The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

The Flowers of the Forest.

[Part First.]

I've heard them lilting, at the ewe milking,

Lasses a' lilting, before 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 blithe 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 awae.

In har'st at the shearing, nae youths now are jearing;

Bandsters are runkled, and lyart or gray;

At fair, or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching;

The flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.

At e'en, in the gloaming, nae younkers are roaming

'Bout stacks, with the lasses at bogle to play;

But ilk maid sits dreary, lamenting her deary —

The flowers of the forest are weded awae.

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 awae.

Part Second.

I've seen the smiling of fortune beguiling,

I've tasted her favours, and felt her decay;

Sweet is her blessing, and kind her caressing,

But soon it is fled — it is fled far away.

I've seen the forest adorned of the foremost,

With flowers of the fairest, both pleasant and gay:

Full sweet was their blooming, their scent the air perfuming,

But now they are wither'd, and a' wede away.

I've seen the morning with gold the hills adorning,

And the red storm roaring before the parting day;

I've seen Tweed's silver streams, glittering in the sunny beams,

Turn drumly and dark as they rolled on their way.

O fickle fortune! why this cruel sporting?

Why thus perplex us poor sons of a day?

Thy frowns cannot fear me, thy smiles cannot cheer me,

Since the flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00