Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel

DigiTrad:
GREEN GROW THE LAURELS
GREEN GROW THE LILACS


Related threads:
(origins) ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'? (70)
Jeopardy - Green Grow the Lilacs - OKi (12)


Rita64 24 May 99 - 01:06 AM
Lonesome EJ 24 May 99 - 01:19 AM
Frank of Toledo 24 May 99 - 01:22 AM
Rita64 24 May 99 - 01:32 AM
Frank of Toledo 24 May 99 - 01:54 AM
JB3 24 May 99 - 02:05 AM
Philippa 24 May 99 - 06:01 AM
Banjer 24 May 99 - 06:14 AM
Philippa 24 May 99 - 09:22 AM
Alice 24 May 99 - 09:25 AM
24 May 99 - 01:11 PM
emily rain 24 May 99 - 04:17 PM
Wolfgang 26 May 99 - 11:14 AM
Alice 26 May 99 - 11:28 AM
Alice 26 May 99 - 02:34 PM
JB3 (inactive) 27 May 99 - 04:05 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 02:02 PM
Mrrzy 09 Apr 02 - 02:17 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 04:09 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 02 - 05:56 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 06:51 PM
MartinRyan 09 Apr 02 - 07:46 PM
Snuffy 09 Apr 02 - 07:49 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 08:45 PM
radriano 10 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM
Irish sergeant 10 Apr 02 - 03:36 PM
Mrrzy 10 Apr 02 - 04:10 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Apr 02 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Nerd 10 Apr 02 - 04:25 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 02 - 04:39 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Apr 02 - 04:58 PM
MartinRyan 10 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Apr 02 - 05:30 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 02 - 05:47 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Apr 02 - 05:51 PM
rich-joy 11 Apr 02 - 06:11 AM
Irish sergeant 11 Apr 02 - 04:24 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 11 Apr 02 - 05:52 PM
Big Mick 29 Apr 02 - 10:09 AM
Gillies 08 May 07 - 08:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 May 07 - 10:38 PM
Gillies 26 May 07 - 06:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 May 07 - 07:16 PM
Irish sergeant 29 Feb 08 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,pinksquink 10 May 10 - 08:33 AM
Steve Gardham 10 May 10 - 09:15 AM
JeffB 15 May 10 - 06:34 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 10 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Barb Harrison 10 Aug 10 - 06:12 PM
pavane 11 Aug 10 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Brian W Blake 07 Mar 11 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,LARRYM 05 Aug 14 - 04:54 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 14 - 01:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 14 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Airto 06 Mar 16 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Musket 07 Mar 16 - 10:55 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Mar 16 - 03:33 PM
Joe Offer 14 May 23 - 04:46 PM
Steve Gardham 15 May 23 - 01:51 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum Child
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Rita64
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:06 AM

Does anyone know the history of this song? It has been recorded by both Dolores Keane and Anuna. Is the tune known by a different name? I can't find it anywhere but it sounds very much like a tune I have heard before ... can't remember the name either. Argh - isn't that always the way!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:19 AM

Could it be Pretty Polly that you are talking about? It has the line "green grows the laurel and likewise the rue". Go to the search box for digitrad and put in "laurel" or "polly".

LEJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:22 AM

If it is, in any way related to "Green Grow The Rashes, O, it is one of Robert Burns' songs, that was first set down in his "Commonplace Book", in August 1784. The chorus goes like this: Green Grow the rashes, O......... Green Grow the rashes, O...... The sweetest hours that e'er I spend... Are spent amang the lasses, O... Hope i was able to help................


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Rita64
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:32 AM

Sorry Frank, it is quite different to Green Grow the Rushes O. Thanks for trying to help though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:54 AM

This is from a 1997 Julie Henigan recording on Waterbug. GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL" Traditional.......A love song learned from a recording of the sublime County Antrim singer Len Graham, who got his version chiefly from Eddie Butcher of Magilligan County Derry. The song, which seems popular among "travellers" in Britain and Ireland, contains allusions to several forms of symbolic flora........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL (from Betty Smith)
From: JB3
Date: 24 May 99 - 02:05 AM

Betty Smith sings a version:

GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL
^^
Green grows the laurel and fresh falls the dew
Sorry am I since I parted with you
Sorry am I since I parted with you
And we'll change the green laurel for the bonnets so blue

I can love little or I can love long
I can love a new love when the old love is gone
I only said I loved him to give his heart ease
Now his back is to me, I'll love who I please.
Often have I wondered why women love men
And then I've wondered what makes men love them
This is a mystery, but one thing I know
The men they are deceivers, wherever they go

I believe that Betty sings the first verse as a chorus and that there may be more verses I don't remember. Betty is a folk-singer from Georgia, now living in North Carolina, I believe she has recorded for June Appal(sp?)
Isn't this song related to one about the "orange and blue"? I like to sing it when the blue bonnets are blooming along the Texas roads.

