Poem of the day

The Flowers of the Forest
by Jean Elliot (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;
      The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.

At bughts, in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning;
      Lasses are lonely, and dowie, and wae;
Nae daffing, nae gabbing, 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 runkled, and lyart, 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 maid sits dreary, lamenting her deary—
      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 the 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.

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