Henry's Songbook

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Green Grows The Laurel

  • (Trad)

    Green grows the laurel and soft falls the dew
    Sad was my heart when I parted from you
    And in our next meeting I hope you'll prove true
    Never change the green laurel for the red white and blue

    I once had a sweetheart but now he is gone
    He's gone and he's left me I'm here all alone
    And since he has left me content I must be
    I know he loves someone far better than me

    I wrote him a letter so loving and kind
    He wrote me another with sharp bitter lines
    Saying, Keep your love letters and I will keep mine
    And you write to your love and I'll write to mine

    He passed by my window both early and late
    And the looks that he gave me would make your heart ache
    The looks that he gave me ten thousand would kill
    Wherever he wanders he'll be my love still

    I once was as happy as the red blushing rose
    But now I'm as pale as the lily that grows
    Like the tree in the garden with its beauty all gone
    Can't you see what I have come to from the loving of one

    (as sung by Dolores Keane and John Faulkner)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1981:] This is a well known and popular song in Ireland. It was a Music Hall favourite and usually sung to fairly sentimental tunes. Dolores learned this setting from Mary Conway, a traditional singer from Dolores' home village. Most of Mary Conway's songs were in Gaelic and this was one of the exceptions. It has a fine traditional tune to it and the chorus has an allegorical reference in it not unusually [sic!] found in the Music Hall versions: 'Never change ...' We take this to mean, 'Never desert the green flag of Ireland for the British Union Jack'. (Notes 'Folk Friends II')

  • [1983:] Many flowers and trees had a symbolic meaning in former times; but over the years the early significance has often been forgotten and the symbols have sometimes changed their meaning. For instance, this song mentions the violet, which seems to have always stood for true love; whilst the rush can mean honesty or, sometimes, docility. However, the green laurel, which can stand for young love or fickleness, is also a symbol of faithfulness and has even been associated with Irish political loyalty. The laurel is also a symbol of glory in war and the arts. The tree was dedicated to Apollo, and the wreath was used to crown philosophers, orators and poets as well as triumphant Caesars. (Notes Len Graham, 'Do Me Justice')

  • [2000:] As this song seems to have been sung by almost every traditional singer I've come across, and is still particularly popular among the Traveller communities, it's surprising to find only 86 examples in Roud [The Folk Song Index / The Broadside Index] - from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and lots from the USA. It has had many titles, including Orange & Blue, Pretty Polly and Moonshiner. There are 12 other sound recordings, including those still available by Mary Delaney (EFDSS CD002), Jeff Wesley (Veteran VT116), Robert Cinnamond (Folktracks FSB015), Louie Fuller (Topic TSCD665) ...
    Most versions include several 'floating' verses which often make this song difficult to distinguish from the numerous incarnations of Died for Love / A Brisk Young Sailor / The Willow Tree (Roud 60). (Rod Stradling, notes Daisy Chapman, 'Ythanside')

  • (2000:) 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. (Notes Norma Waterson, 'Bright Shiny Morning')

Quelle: Ireland

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15.02.2000, aktualisiert am 22.10.2003