HARDYKNUTE.

A FRAGMENT.

I.

Stately stept he east the wa,
And stately stept he west,
Full seventy zeirs he now had sene,
With skerss sevin zeirs of rest.
He livit quhen Britons breach of faith
Wroucht Scotland meikle wae.
And ay his sword told to their cost,
He was their deidly fae.

II.

Hie on a hill his castle stude,
With halls and touris a hicht,
And guidly chambers fair to se,
Quair he lodgit mony a knicht.
His Dame sa peirless anes and fair,
For chast and bewtie deimt,
Nae marrow had in all the land,
Saif elenor the queen.

III.

Full thirtein sons to him scho bare,
All men of valour stout;
In bluidy ficht with sword in hand,
Nyne lost their lives bot doubt;
Four zit remain, lang may they live
To stand my liege and land:
Hie was their fame, hie was their micht,
And hie was their command.

IV.

Great luve they bare to fairly fair,
Their sister saft and deir,
Her girdle shawd her middle gimp;
And gowden glist her hair.
Quhat waefou wae hir bewtie bred?
Waefou to zung and auld,
Waefou I trow to kyth and kin,
As story ever tauld.

V.

The king of Norse in summer tyde,
Puft up with power and micht,
Landed in fair Scotland the yle,
With mony a hardy knicht:
The tydings to our gude Scots king
Came, as he sat at dyne,
With noble chiefs in braif aray,
Drinking the blude-reid wyne.

VI.

"To horse, to horse, my ryal liege,
"Zour faes stand on the strand,
"Full twenty thousand glittering spears
"The king of Norse commands.
Bring me my steed Mage dapple grey,
Our gude king raise and cryd,
A trustier beast in all the land
A Scots king nevir seyd.

VII.

Go little page, tell hardyknute,
That lives on hill so hie,
To draw his sword, the dreid of faes,
And haste and follow me.
The little page flew swift as dart
Flung by his master's arm,
Cum down, cum down lord hardyknute,
And rid zour king frae harm.

VIII.

Then reid, reid grow his dark-brown cheiks,
Sae did his dark-brown brow;
His luiks grew kene, as they were wont,
In dangers great to do;
He hes tane a horn as grene as glass,
And gien five sounds sae shrill,
That treis in grene wode schuke thereat,
Sae loud rang ilka hill.

IX.

His sons in manly sport and glie,
Had pass'd the summer's morn,
Quhen lo! down in a grassy dale,
They heard their fatheris horn.
That horn, quod they, neir sounds in peace,
We haif other sport to byde;
And sune they heyd them up the hill,
And sune were at his syde.

X.

Late, late the zestrene I weind in peace
To end my lengthen'd lyfe,
My age micht weil excuse my arm
Frae manly feats of stryfe;
But now that norse dois proudly boast
Fair Scotland to inthrall,
Its neir be said of hardyknute
He feard to ficht or fall.

XI.

Robin of Rothsay, bend thy bow,
Thy arrows shoute sae leil,
Many a comely countenance
They haif turnd to deidly pale:
Brade thomas tak ze but zour lance,
Ze need nae weapons mair,
Gif ze ficht weit as ze did anes
Gainst Westmorland's serfs heir.

XII.

Malcom, licht of fute as stag
That runs in forest wyld,
Get me my thousands thrie of men
Well bred to sword and schield:
Bring me my horse and harnisine
My blade of metal cleir;
If faes kend but the hand it bare,
They sune had fled for feir.

XIII.

Farewell my dame sae peirless gude,
And take her by the hand,
Fairer to me in age zou seim,
Than maids for bewtie fam'd:
My zoungest son sall here remain
To guard these stately towirs,
And shut the silver bolt that keips
Sae fast zour painted bowirs.

XIV.

And first scho wet her comely cheiks,
And then hir boddice grene,
Hir silken cords of twirtle twist,
Weil plett with silver schene;
And apron set with mony a dice
Of neidle-wark sae rare,
Wove by nae hand, as ze may guess,
Saif that of fairly fair.

XV.

