In a late tour northward, I met with a copy of the enclosed ballad, which I take the liberty of sending towards an Attic evening amusement, it has been made out partly from oral tradition, and partly from a black letter copy: if I should be fortunate enough to recover the stanzas wanting (of which I am not entirely hopeless) they also shall be transmitted, and I shall be happy to shew you the black letter original when we meet in the spring.
Lord Edward, a Ballad
Lord Edward went to his silken bed
And laid him down to rest,
But there his thoughts were troubled sore
For Ellen, whom he loved best.
Fair Ellen stood by his bed side
And waved her lily hand,
Fair Ellen stood by his bed side
And she looked all pale and wan’d.
Lord Edward turned on the other side
To try if he might sleep,
But there he saw Fair Ellinor
Who turned from him to weep
She held a token in her hand
They two had broken in twain
When they vowed to love none but each other,
Tho’ they never should meet again!
Then he rose up from his restless bed
And wound his bugle horn,
That his merry men all might be ready to hawk
With him at the early dawn.
His men came out by twos and threes,
All drest in Kendale green,
With horse, and hound, and hawk, and lure;
A gallant sight and sheen.
They wound so sweet their bugle horns
They gladdened dale and down,
The folk looked on with merry hearts
As they rode through the town.
They had not ridden scant a mile
And turned to the plain,
When they were aware of fair Ellinor’s page
Riding toward them with might and main.
“Now Christ save thee, Lord Edward!” he said,
“Now Mary save thee and see!
For I have ridden this live-long night
Sad tidings to bring with me.”
“The foemen blacken Rawdon Hill
Like flights of carrion crows:
Who have sworn our blood they’ll surely spill
With long spears, brands and bows.”
“Our noble Earl is sorely hurt,
And cannot rise to fight,
His daughter Ellen tends his wounds,
And watches day and night:”
“The wounded fill the castle wards,
The towers are thinly manned,
We’re doomed to death by fire and sword,
Without thy saving hand!”
Lord Edward said, “My merry men all,
I’ll instant haste to save
This lady fair, and noble earl,
Or with them find a grave!”
The merry men all shouted aloud,
“We’ll wend with thee to fight,
And stoutly quell this cruel foe,
Or die with thee this night!”
He called on Sir Harbord Gray
To raise his friends with speed,
To help against the deadly foe,
In this sore time of need.
He then bespake Sir Reginald,
“Go fetch me arms and horse!
For we against this traitor strong
Must try our utmost force.”
Then they pushed on with gallop and trot,
O’er hill and glade and dale,
And followed the banks of silver Avon
As he winds thro’ the Vale.
They pricked by the Hilder Church spires
O’er Stanfield Moor and down,
And they scant had ridden three hours along,
When they were near the town.
They overtook a holy friar
A-counting of his beads,
Who turned back to see them pass,
When he heard their trampling steeds.
“Now Christ save thee!” Lord Edward said,
“Prithee tell to me,
What news thou hast of the bloody fray,
That has been so near to thee?”
“Now Mary save thee! the friar said,
Come into the convent gate.
For I am right glad that thou art here,
To bring these traitor’s fate.”
Then they gave bread and they gave wine,
To him and his merry men all,
And told him of the bloody fights
Beneath the castle wall.
“Sir Morcar came with foot and horse,
A numerous company,
Hoping to take the towers by storm,
And the noble Earl to slee.”
“The noble Earl beat them twice back,
Altho’ his men were few,
They are scattered along the river side,
The victory’s left for you!”
“I saw St Martin at the sun rise,
As I sung the matin song,
And he said he had a deliverer sent,
That was both fierce and strong!”
Then they rode quickly by the town,
And gently thro’ the wood,
To see how the foe lay in the plain,
And to make their onset good.
Lord Edward’s men were fresh and hale
And their leader a gallant knight.
Tho’ the foemen were many along the dale,
Their strength was broken in fight.
“Fall on! Fall on!” Lord Edward said,
“And St. Martin be our guide!”
Then he rode into the midst of the foe,
And they slew them on every side!
Some fought, some stood, while many fled,
And some in the river fell!
Some were ridden over among the dead
With dismal cry and yell!
Sir Morcar was on the other side
Bringing down fresh troops to the ford,
With horse and foot and banners flying,
Becoming a mighty lord!
“Now out alas!” Lord Edward cried
“What must we do at the pass,
For the force Sir Morcar brings down the bank
Is fifty to one of us!”
“I will go on, I’ll not go back!
Betide me weel or woe,
To deliver the Earl and the Lady fair!
So he gallop’d down to the foe.”
He heard Sir Harbord’s bugle blow,
It blew so loud and sweet!
Sir Reginald’s bugle echoed his horn,
And the sound of the horses’ feet!
Lord Edward cried aloud, “Sir Morcar!
I once did save your life,
And now for this good service done,
You’d tine me of my wife!”
Sir Morcar said, “I am not come here
Sure to be shrived by thee!
Begone, begone, thou unarmed man,
Or I’ll tine thy life and thee!”
Lord Edward gallop’d thro’ the brook
To aim a furious blow,
Sir Morcar stood with his iron mace
To lay Lord Edward low!
Sir Morcar’s horse was stricken in fight,
And faint with the loss of blood!
He fell with his rider under him,
And died in the crystal flood!
They took Sir Morcar out of the stream
And laid him upon a horse,
Then slowly they marched back to their homes
With furl’d banners and all their force.
Fair Ellinor stood on the castle walls
To welcome her valiant knight,
Whose gallant deeds and timely aid
Had finished the deadly fight.
Fair Ellin came down with her ladies in pall
To him at the castle gate.
Lord Edward went in with foot and horse
With pennon and banners in state!
Fair Ellinor’s mantle hid her blush,
As she passed to her father’s hall.
Where the good Earl sat, to welcome Lord Edward,
Both him, and his merry men all.
“Thou’s saved our castle, thou valiant knight,
Our honour, lives, and lands!
Thou hast saved us from that traitorous foe
And all his murderous bands!”
“Thou hast saved us all from foul disgrace
My daughter thou hast saved beside,
No gift so good, can I give unto thee
So take her to be thy bride!”