Hunting of the Cheviot, The [Child 162]

DESCRIPTION: Percy, Earl of Northumberland, goes deer hunting into Earl Douglas' land of (Cheviot/Chevy Chase), in defiance of a warning from Douglas. In battle they earn each other's respect, but both die, along with many of their men.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy; mentioned in "Wit's End" in 1617 and in the Stationer's Register in 1624); the manuscript Ashmole 48 is thought to have been written during the reign of Mary 1 (1553-1558)
KEYWORDS: battle hunting death nobility
1388 - Battle of Otterburn. Scots under Douglas attack England. Although Douglas is killed in the battle, the Scots defeat the English and capture their commander Harry "Hotspur" Percy
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North),Scotland) US(NE,SE,So)
REFERENCES (36 citations):
Child 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (2 texts)
Bronson 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (10 versions)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (6 versions: #1, #3, #5, #6, #7, #10)
Hales/Furnival-BishopPercysFolioManuscript, volume II, pp. 1-16, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry I, pp. 20-35+notes on pp. 51-52, "The Ancient Ballad of Chevy Chase"; pp. 249-264, "The More Modern Ballad of Chevy Chace" (sic.) (2 texts)
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp.81-92, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution, pp. 335-343, "The Hunting in Chevy-Chase" (1 text)
Kidson-TraditionalTunes, pp. 18-19, "Chevy Chace" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 243-248, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland3, pp. 135-144, "The Hunting of the Cheviot, or Chevy Chase" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 34, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
Davis-MoreTraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 31, pp. 239-244, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5}
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 34, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 446-463, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (3 texts)
Leach-HeritageBookOfBallads, pp. 73-81, "Chev Chase" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 276, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 2 tunes) {approximating Bronson's #1, #4}
Stokoe/Reay-SongsAndBalladsOfNorthernEngland, pp. 1-3, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #6, also from Stokoe's collection but differing in one note}
Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution, pp. 92-101, "The Hontying of the Cheviat" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 128, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 71, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 105-115+325-327, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 96, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
Whiting-TraditionalBritishBallads 21, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
HarvardClassics-EnglishPoetryChaucerToGray, pp. 93-101, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss-AngloAmericanFolksongStyle, pp. 43-45, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Chappell/Wooldridge-OldEnglishPopularMusic I, pp. 90-92, "Chevy Chase" (1 tune, perhaps linked to this piece)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 201-207, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN980, "God prosper long our Noble King"; ZN982, "God prosper long our noble king" (?)
DigitalIndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse #1577, #5432
ADDITIONAL: Thomas Wright, editor, _Songs and Ballads, with other short poems, Chiefly of the Reign of Philip and Mary_, 1860 (I use the 1970 Burt Franklin reprint); the book is an edition of Oxford University Library MS. Ashmole 48, #VIII, pp. 24-28, (no title) (1 text; note that the manuscript copy is in long lines with no stanza breaks; the presentation of the text in ballad format is Child's)
Michael Brander, _Scottish and Border Battles and Ballads_, 1975 (page references to the 1993 Barnes & Noble edition), pp. 233-240, "The Hunting of the Cheviot or Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Leslie Shepard, _John Pitts, Ballad Printer of Seven Dials, London 1765-1844_, Private Library Association, 1969, p. 111, "The UNHAPPY MEMORABLE SONG of the HUNTING OF Chevy Chase" (reprint of a Howard and Evans broadside)
Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, _I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric_, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 1175-180, "(The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
MANUSCRIPT: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 48 (Bodleian 6933), folio 15 [DIMEV #5432]
MANUSCRIPT: {MSPercyFolio}, The Percy Folio, London, British Library, MS. Additional 27879, page 188 [DIMEV #1577]

Roud #223
cf. "The Battle of Otterburn" (subject)
cf. "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" [Child 73] (tune)
Of Turkey lately I did read/The Patient Wife betrayed; Or, The Lady Elizabeths Tragedy (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN2124)
Give o'er you rhiming Cavaliers/ Bloody News from Chelmsford (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN971)
In bloody town of Newberry/...Shuff of Newberry (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN1413)
In Popish time when Bishops proud/The King and the Bishop (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN1452)
In searching ancient chronicles/A pleasant history of a Gentleman in Thracia (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN1461)
Strange news, strange news, I here have write/..Relation from the Faulcon.. Mr Powel [a ghost] (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN2405)
Amongst the Forresters of old/The Unfortunate Forrester ...Lord Thomas.. fair Elener (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN173)
God prosper long our noble King, and send him quickly o'er/Hunting-Match (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN986)
When as my mind was fully bent/ Bloudy News from Germany (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN2821)
All you which sober minded are/Terrible News from Branford (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN155)
All tender hearts that ake to hear/The Spanish Virgin (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN97)
God prosper long our noble king, His Turks and Germans all/An excellent new Ballad (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN983)
God hath preserved our Royal King/The Royal Patient Traveller [Charles II] (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN978)
The Belgick Boar (Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution, p. 392; broadside Bodleian Firth b.21(143); Roud #V40822)
The Producers' Hymn ("In hallow'd graces our fathers sleep, Who fann'd up freedom's fire") (Foner, p. 32)
NOTES [1110 words]: According to Rollins, the Stationer's Register entries for this are ""Chevie chse" (December 14, 1624; no printer listed; p. 33, #285) and "A memorable song of the unhappy hunting in Chivey Chase" (registered March 1, 1675; no printer listed; p. 148, #1600). - RBW
Child opines that this is based on the same events as "The Battle of Otterburn" (Child #161) rather than some other border battle between Percies and Douglases. The historical Henry Percy (Hotspur) fought [and] was captured [by the Scots], but did not in fact die at Otterburn in 1388 or at any other battle with Scots but was instead slain in battle with Henry IV's forces. - KK
In addition, Harry Hotspur was never Earl of Northumberland. His father (the first of five generations of Henry Percys of Northumberland) was the first Earl, and lived until 1408. Hotspur was killed in 1403, and thus never succeeded to the title, although Hotspur's son became the second Earl.
