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Songs of the West

Four Cords 

Green Grow the Lilacs

     I learned this "Green Grow the Lilacs" in 1946 from a record sung by Tex Ritter and played over the radio. It had enough popularity that it was played enough times for me to transcribe all the words enabling me to learn the entire song. Although I don't recall hearing other versions, Tex Ritter's version became the standard version. When I was learning about Folk Songs in the 1950s, I discovered many versions had been collected from eastern Canada through the southeastern United States at times going back to the early 1900s. Scholars have traced antecedents back to several localities in England. It is a man's complaint in the present standard version, but in most of the older versions it is a woman's complaint. Earlier versions hope to change the Green Laurels. I am not aware of my specific sources, but many times I have read or heard on the radio, that Green Grow the Lilacs was popular during the War with Mexico (no date ever given that I recall) and that the "Green Grow" repeated so often due to popularity of the song, the term "Gringo" applied to United States soldiers was developed. I also have run across the idea that United States soldiers wore green uniforms and that also contributed to the origin of "Gringo." 
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I used to have a sweetheart but now I have none,
Since she's gone and left me I care not for one,
Since she's gone and left me contented I'll be,
She loves another one better than me.

    Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew,
    I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you,
    By the next meeting I hope to prove true,
    And change the green lilacs to the red, white, and blue.

I passed my love's window both early and late,
The look that she gave me, it made my heart break,
The look that she gave me was harmful to see,
She loves another one better than me.

    Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew,
    I'm lonely, my darlin', since parting with you,
    By the next meeting I hope to prove true,
    And change the green lilacs to the red, white, and blue.

I wrote my love a letter in red, rosy line,
She sent me an answer all twisted in twine,
'Write your love letters, I will write mine,
Write to your sweetheart, I'll write to mine.'

    Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew,
    I'm lonely, my darlin', since parting with you,
    By the next meeting I hope to prove true,
    And change the green lilacs to the red, white, and blue.