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Flo’ors o’ th’ Forest:

The song, originally written in Scots (translated below), describes the grief of women and children at the loss of the lives of their young men.  The composition of this song began with a fragment of a very old ballad. Although the original words are unknown, the melody was first recorded in 1614-25.  In WWI, Scotland lost more men per capita than any other nation and this tune became a very common tune on the bagpipes at memorial services. 

Flo’ors O’ th’ Forest

I’ve heard the lilting, at the ewe-milking,
Lassies about before dawn o’ day;
But now they are moaning on every gray dawning;
“The Flowers o’ the Forest are a’ withered away”.

At cattle-pens, in the morning, nae spry lads are scorning;
The lassies are lonely and sad and woeful.
Nae dallying, nae talking, but sighing and sobbing,
Each sits her stool and cries and hides her eyes.

At harvest, at the shearing, nae youths are a jeering,
The bundles are grizzled, and wrinkled and grey.
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae coaxing,
The Flowers o’ the Forest are a’ withered away.

At evening, in the gloom, nae young lads are roaming,
‘Bout stacks wi’ the lassies at peek-a-boo play.
But she sits all dreary, lamenting her dearie,
The Flowers o’ the Forest are a’ withered away.

Sad and woeful for the order that sent off our lads;
The enemy, for once, by guile won the day:
The Flowers o’ the Forest, they fought at the front,
The prime o’ our land are cold in the clay.

We’ll hear nae more wooing, at the ewe-milking,
Women and children are dreary and sad.
Sighing and moaning, on every dawn,
The Flowers o’ the Forest are a’ withered away.

 Listen to the tune on the bagpipes