Green Grows the Laurel

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  • Teideal (Title): Green Grows the Laurel.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853918.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 279.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): unavailable.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

He left her for somebody he loved better – whatever that means.

Green grows the laurel and soft fall[s] the dew
And sorry I am, love, for parting from you
But at our next meeting our joys we’ll renew
We’ll love one another and vow to be true.

Once I had a true love and now I have none,
And since he has left me I sigh all alone
But since he has left me, contented I’ll be
For he loves another far better than me.


I wrote him a letter in red rosy lines
He answered back another all twisted and twined
Saying ‘Keep your love letter, and I will keep mine;
Write to your true love and I’ll write to mine!’


I passed my love’s window both early and late
The looks that he gave me my poor heart did break
The looks that he gave me a thousand would kill
Though he hates and detests me, yet I love him still.


‘Tis often I wonder why maidens love men
And sometimes I wonder why young men love them
But from my own knowledge I’d have you to know
That men are deceivers wherever they go!



This is another of the songs Joe heard, but had not managed to get all the words for until he got them from a book. It’s clear from their conversation that Joe is reading from a printed source while he sings this; presumably Lucy has asked him to do so in order to hear the air. Interestingly, once he has finished singing the printed version of the song his memory throws up a different version of the next-to-last verse:

I passed my love’s window so late in the night
The look that he gave me, it gave me a fright
The look that he gave me a thousand will kill
While there’s breath in my bosom he’s the lad I love still!