Henry's Songbook

All original copyrights respected / For private use only

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

Green Grow The Rashes O

  • (Robert Burns)

    Green grow the rashes O,
    green grow the rashes O
    The sweetest hours that e'er I spent
    Are spent amang the lasses O

    There's nought but care on every han'
    In every hoor that passes O
    What signifies the life o' man
    An't were na for the lasses O

    The warldly race may riches chase
    An' riches still may fly them O
    An' tho' at last they catch 'em fast
    Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them O

    Gie me a canny hour at e'en
    My arms about my dearie O
    An' warldly cares, an' warldly men
    May a' gang tapsalteerie O

    For you, sae douse, ye sneer at this
    Ye're nought but senseless asses O
    The wisest man that the warld e'er saw
    He dearly lo'ed the lasses O

    Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
    Her noblest work she classes O
    Her prentice han' she tried on man
    An' then she made the lasses O

    (as sung by Andy M. Stewart)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1959:] Burns knew "the merry old tune", 'Green Grow the Rashes O', as a bawdy song that has been long current in Scotland. When Jean Armour delivered a set of twins from her first pregnancy [on September 3rd, 1786], Burns, in an excess of pride and happiness, sent a bawdy version of his own to a friend [John Richmond] to signalize the event. [...] Earlier, Burns had written the masterpiece known to all the world, one of the two songs contributed to the first volume of "The Scots Musical Museum". (Notes Ewan MacColl, 'Songs of Robert Burns')

  • [1965:] Here is one of Burns' best-known songs, a rousing earthy appreciation for the lasses so typical of the great poet. The song had existed in Scottish tradition for many years as a drinking song and a bawdy song until Burns penned the present version. (Reprint Sing Out 8, 108)

  • [1986:] Another poem that [Burns] wrote in his Commonplace Book before the collapse of his health in April 1784 was portentous. ['Green Grow the Rashes O'] is an early example of Burns' skill in emending or rewriting an old folk-song; sometimes, as in this case, making a bawdy one respectable. A year or so later he sent three verses of the indecent version to his friend John Richmond. (Grimble, Robert Burns 41)

    There had been surprisingly few songs in the earlier edition [of Burns' poems]. Of the seven he now added, by far the most interesting is 'Green Grow the Rashes O', not only for its intrinsic beauty but because it is an early sample of Burns' gift for reworking fragments of folk-verse and marrying them to traditional airs. Here he has improved upon earlier, bawdy versions, as bowdlerizers so often fail to do, and set them to a dance tune which had been written in an incipient form early in the 17th century. (Grimble, Robert Burns 76)

  • [1988:] This song has a long and varied history. The tune has been a popular one since the early part of the seventeenth century (Straloch MS, 1627). In addition to the traditional bawdy verses included in the 'Merry Muses of Caledonia' , Burns collected or wrote at least two more in this genre. In this album, Jean Redpath sings the lyrics that Burns wrote in his early twenties. During that period, he kept a notebook of his thoughts and poetry, known as 'The First Commonplace Book'. In connection with 'Green Grow The Rashes O', Burns commented:

    "I do not see that the turn of mind, and pursuits of such a one as the above verses describe - one who spends the hours and thoughts which the vocations of the day can spare with Ossian, Shakespeare, Thomson, Shenstone, Sterne, & c. or as the maggot takes him, a gun, a fiddle, or a Song to make, or mend: and at all times some heartsdear bony lass in view - I say I do not see that the turn of mind & pursuits of such a one are in the least more inimical to the sacred interests of Piety & Virtue, than the, even lawful, bustling, & straining after the world's riches & honors: and I do not see but he may gain Heaven as well ..." (Esther Hovey, notes Jean Redpath, 'The Songs of Robert Burns, vol. 3')

  • [1989:] "Founded on an old and licentious song with the same chorus." "This is one of the most characteristic of all Burns' songs, although one of his earliest. In August, 1784, he sets it down in his Common-place Book [...] with some rambling remarks on 'the various species of young men' whom he divides into two classes - 'the grave and the merry'. The last stanza is not included in the copy inserted in the poet's first Commonplace Book, therefore, the presumption is that he added it while in Edinburgh. He seems to have borrowed the conceit from an ancient source." (Notes Andy M. Stewart, 'Songs of Robert Burns')

  • See also
    Q on Green Grow the Rashes

Quelle: Scotland

go back de  G-Index uk

 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

15.02.2000 aktualisiert am 22.10.2003