The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14485   Message #2154734
Posted By: Jim Dixon
22-Sep-07 - 12:08 AM
Thread Name: Lyr/Tune Add: Hurdyknute / Hardyknute
Subject: Lyr Add: HARDYKNUTE
Here are the lyrics from the oldest publication of this ballad that I could find with Google Book Search -- "Ancient Historic Ballads," Newcastle: Printed and sold by D. Akenhead, 1807.

See WorldCat for other copies of the book.


STATELY stept he east the way,
And stately stept he west,
Full seventy years he now had seen,
With scarce seven years of rest.
He lived, when Britain's breach of faith
Wrought Scotland mickle woe:
And aye his sword told to their cost
He was their deadly foe.

High on a hill his castle stood,
With halls and towers on height,
And goodly chambers fair to see,
Where he lodged many a knight.
His dame, so peerless once and fair,
For chaste and beauty deemed,
No marrow had in all the land,
Save Eleanor the queen.

Full thirteen sons to him she bore,
All men of valour stout;
In bloody fight with sword in hand
Nine lost their lives but doubt;
Four yet remain, long may they live
To stand by liege and land:
High was their fame, high was their might,
And high was their command.

Great love they bore to Fairly fair,
Their sister soft and dear,
Her girdle shewed her middle gimp,
And golden glist her hair.
What woeful woe her beauty bred!
Woeful to young and old,
Woeful I trow to kyth and kin,
As story ever told.

The king of Norse in summer tide,
Puffed up with power and might,
Landed in fair Scotland the isle,
With many a hardy knight.
The tidings to our good Scots king
Came, as he sat to dine,
With noble chiefs in brave array,
Drinking the blood-red wine.

"To horse, to horse, my royal liege,
Your foes stand on the strand,
Full twenty-thousand glittering spears
The king of Norse commands,"
"Bring me my steed, Mage, dapple gray,"
Our good king rose and cried,
A trustier beast in all the land
A Scots king never seyd.

Go, little page, tell Hardyknute,
Who lives on hill so high,
To draw his sword, the dread of foes,
And haste and follow me.
The little page flew swift as dart
Flung by his master's arm,
"Come down, come down, lord Hardyknute
And rid your king from harm."

Then red red grew his dark brown cheeks,
So did his dark brown brow;
His looks were keen, as they were wont
In dangers great to do.
He's ta'en a horn as green as glass,
And given five sounds so shrill,
That trees in greenwood shook thereat,
So loud rang ilka hill.

His sons, in manly sport and glee,
Had past their summer's morn,
When loud down in a grassy dale,
They heard their father's horn.
That horn, quoth they, ne'er sounds in peace,
We have some sport to bide,
And soon they hied them up the hill,
And soon were at his side.

"Late late yestrene I weened in peace
To end my lengthen'd life,
My age might well excuse my arm
From manly feats of strife;
But now that Norse does proudly boast
Fair Scotland to enthrall,
Its ne'er be said of Hardyknute
He feared to fight or fall.

Robin of Rothsay, bend thy bow,
Thy arrows shoot so leil,
Many a comely countenance
They've turned to deadly pale.
Broad Thomas, take you but your lance,
You need no weapons mair,
If you fight wi't as you fought once
'Gainst Westmorland's fierce heir.

"Malcolm, light of foot as stag,
That runs in forest wild,
Get me my thousands three of men
Well bred to sword and shield:
Bring me my horse and harnessing,
My blade of metal clear.
If foes had kenned the hand it bore,
They soon had fled for fear.

"Farewell my dame, so peerless good,"
(And took her by the hand,)
"Fairer to me in age you seem,
Than maids for beauty famed:
My youngest son shall here remain
To guard these stately towers,
And shut the silver bolt that keeps
So fast your painted bowers."

And first she wet her comely cheeks,
And then her bodice green,
Her silken cords of twirled twist,
Well plat with silver sheen;
And apron set with many a dice
Of needle work so rare,
Wove by no hand, as you may guess,
Save that of Fairly fair.

And he has ridden o'er moor and moss,
O'er hills, and many a glen,
When he came to a wounded knight,
Making a heavy moan:
"Here must I lie, here must I die,
By treachery's false guiles;
Witless I was that e'er gave faith
To wicked woman's smiles."

"Sir knight, if you were in my bower,
To lean on silken seat,
My lady's kindly care you'd prove,
Who ne'er kenned deadly hate;
Herself would watch you all the day,
Her maids in dead of night;
And Fairly fair your heart would cheer,
As she stands in your sight.

"Arise young knight, and mount your steed,
Full lowns the shining day:
Choose from my menzie whom you please
To lead you on the way."
With smileless look, and visage wan,
The wounded knight replied,
"Kind chieftain, your intent pursue,
For here I must abide.

To me no after day nor night,
Can e'er be sweet or fair,
But soon, beneath some dropping tree,
Cold death shall end my care."
With him no pleading might prevail;
Brave Hardyknute to gain,
With fairest words and reasons strong,
Strove courteously in vain.

Syne he has gone far hind attowre
Lord Chattan's land so wide;
That Lord a worthy wight was aye,
When foes his courage seyed:
Of Pictish race by mother's side,
When Picts ruled Caledon,
Lord Chattan claimed the princely maid,
When he saved Pictish crown.

Now with his fierce and stalwart train,
He reached a rising height,
Where broad encamped on the dale,
Norse' menzie lay in sight.
"Yonder my valiant sons and fierce,
Our raging rovers wait,
On the unconquered Scottish sword
To try with us their fate.

Make orisons to him that saved
Our souls upon the rood;
Syne bravely show your veins are filled
With Caledonian blood."
Then forth he drew his trusty glaive,
While thousands all around
Drawn from their sheaths glanc'd in the sun,
And loud the bugle sound.

