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Green Grow The Rashes O'

[Familiar Brew]

Robert Burns

Though most of the lyrics of this song are attributed to Burns, I read somewhere that it was first published in a collection entitled 'The Ballad-Book' (Edinburgh 1824). It seems the air is an old one and has appeared in different lyrical versions. I've tried to include pronunciations in the Scots dialect for much of the song. However, there are words such as 'worldly' which would have been pronounced in the Scots dialect as 'warldly'.

There's nocht but care on every hand
In every hour that passes-o
That signifies the worth o' man
If 'twerna for the lasses-o

Green grow the rashes-o
Green grow the rashes-o
The sweetest hours that e'er i spent
Were spent among the lasses-o

The worldly race may riches chase
And riches still may fly them-o
And though at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them-o


Give me a canty hour at e'en
My arms about my dearie-o
And worldly cares and worldly wares
Can all gang tapsalteerie-o


Auld Nature swears her lovely dears,
Her noblest art she classes-o
Her 'prentice hand she tried on man,
Ah but, then she made the lasses-o


Nocht: nothing

Canty: lively or cheerful (In some of the lyrics given for the song you will find the word 'cannie' used here, meaning knowing, wise, or careful. I am not sure why it would be employed in the context of this song.)

Tapsalteerie: topsy-turvy