Ford, Ira W.,Traditional Music of America,” Folklore Associates, Inc, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1965, reprinted from the original, Copyright, 1940, E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., “Traditions of American Fiddle Tunes,” p. 184.
“Green Grow the Rushes, O!” was a popular melody of American soldiers at the time of the Mexican war, to which they set many verses. The following verse is descriptive of their associations in the land of the senorita:
“Green grow the rushes, O!
Red are the roses, O!
Kiss her quick and let her go,
Before you get the mitten O!
“The deviltry of the American soldier boys was very much resented by the Mexicans. Any American who attempted to kiss a senorita was certain to have his face slapped by her. They called this to “get the mitten.” Wherever Americans were would also be heard verses of “green Grow the Rushes, O!” The Mexican, in mockery, gave the name “green grow” to the tormentors, their pronunciation being “gringo.” After the war “Gringo” became the sobriquet for all Americans.”
Always nice to have a REAL printed primary source.
(gotta love SRS for the simple "fix."
Stumbled onto to this while searching for Joe's bloody RED sombrero.