Green Grow the Lilacs
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Barry Taylor


Information
Lyrics
This ballad is based on a similar song, Green Grows the Laurel, that was popular in 17th century Scotland. The American ballad tells the story of an American soldier's love for a Mexican lass. Though I don't have the words for the earlier version, it evidently had a similar theme, albeit with different nationalities.

There are countless versions of the song, I have included only two.

One story of the songs origin speculates that Cowboys in South Texas loved to sing the song. Across the way, Mexicans, who could not understand the words, could only hear "GREEN GROW". So white Americans became known as "Gringo" by the Mexicans. However, other scholars date the term to the incursion of American troops in Mexico to search for Pancho Villa.

Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
But by our next meeting I'll hope to prove true
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

Green grow the lilacs reminding me of
The ones that I brought you with all of my love,
The gates of my country will open for you
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

Green grow the lilacs, Your favorite flow'r,
So sweetly perfuming - a sad parting hour.
Oh send me a message - That you love me too,
Let's change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.

Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
But by our next meeting I'll hope to prove true
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.



Alternate Version

Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
But by our next meeting I'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."
Related Links
Information and first set of lyrics From Golden Encyclopedia of Folk Music
See Bibliography for full information.
Second set of lyrics from The Mudcat Cafe.