This was written by Jean Elliot on the 18th century and is a reworking of an older song about the non-return of the large number of Scottish soldiers after the Battle of Flodden, when 10,000 are said to have perished along with their king and large numbers of the nobility.

I've heard them liltin', at the ewe milkin,'

Lasses a-liltin' before dawn of day.

Now there's a moanin', on ilka green loanin'.

The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

As boughts in the mornin', nae blithe lads are scornin',

Lasses are lonely and dowie and wae.

Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighin' and sobbin',

Ilk ane lifts her leglin, and hies her away.

At e'en in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin',

'Mang stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play.

But ilk maid sits drearie, lamentin' her dearie,

The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

In har'st at the shearin' nae youths now are jeerin'

Bandsters are runkled, and lyart, or grey.

At fair or at preachin', nae wooin', nae fleecin',

The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

Dool 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.

We'll hae nae mair liltin', at the ewe milkin',

Women and bairns are dowie and wae.

Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin',

The flowers of the forest are all wede away.

Meaning of unusual words:
yowe - ewe
ilka - every
wede - withered
buchts - cattle pens
dowie - sad
wae - woeful
daffin' - dallying
gabbin' - talking
leglen - stool
bandsters - binders
lyart - grizzled
runkled - crumpled
fleeching - coaxing
gloaming - twilight
swankies - young lads
bogle - peek-a-boo
dule - mourning clothes


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