Cheers, June


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Philippa
Date: 24 May 99 - 06:01 AM

The words given by June (JB3) look to me to be about the same as what I've heard Len Graham sing. I can't think offhand of other songs that go to the same air that he sings. I correspond with Jule Hennigan, so let me know if you have any questions for her (Julie's starting a British tour so will be busy now)

Can anyone confirm that this was the song that was so popular among English speakers that the Mexicans called them "Gringos"?

'FYM' - If you include a line or two from the songs and/or a summary of the story/the theme of the song you're asking about, it helps pinpoint the particular song. It is useful to mention recording artists, especially if it is important to you to ge informaion on a specific version, but often people will have heard the song from a different source than the one/s you mention.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Banjer
Date: 24 May 99 - 06:14 AM

Fair Youngmaid, If you will go to the little blue box at the very top right of the screen and type in GREEN GROW THE LILACS you will find the object of your search! Also be sure to read the notes following the song and you will understand how yhe folk-process has changed it over the years and from location to location!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Philippa
Date: 24 May 99 - 09:22 AM

Following Banjer's advice, don't forget to enclose the title/phrase within square brackets. I found three songs encompassing the phrase [green grow the lilacs] and one of them is a Johnny and Molly song from the Sam Henry collection; it may well be the song you sought on another thread!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL
From: Alice
Date: 24 May 99 - 09:25 AM

If you are looking for the music, I have it from Herbert Hughes, Irish Country Songs, VOL IV. 1936.

These are the lyrics he collected, one of many versions, probably. I believe this version comes from West Kerry, as many of the other songs in Vol IV were referred to as being collected there.

GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL

I once had a sweetheart
But it's now I have none.
And since he has left me
I live all alone.
I live all alone,
And contented I'll be
For he loves another
Far better than me.

chorus
Green grows the laurel
and soft falls the dew,
Sad was the day, love,
I parted from you.
I hope our next meeting
Will prove kind and true.
Don't change the green laurel
For the red, white, and blue.

I wrote him a letter
All crested in red.
He wrote me an answer
And guess what he said.
"Keep your love letters,
And I will keep mine,
Write to your sweetheart,
And I'll write to mine.

chorus

I wonder and wonder
Why women love men.
I wonder and never think
How they love them.
For women are faithful,
And kind as you know,
But men are deceivers
Wherever they go.

chorus
-----

The tune is very similar but not quite the same as the American "Green Grow the Lilacs" (or Laurel). If you are somewhere that I can fax the music to, email to me. acflynn@mcn.net
If not, and you want the music, I will scan it and post it when I have time.

alice in montana


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From:
Date: 24 May 99 - 01:11 PM

Several versions are listed in The Traditional Ballad Index (Mudcat's Links)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: emily rain
Date: 24 May 99 - 04:17 PM

Here are two more verses from the version I know (most similar to the one Alice posted):

He passed by my window both early and late
The looks that he gave me would make your heart ache
The looks that he gave me ten thousand would kill
But wherever he goes he'll be my love, still

I once was as happy as a red bloomin' rose
Now I'm as pale as the lily that grows
Like a tree in the forest whose growin' is done
Can you see what's become of me by the lovin' of one?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Wolfgang
Date: 26 May 99 - 11:14 AM

As for the background, I always have thought at least in some versions this song was a lovesong only at the surface but a political song in the deeper sense. Maybe some of the Irish know better, but when I read a line as 'don't change the green laurels for red, white and blue' I think of the colours of the British flag and the Irish Green and I think of the times when 'The Wearing of the Green' could mean death to that person. In these times, such a 'lovesong' could be a safe way to voice protest.

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Alice
Date: 26 May 99 - 11:28 AM

I agree, Wolfgang. I also thought of the dual meaning of switching loyalty to red, white, and blue of British OR immigrating to the US red, white, and blue.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Alice
Date: 26 May 99 - 02:34 PM

Here are images of the music as collected by Hughes with his piano accompaniment. The book (volume IV) is out of print, but the introduction is dated 1936. More about it is in my May 24 message, with the lyrics.

Green Grows The Laurel

page one

page two

page three


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: JB3 (inactive)
Date: 27 May 99 - 04:05 AM

I was thinking that the "Orange and Blue" (an earlier version?) had Irish political significance. Anyone know?

June


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:02 PM

I have resurrected this thread because Pavane was asking about "Green Grows the Laurel" in another thread (about the word gringo-gringa). Two versions are here.
I am also interested in finding a version (using lilacs) in which the first verse ends "Green grow the lilacs on the Oregon Trail."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:17 PM

That phrase is also in a murder ballad as Green grows the laurel and red grows the rose / And a black bird will follow wherever he goes / Crying sailor O sailor, wherever ye be / The blood flows forever beneath the green tree. It's the last verse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 04:09 PM

Mrrzy, very much like to see that murder ballad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 05:56 PM

From Steve Roud's folksong index, the song has been found in England, Scotland, Canada and USA, from the early 20th century, but no earlier broadside text seems to be known.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 06:51 PM

Found a site which claims that "Green Grow the Lilacs" was written during the Civil War by Fred Brooks. No supporting evidence. When did the rushes-rashes-laurels change to lilacs?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:46 PM

Mrzzy's murder ballad is sometimes known as "Miss Brown" - as sung by Frank Harte. Haven't time to trace it in Roud's Index - but will come back to it if necessary.

