James IV of Scotland

The Flowers of the Forest

On this day in 1513, James IV of Scotland, along with other Flowers of the Forest, was killed in the battle of Flodden.

The Scottish army, led by James, was taking advantage of Henry VIII's absence in France, but they were resoundingly crushed by a militia organized by Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's 1st wife.
It was the most massive battle ever fought between England & Scotland, and it was a devastating defeat for the Scots who remembered the pain of an estimated 12,000 dead sons of Scotland in an old Scottish folksong called “The Flowers of the Forest.”
There are many variations of the lyrics that have surfaced over the years.
One of the oldest verses ends this way:
"' The Flowers of the Forest that fought at the foremost,
The prime of the land is cold in the clay'"
In 1765, the socialite Alison Cockburn wrote her own lyrics to the Flowers of the Forest. Here's the first verse:

I've seen the smiling
Of fortune beguiling,
I've tasted her pleasures
And felt her decay;
Sweet is her blessing,
And kind her caressing,
But now they are fled
And fled far away.

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James IV of Scotland
James IV of Scotland

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