Green Grow the Lilacs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the folk song. For the stage play see Green Grow the Lilacs.

Green Grow the Lilacs is a folk song of Irish origin that was popular in the United States during the mid-19th century.

The song title is familiar as the source of a folk etymology for the word gringo that states that the Mexicans misheard U.S. troops singing "green grow" during the Mexican-American War.[1]

The song appears in the 1931 play of the same name by Lynn Riggs. Green Grow the Lilacs became the basis of the libretto for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!.

The song appears in an LP album by Tony Kraber.[2]


There are many different versions of the lyrics. However, one version of the lyrics opens:

Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew
I'm lonely, my darling, since parting with you;
But by our next meeting I'll hope to prove true
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue.
I once had a sweetheart, but now I have none
She's gone and she's left me, I care not for one
Since she's gone and left me, contented I'll be,
For she loves another one better than me.[3][4]

The glossary at the back of the play suggests that "changing the green lilacs to the Red, White and Blue" means "I am going to join the army".[5]


  1. ^ See gringo for a derivation from griego.
  2. ^ "The Old Chisholm Trail", Songs of the American Southwest, by Tony Kraber, Mercury Records LP MG 20008
  3. ^ Green Grow the Lilacs Lyrics and midi file, Barry Taylor, Contemplations from the Marianas Trench Music and Deep Thoughts website
  4. ^ Green Grow the Lilacs Irish Song Lyrics and Music Midi, The Information about Ireland Site, 2005
  5. ^ Green Grow The Lilacs: A Play, Lynn Riggs, Samuel French Inc., 1931 ISBN 0-573-60962-4.

External links[edit]