The Flowers of the Forest

The Flowers of the Forest
I've heard them lilting at our ewe-milking, 
Lasses a-lilting before the dawn of day; 
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning- 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

At bughts, in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning, 
The lasses are lonely, and dowie, and wae; 
Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighing and sabbing, 
Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her away. 

In har'st, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering, 
Bandsters are lyart, and runkled, and gray; 
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing nae fleeching- 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

At e'en, in the gloaming, nae younkers are roaming 
'Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play; 
But ilk ane sits drearie, lamenting her dearie- 
The Flowers of the Forest are weded away. 

Dool and wae for the order sent our lads to the Border! 
The English, for ance, by guile wan the day; 
The Flowers of the Forest, that fought aye the foremost, 
The prime of our land, are cauld in the clay. 

We'll hear nae mair lilting at our ewe-milking; 
Women and bairns are heartless and wae; 
Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning- 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.
Jean Elliot
Jean Elliot

Jean, or Jane, Elliot, was a daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto. Her version of 'The Flowers of the Forest' is her only surviving work. Written probably only as a private excercise, it was a reworking of an earlier song by Alison Rutherford, but Jean Elliot wrote her version about the Battle of Flodden, and as such it has caught the imagination of the nation. 

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