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Green Grow The Rashes: Toast to the lassies

ritratto di Robert Burns

Robert Burns wrote “Green Grow The Rushes O” (Green Grow The Rashes O) in September 1784 (First Commonplace Book): a deft compliment to the lasses, and a exhortation to “carpe diem”. A song often performed during Burns Supper at the time of “Toast to the lassies“.


In “The Merry Muses of Caledonia” were published two bawdy lyrics collected by him, but Robbie rewrote some verses about spring time when the hours spent loving are sweeter. In Burns there is often a vein of protest towards the moralists and the puritans, a trace of anarchy that leads him to reject the conventions and everything that limits the free union of friends and lovers. So there is nothing morally wrong in enjoying the pleasures of life: the best moments are those spent loving women, the sex that nature did after man, more perfect!

in Poetry of Robert Burns Centenary Edition 1896
in Poetry of Robert Burns Centenary Edition 1896

Bill Adair

Deacon Blue, Glasgow  pop band live for scottish BBC “That”

Dougie MacLean: songwriter and folk singer has dedicated an album to Robert Burns titled “Tribute” released in 1995 but “Green Grow The Rushes” is published in the next album “Real Estate” (1988) to remain a song that Dougie loves to sing in public

Jim Malcolm  in Sparkling Flash 2011: lovely scottish accent, easygoing and seductive voice, interesting arrangement with the electric guitar

Altan in Another Sky -2000

Cherish The Ladies in New Day Dawning 1996

Eddie Reader in “The songs of Robert Burns” deluxe edition 2013

Green grow the rushes oh (1)
Green grow the rushes oh
The sweetest hours that e’re I spent
Were spent among the lassies oh
There’s nought but care on every hand
In every hour that passes oh
That signifies the life of man
and twere na for the lassies oh
The wordly race may riches chase
And riches still may fly them oh
And tho’ at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them oh
But gie me a canny (2) hour at e’en
My arms about my dearie (3) oh
And warly (4) cares and warly men
May a gae (5) topsy-turvy (6) oh
For you sae douce you sneer at this
You’re nought but senseless asses oh
The wisest man (7) the world e’er saw
He dearly loved the lassies oh
Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O.

read in Standard English 
1) rasches=rushes; there is also a Christmas song with the same title. Many believe that the word “green grow” is the basis of the Spanish word “gringos” with which the Mexicans called Americans during the nineteenth-century wars. According to the “Diccionario Castellano” of 1787 the term was used in Malaga to address a person who spoke ill Spanish and in particular in Madrid was synonymous with Irish. Most likely the term gringo comes from the Spanish”griego”. In English it says in fact “it’s Greek to me” while in Spanish “hablar en griego”.
2) canny=quiet
3) dearie= deary
4) war’ly=warlike.
5) gae = go
6) topsy-turvy (or “tapsalteerie”)= confused, or lackingorganization; upside down:
7) Salomon
There’s some say I’m foolish, there’s more say I’m wise,
For love of the women I’m sure ‘tis no crime;
For the son of King David had ten hundred wives
And his wisdom is highly recorded. (in The Limerick Rake see)


Pubblicato da Cattia Salto

Amministratore e folklorista di Terre Celtiche Blog

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