Green Grow the Rashes, O
DESCRIPTION: "There's naught but care on ev'ry han' In ev'ry hour that passes, O." In praise of women and love: "Green grow the rashes, O... The sweetest hours that e'er are spent Are spent amang the lasses, O." Other texts may be more explicitly bawdy
AUTHOR: Words: Robert Burns
EARLIEST DATE: 1794
KEYWORDS: love courting nonballad seduction bawdy
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #121, p. 2, ("Green grows the rashes O"); "Folk-Song in Buchan," pp. 14-15, ("Green grows the rashes, O") (2 fragments)
Greig/Duncan7 1297, "Green Grows the Rashes O" (1 text)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 66, "Green Grows the Rushes-O" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick 98, "Green Grow the Rashes O" (1 fragment consisting of the chorus, 1 tune)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #825, p. 55, "Green Grow the Rushes, O!" (2 references)
Scott-TheBalladOfAmerica, pp. 97-99, "Green Grow the Rushes O" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 160, "Green Grow The Rashes, O" (1 text)
DT, GRRASH* (the standard version) GRRASH1* (bawdy)
ADDITIONAL: James Kinsley, editor, Burns: Complete Poems and Songs (shorter edition, Oxford, 1969) #45, pp. 43-44, "Green grow the Rashes. A Fragment" (1 text, 1 tune, from 1784/1785); cf. #124, "A fragment" (1 text, with the "Green grow the Rashes" chorus but different lyrics)
James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume I, #77, p. 78, "Green grows the Rashes" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST SBoA097 (Full)
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads fol. 25, "Green Grow the Rashes," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838
NLScotland, RB.m.168(207), "Green Grow the Rashes," J. Pitts (London), 1820-1844
NOTES [381 words]: Not to be confused with the ritual/religious "Green Grow the Rushes, O." - RBW
Broadside NLScotland, RB.m.168(207): the imprint "Pitts, Printer, Wholesale Toy and Marble Warehouse, 6, Great St. Andrew Street, Seven Dials" is dated "between 1819 and 1844" at Bodleian Library site Ballads Catalogue; date shown is NLScotland "probable period of publication."
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin is from Delaney's Scottish Song Book. The title of the song is in Cronin's song list.
Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick is from the chorus as in the description above.
A description for Greig/Duncan7: The world's troubles are caused by women. Samson slew a thousand but a woman "his great strength subdued." King David paid dearly "when fair Bathsheba caught his eye." The first verse ends "the sourest hours the wardle saw Sprang frae the wives and lasses O." - BS
Samson, in fact, had enough woman trouble to be a twenty-first century sports star. In Judges 14:1-15:8, he becomes enamored of a Philistine woman, and engages in terrorism against the Philistines when the marriage plans don't work out. In 16:1-3, he hired a prostitute in Gaza and was trapped in the city, but escaped by tearing down the city gate. And only then, in Judges 16:4-31, did he become involved with Delilah, to whom the Greig/Duncan song clearly refers, since she was able to trick him into revealing the secret of his strength, allowing the Philistines to capture and blind him.
David's interest in Bathsheba is told in 2 Samuel 11 -- David spies Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, and sleeps with her. Then, to cover his crime, he has Uriah killed. Most of the rest of 2 Samuel is devoted to working out the consequences of this: Bathsheba's first child by David dies soon after birth (2 Samuel 12:15-25), David's heir Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1-22), Amnon's half-brother Absalom kills Amnon (2 Samuel 13:23-38), Absalom rebels and deposes David, then is killed in his turn (2 Samuel 15-18).
Jim Dixon points out to me that a song which is marked as being to the tune of "Green Grow the Rushes O" and with the same meter as the Burns song, is found in The History of Pudica, a Lady of N-rf-lk by Richard Gardiner (London,: M. Cooper, 1754; available on Google Books), p. 96. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.