Historical Children's Literature Collection

The history of the Black Douglas, with an account of the battle of Otterburn [between 1840 and 1857?]

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" Hosts have been known at that dread sound to yield,
And, Douglas dead, his name has won the field."
In the annals of Scotland, no name has been more
celebrated for valour and enterprise than that of
Douglas. They themselves boast that their line
is so ancient, that no person can point out the first
man that originally elevated the family.' " You
may see us in the tree," they say, " you cannot
discover us in the twig; you may see us in the
stream, you cannot trace us to the fountain."
Historians however relate, that the family took
its rise during the reign of one of the ancient kings
of Scotland, and, at a time when the country was
invaded by Donald Bain, Lord of the Western
Isles. In a great battle with this powerful chieftain, the Scots were on the point of giving way,
when a man of tall stature and noble aspect made
his appearance, accompanied with his two sons.
They boldly confronted the victorious enemy, and
by words and example so encouraged those that
fled, that the Scots took heart, and after a desperate struggle, Donald Bain was defeated and himself slain. After this unexpected victory, inquiry
was made for the man who had performed this
noble deed, when he was pointed out to the king
as Sholio dhu glasse, which, in the Celtic tongue,
means, z See yonder dark grey man/'
Sir James Douglas,  commonly called the
Good Lord. James, was born about the year 1278,
and was the son of William the Hardy, or Long
Leg, one of the associates of Sir William Wallace
in the struggle made by that hero against the encroachments of Edward the First.    After many
changes of fortune, he was at last made prisoner,
and carried into  England, accompanied  by his
son.    He died in prison, and when his son James
Douglas returned to Scotland, he found the castle
of Douglas, and all his father's lands, in the possession of the  English Lord Clifford, on whom
they had been bestowed by Edward as the reward of his services against the Scots.
Destitute of money and friends, and filled with
grief at the misfortunes of his country, he sought
refuge with the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, his
mother's brother. The old Prelate received him
kindly, and promised to apply to Edward in his
King Edward had by this time made himself
master of the greater part of the strong places in
Scotland, and was then at Stirling. Thither went
the good Archbishop, carrying the young Douglas
along with him, whom he introduced to Edward
as a youth of great promise, humbly entreating
the king to take him under his protection, and reinstate him in his father's lands.
But no sooner did Edward learn who he was,
than he reproached him with his father's rebellion;
and, in great wrath, turning to the Archbishop, ex
claimed, " I have no service for such a traitor's son,
and have g*>en his lands to a better man than him/?
This stern denial of justice to his relation was a
severe disappointment to the Archbishop, but it
only roused the spirit of the young Douglas: J
he resolved from that moment to devote his life
(after the glorious example of his father,) to the j
salvation of his, country; and returned to St. Andrew's, there to await patiently for better times.        i
Nor had he to wait long, for news soon reached
him that the heroic Bruce had preferred his claim
to the crown of Scotland, and had erected his
standard in his native Annandale.
He, like the Douglas, had craved the friendship of the English King. But when he put him
in mind of a promise to assist him, as nearest and
lawful heir to the crown of Scotland, the crafty
old King, who no doubt entertained views of taking the crown to himself, angrily replied, " What!
have we nothing else to do but to conquer kingdoms for you!"
Among the first who joined the Bruce, was
young Douglas, accompanied with a gallant retinue of followers, the expense of their equipment
being secretly defrayed by the Archbishop of St.
Andrew's. It may easily be imagined how welcome his presence would be to Bruce; for, independent of his high birth and hearty good-will to
the cause, he was a voting man of uncommon \
promise. His education had not been neglected,
and to a mind well stored, was added a body of
unusual strength and vigour. He is represented
as being very tall, broad between the shoulders,
and limbs well formed, with swarthy complexion
and dark hair, by which he received the appella*
lion of the Black Douglas.   He was also said to
t>e modest and gentle in times of peace, but had a
very different countenance in the day of battle.
