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"I cannot against her unkindly exclaim, _O willow, &c._ Cause once well I loved her, and honoured her name.

_O willow, &c._ 40 _Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland._

"The name of her sounded so sweete in mine eare, _O willow, &c._ It rays'd my heart lightly, the name of my deare; _O willow, &c._ 45 _Sing, O the greene willow, &c._

"As then 'twas my comfort, it now is my griefe; _O willow, &c._ It now brings me anguish; then brought me reliefe.

_O willow, &c._ 50 _Sing, O the greene willow, &c._

"Farewell, faire false hearted, plaints end with my breath!

_O willow, willow, willow!_ Thou dost loath me, I love thee, though cause of my death.

_O willow, willow, willow!_ 55 _O willow, willow, willow!_ _Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland._"


From _A Handefull of Pleasant Delites_, &c., London, 1584, as reprinted in Park's _Heliconia_, vol. ii. p. 23. It is there entitled _A New Courtly Sonet of the Lady Greensleeves. To the new Tune of Greensleeves_.

"The earliest mention of the ballad of _Green Sleeves_, in the Registers of the Stationers' Company, is in September, 1580, when Richard Jones had licensed to him _A New Northern Dittye of the Lady Green Sleeves_."

"_Green Sleeves_, or _Which nobody can deny_, has been a favorite tune from the time of Elizabeth to the present day, and is still frequently to be heard in the streets of London to songs with the old burden, _Which nobody can deny_. It will also be recognized as the air of _Christmas comes but once a year_, and many another merry ditty."

CHAPPELL'S _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, p. 227.

_Greensleeves_ is twice alluded to by Shakespeare in _The Merry Wives of Windsor_; Act ii. Sc. 1; Act v. Sc. 5.

Alas, my love, ye do me wrong To cast me oft discurteously, And I have loved you so long, Delighting in your companie.

_Greensleeves was all my joy_, _Greensleeves was my delight_, _Greensleeves was my heart of gold_, _And who but Ladie Greensleeves_.

I have been readie at your hand 5 To grant what ever you would crave; I have both waged life and land, Your love and good will for to have.

_Greensleeves was all my joy, &c._

I bought thee kerchers to thy head That were wrought fine and gallantly; 10 I kept thee both at boord and bed, Which cost my purse well favouredly.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

I bought thee peticotes of the best, The cloth so fine as fine might be; I gave thee jewels for thy chest, 15 And all this cost I spent on thee.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thy smock of silke, both faire and white, With gold embrodered gorgeously, Thy peticote of sendall right, And this I bought thee gladly.[L20] 20 _Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thy girdle of gold so red, With pearles bedecked sumtuously,-- The like no other lasses had,-- And yet thou wouldest not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thy purse, and eke thy gay guilt knives, 25 Thy pincase, gallant to the eie,-- No better wore the burgesse wives,-- And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joy, &c._

Thy crimson stockings, all of silk, With golde all wrought above the knee; 30 Thy pumps, as white as was the milk, And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thy gown was of the grassie green, Thy sleeves of satten hanging by, Which made thee be our harvest queen, 35 And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thy garters fringed with the golde, And silver aglets hanging by, Which made thee blithe for to beholde,-- And yet thou wouldst not love me. 40 _Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

My gayest gelding I thee gave, To ride where ever liked thee, No ladie ever was so brave, And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

My men were clothed all in green, 45 And they did ever wait on thee; All this was gallant to be seen, And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

They set thee up, they took thee downe, They served thee with humilitie; 50 Thy foote might not once touch the ground, And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

For everie morning, when thou rose, I sent thee dainties, orderly, To cheare thy stomack from all woes, 55 And yet thou wouldst not love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing But stil thou hadst it readily; Thy musicke still to play and sing, And yet thou wouldst not love me. 60 _Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

And who did pay for all this geare, That thou didst spend when pleased thee?

Even I that am rejected here, And thou disdainst to love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Wel, I wil pray to God on hie 65 That thou my constancie maist see, And that yet once before I die Thou will vouchsafe to love me.

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

Greensleeves, now farewel, adue!

God I pray to prosper thee, 70 For I am stil thy lover true; Come once againe, and love me!

_Greensleeves was all my joie, &c._

20, And thus.


This exceedingly pretty pastoral, the earliest poem of the kind in the Scottish language, is ascribed in the Bannatyne MS., where it is preserved, to Robert Henryson, who appears to have written in the latter half of the fifteenth century. All that is certainly known of the author is that he was chief schoolmaster of Dunfermline.

_Robene and Makyne_ was first printed by Ramsay in his _Evergreen_, (i. 56,) and afterwards by Lord Hailes, in _Ancient Scottish Poems published from the MS. of George Bannatyne_, (p. 98.) Some freedoms were taken with the text by Ramsay, and one line was altered by Lord Hailes. Our copy is given from Sibbald's _Chronicle of Scottish Poetry_, (i. 115,) where the manuscript is faithfully adhered to.

Robene sat on gud grene hill, Keipand a flok of fie: Mirry Makyne said him till, "Robene, thow rew on me; I haif the luvit, lowd and still, 5 Thir yeiris two or thre; My dule in dern bot gif thow dill, Doutles bot dreid I de."

Robene answerit, "Be the rude, Na thing of lufe I knaw, 10 Bot keipis my scheip undir yone wud; Lo quhair thay raik on raw.

Quhat hes marrit the in thy mude, Makyne, to me thow schaw; Or quhat is love, or to be lude? 15 Faine wald I leir that law."

"At luvis lair gife thow will leir, Tak thair ane A, B, C; Be kynd, courtas, and fair of feir, Wyse, hardy, and fre. 20 Se that no denger do the deir, Quhat dule in dern thow dre; Preiss the with pane at all poweir, Be patient and previe."

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