To repeat, none of the various Earls Percy died in battle with the Scots. The first Earl was a traitor against Henry IV; the second (d. 1455) and third (d. 1461) were casualties of the Wars of the Roses, and the fourth was killed by the people of his own Earldom because he had not supported Richard III at Bosworth. (Richard, despite his later reputation, was loved in the north of England for being fair and honest and keeping the Scots away from the borders.)
Child has two basic texts, "A" from manuscript (Bodleian) Ashmole 48 and "B" being made up of all the later versions compared -- the last of them, according to Fowler, p. 158 n. 25, being from the Percy Folio. The Ashmole manuscript, according to Fowler, p. 96, contains 76 miscellaneous pieces, most if not all of them in verse; these are transcribed, verbatim and without any notes or glosses, in Wright. The slight majority have attributions, mostly to authors who would be considered poets, not song-writers. (It is noteworthy that this piece is the only one from the manuscript that Child included among the ballads; Wright, p. x, says that the only two poets cited who are otherwise known are Lord Vaux and William Elderton, each responsible for one poem. For more on Elderton, see the notes to "Mary Ambree.")
One of these authors is Richard Sheale, who signed five poems (including this: "Expliceth, quoth Rychard Sheale"; Wright, pp. vii-viii, 28), sometimes considered the compiler of the manuscript (and hence sometimes regarded as the author of the song). The other authors are very diverse, including even a summary of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (Fowler, p. 101). Fowler declares the pieces "primarily didactic," with a plurality being moral teachings. This perhaps argues against Sheale as the author/compiler, since Fowler believes he was a minstrel in the court of the Earl of Derby who "play[ed] the myrry knave"; Wright, p. viii, also thinks he was indebted to Derby.
The Ashmole text of this poem has been reprinted many times; the standard edition is Wright's, but it is #3445.5 in Robbins & Cutler's Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse, and they list fifteen printings, including Skeat's (used by Child) and several of the editions indexed here.
As Chambers, p. 162, comments "The Hunting is even more remote from historical verity than Otterburn. The scene is laid in the Cheviot hills, where not Hotspur but Earl Percy goes to hunt, in defiance of Douglas, and the event is put in the reign of Henry IV [1399-1413] rather than Richard II [1377-1399]. Douglas is killed by an arrow, Percy by Sir Hugh Montgomery, Montgomery himself by another arrow. But the battle is called Otterburn. King Henry avenges it in that of Homildon Hill (1402)."
Wells, p. 142, professes to see a similarity between this song and the opening portion of the Middle English romance "Sir Degrevant," found in two manuscripts, the Lincoln Thornton Manuscript and the Findern Manuscript, both of the fifteenth century; they, and the romance itself, seem to be from the north of England. Neither Child nor the two editions of "Sir Degrevant" known to me mention any such connection. It is certainly not a similarity of form; "Degrevant" uses the stanza type known as "tail rhyme" (best known from Chaucer's "Sir Thopas," although that is a different variant on tail rhyme), and it would be very hard to set that form to music. The similarity seems to be minimal, and thematic; "Degrevant" opens with the knight and a neighboring earl visiting -- and harrying! -- each other's lands, and features a lot of conversations over castle walls.
Izaak Walton's Compeat Angler refers to this tune (Chapter II), although in a strange list mixing folk songs ("Johnny Armstrong," "Chevy Chase") and art songs ("As at Noon Dulcina Rested," "Phyllida Flouts Me").
Sir Philip Sidney, in his Apologie for Poetrie of 1595, wrote, "I neuer heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas (sic.), that I found mot my heart mooued more then with a Trumpet." It is not possible, however, to tell whether this is a reference to "The Battle of Otterburn" [Child 161] or "The Hunting of the Cheviot" [Child 162]. A caution, pointed out by Friedman, pp. 33-34, is that Sidney was descended from a Duke of Northumberland. Not from the Percys, but still, the story had personal interest to him. The Complaynt of Scotland of 1549 refers to separate songs "The hunttis of the cheviot" (Complaynt, p. lxxxv) and "The persee & the mongomrye met" (Complaynt, p. lxxxvi); again, we can't know which song is meant -- although, if both are references to the extant ballads, then "The Percy and Montgomery Met" is "Otterbrn" and "The hunttis of the Cheviot" is that ballad. The Complaynt also mentions "That day, that day, that gentil day" (Complaynt, p. lxxxvii), which Child thinks another citation of a Harlaw ballad, but that is disputed.
Most scholars, going back to Child, think "The Battle of Otterburn" [Child 161] is the older of the two Otterburn ballads (since Sheale's book is dated by other pieces in it to the reign of Mary Tudor, 1553-1558), and Child 161 is certainly the more accurate. But the language of the collected versions is newer than the earliest text of "The Hunting of the Cheviot," and Fowler, pp. 108-109, therefore argues that "The Hunting of the Cheviot" is the older song. I'm not sure I buy that, particularly since the two have cross-fertilized. The argument on p. 110 of Fowler that "Otterburn" is English and pro-Percy, while "Cheviot" is Scottish and pro-Douglas, seems better founded.
Friedman, pp. 84-113, argues that this song was the very first subject of ballad criticism, being the subject of an item by Addison in The Spectator. - RBW
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