The efforts of Bruce with his few adherents
were for some time unsuccessful; and he himself,
with his Queen and her ladies, and a.few others,
were obliged to take refuge among the Highland
Chased from one place to another, they were
often in great danger, and reduced to great straits
from the want of victuals. Young Douglas, it was
remarked, was the most active in procuring supplies, from his great dexterity in hunting and fishing. King Robert at last succeeded in procuring
a place of refuge for his Queen, and afterwards,
with Lord Douglas and some other followers,
determined to seek refuge in the Western Isles.
Leaving, therefore, their place of retreat, a cave
on the banks of Loch Lomond, now known by the
name of Rob Roy's cave, they crossed the lake of
that name in a crazy boat, which was rowed by
Douglas, whose activity and resources surmounted
every difficulty
Having reached the Western Isles in safety,
they remained there for the winter. In the folio-wing spring, nothing daunted by their ill success, young Douglas, with a small body of men,
made a descent upon the island of Arran, and took
the castle by stratagem. King Robert followed
with all the men he could muster; and while he
wandered through the island in search of his
friends, repeatedly blew his horn. When Sir
James Douglas heard Bruce's horn, he knew the
sound well, and cried out that yonder was the
king, for he knew his manner of blowing. They
met soon after, to the great joy of all.
Bruce, who was now in view of his own country
of Carrick, immediately began to form plans with
Douglas how they might best renew their enterprises against the English. While Bruce opened
a communication with the opposite coast of Carrick, Douglas resolved to go disguised to his own
country, to raise his friends, and be revenged on
Lord Clifford, on whom Edward had conferred
the Douglas estates, and who had taken up his
residence in the Castle of Douglas.
Widi this purpose he secretly sought the house
of Thomas Dickson, an old and faithful servant of
his father. Emaciated with hunger and toil, and
clothed in the meanest apparel, Dickson did not
recognise the son of his Lord; but no sooner was
he made sensible that the heir of the house of
Douglas stood before him, than, bursting into
tears, he bewailed the downfall of his master's
house. But grief was turned into joy, when made
acquainted with the successes of Bruce, and the
hope of again seeing his master's house rise from
its ashes.
I A scheme was soon laid for attacking Douglas
Castle; and the old and tried retainers of Douglas
were brought to the house of Dickson, one by one,
for fear of discovery. \
A holiday was approaching, called Palm Sunday. Upon this day it was common in Roman
Catholic times, for the people to go to church in
procession, with green boughs in their hands.    In
this manner the garrison of the Castle marched to
church. The solemn service of the day proceeded
at first without interruption, but before being quite
finished, a loud flourish of trumpets rung through
the church, accompanied with loud cries of " A
Douglas ! A Douglas !" being the Douglas slogan
or war-cry, and which was the signal agreed upon by the Scots.
The English seized their arms, and endeavoured
to rush out of the church; but they were met by
Thomas Dickson, and one or two more, who rushed upon them sword in hand. The signal, however, having been made too soon, Dickson was
overpowered and slain before assistance could
reach him. Douglas and his men now came up,
and furious at finding his faithful adherent slain,
he performed such deeds of valour, that the English were slaughtered around him in heaps, and
the remainder made prisoners. Douglas next assailed the castle, but instead of meeting with resistance, he found the gates open, and that part of
the garrison which was left at home, busied in
cooking provisions for those who were at church:
so he and his followers entered and sat down to
the dinner prepared for their enemies.
But Sir James Douglas, who was no less prudent than valiant, soon perceived, that although
he had now got possession of his own castle, yet
the English were strong in the country, and it
would be impossible with his limited numbers to
keep it. He therefore resolved to destroy all the
provisions which the English had stored up in the
Castle, and render the place unavailing to them.
For this purpose, ne caused all the barrels containing flour, meal, wheat, and malt, to be knocked in pieces, and their contents mixed on the floor;
then he staved the great hogsheads of wine, and
mixed the liquor with the stores; he afterwards
had all the bullocks procured for slaughter knocked on the head, and their carcases thrown into the
mass. Last of all, he killed his prisoners, and
flung the dead bodies among this disgusting heap,
throwing salt over the whole. This his men called in derision of the English, the Douglas Larder. Then he flung dead horses into the well to
destroy it; set fire to the castle; and afterwards
marching away, took refuge with his followers in
the hills and forests. " He loved better," he said,
" to hear the lark sing than the mouse squeak;"
that is, he loved better to keep in the open field
with his men, than to shut himself and them up
in castles.
