Greensleeves

GreensleevesThe Greensleeves song is probably my all time favorite. That goes way back to my days of playing classical guitar, and it is the melody I hear when imagining various peaceful, serene situations (daydreaming in other words). Besides, I adore Renaissance music in general.
 
“Greensleeves” is a traditional English folk song.
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“My Lady Greensleeves” as depicted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1864)
 
In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, written around 1602, the character Mistress Ford refers twice without any explanation to the tune of “Greensleeves,” and Falstaff later exclaims:
Let the sky rain potatoes! Let it thunder to the tune of ‘Greensleeves’!
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote his Fantasia on Greensleeves for his opera Sir John in Love (1924-28).
 
Gustav Holst uses the melody in the fourth movement of his Second Suite in F for Military Band, “Fantasia on the Dargason”, and again (albeit a different arrangement) in the finale of his later St Paul’s Suite.
 
In the fifteenth season of Lassie (1972), the title theme song was changed to an instrumental version of Greensleeves and remained till the end of the series.
 
The same year (1962) saw film composer Alfred Newman use the “Greensleeves” melody throughout the film How the West Was Won. Debbie Reynolds sang the version which began, “Away, away, come away with me, to the……..and I’ll build you a home in the meadow.”
 
The tune of Greensleeves was frequently worked into documentaries produced by NFL Films, specifically during segments on Vince Lombardi and the 1973 Washington Redskins, frequently known as The Over-The-Hill Gang.
 
And so on…

Greensleeves Lyrics
 
Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.
 
Chorus:
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.
 
Your vows you’ve broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.
 
Chorus
 
I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.
 
Chorus
 
If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.
 
Chorus
 
My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
 
Chorus
 
Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
 
Chorus
 
Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.
 
Chorus
 
Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.
 

Here is a nice instrumental version of Greensleeves…

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