Regards

p.s. I think its a version of The Cruel Ship's Carpenter?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:49 PM

There's no red white & blue in the English versions I'm familiar with: the last line of the chorus is always "Change the green laurels to lilacs of blue"

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 08:45 PM

Lots of color, Snuffy. Another color line: We'll join the green laurel and the violet so blue (Irish, in the DT, Kennery, Folksongs of Britain and Ireland). Red, white and blue apparently Irish also (see Alice, above). Posting by JB3: change the green laurel for the bonnets so blue (Lupinus- bluebonnets of Texas, etc.? Or the bluebonnet cap once worn in Scotland?). Some of the red, white and blue probably American patriotism showing up. Any more color changes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL
From: radriano
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM

Here's a version of "Green Grows the Laurel" that is from Norma Waterson's recording "Bright Shiny Morning."

GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL

Now once I was a schoolgirl all in my pencil and slate
Can't you see what I've come to from staying out late
And it's once I had a collar that is as red as any rose
Ah but now I'm as pale as the lily that grows

And it's green grows the laurel and so cold now blows the dew
And how sorry was I when I parted from you
Just like the rose in the garden when her bloom is all gone
Can't you see what I've come to for loving that man

Now my parents dislikes me they've turned me away from their door
So I told them that I'd ramble like I used to before
And I picked up my baby and I've walked out the door
And I told them that I'd ramble like I used to before

And it's green grows the laurel and so cold now blows the dew
And how sorry was I when I parted from you
Just like the rose in the garden when her bloom is all gone
Can't you see what I've come to for loving that man

So it's me and my baby and contented we will be
And I'll try to forget him like he forgot me
And while there's love on the ocean and there's dry land
While there's breath into my body I will still love that man

And it's green grows the laurel and so cold now blows the dew
And how sorry was I when I parted from you
Just like the rose in the garden when her bloom is all gone
Can't you see what I've come to for loving that man


Norma Waterson's note from the CD insert:
From Queen Caroline Hughes. Of all English Traditional singers I think that Queen Caroline Hughes is my favourite. I first heard of her from Ewan MacColl in the early 1960s after he had recorded her for the radio ballad "The Travelling People" (Topic TSCD 808). Lal, Mike and I had a tape from (I think) Ewan in the early 1960s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 03:36 PM

The version Delores Keane does was known in the United States during the Mexican War. Folklore had it that this song was the source of the term "Gringo" How true that is is anyones guess. It was sung by Irish soldiers although its possible it was known previous to the war with Mexico. I would be very interested to know if any broadsides from that period are extant. I Know that Samuel Eliot Morrison included the first line or two in his Oxford History of the American People which was published in the mid 1960s. Hope that helps. Kindest regards, neil


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:10 PM

Here you are, I have it by Ed McCurdy:

GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL

In Dublin's fair city, in Dublin's fair town,
There lived a young girl by the name of Miss Brown.
She courted a sailor for seven long years,
And from the beginning, he called her his dear.

One morning so early by the break of the day,
He called to her window and to her did say:
"Rise up, bonny Mary, and come you with me.
Such things they will happen; such things you will see."

He took her o'er mountain; he took her o'er dell.
She heard through the morning the sound of a bell.
All over the ocean, all over the sea,
Ye maidens of Dublin, take warning by me.

"O sailor, o sailor, come spare me my life!"
But out of his pocket, he took a penknife.
He stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in three,
Then he buried poor Mary beneath the green tree.

Now green grows the laurel, and red grows the rose,
And a black bird will follow wherever he goes,
Crying, "Sailor, O Sailor, wherever ye be,
The blood flows forever beneath the green tree."

This is close to the bloodiest bloody ballad I know. I like that in a ballad...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:25 PM

The myth dies hard. See Gringo
The word gringo is 18th century, and was widespread before the Mexican-American War.
Green Grows the Laurel is Irish, and present in America, but there are very few concrete indications of its early use. The song was popular during the American Civil War, but American broadsides before that time are not found.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:25 PM

Mick Moloney just released a nice version of Green Grows the Laurel on his new album Far From the Shamrock Shore. In the notes he repeats the old Canard about Gringo, which is almost certainly not true.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:39 PM

We have a lot of assertions here about the song being known before 1900. Does anyone have any real evidence for this? If so, please cite the evidence, not the assertions. Assertions are free, but they're worthless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:58 PM

This bothers me too. It is known from Ireland and the British Isles, but little evidence of the song in America before the Civil War. It may never have been sung by the troops during the time of the Mexican War. Evidence is largely second-hand even for the 1860 and later period.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM

Mrzzy

Frank Harte's version is very similar to the one you give, apart from the last verse:

Green grows the laurel and red grows the rose
And a raven shall follow, wherever he goes
A cloud shall hang over this murderer's head
No rest shall he find now that Molly is dead

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREEN LAURELS
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:30 PM

THE GREEN LAURELS

I oftentimes have wondered how women loved men,
But I ofttimes have wondered how men could love them;
They will love you a little and give your heart ease,
And when your back's on them, they'll love who they please.