This was considered a very cruel deed even in
that barbarous age; but the imprisonment and
death of his father, the indignities heaped upon
himself by Edward, with the death of his valiant
and trusty servant Thomas Dickson, must plead
some excuse for this cruel action.
When Clifford, the English Lord, heard what
had happened, he came to Douglas Castle with a
great body of men, and rebuilt all the defences
which Sir James Douglas had destroyed, and put
a good soldier, named Thirlwall, to command the
garrison, and desired him to be on his guard, for
he suspected that Lord Douglas would again attack him.    He had reason for this suspicion, for
Douglas was resolved to destroy this garrison as
he had done the former.
To accomplish this, he had recourse to stratagem. He stationed a. part of his followers ir
ambush in a wood, and sent fourteen men disguised like countrymen, driving cattle past the gates.
No sooner was this observed from the battlements,
than Thirl wall came out with a great part of the
garrison, toplunder the Sects drovers of their cattle.
iu the pursuit, he had just passed the place where
Douglas was lying concealed, when all of a sudden
the Scotsmen threw off their carrier's cloaks, and
appearing in armour, cried the war-cry of Douglas,
and attacked the garrison fiercely; and before
Thirlwall could make any defence, he heard the
same war-cry behind him ; and to his astonishment
saw the Douglas coming up with those Scots who
had' been lying in ambush. Thirlwall himself was
killed by the hand of Douglas, fighting bravely,
and only a few of his men found their way back
to the castle.
When Lord James had thus slain two of the
English governors of his castle, and was known to
have made a vow that he would be revenged on
any who should dare to take possession of his
fathers house, men became afraid, and the Castle
became known, through botn Scotland and England, by the name of Castle Dangerous.
To keep this castle, therefore, was considered
so perilous, that a lad}' of great beauty andfortune
in England, being asked in marriage by a number
of young noblemen, declared her resolution
not to marry any one but him who could defend
Castle Dangerous against the Scots for a year and
a day. A gallant young knight, named Sir John
Wilton, stepped forward, and said, for the love of
that Lady, he would engage to keep Castle Dangerous for a year and a day, if the king would give
him leave.    This the king was very glad to do.
This gallant nobleman kept thecastle very safely
for some time; but in the end he had no better
fortune than his predecessors, for Douglas, by a
stratagem, induced him to venture out with a great
part of his garrison, and set upon them in the midst
of a wood, and slew them. Sir J ohn Wilton himself was killed, and a letter from the lady is said
to have been found in his pocket. Sir James,
Douglas deeply regretted the fate of this brave
young man, and did not put to death any of the
prisoners as he had formerly done,but sent them all
in safety to the next English garrison.
The next exploit of Sir James Douglas was the
taking of Roxburgh Castle, situated near where two
fine rivers, the Tweed and the Teviot, join to each
other. It was a very strong place, and being within a few miles of the English border, the English
were extremely desirous of maintaining it, and
equally so the Scots of gaining possession of it.
It was upon the night of what is called Shrovetide, a Roman Catholic holiday, and which was
solemnized with much gaiety and feasting, that
the attempt was made Ly Douglas.
About the close of the evening, while the wife
of one of the English officers was sitting on the
battlements with a child in her arms, and looking
out on the fields below, she saw some objects, like
a herd of cattle, straggling near the foot of the
walls, and approaching the ditch or moat of the
castle. She pointed them out to the sentinel, and
asked him what they were.—" Pooh, pooh," said
the soldier, "it is Farmer such a man's cattle,"
(naming a man whose farm lay near to the castle;)
" the goodman is keeping a jolly Shrovetide, and
has forgot to shut up his bullocks in their yard;
but if the Douglas come across them before morning, he is likely to rue his negligence."
