Greensleeves was a very popular folk song in England in the latter part of the 1500s. It was brought to America in 1616 by the Pilgrims and became well known in the U.S.A. as well.

They lyrics were changed shortly after the Civil War by William C. Dix, and a new Christmas Carol was born - it was renamed "What Child Is This?"

Listen to a beautiful rendition on the video below - played with folk music instrumentation.

The original lyrics of this song had nothing to do with Christmas or any other holiday.

The wording used in the song marks it as distinctly English -
even what we would call "Old English".

Here are the words to the first verse:

Alas my love you will do me wrong
If you cast me off so dis-cour-teous-ly
And I have loved you so very long
And delight-ing in your winning company
Greensleeves you were all my joy, and you know Greensleeves you were my delight-
Greensleeves, you're my heart of gold,
No one else but my dear LADY GREENSLEEVES.

Go from Greensleeves to English Folk Music

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