The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40546   Message #1059245
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
22-Nov-03 - 05:38 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Bushes and Briars
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bushes and briars
In the Bodleian Colection, the last lines of the one with the earliest verifiable date are:
The green grave shall please me
If I can't have that man.
Harding B11(498), 1813-1838.

The one copied by Jim Dixon probably is Firth c.18(141), 1858-1885, Catnac (sic) Press by W. S. Fortney, London, with the last lines:
So the green grave shall see me,
For I can't love that man.

A shift in meaning here.

Brier is the preferred spelling so does not deserve (sic); briar is a variant.
Vide Webster's Collegiate and OED. Briar is later, but has become equally common. Both descend from brere, still found in dialect according to the OED.