Now, these creeping objects which they saw
from the castle-wall, were no real cattle, but Douglas himself and his soldiers, who had put black
cloaks above their armour, and were creeping
about on hands and feet, in order, without being
observed, to get so near the foot of the wall as to
be able to set ladders to it. The poor woman,
who knew nothing of this, sat quietly on the wall,
and began to sing to her child,
s" Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye,
Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,
The Black Douglas shall not get ye*
" You are not so sure of that," said a voice
close beside her. She felt at the same time a
heavy hand, with an iron glove, laid on her shoulder, and when she looked round, she saw the very
Black Douglas she had been singing about, standing close beside her, a tall, swarthy, strong man.
At the same time another Scotsman was seen
ascending up to the walls, near to the sentinel.
The soldier gave the alarm, and rushed with his
lance at the Scotsman, whose name was Simon
Ledehouse ; but Simon parried the blow, and clos*
ing with the sentinel, struck him a deadly thrust
with his dagger. The rest of the Scots followed
up to assist Douglas and Ledehouse, and the castle
was taken. Many of the soldiers were put to
death, but Douglas protected the woman and the
Many brilliant actions of this nature were performed by Douglas, and the castles and strong
places in Scotland were recovered one after another.
Roused by the successes of the Scots, the English monarch determined to make a mighty effort
to crush for ever what he termed this rebellion of
the Scots. With this view he levied an immense
army, consisting, it is said, of not less than one
hundred thousand men.
King Robert, however, heard of this mighty
army without fear. His past successes had procured him soldiers, and he now found himself at
the head of 30,000 brave men. With these he
took post on the field of Bannockburn.
This army, indeed, in arms and equipment, was
not equal to the English, but Bruce was at their
head, one of the ablest generals of the time, and
under him were his brother Edward, his nephew
Sir Thomas Randolph, and The Douglas, leaders
under whom the Scots had always been accustomed to conquer. Sir Thomas Randolph and Lord
Douglas had acted together on many a well fought
field, and the strictest friendship existed betwixt
these two great men.
\t the Battle of Bannockburnj Douglas com-
manded the centre of the Scottish army, and Ran
dolph was placed on the left wing, with strict
orders to prevent succours from being thrown into
the castle of Stirling. Just before the battle
commenced, word was brought to King Robert
that a body of English had passed on the road for
Stirling. The king, exasperated at the negligence
of Sir Thomas Randolph, rode up to him in great
fury, exclaiming, " O, Randolph, a rose has fallen
from your chaplet!"
Stung with this reproach, Randolph called upon
hissoldiersto follow him,exclaiming, " My wreath
shall bloom, or I shall perish!"
As he advanced, the English, who were ten to
one, wheeled round to attack him, and pressed
hard on his little band. Douglas saw his jeopardy, and requested the king's permission to succour
him. " You shall not move from your ground,"
cried the king ; " let Randolph extricate himself
as he best may,—I will not alter my order of battle, and lose the advantage of my position."
" In truth," replied Douglas, " I cannot stand
by and see Randolph perish ; and, therefore, with
your leave, I must aid him."
The king unwillingly consented, and the brave
Douglas flew to the assistance of his friend.
While approaching, he perceived that Randolph,
by his persevering courage, had defeated the enemy. " Halt," cried Douglas, " these brave men
have repulsed the enemy, let m not diminish their
glory by seeming to share it."
Soon after, the terrible battle of Bannockburn
began and the exertions of Sir James Douglas
on that memorable day surpassed all his former
After the termination of the battle, and when
it was known that Edward had made his escape
from the field, Douglas collected about eighty
horse, and hung upon his flight as far as Dunbar,
fifty miles from the field of battle.
The battle of Bannockburn, so glorious to the
Scots, put an end to the pretensions of the English
King to the crown of Scotland. Instead of being-
able to send more armies into Scotland, England
was, in its turn, invaded by the Scots; and Bruce
sent his two great commanders, the Good Lord
James Douglas, and Thomas Randolph, Earl of
Murray, to lay waste the counties of Northumberland and Durham, and distress the English as
much as they could.
