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Greensleeves

by

Traditional



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

A traditional English song, there is no consensus on who composed "Greensleeves." It has been attributed to Henry VIII, the much married King of England, with speculation that the words were inspired by Katherine of Aragon or Ann Boleyn.

The first mention of the song in recorded history dates only from 1580, some 33 years after Henry's death.
As with many folk songs, the melody is far superior to the words. It is known variously as "My Ladye Greensleeves" or "Ladye Greensleeves" but usually as just "Greensleeves."
The song has been recorded numerous times over the years including by Jazz artists, but perhaps most memorably (with the lyrics suitably amended) in an advertisement for Dreamland Electric Blankets. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above)
This is a plea from a man to his bored mistress. He is still enraptured by her but she appears not to love him anymore.
William Shakespeare mentions this song by name twice in The Merry Wives of Windsor. In Act Two, "I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves' "; and in Act Five, "Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of 'Green Sleeves.'
In a letter held at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum dated May 18, 1962, it is noted that "His favorite song is 'Green Sleeves' an old English composition."
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Comments (3):

The tune of this song was also used ( and still is use) for the Christmas song "What Child Is This?"
- Chomper03, Montrose, MD
This song was very popular among among Peasents and Noble Family Members of the Renaisance ages of England. It was played many times on the lute (a type of mandolin) by noble musicians; who would either charmed a "Faire Maiden" ( a young virgin female ), or just play for a few Pence ( english money in coins ).. Notably, they would played it for the Maidens.
- Chomper03, Montrose, MD
Loreena McKennitt did a proper job on covering this as well.
- Mathijs, Houten, Netherlands
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