Chorus:
Then green grows the laurel and so does the rue;
How sad's been the day I parted from you!
But at our next meeting our love we'll renew;
We'll change the green laurel for the origin blue.

Some will love a short love, and others love long,
Some will love a weak love and others love strong;
Some will love a short love and others love long,
And some will love an old love till the new love comes in.

I wrote my love a letter all bounded in pain;
She wrote me another all bounded the same:
Say, "You may keep your promise and I will keep mine;
We'll change the green laurel for the origin blue."

On the top of yon mountain, where the green grass does grow,
Way down in you valley, where the still waters flow,
I saw my old true love, and she had proved true;
We changed the green laurel for the origin blue.

"origin blue" a mistake for "orange and blue."
Miss Ila Hall, 1917, Virginia. In Cox, John H., Folk Songs of the South, p. 417-418.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:47 PM

There are 2 versions in Cox's 'Folk-Songs of the South', but no tune for either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:51 PM

Tune for the one above should be the old standby.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: rich-joy
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 06:11 AM

smashing version of "Green Grow the Laurels" on Fellside's "Voices in Harmony" compilation CD - by Johnny Collins and friends (including Ms Anni Fentiman) with luverley chorus harmonies - yer can't NOT join in!!!
Cheers! R-J


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 04:24 PM

As I stated earlier, Morrison used it to highlight his chapter on the Mexican war in his Oxford History of the American People but he does not annotate it. I take it as an indication he thought it was from that era but I don't know. I always thought it was in spite of the myth about the term "gringo". A query, Was the song known in Ireland previous to the Mexican War? If so, it may well have been sung by American soldiers during the Mexican war. Keep in mind at that time the American Army was made up of a large percentage of foriegners. Most of them were Irish or German. But an answer to the lack of broadsides may be found in that the majority of the irish who immigrated worried first about making a living and then about getting their traditional music into print. Kindest regards, Neil


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 05:52 PM

Irish Sergeant, one Belfast printing known. The Bodleian Library has no Green grow(s) laurels or lilacs. A Belfast printing of green grows the rushes 1846-1853. English printings back to 1813-1838.
Very little in Library Congress or Smithsonian with any age to it. A NY printing of Green Grow the Rushes (Scottish dialect in part) from 1860. Historic sheet music has nothing 1850-1920. Green grows the Laurel (lilacs, orange and blue, etc.) is listed at 1908 in the Traditional Ballad Index.
The scarcity of broadsides and sheet music suggests that this song, except in the Scottish version, was not all that widespread, and little known in America. All references suggesting age (other than those cited) are seemingly without support.
With a search, it may be found as a mention in diaries and letters of the time, or in Irish archives, but at present, its popularity during the Mexican, or even the Civil, War, is doubtful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: the green laurel / green grows the laurel
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 10:09 AM

Interesting stuff here. I just heard Pat Broaders of Bohola sing it a week ago. He asserted that it was an Irish song sung by the Irish troops on both sides of the divide during the Mexican War. I hope we can track down its origins. Fascinating stuff.

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Gillies
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:05 PM

Hi

would anyon eknow the chords to this song?

cheers


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 May 07 - 10:38 PM

Many claims about the song, but documentation lacking of its presence in America before the Civil War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Chord Req: Green Grows the laurel
From: Gillies
Date: 26 May 07 - 06:15 PM

Hi

I'm looking for the lyrics and chords to "Green Grows the Laurel"

Cheers


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Chord Req: Green Grows the laurel
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 May 07 - 07:16 PM

Tons of stuff here- look for it.
Lyrics of one version in the DT.
This long thread 11139, Origins; the Green laurel: Green Laurel >


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 03:49 PM

I have seen references to it being known in SCotland in the 17th century and finding it's way into ireland. If anyone has seen any documentation I would be very interested. I would like to use this song in a historical novel I'm working on about the Mexican War But obviously, I don't want to if it wasn't known in thattime period. Neil


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,pinksquink
Date: 10 May 10 - 08:33 AM

Hi Rita64,

I've just been looking up the lyrics of green grows the laurel and it seems to me that the song is almost the same as 'Once I had a sweetheart'. I know Pentangle have recorded a version of this.I've seen many different versions of the lyrics and various verses but some are used in both of the songs.
Hope this is useful!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 10 - 09:15 AM

I can't believe this thread has gone on over such a long period without anyone adding its history in print going back at least to the 18thc. Someone please tell me this has been done on another thread. If not I will post its history on broadsides here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: JeffB
Date: 15 May 10 - 06:34 PM

Yes please, Steve. I for one would be interested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 10 - 01:26 PM

The earliest manifestations I have give it the title 'Can't you love who(m) you please.' All of the versions I have are in 5 stanzas. If you want to check out a version see Bodleian Broadside Ballads website
Firth b27 (414)
Most of the versions are c1800-1840.
The earliest of the late 18thc is probably Morren of Edinburgh, but Evans of London was printing from about 1780. Pitts of London and Kendrew of York printed it in the early 19thc, and Stephenson of Gateshead (Bodleian copy) a little later, plus Taylor of Birmingham. In the latter half of the 19thc it was still being printed by the likes of Forth of Hull and Fortey of London under the title 'I changed the green willow for the orange and blue'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,Barb Harrison
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 06:12 PM

I found this info on the website listed below - loved the great connections to Scottish history.