Their soldiers were about twenty thousand men
in number, all lightly armed, and mounted on
horses that were but small in height, but excessively active. The men themselves carried no
provisions, except a bag of oatmeal; and each
had at his saddle a small plate of iron, called a
girdle, on which, when they pleased, they could
hake the oatmeal into cakes. They killed the
cattle of the English, as they travelled through
the country, roasted the flesh on wooden spits, or
uoiled it in the skins of the animals themselves,
putting in a little wTater with the beef, to prevent
the fire from burning the hide to pieces. This
;vas rough cookery. They made their shoes, or
rather sandals, in as coarse a way, cutting them
out of the raw hides  of the cattle, and fitting
them to their ancles, like what are now called
short gaiters. As this sort of buskin had the hairy
side of the hide outermost, the English called
those who wore them rough-footed Scots, and
sometimes, from the colour of the hide, redshanks.
As the army needed to carry nothing with
them, either for provisions or ammunition, the
Scots moved with amazing speed, from mountain
to mountain, and from glen to glen, pillaging and
destroying the country wheresoever they came.
In the meanwhile, the young King of England
pursued them with a much larger army; but, as
it was encumbered by the necessity of carrying
provisions in great quantities, and by the slow
motions of men in heavy armour, they could not
come up with the Scots, although they saw every
day the smoke of the houses and villages which
they were burning.
At last the King of England grew so impatient,
that he offered a large reward to any one who
would show him where the Scottish army were.
At length, a gentleman named Rokeby, came
into the camp, and claimed the reward which the
King had offered, guiding the English army to the
place where the Scots lay encamped.
But the English king was no nearer to the battle which he desired ; for Douglas and Randolph,
knowing the force and numbers of the English
array, had taken up their camp on a steep hill,
at the bottom of which ran a deep river, so that
there was no possibility for the English to attack
the Scots without crossing the water, and then
climbing up the hill in the very face of their enemy, a risk which was too great to be attempted.
Then the King; sent a message of defiance to
the Scottish generals, inviting them either to draw
back their forces, and allow him freedom to cross
the river, and time to place his army in order of
battle on the other side, that they might fight
fairly; or offering, if they liked it better, to permit them to cross over to his side without opposition, that they might'join battle on a fair field.
Randolph and Douglas did nothing but laugh at
this message. They said, when they fought, it
should be at their own pleasure, and not because
the king of England chose to ask for a battle.
While tne armies lay thus opposed to each
other, Douglas resolved to give the young king of
England a lesson in the art of war. At the dead
of night, he left the Scottish camp with a small
body of chosen horse, not above two hundred,
well armed. He crossed the river in deep silence,
and came to the English camp, which was but
carelessly guarded. Seeing this, Douglas rode
past the English sentinels as if he had been an
officer of the English army, saying,—" Ha, Saint
George ! you keep bad watch here !"
Presently after, Douglas heard an English soldier, who lay stretched by the fire, say to his comrade,—" I cannot tell what is to happen us in this
place; but, for my part, I have a great fear of th **
Black Douglas playing us some tricks.'
" You shall have cause to say so/1 thought
Douglas to himself.
When he had thus got into the midst of the
English camp without being discovered, he drew
his sword, and cut asunder the ropes of & tent,
calling out his usual war-cry,—" Douglas, Douglas ! English thieves, you are all dead men!"
His followers immediately began to cut down and
overturn the tents, cutting and stabbing the English soldiers as they endeavoured to get to arms.
Douglas forced his way to the pavilion of the
king himself, and very nearly carried that young
prince prisoner out of the middle of his great army. Edwrard's chaplain, however, and many of
his household, stood to arms bravely in his defence, while the young king escaped by creeping
away beneath the canvass of his tent. The chaplain, and several of the king's officer's were slain:
but the whole camp was now alarmed and in arms,
so that Douglas was obliged to retreat, which he
did by bursting through the English at the side of
the camp opposite to that by which he had entered. Being separated from his men in the confusion, he was in great danger of being slain by
an Englishman, who encountered him with a great
club. He killed him, but with considerable difficulty ; and then blowing his horn to collect his
men, .who soon gathered around him, he returned
to the Scottish camp, having sustained very little
Edward, much mortified at the insult which
he had received, became still more desirous of
chastising these audacious adversaries, and one of
them at least was not unwilling to afford him an
opportunity of revenge. This was Thomas Ran*
dolph, Earl of Murray.  He asked Douglas when
he returned to the Scottish camp, What he had
done ?
