Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Selkirk and Peebles (The Forest)
The Flowers of the Forest
Jane Elliot (1727–1805)
 
          “The Forest” was the name given to a district which comprehended Selkirkshire, and a portion of Peeblesshire and Clydesdale, and which was noted for its fine archers. These were almost to a man slain at the battle of Flodden (1513), and upon that disastrous event the song is founded.

I ’VE heard the lilting at our yowe-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,        5
  The lasses are lonely and dowie and wae;
Nae daffin’, nae gabbin’, but sighing and sabbing,
  Ilk ane lifts her leglen and hies her away.
 
In hairst at the shearing nae youths now are jeering,
  The bandsters are lyart and runkled and gray;        10
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching,—
  The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
At e’en at the gloaming nae swankies are roaming
  ’Bout stacks wi’ the lasses at bogle to play;
But ilk ane sits dreary, lamenting her dearie,—        15
  The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
Dule and wae for the order sent our lads to the border!
  The English for ance by guile won the day;
The Flowers of the Forest that focht aye the foremost,
  The prime o’ our land, are cauld in the clay.        20
 
We hear nae mair lilting at our yowe-milking,
  Women and bairns are heartless and wae;
Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning,—
  The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
 
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