The song Green Grows the Laurel refers to several periods in Scottish and Ulster-Scottish history. Jacobites might change the green laurel for the bonnets so blue of the exiled Stewart monarchs of Scotland during the Jacobite Rebellions of the late 1600's - early 1700's. Scottish Lowlanders and Ulster Presbyterians would change the green laurel of James II in 1690 for the Orange and Blue of William of Orange, and later on, many of these Ulstermen would immigrate to America, and thus change the green laurel for the red, white and blue
(from:www.tartansauthority.com)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: pavane
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 06:32 AM

But no evidence that any of this is linked to the song?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,Brian W Blake
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 07:34 PM

I think you are thinking of the song "Green Grow the Lilacs" originally "Green Grows the Laurel" an Irish song. The song title is familiar as the source of a dubious popular etymology for the word gringo, supposedly being a Hispanicization of "green grow", which Mexicans certainly could have heard U.S. troops singing during the Mexican-American War.

The cowboys in south Texas loved to sing the song. Across the way, Mexicans, who could not understand the words, could only hear "green grow". So white Americans became known as "Gringo" by the Mexicans.


          Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
          I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
          But by next meeting I'll hope to provre true
          And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

          I once had a sweetheart, but now I have none
          She's gone and she's left me, I care not for one
          Since she's gone and left me, contented I'll be.
          For she loves another one better than me.

(There are other versions)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,LARRYM
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 04:54 AM

If the alleged etymology of "Gringo" is true, it may be earliest known Mondegreen. Well, that's not true. The incorporation of Mondegreens must be a major part of the Folk Process, right up there with memory lapses.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 01:04 PM

Gringo has been defined in another thread (too muck work to check back so here is the word again).

Gringo was applied by Spaniards to foreigners, especially French, in the 18th century. Origin of word unknown, but may have first meant "unintelligible gibberish," one of its definitions in Spanish Dictionaries (Diccionario de la lengua Española, Real Academia Española).

Through much of Latin America, the word has been applied to foreigners (extranjeros), especially those speaking English. In Mexico, applied to North Americans. Hablar en gringomeans to speak double Dutch. (Velasquez, Spanish and English Dictionary).
"gringada" is applied to females.

A participant in the Mexican War heard the word "gringos" hurled at them by Mexicans in 1849 (See Oxford English Dictionary.

The "laurel" song does not appear in any American writings before the 1860s, and was apparently unknown to Americans during the Mexican War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 01:40 PM

See thread 46273, "?Why Mexicans called them gringos?"
The word gringo in print in Spain in the 1780s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,Airto
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 08:54 PM



This is a pared-down version, sung by Sandy Denny at her very best


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 10:55 AM

Back in the day, Tom and Bertha Brown used to preface the song by mentioning the gringo connection. I took it as urban myth to be fair.....

The tune they used was very different to the one popularised by The Pentangle and used by many before and after. The words were very much a "Norfolk" take on the song and we didn't get much further than Tom claiming to have learnt it at "his mother's knee."

I sing it to their tune but having lost my recording of them years ago, I use a commercial set of words, possibly same as Pentangle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 03:33 PM

How does a mondegreen grow?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: Green Grows the Laurel/Grow the Lilacs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 May 23 - 04:46 PM

Traditional Ballad Index Entry

Green Grows the Laurel (Green Grow the Lilacs)