And he has ridden owre muir and moss,
Owre hills and mony a glen,
Quhen he came to a wounded knicht,
Making a heavy mane;
Here maun I lye, here maun I die,
By treacheries false gyles;
Witless I was that eir gaif faith
To wicked womans smiles.

XVI.

Sir knicht, gin ze were in my bowir,
To lean on silken seat,
To ladyis kindly care zoud prove,
Quha neir stend deidly hate;
Hir self wald watch ze all the day,
Hir maids a deid of nicht;
And fairly fair zour heart wald cheir,
As scho stands in zour sicht.

XVII.

Aryse zoung knicht, and mount zour steid,
Full lowns the shynand day,
Cheis frae my menzie quhom ze pleis,
To leid ze on the way.
With smyless luke, and visage wan,
The wounded knicht reply'd,
Kynd chiftain, zour intent pursue,
For here I maun abyde.

XVIII.

To me nae after day nor nicht,
Can eir be sweit or fair,
But sune beneath sum draping tree,
Cauld death sall end my care.
With him nae pleiding micht prevail,
Brave hardyknute in to gain,
With fairest words and reason strong,
Strave courteously in vain.

XIX.

Syne he has gane far hynd attowre,
Lord chattans land sae wyde,
That lord a worthy wicht was ay,
Quhen faes his courage seyd:
Of Pictish race by mothers syde,
Quhen Picts ruld Caledon,
Lord chattan claimd the princely maid,
Quhen he saift Pictish crown.

XX.

Now with his serfs and stalwart train,
He reicht a rysing heicht,
Quhair braid encampit on the dale,
Norss menzie lay in sicht;
Zonder my valiant sons and serfs,
Our raging revers wait,
On the unconquerit Scottish swaird,
To try with us thair fate.

XXI.

Mak orisons to him that saift
Our sauls upon the rude,
Syne braifly schaw zour veins ar filld
With Caledonian blude.
Then furth he drew his trusty glaive,
Quhyle thousands all arround,
Drawn frae their sheaths glanst in the sun,
And loud the bougills sound.

XXII.

To join his king adoun the hill
In hast his merch he made,
Quhyle, playand pibrochs, minstralls meit
Afore him stately strade;
Thryse welcome, valziant stoup of weir,
Thy nations scheild and pryde;
Thy king nae reason has to feir
Quhen thou art by his syde.

XXIII.

Quhen bows were bent and darts were thrawn,
For thrang scarce could they flie,
The darts clove arrows as they met,
The arrows dart the trie.
Lang did they rage and ficht full ferss,
With little skaith to man,
But bludy, bludy was the field,
Or that lang day was done.

XXIV.

The king of Scots that findle bruik'd
The war that luikd like play,
Drew his braid sword, and brake his bow,
Sen bows seimt but delay:
Quoth noble rothsay, myne I'll keip,
I wate its bleid a skore.
Hast up my merry men, cryd the king,
As he rade on before.

XXV.

The king of Norse he socht to find,
With him to mense the faucht,
But on his forehead there did licht
A sharp unsonsie shaft;
As he his hand put up to find
The wound, an arrow kene,
O waefou chance! there pinnd his hand
In midst betwene his ene.

XXVI.

Revenge, revenge, cryd rothsays heir,
Your mail-coat sall nocht byde
The strength and sharpness of my dart;
Then sent it through his syde:
Another arrow weil he markd,
It persit his neck in twa,
His hands then quat the silver reins,
His law as eard did fa.

XXVII.

Sair bleids my liege, sair, sair he bleids.
Again with micht he drew
And gesture dreid his sturdy bow,
Fast the braid arrow flew:
Wae to the knicht he ettled at,
Lament now quene elgreid,
Hie dames to wail zour darlings fall,
His zouth and comely meid.

XXVIII.

Take aff, take aff his costly jupe
(Of gold weil was it twynd,
Knit lyke the fowlers net throuch quhilk
His steilly harness shynd)
Take norse, that gift frae me, and bid
Him venge the blude it beirs;
Say, if he face my bended bow,
He sure nae weapon fears.

XXIX.

