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Green Grow the Lilacs

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Green Grow the Lilacs

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Green Grow the Lilacs

cho:      Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew

I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;

But by our next meeting IU'll hope to prove true

And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

I once had a sweetheart, but now I have none
She's gone and she's left me, I care not for one
Since she's gone and left me, contented I'll be,
For she loves another one better than me.


I passed my love's window, both early and late
The look that she gave me, it makes my heart ache;
Oh, the look that she gave me was painful to see,
For she loves another one better than me.


I wrote my love letters in rosy red lines,
She sent me an answer all twisted and twined;
Saying,"Keep your love letters and I will keep mine
Just you write to your love and I'll write to mine."

Note: After Wildwood Flower, this may be the most universally
folk-processed song ever. Every version I've seen has at least
one alternate locution; I decided that it wasn't worth listing
all the variants I've encountered. Lilacs, or Laurels; Red White
and Blue or Orange and Blue; "sparkling with dew" or "all wet
with the dew" or "and so does the rue" ;"twisted and twined" or
"twisted with twine" --- etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Nobody's
quite sure what the words mean (in detail, that is), and probably
a lot of the singers mumbled a good deal; in any case, don't
worry too much and enjoy. It's a great tune.  Oh yes, the story
about this being the basis for the Mexican epithet of "gringo" is
most likely pure fakelore. RG

Recorded by the Mitchell Trio, Tony Kraber
Download the song in PDF format Download the song in RTF format for editing etc.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III