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments, "I once had a sweetheart but now I have none." (S)he wrote him a letter; the reply says to stop writing. (His/her) very looks are full of venom. (S)he wonders why men and women love each other
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1846 (in U.S., according to Studwell); before 1886 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.18(245))
KEYWORDS: love rejection parting colors ring floatingverses
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Ireland Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord),England(Lond,North)) Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont)
REFERENCES (37 citations):
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 490-491, "Green Grows the Laurel" (2 texts plus mention of 1 more)
Randolph 61, "The Orange and Blue" (3 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 118-121, "The Orange and Blue" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 61A)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 280, "Red, White, and Blue" (3 texts with an interesting assortment of green-growing flowers); also probably 282, "I Sent My Love a Letter" (3 texts, of which "B" is clearly this; "A" is "Down in the Valley" and "C" is a mess with some "Down in the Valley" verses and others about Lulu; it's not clear which Lulu)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 280, "Red, White, and Blue" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 77, "Green Frows the Laurel" (1 text)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 91A, "Green Grows the Laurel"; 91B, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Abernethy-SinginTexas, pp. 163-164, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 331-332, "The Orange and the Blue" (3 texts, all short, with local titles "Red, White and Blue," "Green Grows the Laurel," "Green Grows the Laurel"; 2 tunes on pp. 445-446)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 156, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol4, pp. 63-64, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thompson-BodyBootsAndBritches-NewYorkStateFolktales, "Green Laurel" (1 text plus an excerpt)
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 286-288, "The One O" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Bk 20)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #52, "Orange and Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 158, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #46, "Green Grow the Laurels" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H165a+b, p. 260, "Green Grow the Rashes (Green Grows the Laurel)" (2 texts, 2 tunes, though both are strongly mixed with something like "If I Were a Fisher"); also H624, p. 349, "I Am a Wee Laddie, Hard, Hard Is My Fate" (1 text, 1 tune, also probably a composite of this and something else)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 29, "Green Grows the Laurel" (2 texts; the "A" text is probably mixed with some other lost love song)
Peacock, pp. 454-455, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 20, "I Wrote My Love a Letter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ives-FolksongsOfNewBrunswick, pp. 29-30, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke-TraditionalSingersAndSongsFromOntario 44, "I Once Loved a Lass" (1 text, 1 tune, from LaRena (Mrs. Gordon) Clark, which begins with verses probably from "The False Bride (The Week Before Easter; I Once Loved a Lass," continues with stanzas from "Green Grows the Laurel (Green Grow the Lilacs)," then has a "My love is like a dewdrop" stanza often found in "Farewell He," and includes several other lyrics that might have floated in)
Flanders/Brown-VermontFolkSongsAndBallads, pp. 113-114, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan6 1138, "Green Grows the Laurels" (5 texts, 3 tunes)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #70, p. 2, "Green Grows the Laurel"; #153, p. 3, ("Come all ye roving young men") (1 text plus 1 fragment)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, p. 182, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text); also p. 187, "The Rose and the Thyme" (1 text, mostly "I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love Tonight" but with several verses which probably belong here)
Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice #64, p. 229-230, "Green Grow the Laurels" (1 text, 1 tune, with the first three verses being "Green Grows the Laurels"; the stanza form then shifts, with a few lines typical of "Wheel of Fortune (Dublin City, Spanish Lady)," and a broken token conclusion too short to identify)
McMorland/Scott-HerdLaddieOTheGlen, pp. 66-67, 151, "Green Grows the Laurels" (1 text, 1 tune)
Stewart/Belle-Stewart-QueenAmangTheHeather, pp. 94-95, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 130, "Sweet William and Nancy" (1 text, mostly "William and Nancy (II) (Courting Too Slow)" [Laws P5] but mixed with this song and other material)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 170, "Green Grows the Laurel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abrahams-JumpRopeRhymes, #161, "Green grows the laurel" (1 excerpt)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 139, "The Green Laurels" (2 texts)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 62, "Green Grows the Laurel" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fireside-Book-of-Folk-Songs, p. 174, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 165, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (1 text)
DT, GREENGRO* GRENGRO2* WEELADDY* (the last being the mixed Sam Henry version)

