Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

III.

The Rising in the North.

THE subject of this ballad is the great Northern insurrection in the twelfth year of Elizabeth, 1569, which proved so fatal to Thomas Percy, the seventh Earl of Northumberland.

There had not long before been a secret negotiation entered into between some of the Scottish and English nobility, to bring about a marriage between Mary Queen of Scots, at that time a prisoner in England, and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent character, and firmly attached to the Protestant religion. This match was proposed to all the most considerable of the English nobility, and among the rest to the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, two noblemen very powerful in the north. As it seemed to promise a speedy and safe conclusion of the troubles in Scotland, with many advantages to the crown of England, they all consented to it, provided it should prove agreeable to Queen Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester (Elizabeth's favourite) undertook to break the matter to her; but before he could find an opportunity, the affair had come to her ears by other hands, and she was thrown into a violent flame. The Duke of Norfolk, with several of his friends, was committed to the Tower, and summons were sent to the northern earls instantly to make their appearance at court. It is said that the Earl of Northumberland, who was a man of a mild and gentle nature, was deliberating with himself whether he should not obey the message, and rely upon the queen's candour and clemency, when he was forced into desperate measures by a sudden report at midnight, Nov. 14, that a party of his enemies were come to seize on his person 1. The earl was then at his house at Topcliffe in Yorkshire: when rising hastily out of bed, he withdrew to the Earl of Westmoreland, at Brancepeth, where the country

1 This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad.

PREP 1 1 TCE et met bat arms in their own uther standards, declaring ter set va ʼn ree to accent religion, to get the suarain fte me for seruet, and to prevent the were con los te auser noiry & Their common ban

VE WILL WE tutuaret the Cross, together with the fve wounds of Cerat was some by an ancient gentleman, kötart Yan Log, of Norte-Conyers: who with his sons wung wura Careguer. Marmaduke, and Thomas, are expremy Lazed by Cances, distinguished himself on this won Having entered Durham, they tore the Bible, &c., and caused mass to be said there: they then marched on to Clifford moor near Wetherbye, where they mustered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on to York; but altering their minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle, which Sir George Bowes held out against them for eleven days. The two earls, who spent their large estates in hospitality, and were extremely beloved on that account, were masters of little ready money; the Earl of Northumberland bringing with him only 8000 crowns, and the Earl of Westmoreland nothing at all for the subsistence of their forces, they were not able to march to London, as they had at first intended. In these circumstances, Westmoreland began so visibly to despond, that many of his men slunk away; though Northumberland still kept up his resolution, and was master of the field till December 13, when the Earl of Sussex, accompanied with Lord Hunsden and others, having marched our or Tork as the head of a large body of forces, and being Allowed by a slager any under the command of AmArse Dr. Pat & Warwick, the surgens retreated **** 2*s de trims, and there ismissing their ALERTX Bale noir sesge ine Sovasmi Though this inNa Pax doả hai Xur sippressed with so itdie bloodshed, the Jury Nava and Sr Joe Rowes marsial of the army, Anandia & stall þy maria aw, without any re

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

gular trial. The former of these caused at Durham sixtythree constables to be hanged at once. And the latter made his boast, that for sixty miles in length and forty in breadth, betwixt Newcastle and Wetherbye, there was hardly a town or village wherein he had not executed some of the inhabitants. This exceeds the cruelties practised in the West after Monmouth's rebellion: but that was not the age of tenderness and humanity.

Such is the account collected from Stow, Speed, Camden, Guthrie, Carte, and Rapin; it agrees in most particulars with the following ballad, which was apparently the production of some northern minstrel, who was well affected to the two noblemen. It is here printed from two MS. copies, one of them in the editor's folio collection. They contained considerable variations, out of which such readings were chosen as seemed most poetical and consonant to history.

LISTEN, lively lordings all,

Lithe and listen unto mee,

And I will sing of a noble earle,

The noblest earle in the north countrie.

[blocks in formation]

Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay,
Alas! thy counsell suits not mee;

Mine enemies prevail so fast,

That at the court I may not bee.

3 This lady was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester.

15

O goe to the court yet, good my lord,
And take thy gallant men with thee:
If any dare to doe you wrong,

Then your warrant they may bee.

Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire,
The court is full of subtiltie;
And if I goe to the court, lady,
Never more I may thee see.

she

Yet goe to the court, my lord,
And I myselfe will ryde wi' thee:
At court then for my dearest lord,
His faithfull borrowe I will bee.

sayes,

Now nay, now nay, my lady deare;
Far lever had I lose my life,

Than leave among my cruell foes
My love in jeopardy and strife.

But come thou hither, my little foot-page,
Come thou hither unto mee,

To maister Norton thou must goe

In all the haste that ever may bee.

Commend me to that gentleman,

And beare this letter here fro mee;
And say that earnestly I praye,
He will ryde in my companie.

One while the little foot-page went,
And another while he ran;
Untill he came to his journeys end,

The little foot-page never blan.

When to that gentleman he came,
Down he kneeled on his knee;

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And took the letter betwixt his hands,

And lett the gentleman it see.

[blocks in formation]

He sayd, Come hither, Christopher Norton,
A gallant youth thou seemst to bee;

50

What doest thou counsell me, my sonne,
Now that good erle's in jeopardy?

55

Father, my counselle's fair and free;
That erle he is a noble lord,

And whatsoever to him you hight,

I wold not have you breake your word.

60

Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne,
Thy counsell well it liketh mee,
And if we speed and scape with life,

Well advanced thou shalt bee.

Come you hither, my nine good sonnes,
Gallant men I trowe you bee:

65

How many of you, my children deare,

[blocks in formation]

But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton,
Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire:
Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast;
Whatever it bee, to mee declare.

80

« FöregåendeFortsätt »