Greensleeves

Artist: Traditional (English)
User: ralph estes
Duration: 130 seconds
Delay: 12 seconds
Chord names: Not defined
Abusive:
Comment:
Origins

Mentioned in more than one Shakespeare play, Greensleeves is a traditional English folk song that probably dates from the late sixteenth century. A quick glance at the lyrics, in which a man vainly and somewhat obsessively courts an unobtainable woman, explains why people have assumed that it was written by Henry VIII, about his ultimately successful, but nevertheless long-drawn out and rather tortuous courtship of Ann Boleyn. However, there is no evidence for this. What's for sure is that courtly love in all its unobtainability (if that's a word) was a major theme of much Renaissance poetry. And that's probably the tradition that this set of lyrics draws from.

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January 30, 2018 10:42 PM

Text

 Am                G 
Alas my love,  you do me wrong,
    Am                  E7 
To cast me off dis-courteously,
    Am               G 
For I have loved you so long,
   Am       E7        Am 
Delighting in your company.

     chorus: 
     C                         G     
     Greensleeves was all my joy,
     Am                      E7 
     Greensleeves was my delight,
     C                              G 
     Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
           Am              E7   Am 
     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:

Thy gown was of the grassy green,
The sleeves of satin hanging by,
Which made thee be our harvest queen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
     (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:

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