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The fine heroic song of Chevy-Chase has ever been admired by competent judges. Those genuine firokes of nature and artless passion, which have endeared it to the ino;? fimple readers, have recommended it to the most refined; and it has equally been the amusement of our childhood, and the favourite of our riper years. VOL. III. B
rude even in the time of Sir Philip, and caused him to win
Mr. Addison has given an excellent critique* on this very popular ballad, but is mistaken with regard to the antiquity of our present copy; for this, if one may judge from the file, cannot be older than the time of Elizabeth, and was probably written after the elogium of Sir Philip Sidney : perhaps in confequence of it. I flatter myself, I have here recovered the genuine antique poem is the true original song, which appeared that was fo evil-aparelled in the rugged garb of
This curiosity is printed, from an old manufcript, at the end of Hearne's preface' to Gul. Newbrigiensis Hift. 1719 8vo. vol, 1. To the MS. Copy is fubjoined the name of the author, RYCHARD SHEALES: whom Hearne had so little judgment as to suppose to be the same with a R. Sbeale, when was living in 1988. But whoever examines the gradation of language and idiom in the following volumes, will be convinced that this is the production of an earlier poet. It is indeed expressly mentioned among some very ancient songs ini an old book intituled, The Complaint of Scotland t, ( fol. 42.) under the title of the Huntis of Chevet, where the two following lines are also quoted';
The Perffee and the Mongumrye mette 1.
That day, that day, that gentil day || ': Which, tho' not quite the same as they stand in the ballad, yet differ not more than might be owing to the author's quoting from memory. Indeed whoever considers the file and orthography of this old poem will not be inclined to place it lower than the time of Henry VI: as on the other hand the mention of James the Seorish king to with one or two
* Spectator, No 70.746
$ Subscribed, after the usual manner of our old poet's, erpticette [explicit] quoth hochard Sheale.
One of the earliesi productions of the Scottish press; now to be found. The title page was wanting in the copy here quoted ; but it is supposed to have been printed in 1549. See Ames.
See Pt. 2, v. 25. | See Pt. 1. v. 104. + Pt. 2. n. 36. 140
únachronisms, forbid us to assign it an earlier date. King James I, who was prisoner in this kingdom at the death of bis father *, did not wear the crown of Scotland till the fecond
year of our Henry VI \\, but before the end of that long reign a third James had mounted the throne F. fucceffion of two or three Jameses, and the long detention of one of them in England, would render the name familiar to the English, and dispose a poet in those rude times to give it to any Scottish king he happened to mention.
So much for the date of this old ballad: with regard to its subject, altho' it has no countenance from hiftory, there is room to think it had originally fome foundation in fact. was one of the laws of the marches frequently renewed between the two nations, that neither party should bunt in the other's borders, without leave from the proprietors or their deputies 1. Thore had long been a rivalship between the two martial families of Percy and Douglas, which beightened by the national quarrel, must have produced frequent challenges and struggles for superiority, petty invasions of their respective domains, and sharp contests for the point of honour ; which would not always be recorded in history. Something of this kind we may suppose gave rise to the ancient ballad of the HUNTING A' The Cheviatt. Percy earl of Northumberland had vowed to hunt for three days in the Scottish B 2
* Who died Aug. 5. 1406. ! Jamesl. was crowned May22.1424. murdered Feb.21.1436-7. In 1460.--Hen.VI. was deposed 1461 : restored and sain1471.
| Item. . . Concordatum eft, quod, ... NULLUS unius partis vel alterius ingrediatur terras, boschas, forrestas, warrenas; loca, dominia quæcunque alicujus partis alterius fubditi, caula venandi, piscandi, aucupandi, disportum aut folacium in eifdem, aliave quacunque de causa ABSQUE LICENTIA ejus ..:: ad quem ... loca pertinent, aut de deputatis suis prius capt. & obtent. Vid. Bp. Nicholson's Leges Marchiarum. 1705. 8vo. pag. 27. 51.
+ This was the original title. See the ballad, Pt. 1. V. 106. Pt. 2. V, 165.
border without condescending to ask leave from Earl Douglas, who was either lord of the soil, or lord warden of the marches. Douglas would not fail to resent the insult, and endeavour to repel the intruders by force : this would naturally produce a sharp conflict between the two parties : fomething of which, it is probable, did really happen, tho' not attended with the tragical circumstances recorded in the ballad: for these are evidently borrowed from the Battle of OTTERBOURNt, a very different event, but which aftertimes would easily confound with it. That battle might be owing to some such previous affront as this of Chevy Chase, though it has escaped the notice of historians. Our poet has evidently jumbled the two events together : if indeed the lines I in which this mistake is made, are not rather spurious, and the after-insertion of some person, who did not distinguish between tbe two stories.
Hearne has printed this ballad without any division of ftanzas, in long lines, as he found it in the old written copy: but it is usual to find the distinction of stanzas neglected in ancient MSS; where, to save room, two or three verses are frequently given in one line undivided. See flagrant instances in the Harleian Catalog. No. 2253. f. 29. 34. 61.70 & paslim.
THE FIRST PAR T.
HE Persé owt of Northombarlande,
And a vowe to God mayd he,
Off Chyviat within dayes thre,
And all that ever with him be.
of See the next ballad.
I Vid. Pt. 2. v. 164.
The fattifte hartes in all Cheviat
He fayd he wold kyll, and cary them away :
I wyll let that hontyng yf that I may.
Then the Persé owt of Banborowe cam,
With him a myghtee meany ;
The wear chosen out of shyars thre.
This begane on a monday at morn
In Cheviat the hillys so he,
It was the mor pitté.
The dryvars thorowe the woodes went
For to reas the dear,
With ther browd aras cleare,
Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went
On every fyde fhear,
For to kyll thear dear.
The begane in Chyviat the hyls above
Be Ver. 11. The the Persé. MS. V. 13. archardes bolde off blood and bone, MS. V, 19. throrowe. MS.