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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
300. Lament for Flodden
 
Jane Elliot (1727–1805)
 
 
I’VE heard them lilting 1 at our ewe-milking,
  Lasses a’ lilting before dawn o’ day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning— 2
  For the Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede 3 away.
 
At bughts, 4 in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning,        5
  Lasses are lonely and dowie 5 and wae;
Nae daffin’, 6 nae gabbin’, 7 but sighing and sabbing,
  Ilk ane lifts her leglin 8 and hies her away.
 
In har’st, 9 at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering,
  Bandsters 10 are lyart, 11 and runkled, 12 and gray;        10
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching— 13
  The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.
 
At e’en, in the gloaming, nae younkers are roaming
  ’Bout stacks wi’ the lasses at bogle to play;
But ilk ane sits drearie, lamenting her dearie—        15
  The Flowers of the Forest are weded away.
 
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.        20
 
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 away.
 
Note 1. Singing. [back]
Note 2. Lane. [back]
Note 3. Withered. [back]
Note 4. Pens, folds. [back]
Note 5. Doleful. [back]
Note 6. Toying. [back]
Note 7. Jeering. [back]
Note 8. Milking-stool. [back]
Note 9. Harvest. [back]
Note 10. Makers of strawbands for the sheaves. [back]
Note 11. Withered. [back]
Note 12. Wrinkled. [back]
Note 13. Flattering. [back]
 

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