Roud #279
RECORDINGS:
Daisy Chapman, "Green Grow the Laurels" (on SCDChapman01)
Robert Cinnamond, "Green Grows the Laurel" (on FSBFTX15)
Mary Delaney, "Green Grows the Laurel" (on IRTravellers01)
Louie Fuller, "Green Grow the Laurels" (on Voice15)
Marie Hare, "Green Grows the Laurel" (on MRMHare01)
Mike Kent, "The Nightengale" (on NFMLeach); "Nightingale Laurels" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Tex Ritter & his Texans, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (Capitol 206, 1945)
Jeannie Robertson, "Green Grow the Laurels" (on FSB01)
Mrs. Clara Stevens, "Green Grows the Laurel" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Firth c.18(245), "I Changed the Green Willow for the Orange and Blue", W.S. Fortey (London), 1858-1885
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Will Ye Gang, Love"
cf. "The German Clockwinder" (tune)
cf. "The Ploughboy (I)" (lyrics)
cf. "The Blackbird and Thrush" (lyrics)
cf. "If I Were a Fisher" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love Tonight (Green Grass It Grows Bonny)" (lyrics)
cf. "The Yellow Handkerchief (Flash Company)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I've Travelled This Country (Last Friday Evening)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "The Rue and the Thyme (The Rose and the Thyme)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "A Warning to Girls" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Loved by a Man" (floating lyrics)
NOTES [1254 words]: A legend has it that Mexicans call Americans "Gringos" because, during the Mexican War, the yanquis sang "Green Grow the Lilacs" so often. The term "gringo" is much older than this, however. - RBW
Tristram Coffin [JournalOfAmericanFolklore 65 (1952), p. 342 ff.) and Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice (228) make the point that the colors referred to in the various versions indeed differ, but they point out that the colors refer to plants and their traditional attributes: "green" laurel as a symbol of virginity and faithful love, rue as a symbol of abstinence and therefore faithfulness ("rue" later often changed to dew"), while "origin" refers to "origin blue -- blue bastard marjoram-thyme," with both marjoram and thyme "closely related to fertility and virility" (Coffin 343). So, writes Coffin, it would make sense after a long period of separation to exchange the "green laurel's" virginity for the "blue" of fertility in marriage. As regards to "origin," John Greenway notes "Herbs of the genus Origanum, often called 'origane' and 'origin,' being closely related to herbs of the genus Marjorana, are frequently called 'bastard marjoram'" (Cited in Coffin, p. 343). Thus it could well be that the significance of the colors is far more "herbal" "and "social" than "historical-political." While this is can be true generally, we cannot say for sure whether any one specific singer on either side of the Atlantic actively knew of these relationships.
Tristram Coffin follows two strains of the tradition. "Group A", the British (probably original) emphasizes that in spite of the lovers having parted (or sent letters), the singer trusts that they will soon "renew" or consummate their relationship. "Group B", the Scottish and often American, emphasizes that the singer, even after an acrimonious exchange of letters, "hopes" that at their next meeting their "joy will renew" -- in other words a much more tenuous outcome. Both groups often have stanzas wondering how men can love maids, or maids men, when "they" are so deceitful. (Coffin, "A Tentative Study of a Typical Folk Lyric: 'Green Grows the Laurel,'" JournalOfAmericanFolklore 65 (1952), pp. 341-351.)
Jeannie Robertson's version from the Traveller tradition in the northeast of Scotland goes in a different direction: after they have parted and letters are rejected, a stranger appears to the singer, offers the singer castle, gold and silver if she would sleep with him the night. She cares nothing for all that, wishing her Willie were with her that night. He produces the broken token ring, reveals himself to be Willie, come back to marry her. Stated more abstractly, these Northeast variants combine the theme of separated lovers coming to a resolution (positive or negative), plus, in a relatively small subset, the theme of the "false-true lover" producing the broken token. Given, that all the hundreds of various narrative variants in this complex are so embedded in lyric and floating verses, it is probably better to "lump" them rather than try to "split" them. - DGE
Leach does not explain why the title of this cut on NFMLeach is "The Nightengale."
"Cupid's Garden" (I) includes the following lines: "For I mean to live a virgin, And still the Laurel wear" (see, for example, Bodleian broadside Harding B 20(119)). In the language of flowers laurel stands for "perfidy"; the spurge laurel stands for "coquetry"
In Louie Fuller's Voice15 version each verse lists another seducer: the singer, a sailor and a pageboy.
Mary Delaney's version on IRTravellers01 adds verses I haven't seen before: "Now me mamma she blames me For courting too young, She may blame my small beauty And my flattering old tongue. She may blame my small beauty And my dark rolling eye, If my love is not for me And sorry am I." and "Oh then, thank God, agraghy, The case could be worse, I got money in my pocket And gold in my purse, When my baby is born I can pay for a nurse, And I'll pass as a maiden In a strange countery."
William E Studwell, The American Song Reader (New York,1997), on page 101 traces "red, white, and blue" from a Jacobite line "We'll change the green laurel to the bonnet so blue": "Irish-American soldiers in the Mexican War of 1846-1848 sang a version containing their homeland colors at the time, "orange and blue." (The song was published in the United States in 1846, while the war was still going on.) In time, the colors changed to the American national colors "red, white, and blue" and the plant changed from laurel to lilacs, with the ending line becoming "And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue."
The "green laurel" line seems to be from this song, though I haven't seen any other connection to the Jacobite cause. The "blue bonnet" -- often a reference to the Black Watch -- may be a Jacobite reference (see the Hogg-JacobiteRelicsOfScotlandVol2 reference to "Cock Your Beaver"), though I don't even find that to be clear. Was the Orange Order flag -- blue or purple star on an orange background -- or any other flag with Williamite colors -- widely used in 19th century Ireland? [But see "The Protestant Boys": "... loyal Protestants ... Orange and Blue, ever faithful and true, Our King shall support and sedition affright"; also see the Orange Order song "Orange and Blue."] In spite of my reservations, what interests me here is the idea of Irish soldiers singing about "homeland [Orange] colors."
Roy Palmer, in Folk Songs Colected by Ralph Vaughan Williams says "There is a somewhat implausible theory that the song might have had a covert political meaning in Ireland, where green stands for republicanism (though united with orange and white in the tricolour) and the orange and blue for Ulster separatism."
Greig #153 begins "Come all ye roving young men, And listen to me; And never lay your love On the top of a tree." For a parody of this verse see "Come All You Young Men." This is the typical "green grows the laurel" verse with the sexes reversed (at least on the first line).
On the other hand (that is: "orange and blue" are just colors): in eleven Greig/Duncan6 1198 versions of "The Nobleman's Wedding" the bridegroom says, after his lover's death, "First I'll put on is a coat of red [or blue, or green] velvet, And I will wear it for one month or two, Next I'll put on is the green and the yellow, And aye, aye after the orange and blue"; in three more "the green and the yellow" are replaced by "the red and the yellow." I have only seen these colored mourning suits in versions from Scotland (Greig-Duncan, including Greig, and Ord). The Irish versions (Kennedy, McBride and Henry) and North American versions (Sharp, Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland, Peacock, Karpeles and Darling) may mention willow, but no suits. In fact, Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia has the suit verse but substitutes green willow for the suits. Kennedy's notes have (p. 383) a verse with "suits of deep mourning" -- but no colors -- from Donegal, and with the colored suits from North-East Scotland.
The verse "at our next meeting Our love we'll renew, And we'll change the green and yellow To the orange and blue" also floats to "Stone and Lime," where it has nothing to do with mourning suits. So far we only have "Stone and Lime" from Scotland.
The Mike Kent recordings seem mislabelled. There is no "nightingale" in the texts which do have "Green grows the laurels and soft falls the dew." - BS
Last updated in version 6.5
File: R061

