The Flowers O' the Forest

Norma Waterson
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La struggente versione scozzese offerta da Dick Gaughan


«But now they are moaning, on ilka green loaning
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.»

Jane Elliot (1727-1805)

O! day-time is weary, an' dark o' dusk dreary
For t' lasses i' t' mistal, or rakin' ower t' hay;
When t' kye coom for strippin', or t' yowes for their clippin',
We think on our sowdiers now gone reet away.

The courtin'-gate's idle, nae lad flings his bridle
Ower t' yak-stoup, an' sleely cooms seekin' his may;
The trod by the river is green as a sliver,
For the Flowers o' the Forest have all stown away.

At Marti'mas hirin's, nae ribbins, nae tirin's,
When t' godspenny's addled, an' t' time's coom for play;
Nae Cheap-Jacks, nae dancin', wi' t' teamster' clogs prancin ,
The Flowers o' the Forest are all flown a way.

When at neet church is lowsin', an' t' owd ullet is rousin'
Hissel i' our laithe, wheer he's slummered all t' day,
Wae's t' heart! but we misses our lads' saftest kisses,
Now the Flowers o' the Forest are gone reet away.

Ploo-lads frae Pannal have crossed ower the Channel,
Shipperds frae Fewston have taen the King's pay,
Thackrays frae Dacre have sold ivery acre;
Thou'll finnd ne'er a delver frae Haverah to Bray.

When t' north wind is howlin', an' t' west wind is yowlin',
It's for t' farm lads at sea that us lasses mun pray;
Tassey-Will o' t' new biggin, keepin' watch i' his riggin ,
Lile Jock i' his fo'c'sle, torpedoed i' t' bay.

Mony a lass now is weepin' for her marrow that's sleepin',
Wi' nae bield for his corp but the cowd Flanthers clay;
He'll ne'er lift his limmers, he'll ne'er wean his gimmers:
Ay, there's Flowers o' the Forest are withered away.

I’ve heard them lilting, at our yowe-milking,
Lasses a-lilting afore the dawn o’ day;
Noo they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
“The Floo’ers o’ the Forest are a’ wede away.

As buchts, in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning;
The lasses are lonely and dowie and wae.
Nae daffin’, nae gabbin’, but sighing and sobbing,
Ilk ane lifts her leglen, and hies her away.

In hairst, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering,
The bandsters are lyart, and runkled and grey.
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching,
The Floo’ers o’ the Forest are a’ wede away.

At e’en, in the gloaming, nae stossies are roaming,
‘Bout stacks wi’ the lasses at bogle to play.
But ilk ane sits drearie, lamenting her dearie,
The Floo’ers o’ the Forest are a’ wede away.

Dule and wae for the order sent our lads to the border;
The English, for ance, by guile wan the day:
The Floo’ers of the Forest, that foucht aye the foremost,
The prime o’ our land are cauld in the clay.

We’ll hae nae mair lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
Sighing and moaning, on ilka green loaning,
The Floo’ers of the forest are all wede away.
Notes about "The Flowers of Knaresborough Forest" (arranged alphabetically)

Acre : a land measure (0.4 hectare)
Addled : earned
Bield : shelter
Cheap-Jacks : hawkers
Corp : corpse
Delver : quarryman (M)
Flanthers : Flanders
Gimmers : ewe lambs (M); poetic licence: a gimmer is an ewe between first and second shearing
Godspenny : earnest money (M); token payment made upon hiring
Kye : cows
Laithe : barn (M)
Limmers : wagon-shafts (M)
Lowsin' : loosing: letting out, emptying
Marrow : match, partner, betrothed (as marrow is to bone )
Marti'mas hirin' : the farm-hand hiring fair at Martinmas 11th November
May : maiden, girl (and her permission)
Mistal : cow shed (Lit. dung-stall )
Mun : must
New biggin : new house or farm (big, to build)
Ploo-lads : plough-men
Saftest : softest
Sliver : branch of a leafing tree (M)
Stown : stolen
Strippin' : milking
Teamster' clogs : wooden-soled boots of the wagon handlers
Thackrays : a family name among the trades; Moorman is teasing, here
Tirin's : attire, gay apparel, esp. head-wear
Trod : footpath
Ullet : owl
Wae's : woe is
Yak-stoup : oak-post (M)
Yowes : ewes, female sheep

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