To join his king adown the hill
In haste his march he made,
While, playing pibrochs, minstrels meet
Afore him stately srode.
"Thrice welcome, valiant stoup of war,
Thy nation's shield and pride;
Thy king no reason has to fear
When thou art by his side."

When bows were bent and darts were thrown,
For throng scarce could they fly,
The darts clove arrows as they met,
The arrows dart the trie.
Long did they rage and fight full fierce,
With little skaith to man,
But bloody, bloody was the field,
Or that long day was done.

The king of Scots, that seldom bruiked
The war that looked like play,
Drew his broad sword, and broke his bow,
Since bows seemed but delay.
Quoth noble Rothsay, "Mine I'll keep
I wot it's bled a score."
Haste up my merry men, cried the king,
As he rode on before.

The king of Norse he sought to find,
With him to mense the fight,
But on his forehead there did light,
A sharp, unsonsy shaft;
As he his hand put up to find
The wound, an arrow keen,
O woeful chance! there pinned his hand
In midst between his ene.

"Revenge, revenge, cried Rothsay's heir,
Your mail-coat shall nought bide
The strength and sharpness of my dart:"
Then sent it through his side.
Another arrow well he marked,
It pierced his neck in twa,
His hands then quit the silver reins,
He low as earth did fa'.

"Sore bleeds my liege, sore, sore, he bleeds!"
Again, with might, he drew,
And gesture dread, his sturdy bow,
Fast the broad arrow flew:
Woe to the knight he ettled at,
Lament now queen Elgreid,
Hie dames to wail your darling's fall,
His youth and comely meid.

"Take off, take off his costly jupe
(Of gold well was it twined,
Knit like the fowler's net through which
His steely harness shined)
Take, Norse, that gift from me, and bid
Him 'venge the blood it bears;
Say, if he face my bended bow,
He sure no weapon fears."

Proud Norse, with giant body tall,
Broad shoulder and arm strong,
Cried "Where is Hardyknute so famed,
And feared at Britain's throne.
Tho' Britons tremble at his name,
I soon shall make him wail,
That e'er my sword was made so sharp,
So soft his coat of mail."

That brag his stout heart could not bide,
It lent him youthful might:
"I'm Hardyknute, this day," he cried,
"To Scotland's king I hecht,
"To lay thee low, as horse's hoof,
My word I mean to keep."
Syne with the first stroke e'er he struck,
He garred his body bleed.

Norse eyes, like grey goshawk's stared wild,
He sighed with shame and spite;
"Disgraced is now my far-famed arm,
That left thee power to strike:"
Then gave his head a blow so fell,
It made him down to stoop,
As low as he to ladies used
In courtly guise to lout.

Full soon he raised his bent body,
His blow he marvelled sair,
Since blows till then on him but darrd
As touch of Fairly fair:
Norse ferliet too as sore as he,
To see his stately look,
So soon as e'er he struck a foe,
So soon his life he took.

Where, like a fire to hether set,
Bold Thomas did advance,
A sturdy foe, with look enraged,
Up towards him did prance;
He spurred his steed through thickest ranks,
The hardy youth to quell,
Who stood unmoved at his approach,
His fury to repel.

"That short brown shaft so meanly trimmed,
Looks like poor Scotland's gear,
But dreadful seems the rusty point!"
And loud he laughed in jeer.
"Oft Briton's blood has dimmed its shine;
This point cut short their vaunt:"
Syne pierced the boist'rous, bearded cheek,
No time he took to taunt.

Short while he in his saddle swung,
Hi< stirrup was no stay,
So feeble hung his unbent knee
Sure token he was fey:
Swith one the hardened clay he fell,
Right far was heard the thud;
But Thomas looked not as he lay
All weltering in his blood.

With careless gesture, mind unmoved,
On rode he north the plain:
His seim in throng of fiercest strife,
When winner aye the same;
Not yet his heart dames dimpled cheek,
Could meise soft love to brook,
Till vengeful Anne returned his scorn,
Then languid grew his look.

In throes of death, with wallowit cheek,
All panting on the plain,
The fainting corpse of warriors lay,
Ne'er to arise again;
Ne'er to return to native land,
No more with blithsome sounds
To boast the glories of the day,
And shew their shining wounds.

On Norway's coast the widow'd dame
May wash the rocks with tears,
May long look o'er the shipless seas
Before her mate appears.
Cease, Emma, cease to hope in vain;
Thy lord lies in the clay;
The valiant Scots no revers thole
To carry life away.

There on a lie, where stands a cross
Set up for monument,
Thousands full fierce that summer's day
Filled keen wars black intent.
Let Scots, while Scots, praise Hardyknute,
Let Norse, the name aye dread,
Aye how he fought, oft how he spaired,
Shall latest ages read.

Loud and chill blew the westlin wind,
Sore beat the heavy shower,
Mirk grew the night ere Hardyknute
Wan neir his stately tower.
His tower that used with torches blaze,
To shine so far at night,
Seemed now as black as mourning weed,
No marvel sore he sigh'd.

"There's no light in my lady's bower,
There's no light in my hall;
No blink shines round my Fairley fair,
Nor ward stands on my wall.
What bodes it? Robert, Thomas, say!"
No answer fits their dread.
"Stand back, my sons, I'll be your guide."
But by they passed with speed.

As fast I have sped o'er Scotland's foes
There ceased his brag of war
Sore shamed to mind ought but his dame,
And maiden Fairley fair.
Black fear he felt, but what to fear
He wist not yet with dread;
Sore shook his body, sore his limbs
And all the warrior fled.