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HomeWorld Tour > ScotlandPoetry & PoetsSelkirk after Flodden

Selkirk after Flodden Poem

by James Brown, Selkirk

It's but a month the morn,
sin' a' was peace and plenty,
oor hairst was halflins shorn,
eident men and lasses denty.
But noo it's a' distress -
never mair a merry meetin',
for half the bairns are fatherless,
and a' the women greetin'.
O Flodden field!

Miles and miles round Selkirk toun,
where forest flow'rs are fairest,
ilka lassie's stricken doun,
wi' the fate that fa's the sairest.
A' the lads they used to meet,
by Ettrick braes or Yarrow,
lyin' thrammelt head and feet,
in Brankstone's deadly barrow!
O Flodden field!

Frae every cleuch and clan,
the best o' the braid Border,
rose like a single man,
to meet the royal order.
Oor burgh toun itsel',
sent it's seventy doun the glen,
ask fletcher how they fell,
bravely fechting ane to ten!
O Flodden field!

Round about their gallant king,
for countrie and for croon,
stude the dauntless Border ring,
till the last was hackit doun.
I blame na what has been-
they maun fa' that can flee -
but oh to see what i hae seen,
to see what now i see!
O Flodden field!

The souters a' fu' croose,
o'er their leather and their lingle,
wi' their shoon in ilka hoose,
sat contentit round the ingle.
Noo there's naething left but dool -
never mair their wark will cheer them,
in Flodden's bluidy pool,
they'll naether walt nor wear them!
O Flodden field!

Whar the weavers used to meet,
in ilka bieldy corner,
noo there's nane in a' the street,
savin' here and there a mourner,
walkin lanely as a wraith.
Or if she meet anither,
Just a word below their braith,
O' some slauchtered son or brither.
O' Flodden field!

There stands the grudeman's loom,
that used tae gang sae cheerie,
untentit noo and toom,
makin a the hoose sae eerie.
Till the sicht I canna dree,
for the shuttles lyin dumb,
speak the loudier to me,
o' hm that wunna come,
O' Flodden field!

Sae at nicht I cover't o'er,
just to hand it frae my een,
but I haena yet the pow'r,
to forget what it has been.
and I listen through the hoose,
for the chappin' o' the lay,
till the scrapin' o' a moose,
tak's my very breath away.
O' Flodden field!

Then I turn to sister Jean,
and my airms aboot her twine,
and i kiss her sleepless een,
for the heart's as sair as mine -
A heart ance fu' o' fun,
and hands that ne'er were idle,
wi' a' her cleedin' spun,
against her Jamie's bridal
O' Flodden field!

Noo we've naether hands nor hairt -
in oor grief the wrk's forgotten,
tho' it's wantit every airt,
and the craps are lyin' rotten.
War's awesome blast's gane by,
and left a land forlorn,
in daith's dool hairst they lie,
the shearers an' the shorn.
O' Flodden field!

Wi' winter creepin' near us,
when the nichts are drear an' lang,
nane to help us nane to hear us,
on the weary gate we gang!
Lord o' the quick an' deed,
sin' oor ain we canna see,
in mercy mak gude speed,
and bring us whar they be.
far, far frae Flodden field.

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