by Jean Elliot (1727 - 1805)

Lament for Flodden
Language: English 
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 awae. 

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 awae. 

In har'st, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering; 
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 a' wede 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. 

Confirmed in the reprinted collection of Sir Walter Scott titled Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ed. by John Gibson Lockhart, London: Robert Cadell, 1833, pages 335 - 337. During Sir Walter Scott's lifetime, this author's name had not been identified yet. This text was regarded as an anonymous folk text, Roud 3812. Confirmed as well with Whyte's Edition of Scottish Songs, Edinburgh: James Ballantyne and Co., 1806, page 13.

See also Alison Cockburn's "The flowers of the forest"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Gerhard Anton von Halem (1752 - 1819) , "Klaggesang nach der Schlacht ", written 1792 ; composed by Ludwig Berger, Johann Abraham Peter Schulz.

Researcher for this text: Melanie Trumbull

This text was added to the website: 2019-06-12
Line count: 24
Word count: 208