Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
The Flowers of the Forest
By Jane Elliott (1727–1805)
 
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; 1
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
At bughts 2 in the morning nae blythe lads are scorning; 3        5
The lasses are lanely, and dowie, and wae;
Nae daffing, 4 nae gabbing, but sighing and sabbing,
Ilk ane lifts her leglin, 5 and hies her away.
 
In hairst, 6 at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering,
The bandsters 7 are lyart, 8 and runkled and gray;        10
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching— 9
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
At e’en, in the gloaming, nae swankies 10 are roaming
’Bout stacks wi’ the lasses at bogle to play;
But ilk ane sits eerie, lamenting her dearie—        15
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede 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, lie cauld in the clay.        20
 
We ’ll hear nae more 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.
 
Note 1. A loaning is a grass path through corn-fields for the use of the cattle. [back]
Note 2. sheep-pens. [back]
Note 3. teasing. [back]
Note 4. jesting. [back]
Note 5. pail. [back]
Note 6. harvest. [back]
Note 7. men who bind up the sheaves. [back]
Note 8. hoary. [back]
Note 9. coaxing. [back]
Note 10. strapping lads. [back]
 
 
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