Auld Maitland

There lived a king in southern land,
King Edward hight his name;
Unwordily he wore the crown,
Till fifty years were gane.

He had a sister's son o's ain,
Was large of blood and bane;
And afterward, when he came up,
Young Edward hight his name.

One day he came before the king,
And kneel'd low on his knee:
'A boon, a boon, my good uncle,
I crave to ask of thee!

'At our lang wars, in fair Scotland,
I fain ha'e wish'd to be,
If fifteen hundred waled wight men
You'll grant to ride with me.'

'Thou shall ha'e thae, thou shall ha'e mae;
I say it sickerlie;
And I myself, an auld gray man,
Array'd your host shall see.'

King Edward rade, King Edward ran--
I wish him dool and pyne!
Till he had fifteen hundred men
Assembled on the Tyne.

And thrice as many at Berwicke
Were all for battle bound,
[Who, marching forth with false Dunbar,
A ready welcome found.]

They lighted on the banks of Tweed,
And blew their coals sae het,
And fired the Merse and Teviotdale,
All in an evening late.

As they fared up o'er Lammermoor,
They burn'd baith up and down,
Until they came to a darksome house,
Some call it Leader-Town.

'Wha hauds this house?' young Edward cried,
'Or wha gi'est o'er to me?'
A gray-hair'd knight set up his head,
And crackit right crousely:

'Of Scotland's king I haud my house;
He pays me meat and fee;
And I will keep my gude auld house,
While my house will keep me.'

They laid their sowies to the wall,
With mony a heavy peal;
But he threw o'er to them agen
Baith pitch and tar barrel.

With springalds, stanes, and gads of airn,
Amang them fast he threw;
Till mony of the Englishmen
About the wall he slew.

Full fifteen days that braid host lay,
Sieging Auld Maitland keen;
Syne they ha'e left him, hail and feir,
Within his strength of stane.

Then fifteen barks, all gaily good,
Met them upon a day,
Which they did lade with as much spoil
As they you'd bear away.

'England's our ain by heritage;
And what can us withstand,
Now we ha'e conquer'd fair Scotland,
With buckler, bow, and brand?'

Then they are on to the land of France,
Where auld king Edward lay,
Burning baith castle, tower, and town,
That he met in his way.

Until he came unto that town,
Which some call Billop-Grace:
There were Auld Maitland's sons, all three,
Learning at school, alas!

The eldest to the youngest said,
'Oh, see ye what I see?
If all be true yon standard says,
We're fatherless all three.

'For Scotland's conquer'd up and down;
Landmen we'll never be!
Now, will you go, my brethren two,
And try some jeopardy?'

Then they ha'e saddled twa black horse,
Twa black horse and a gray;
And they are on to king Edward's host,
Before the dawn of day.

When they arrived before the host,
They hover'd on the lay:
'Wilt thou lend me our king's standard,
To bear a little way?'

'Where wast thou bred? where wast thou born?
Where, or in what countrie?'
'In north of England I was born;'
(It needed him to lee.)

'A knight me gat, a ladye bore,
I am a squire of high renown;
I well may bear't to any king
That ever yet wore crown.'

'He ne'er came of an Englishman,
Had sic an e'e or bree;
But thou art the likest Auld Maitland,
That ever I did see.

'But sic a gloom on ae browhead,
Grant I ne'er see again!
For mony of our men he slew,
And mony put to pain.'

When Maitland heard his father's name,
An angry man was he;
Then, lifting up a gilt dagger,
Hung low down by his knee,

He stabb'd the knight the standard bore,
He stabb'd him cruellie;
Then caught the standard by the neuk,
And fast away rode he.

'Now, is't na time, brothers,' he cried,
'Now, is't na time to flee?'
'Ay, by my sooth!' they baith replied,
'We'll bear you companye.'

The youngest turn'd him in a path,
And drew a burnish'd brand,
And fifteen of the foremost slew,
Till back the lave did stand.

He spurr'd the gray into the path,
Till baith his sides they bled:
'Gray! thou maun carry me away,
Or my life lies in wad!'

The captain lookit o'er the wall,
About the break of day;
There he beheld the three Scots lads
Pursued along the way.

'Pull up portcullize! down draw-brig!
My nephews are at hand;
And they shall lodge with me to-night,
In spite of all England.'

Whene'er they came within the
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Andrew Lang

Andrew Richard Lang FRS CBE was a British scientist and crystallographer. more…

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"Auld Maitland" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/2748/auld-maitland>.

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