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The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume I, song 63, page 64 - 'The Flowers of the Forest'

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Volume I, song 063, page 64 - 'The Flowers of the Forest'

Introduction:
Verse 1:
'Adieu, ye Streams that smoothly glide,
through mazy windings o'er the plain!
I'll in some lonely cave reside,
And ever mourn my faithful swain.
Flower of the forest was my Love,
Soft as the sighing Summer's gale,
Gentle and constant as the dove,
Blooming as roses in the vale.
Alas! By Tweed my Love did stray,
for me he search'd the banks around,
but ah! the sad and fatal day,
my Love the pride of swains was drown'd. How droops the willows o'er the stream,
pale stalks his Ghost in yonder grove,
dire Fancy paints him in my dream,
Awake I mourn my hopeless Love.'

The word 'swain' not only translates as shepherd but specifically in this context implies admirer or suitor.
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
2203
Project:
754:Scots Musical Museum
Material:
Book
Dimensions:
130 x 211 mm
What:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume I, song 63, page 64 - 'The Flowers of the Forest'
Subject:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Who:
Robert Burns (1759-96) (song collector / composer / editor)
William Clarke (c. 1755-1820) (musical editor for Volume VI of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Stephen Clarke (c. 1735-97) (musical editor)
James Johnson (c. 1750-1811) (printer / publisher / engraver / editor)
When:
1513 (Battle of Flodden)
Between 1787 and 1803 (first publication of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Description:
Critics agree that the tune for this composition is very old - much older than the words, in fact. As a result the author of the tune is now and was then untraceable. The origin of the words, however, has proved contentious and it is believed that there are different versions of the verses covering different themes. It is thought the verse quoted here honour the slain Scots at the Battle of Flodden (1513), although the words would make a fitting tribute to any deaths in battle.