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Saturday, November 12, 2005




By: John Robert Mallernee, Clan Bard

Now, I'll teach you about a classic Scottish song, which most of you good Scottish clansmen probably already know.

It's "GREEN GROW THE RUSHES OH", composed by Robert Burns, and published in 1784 in his "COMMONPLACE BOOK".

I learned to play and sing this song by listening to the (mostly Irish) female band, CHERISH THE LADIES, on their album, "ONE AND ALL - THE BEST OF CHERISH THE LADIES", which I obtained from the GREEN LINNET web site.

If you wish to shop for Celtic music albums, or even use your home computer to listen to entire albums BEFORE (!) you purchase, their web site address is:

Sometimes, they even give away albums, and I've got three or four albums which I received free from the GREEN LINNET web site.

There's an interesting story about the song, "GREEN GROW THE RUSHES OH", although I've been told it's merely an "urban legend", a popular bit of mythology which sounds good, but is actually false.

According to the story, the reason Mexicans call Americans "Gringo", is because many of the early settlers in Texas, being mostly of Celtic heritage, enjoyed singing "GREEN GROW THE RUSHES OH".

It is even claimed that the night before the Alamo fell, the men kept up their spirits by singing this song.

It is true that David Crockett (he never called himself "Davey") was a first generation Scottish immigrant and played the fiddle.

Another defender at the Alamo was John MacGregor, a Scottish immigrant, who played the bagpipes.

History records that during that final night, David Crockett and John MacGregor had a "musical duel", which David Crockett lost, since John MacGregor knew more songs, and could play longer than David Crockett did.

So, all you bonny lads and lassies, here now is your bonny song:



Composed in 1784 by:

Robert Burns

VERSE # 1:

There's not but care on every hand

Of every hour that passes, oh,

That signifies the life of man,

And 'twere not for the lassies, oh!


Green grow the rushes, oh.

Green grow the rushes, oh.

The sweetest hours that e'er I spent

Were spent among the lassies, oh.

VERSE # 2:

The worldly race, their riches chase

And riches still may fly them, oh.

And when at last, they catch them fast,

Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, oh!

VERSE # 3:

Give me a quiet hour at e'en,

My arms around my deary, oh,

And warly cares and warly men

May a' gae topsy turvy, oh!

VERSE # 4:

For you so grave, ye sneer at this,

Ye're not but senseless asses, oh.

The wisest man the world e'er saw,

He dearly loved the lassies, oh!


Moran taing agus slainte mhath!

(Pronounced as "moor-ahn tyenng ah-kus slahn-cha vah", that means, "Many thanks and health good!")

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

" - - - the blood is strong, the heart is Highland, and we in dreams behold the Hebrides."

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