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2023 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


GREEN GROW THE LAURELS (DT Lyrics)

I once had a sweetheart but now I have none
He's gone and he's left me, to weep and to mourn;
He's gone and he's left me, for others to see
But I'll soon find another, far better than he

cho: Green grows the laurel, soft falls the dew
Sorry was I, love, parting from you
But at our next meeting I hope you'll prove true
And we'll join the green laurel and the violet so blue.

He passes my window both early and late
And the looks he gives at me would me my heart break;
The looks he gives at me a thousand would kill
Though he hates and detests me, I love that lad still.

I wrote him a letter in red rosy lines
He wrote back an answer all twisted and twined
Saying: Keep your love-letters and I will keep mine,
You write to your love and I'll write to mine.

Now I oft'times do wonder why maidens love men
And oft'times I wonder why young men love them
But from my own knowledge I will have you to know
That the men are deceivers wherever they go.

From Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Kennedy
Collected from Robert Cinnamond, N. Ireland, 1955

@love @infidelity
filename[ GRENGRO2
TUNE FILE: GRENGRO2
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

Popup Midi Player




GREEN GROW THE LILACS (DT Lyrics)

cho: Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
But by our next meeting IU'll hope to prove true
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

I once had a sweetheart, but now I have none
She's gone and she's left me, I care not for one
Since she's gone and left me, contented I'll be,
For she loves another one better than me.

cho:

I passed my love's window, both early and late
The look that she gave me, it makes my heart ache;
Oh, the look that she gave me was painful to see,
For she loves another one better than me.

cho:

I wrote my love letters in rosy red lines,
She sent me an answer all twisted and twined;
Saying, "Keep your love letters and I will keep mine
Just you write to your love and I'll write to mine."

Note: After Wildwood Flower, this may be the most universally
folk-processed song ever. Every version I've seen has at least
one alternate locution; I decided that it wasn't worth listing
all the variants I've encountered. Lilacs, or Laurels; Red White
and Blue or Orange and Blue; "sparkling with dew" or "all wet
with the dew" or "and so does the rue" ;"twisted and twined" or
"twisted with twine" --- etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Nobody's
quite sure what the words mean (in detail, that is), and probably
a lot of the singers mumbled a good deal; in any case, don't
worry too much and enjoy. It's a great tune. Oh yes, the story
about this being the basis for the Mexican epithet of "gringo" is
most likely pure fakelore. RG

Recorded by the Mitchell Trio, Tony Kraber
@soldier @cowboy @love
filename[ GREENGRO
TUNE FILE: GREENGRO
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

Popup Midi Player




Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: CAN'T YOU LOVE WHOM YOU PLEASE
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 23 - 01:51 PM

Meanwhile here is ' Can't you love whom you please' from c1790 printed in London and Edinburgh.

CAN'T YOU LOVE WHOM YOU PLEASE

When first in this country a stranger I came,
In fair Dublin city that place of great fame,
It was my misfortune a fair one to see,
It was the beginning of my misery.

I have oftentimes wondered how men could love maids
And a thousand times wondered how maids could love them
But they are deceitful, the truth I will tell,
I will never love a young man till he loves as well.

The man who says little I'm sure he is the best
And he that says nothing his heart is at rest;
He lives by experience his heart tells him so,
Every one to their own love, I know what I know.

Green grows the laurel, and so does the rue,
How sorry I was when I parted from you
The next happy meeting our joys may renew,
So I changed the green willow for the orange and blue.

Oh can't you love little, Oh can't you love long,
Oh can't you love a new one till the old one returns
Can't you say that you love him his mind for to ease,
And when his back's turned can't you love who you please.

As you can see, a jumble of stock phrases with little cohesion. They are probably commonplace stanzas and lines from other songs. The plant symbolism is quite common and easily interpreted, appearing in early versions of 'Sprig of Thyme' and 'Seeds of Love' among others.

The anomaly between the voices in the first 2 stanzas could point to an origin in a duet from a ballad opera.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 24 June 7:06 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 2022 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.