" We have drawn some blood."
" Ah," said the Earl, " had we gone all together to the night attack, we would have discomfit*
ed them."
" It might well have been so," said Douglas,
" but the risk would have been too great."
" Then will we fight them in open battle,"
said Randolph, " for if we remain here, we shall
in time be famished for want of provisions."
"Not so," replied Douglas; " we will deal
with the great army of the English as the fox did
with the fisherman in the fable."
"And how was that?" said the Earl of
Murray.—Here the Douglas told him this
" A fisherman," he said " had made a hut by
a river side, that he might follow his occupation
of fishing. Now, one night he had gone out to
look after his nets, leaving a small fire in his hut;
and when he came back, behold there was a fox
in the cabin, taking the liberty to eat one of the
finest salmon he had taken. 5 Ho, Mr. Robber V
said the fisherman, drawing his sword, and standing in the door-way to prevent the fox's escape ;
' you shall presently die the death. The poor
fox looked for some hole to get out at, but saw
none, whereupon he pulled down with his teeth a
mantle, which was lying on the bed, and dragged
it across the fire. The fisherman ran to snatch
his mantle: from the fire—-the fox flew out at the
door with the salmon;—and so will w$ escape thel
great English array by subtlety, and without
risking battle with so large an army."
Randolph agreed to act by Douglas's counsel,
and the Scots army kindled great fires through
their encampment, and made a noise and shouting, and blowing of horns, as if they meant to
remain all night there, as before. But, in the
mean time, Douglas had caused a road to be cut
through two miles of a great morass which lay in
their rear, and which it would otherwise have
been impossible that the army could have crossed; and through this passage, which the English
never suspected, Douglas and Randolph, and all
their men, moved at the dead of night. They did
not leave so much as an errand-boy behind, and
so bent their march towards Scotland, leaving the
English disappointed and affronted. Great was
their wonder in the morning, when they saw the
Scottish camp empty, and found no living men in
it, but two or three English prisoners tied to trees,
whom they had left with an insulting message to
the King of England, saying, " If he were displeased with what they had done, he might come
and revenge himself in Scotland."
After this expedition of these two brave commanders, a peace was concluded with the English,
very honourable to the Scots. But the great
King Robert Bruce did not long survive this joyful event. Finding that he could not recover, he
assembled round his bedside the noblemen and
counsellers in whom he most trusted.
He told them, that now being on his deathbed, he sorely repented all his misdeeds, more
especially of having slain the Red Comyn before
the holy altar; and that, if he had lived, it was
his intention, in expiation of this offence, to have
gone to the Holy Land, and make war against
the enemies of the Cross. But since he was
about to die, he requested of his dearest friend,
and braviest warrior, Good Lord James Douglas,
that he should carry his heart to Jerusalem.
The Good Lord Douglas wept as he accepted
this precious charge—the last token of his king's
confidence and friendship.
The king soon afterwards died, at the age of
fifty-four years. His heart was taken out from
his body and embalmed ;—that is, prepared with
spices and perfumes, that it might remain long
fresh and uncorrupted. The heart was then put
into a silver case, by Lord Douglas, which he
wore round his neck by a string of silk and gold ;
and he afterwards set forward for the Holy
Land, accompanied by a gallant train of the
bravest men in Scotland.
But Douglas never reached the end of his
journey. On his road to Palestine he landed in
Spain, while Osmyn, the Saracen King of Granada, was invading the realms of Alphonso, King
of Castile.
King Alphonso received Douglas with great
honour and distinction, and people came from all
parts to see the great soldier, whose fame had filled every part of the Christian world.
Lord Douglas, thinking he would do good service to the Christian cause by assisting King Alphonso to drive baek the Saracens of Grenada,
before proceeding on his voyage, went, accordingly, to a great battle against Osmyn, and had little
difficulty in defeating the Saracens opposed to
him. But, pursuing the chase too far, he was
surrounded by the Moors, who seeing the Scots
separated from each other, turned suddenly back,
and with shouts of Allah, illah, Allah! their
war-cry, surrounded such of the Scottish knights
as had advanced too hastily.
