The Driving Of The Deer by Bella Hardy

Lord peverel stood on the lordis seat
And an angry man was he
For he heard the sound of a hunter's horn
Slow winding up the lea
He look'd to north, he look'd to south
East and west looked he
“Oh holy cross” the norman cried
“Who hunts in my country?”
“Belike they think the peverel dead
Or far from forest walk
Woe worth their hunting, they shall find
Abroad is still the hawk”
Again he looked where helldon hill
Joins with the konying's dale
And then once more the bugle blast
Came swelling along the gale
“Mount, mount and ride” the baron cried
“The sound come's o'er the lea
These outlaws, who now drive my deer
Shall soon our quarry be"
All down the slope, along the flat
Against the hill they ride
Non pull the rein till every steed
Stands fast at gautriss side
“Hold hard! They're here” the peverel said
And upward held his hand
While all his many kept behind
To wait their lords command
And westwards, on the bolt-edge moor
Beyond the rocky height
Both hounds and hunters, men and horse
And deer were all in sight
Who are these who break forest law?
Who fear not peverel's sword?
Up spoke sir payne peverel, and said
“Of bowdon he's the lord
Sir bruno, hight, a franklin brave
One of the saxon swine
Who feast each day on fat fed beef
And guzzle ale not wine”
“Beshrew his horn and beshrew his heart
This land he may not ride
If he kills a deer, by the conquerors bow
By forest law he'll bide.”
“Ride on, sir payne, and tell the churl
To cease his hunting cheer
And come before his surzerain lord
Who waits his presence here”
Sir payne rode swiftly across the dale
Followed by his gentle's three
Nor stayed his horse 'till he had reached
The hunters company
And then he said “fair sirs, you ride
And drive our deer as free
As if this land were all your own
And not in forestry”
Sir franklin cried “I'm not his man
And peverel knows full well
Though within the bounds of his forest walk
It likes me sooth to dwell.”
“My manor of bowden I hold in chief
For good king harry's might
And you can only force me hence
If strongest in the fight”
Each saxon then upraised his spear
Or twanged his good yew bow
And the normans who rode out unarmed
Couldn't match this threatening show
Lord peverel viewed their bows and spears
And marked their strong array
And so grim he smiled, and softly said
“We'll right this wrong someday”

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