Digital Tradition Mirror

Battle of Largs (Hardyknute)

Battle of Largs (Hardyknute)

Stately stept he East the wa',
And stately stept he West;
Full sev'nty zeirs he now had seen
With skerfs sevin ziers of rest.

He livit quhen Birton's breach of faith
Wroucht Scotland Meickle wae,
And ay his sword tauld to their skaith,
He was their deidly fae.

Hie on a hill his castle stude,
With halls and towers a hicht,
And guidly chambers fair to se
Quhair he lodgit mony a knight.

His dame fae peerlefs anes and fair,
For chaft and bewtie deimt,
Nae marrow had in all the lands
Saif Elenor the queen.

Full thirtein fons tea him foho bare,
All men of valour frout;
In bludy fichf with fword in hand
Nyne loft their lives hot doubt;

Four zit remain, lang may they live
To ftand by liege and land:
Hie was their fame, hie was their micht,
And hie was their command.

Great luve they bare to Fairly-fair,
Their fifter faft and deir;
Her girdle flawd her middle gimp,
And gowden glift her hair.

Q chat waefou wae her bewtie bred,
Waefou to zung and auld,
Waefou I trow to kyth and kiq,
As ftory ever tauld!
The King of Norfe in fummer tyde,
Puft up with powir and micht,
Landed iii fair Scotland the yle,
With mony a hardy kniclit.

The tydings to our gude Scots king
Came, as he fat at dyne,
With noble chiefs in braif any,
Drinking the blude - reid wyne

'To hone, to hark, my royal Leige
Zours faes ftand on the ftrand,
Foil twenty thousand glittering fears
The King of Norfe commands.'

'Bring me my fteed Mage dapple gray
Our gude King riafe and cry'd,
'A truftier beaft in all the land
A Scots king nevir feyd.

Go, little page, tell Hardyknute,
That lives on hill fae hie,
To draw his fword, the dreid of fats.
And halt and follow me.'

The little page flew fwift as dirt
Flung by his mafters arm:
'Cum clown, cum down, Lord Hardy
A-rid rid zour King frae harm.'

Then reid reid crew his dark-brown che-
Sae did his dark-brown brow;
His luiks grew kene, as they were wont.
In dangers great, to do.

No copyright problems - the source is Songs of Scotland, Vol
II - 1877. It seems to be referred to as very old - but I can't find
even a circa date. Child refers to it as a tiresome and affected
tune "much esteemed" in a time which I figure to be the 1700s.
According to Bruce's site the tune for Chevy Chase was Isle of Kell
and James Dick says this is the same as Hardy Knute. However, as with many folks
ongs they could have been sung to
several different airs.

This ballad is said to commemorate The Battle of Largs (August 1, 1263)
between Alexander III of Scotland and Haakon Haakonsson of Norway. The Scots won
. Hardyknute had died some 200 years before the battle.
   Bronson in The Ballad as a Song write that Hardyknute was  originally thought
 to be an ancient ballad but was written by Lady Wardlaw. He doesn't date
this but another web site says 1719.


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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