Proud norse with giant body tall,
Braid shoulder and arms strong,
Cryd, quhair is hardyknute sae famd,
And feird at Britains throne?
Tho Britons tremble at his name,
I sune sall make him wail,
That eir my sword was made sae sharp,
Sae saft his coat of mail.

XXX.

That brag his stout heart coud na byde.
It lent him zouthfou micht:
I'm hardyknute this day, he cryd,
To Scotlands king I hecht,
To lay thee low at horses hufe,
My word I mean to keip.
Syne with the first strake eir he strake,
He garrd his body bleid.

XXXI.

Norse ene like gray gosehawks staird wyld,
He sicht with shame and spyte;
Disgracd is now my far-famd arm
That left thee power to stryke:
Then gaif his head a blaw sae fell,
It made him doun to stoup,
As law as he to ladies usit,
In courtly gyse to lout.

XXXII.

Full sune he reis'd his bent body,
His bow he marvelld sair,
Sen blaws till then on him but darrd
As touch of fairly fair:
Norse ferliet too as sair as he
To se his stately luke,
Sae sune as eir he strake a fae,
Sae sune his lyfe he tuke.

XXXIII.

Quair lyke a fyre to hether set,
Bauld thomas did advance,
A sturdy fae with luke enragd
Up towards him did prance;
He spurd his steid throw thickest ranks
The hardy zouth to quell
Quha stude unmusit at his approach
His furie to repel.

XXXIV.

That schort brown shaft sae meanly trimd,
Lukis lyke poor Scotlands geir,
But dreidfull seims the rusty point!
And loud he leuch in jeir.
Aft Britains blude has dimd its shyne
This poynt cut short their vaunt;
Syne piercd the boisteris bairded cheik,
Nae tyme he tuke to taunt.

XXXV.

Schort quhyle he in his sadill swang,
His stirrip was nae stay,
Sae feible hang his unbent knee,
Sure taken he was fey:
Swith on the hardened clay he fell,
Richt far was heard the thud,
But thomas luikt not as he lay,
All waltering in his blude.

XXXVI.

With cairles gesture mynd ummuvit
On raid he north the plain,
His seim in thrang of fiercest stryfe,
Quhen winner ay the same;
Nor zit his heart dames dimpelit cheik,
Coud meise saft luve to bruik,
Till vengeful ann returnd his scorn,
Then languid grew his luke.

XXXVII.

In thrawis of death, with wallowit cheik
All panting on the plain,
The fainting corps of warriors lay,
Neir to aryse again;
Neir to return to native land,
Nae mair with blythsome sounds,
To boist the glories of the day,
And schaw their shyning wounds.

XXXXVIII.

On Norways coast the widowit dame
May wash the rock with teirs,
May lang luke owre the schiples seis
Befoir hir mate appeirs.
Ceise, emma, ceise to hope in vain,
Thy lord lyis in the clay,
The valziant Scots nae revers thole
To carry lyfe away.

XXXIX.

There on a lie quhair stands a cross
Set up for monument,
Thousands full fierce that summers day
Filld kene waris black intent.
Let Scots quhyle Scots, praise hardyknute
Let norse the name ay dreid,
Ay how he faucht, aft how he spaird,
Sal latest ages reid.

XL.

Loud and chill blew the westlin wind,
Sair beat the heavy showir,
Mirk grew the nicht, eir hardyknute
Wan neir his stately towir;
His towir that usd with torches bleise
To shyne sae far at nicht,
Seimd now as black as mourning weid,
Nae marvel sair he sichd.

XLI.

Thairs nae licht in my lady's bowir,
Thairs nae licht in my hall;
Nae blink shynes round my fairly fair,
Nor ward stands on my wall.
Quhat bodes it? robert, thomas say,
Nae answer fits their dreid.
Stand back, my sons, I'll be zour gyde,
But by they past with speid.

XLII.

As fast I haif sped owre Scotlands faes,
There ceist his brag of weir,
Sair schamit to mynd ocht but his dame,
And maiden fairly fair.
Black feir he felt, but quhat to feir
He wist not zit with dreid;
Sair schuke his body, sair his limbs,
And all the warrior fleid.