scottland,
  And freinds againe they wo’ld never bee,
If he sho’ld ’liver a banisht erle,
  Was driven out of his owne countrye.’—        40

‘Hold your tounge, my lord,’ she sayes,
  ‘There is much falsehood them amonge;
Soone they will part them freinds againe,
  When you are dead, then they are done.

‘If you will give me any trust, my lord,
  I’le tell you how you best may bee;
You’st let my brother ryde his wayes,
  And tell those English lords, trulye,

‘How that you cannot with them ryde,
  Because you are in an isle of the sea;        50
Then, ere my brother come againe,
  To Edenborrow castle I’le carry thee.

‘I’le ’liver you unto the Lord Hume,
  And you know a trew Scothe lord is hee,
For he hath lost both land and goods        55
  In ayding of your good bodye.’—

‘Marry, I am woe, woman,’ he sayes,
  ‘That any freind fares worse for me;
For where one saith it is a true tale,
  Then two will say it is a lee.        60

‘When that I was at home in my realme,
  Amonge my tennants all trulye,
In my time of losse, wherin my need stoode,
  They came to ayd me honestlye.

‘Therefore I left a many a child fatherlese,
  And many a widdow to looke wanne;
Therefore do thou blame nothing, ladye,
  But the woeffull warres which I began.’—

‘If you will give me noe trust, my lord,
  Nor noe credence you will give mee,        70
An you’le come hither to my right hand,
  Indeed, my lord, I’le let you see.’—

Says, ‘I never loved noe witchcraft,
  Nor never dealt with treacherye,
But evermore held the hye way;        75
  Alas, that may be seene by mee!’—

‘If you will not come your selfe, my lord,
  You’le lett your chamberlaine goe with me,
Three words that I may to him speake,
  And soone he shall come againe to thee.’        80

When James Swynard came that lady before,
  She let him see thro’ the weme of her ring
How many there was of English lords
  To wayte there for his master and him.

‘But who beene yonder, my good ladye,
  That walkes soe royallye on yond greene?’—
‘Yond is Lord Hunsden, Jamye,’ she sayd,
  ‘Alas, he’le doe you both tree and teene!’—

‘And who beene yonder, thou gay ladye,
  That walkes soe royallye him beside?’—        90
‘Yond’s Sir William Drurye, Jamye,’ she sayd,
  ‘And a keene captain he is, and tryde.’—

‘How many miles is’t, thou good ladye,
  Betwixt yond English lord and mee?’—
‘Marry, thrice fifty mile, Jamye,’ she sayd,        95
  ‘And even to sayle and by the sea.

‘I never was on English ground,
  Nor never see it with mine eye,
But as my wit and wisedome serves,
  And as the booke it telleth mee.        100

‘My mother, she was a witch woman,
  And part of it she learnèd mee;
She wo’ld let me see out of Lough Leven
  What they dyd in London citye.’—

‘But who is yond, thou good ladye,
  Comes yonder with an osterne face?’
‘Yond’s Sir John Forster, Jamye,’ she sayd;
  Alas! he’ll do ye sore disgrace.’

He pulled his hat downe over his eyes,
  And, Lord, he wept soe tenderlye!        110
He is gone unto his master againe,
  And even to tell him the veretye.

‘Now hast thou beene with Mary,’ he sayd,
  ‘Even as thy tounge will tell to mee;
But if thou trust any woman’s words,        115
  Thou must refraine good companye.’

‘It is noe words, my lord,’ he sayes;
  ‘Yonder the men she lets me see,
How many English lords there is
  Is wayting there for you and mee.        120

‘Yonder I see the Lord Hunsden,
  And he and you is of third degree;
A greater enemye, indeed, my Lord,
  In England never a one have yee.’—

‘And I have beene in Lough Leven
  The most part of these yeerès three:
Yet had I never noe out-rake,
  Nor good gamès that I co’ld see.

‘And I am thus bidden to yonder shooting
  By William Douglas all trulye;        130
Therfore speake never a word of thy mouth
  That thou thinkès will hinder me.’

Then he writhe the gold ring of his fingar
  And gave it to that gay ladye;
Sayes, ‘That was a legacye left unto mee        135
  In Harley woods where I co’ld bee.’—

‘Then ffarewell hart, and farewell hand,
  And ffarwell all good companye!
That woman shall never beare a sonne
  Shall know soe much of your privitye.’—        140

‘Now hold thy tongue, ladye,’ he sayde,
  ‘And make not all this dole for me,
For I may well drinke, but I’st never eate,
  Till ance againe in Lough Leven I bee.’

He tooke his boate at the Lough Leven,
  For to sayle now over the sea,
And he hath cast up a silver wand,
  Says, ‘Fare thou well, my good ladye!’
The ladye looked owre her left sholder;
  In a dead swoone there down fell she.        150

‘Goe backe againe, Douglas!’ he sayd,
  ‘And I will goe in thy companye;
For sudden sicknesse yonder lady has tane,
  And ever, alas, she will but dye!

‘If ought come to yonder ladye but good,
  Then blamèd sore that I shall bee,
Because a banish’d man I am,
  And driven out of my owne countrye.’—

‘Come on, come on, my lord,’ he sayes,
  ‘And all such talking let a-bee;        160
There’s ladyes enow left in Lough Leven
  For to cheere yonder gay ladye.’

‘An you will not goe your selfe, my lord,
  You will lett my chamberlaine go with mee;
We shall now take our boate againe,        165
  And soone wee shall overtake thee.’—

‘Come on, come on, my lord,’ he sayes,
  ‘And all this talking now let a-bee;
For my sister is craftye enoughe
  For to beguile thousands such as you and mee.’        170

When they had saylèd fifty myle,
  Now fifty myle upon the sea,
Hee asked, ‘How ffarr is it to that shooting
  That William Douglas promised me?’—

‘Now faire words makès foolès faine,
  And that may be seene by thy master and thee;
For happen you’ll think it soone enoughe
  Whenever you that shooting see.’

Jamye pulled his hat now over his browe,
  I wot the teares fell in his e’e;        180
And he is to his master againe,
  And for to tell him the veretye.

‘He says fayre words makes foolès faine,
  And that may be seene by you and mee,
For happen we’ll thinke it soone enoughe        185
  Whenever we that shooting see.’

‘Hold upp thy head, Jamye,’ the Erle sayd,
  ‘And never let thy hart fayle thee;
He did it but to prove thee with,
  And see how thow wo’ld take with death trulye.’        190

When they had sayl’d other fifty mile,
  Other fifty mile upon the sea,
Lord Percye called to him, himselfe,
  Sayd, ‘Douglas, what wilt thou doe with mee?’

‘Looke that your brydle be wight, my lord,
  That you may goe as a shipp at sea;
Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe,
  That you may pricke her while she’le awaye.’

‘What needeth this, Douglas,’ he sayth,
  ‘That thou needest to ffloutè mee?        200
For I was counted a horsseman good
  Before that ever I met with thee.

‘A ffalsè Hector hath my horsse,
  And ever an evill death may hee dye!
And Willye Armestronge hath my spurres        205
  And all the geere belongs to me.’

When they had sayled other fifty mile,
  Other fifty mile upon the sea,
They landed low by Berwicke-side;
  [Soe Douglas betray’d the] Lord Percye.        210
GLOSS:  into my bill] on paper, in writing.  weme] inward.  wayte] wait in ambush.  tree and teene] injury and grief.  osterne] austere.  of third degree] third cousins.  out-rake] holiday.  wight] strong.


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