Douglas, in the midst of the skirmish, saw
William St. Clair of Roslin fighting desperately,
surrounded by the Moors, who were hewing at
him with their sabres, " Yonder brave knight will
be slain," Douglas said, * unless he have present
With that he galloped to his rescue, but he
was likewise instantly surrounded by many
Moors. After performing prodigies of valour,
and when the enemy pressed so thick around him
as to leave him no chance of escaping, he took
from his neck the Bruce's heart, and speaking to
it, as he would have done to the king had he been
alive, " Pass first in fight," he said, " as thou wert
wont to do, and Douglas will follow thee or die !"
He then threw the king's heart among the
enemy, and rushing forward to the place where
it fell, was there slain. His body was found lying above the silver case, as if it had been his last
object to defend the Bruce's heart.
The Good Lord James, as he was usually
styled, was one of the best and wisest soldiers that
ever drew a sword, •"' He was said to have fought
in seventy battles, being heater* in thirteen, and
victorious in fifty-seven. The Scottish historians
describe him as one who was never dejected by
bad fortune, or unduly elated by that which was
good. Notwithstanding the many battles in which
he had fought, his face had escaped without a
wound, A brave % Spanish knight, whose face
was scarred by the marks of Moorish sabres, expressed wonder that Douglas's countenance should
be unmarked with wounds. Douglas modestly
replied, he thanked God, who had always enabled his hand, to guard and protect his face.
Many of Douglas's followers were slain in the
battle in which he himself fell, and those who
remained alive returned to their country. They
brought back the heart of Bruce and the bones of
the Good Lord James, which they buried in the
church of St. Bride, where Thomas Dickson and
Douglas held so terrible a Palm Sunday. The
Bruce's heart was buried below the high altar in
Melrose Abbey
This famous battle, familiarly known to our boyhood by
the name of the Battle of Chevy Chace, was fought on the
19th of August, 1388, betwixt the Earl of Douglas, with
a chosen band of 5000 Scots, and Sir Ralph and Sir
Henry Percy, otherwise called Hotspur, at the head of an
. &q.«al or superior number of English.
Earl Douglas, grand-nephew to the Good Sir James, in
a skirmish near Newcastle, encountered Sir Henry Percy,
and, in the struggle which ensued, got possession of Hotspur's &pear, at the end of which was attached a small
ornament of silk, embroidered with pearls. Douglas shook
his trophy aloft, and declared that he would carry it into
Scotland. M That," said Percy, " shalt thou never do ; I
will regain my lance ere thou canst reach the Border.*'
On their way home, the Scots encamped at Otterhurn,
about 20 miles from the frontier. In the middle of the
night the alarm was given that Percy was upon them, and
the moonlight showed his advance with very superior numbers.
The hattle commenced with the greatest fury, and Douglas and Percy were repeatedly engaged hand to hand. But
the Scots were out-numbered, and about to give way, when
Douglas, shouting his war-cry of "Douglas! Douglas!"
rushed into the thickest of the enemy, clearing his way
with his battle-axe. He fell, at length, under three mortal wounds.
When the other Nobles came up, they found him in a
dying state, protected by a stout priest, called William of
North Berwick, armed with a long lance.
" How fares it, Cousin ?" said Sinclair, the first Scottish
knight who came up to the wounded leader.
** Indifferently," answered Douglas; "but bljssed be
God, my ancestors have died in fields of battle, not on
down-beds. I sink fast; but let them still cry my war-cry,
and conceal my death from my followers. There was a
tradition in our family that a dead Douglas should win a
field, and I trust it will this day be accomplished."
The Nobles did as he had enjoined ; they concealed the
Earl's body, and again rushed on to the battle, shouting
" Douglas! Douglas!" louder than before. The English
were weakened by the loss of the brave brothers Henry
and Ralph Percy, both of whom were made prisoners,
fighting moct gallantly; and almost no man of note amongst
the English escaped death or captivity.
vu tm«


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