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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
299. The Flowers of the Forest
 
Alison Rutherford Cockburn (1712–1794)
 
 
  I’VE 1 seen the smiling
  Of Fortune beguiling;
I’ve felt all its favours, and found its decay;
  Sweet was its blessing,
  Kind its caressing;        5
But now it is fled—fled far away.
 
  I’ve seen the forest
  Adorned the foremost,
With flowers of the fairest, most pleasant and gay;
  Sae bonnie was their blooming!        10
  Their scent the air perfuming!
But now they are withered and a’ wede away.
 
  I’ve seen the morning
  With gold the hills adorning,
And loud tempest storming before the mid-day.        15
  I’ve seen Tweed’s silver streams,
  Shinning in the sunny beams
Grow drumly and dark as he rowed on his way.
 
  Oh, fickle Fortune!
  Why this cruel sporting?        20
Oh, why still perplex us, poor sons of a day?
  Nae mair your smiles can cheer me,
  Nae mair your frowns can fear me;
For the flowers of the forest are a’ wede away.
 
Note 1. “The flowers of the Forest” in this and the following song are the men of Ettrick Forest in Selkirkshire who fell at the battle of Flodden. [back]
 

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