Tour Scotland
Home Page

 


Best Scottish Books



The Flowers Of The Forest

The lady who wrote this haunting song of national sorrow was the daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Lord Justice-clerk of Scotland. She died in 1805. It is said that, following a talk about the disaster at Flodden, Sir Gilbert offered a bet that Miss Jean could not compose a ballad on the subject. How magnificently she pieced together the fragments of a lost ballad may be judged from this reply to the challenge.

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

At buchts, in the morning, nae biythe lads are scorning, The lasses are lonely, and dowie, and wae;
Nae damn', 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;
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 drearie, lamenting her dearie
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.

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

Weir 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.

Jean Elliot.



Tour Scotland
Tour Edinburgh
Tour Island Of Skye

Rent A Self Catering Hoilday Cottage In Scotland

Share This Tour Scotland Web Page

Top Destinations
Tour Europe