Green Grow the Rushes

Traditional Scottish


This example of "Green Grow the Rushes" is performed by Andy M Stewart on his album The Songs of Robert Burns
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Background notes

Excerpt from "The People's Edition of the Poetical Works of Robert Burns," as arranged and annotated by W. Scott Douglas. Revised, corrected and condensed by D. McNaught, Kilmaurs, Scotland, pub. 1903:

This is one of the most characteristic of all Burns' songs, although one of his earliest. Founded on an old and licentious song with the same chorus, he set it down in his "Commonplace Book" in August 1784.  During this period, Burns kept a notebook of his thoughts and poetry known as "The First Commonplace 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 first "Commonplace Book," therefore the presumption is that he added it while in Edinburgh.

Green grow the rushes, O
Green grow the rushes, O
The sweetest hours that ever I spent
Are spent among the lassies, O

There's naught but care on every hand
In every hour that passes, O
What signifies the life of man
If it were not for the lassies, O

The worldly race may riches chase
And riches still may fly them, O
And though at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O

Give me a cannie hour at e'en
My arms around my dearie, O
The wisest man the world e'er saw
He dearly loved the lassies, O

Old nature swears the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O
Her apprentice hand she tried on man
And then she made the lassies, O