• The forum will be going down at about 7:30 AM CST Oct 16 for maintenance. We should be down less than 1 hour.

  • This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Green Grow the Rushes, O

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Green Grow the Rushes, O

The lyrics of the song are in many places extremely obscure, and present an unusual mixture of Christian catechesis, astronomical mnemonics, and what may be pagan cosmology. The musicologist Cecil Sharp, influential in the folklore revival in England, noted in his 1916 One Hundred English Folksongs that the words are "so corrupt, indeed, that in some cases we can do little more than guess at their original meaning"

Green Grow the Rushes, O - Wikipedia



Do you know that song?

And have you got an explanation for it?
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
And here are the words:

The twelfth, cumulated, verse runs:

I'll sing you twelve, O[a]
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your twelve, O?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the April Rainers.[c]
Seven for the seven stars in the sky,[d]
Six for the six proud walkers,[e]
Five for the symbols at your door,[f]
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, the lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O[g]
One is one and all alone[h]
And evermore shall be so.


Green Grow the Rushes, O - Wikipedia


Quite intriguing, isn't it?
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
31 views! :)

And what do you think of it?

I am really interested. :)
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Some interpretations:

The twelve stanzas may be interpreted as follows:

"Twelve for the twelve Apostles"
This refers to the twelve Apostles of Jesus, although the number has other meanings; it may originally have referred to the months of the year, for example[citation needed]. Sharp states that there were no variants of this line.[1]

"Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven"
These are the eleven Apostles who remained faithful (minus Judas Iscariot),[1] or possibly St Ursula and her companions.

"Ten for the ten commandments"
This refers to the ten commandments given to Moses.

"Nine for the nine bright shiners"
The nine may be an astronomical reference: the Sun, Moon and five planets known before 1781 yields seven and to this may be added the sphere of the fixed stars and the Empyrean, or it may refer to the nine orders of angels. Sharp records no variants in Somerset, but that Sabine Baring-Gould found a Devon variant "The nine delights" which Sharp glosses as "the joys of Mary".[1]

"Eight for the April Rainers"
The April rainers refer to the Hyades star cluster, called the "rainy Hyades" in classical times, and rising with the sun in April; the Greeks thought of the Hyades as inaugurating the April rains. Or this may refer to the rains of Noah's Flood.

More about it: Green Grow the Rushes, O - Wikipedia
 

zyzygy

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
43,901
Reaction score
8,677
Location
Flanders.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I couldn't resist it!

 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Well known songs always invite parodies.

OK.

And what are your thoughts and ideas about the original?
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
The British GUARDIAN tries to explain:

Can anyone explain the words of the song, 'Green Grow the Rushes-O'? Several of the references are obviously biblical, but who were the lilywhite boys, the rivals, the proud walkers, and the April rainers? What were the symbols at your door, the bright shiners, and the seven stars in the sky?

---------------

THE DILLY SONG, as it was once known, is one of the most mysterious oral folk songs. Versions were found in German, Flemish, Scots, Breton, Medieval Latin, Hebrew, Moravian, Greek and French traditions. The song is clearly religious, but not originally Christian. The more traditional versions have only 10 verses; the other two have been added to bring it in line with the 12 apostles. Any definitive list explaining each verse would be misleading. In his book, Where is Saint George? ... Pagan Imagery in English Folksong, Bob Stewart devotes some 6,000 words to this song alone, but draws no conclusions as to which version is "correct".
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Here is a good interpretation:

Here's what I seem to remember from childhood: the nine bright shiners are the eight other planets in the solar system plus the moon; the eight paraders are the eight Pagan holy days (equinoxes, solstices and cross quarter days); the six proud walkers are pallbearers (I was never sure whose coffin they carried); the five symbols are earth, water, air, fire, and spirit (the points of the pentagram); the three rivals are the Magi; and the two boys are the Holly King and the Oak King (although in the version the older kids taught me, they were "little wild boys," not "lily-white boys," because all of us children were berry-brown and not lily-white. Which is just an example of people interpreting and understanding this wonderful song in the way that makes the most sense for them).

Can anyone explain the words of the song, 'Green Grow the Rushes-O'? Several of the references are obviously biblical, but who were the lilywhite boys, the rivals, the proud walkers, and the April rainers? What were the symbols at your door, the bright shiners, and the seven stars in the sky? | Notes and Queries | guardian.co.uk
 

Nickyjo

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Messages
19,222
Reaction score
5,895
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
I had a songbook when I was a kid that contained this tune. It said that the term “gringo” used by Mexicans came from their hearing US troops sing this song in the Mexican war.

Other explanations for gringo: a Mexican woman told me she heard that it came from “green, go!”, a phrase shouted at green-clad marines. The other thing I heard is that it is a corruption of “Griego,” meaning “Greek,” perhaps representing the difficulty of English for Mexicans.

Another Mexican war memory has Mexicans with a soft spot for the Irish, as Irish immigrant soldiers went over to the Mexican side. Supposedly, several of these were hanged on a hill overlooking Chapultepec castle at the moment the US flag was hoisted. Mexicans refer to the Irish soldiers who switched as “los Patricios,” the Patricks.

War is ugly.
 
Last edited:

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I had a songbook when I was a kid that contained this tune. It said that the term “gringo” used by Mexicans came from their hearing US troops sing this song in the Mexican war.

.

Yes, I have read about that as well.
I have heard this song many years ago.
I never forgot it, but it was not before today that I looked for it on you-tube.
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
And who are the Rivals?

'Rivals' may be a corruption of "Riders", "Arrivals", or "Wisers", referring to the three Magi of the Nativity.[1] The suggestion of the Trinity leaves "the rivals" unexplained. Perhaps it is not intended to mean "3 competitive rivals" but rather, the 4th century rival philosophical controversies about the trinitarianism: the nature of God as 3 entities? The rivalry was about which wording could be accepted by a majority, and so would become established as part of the orthodox Christian creed[4][5]. Another possibility is the trio of Peter, James and John, often mentioned together in the Gospels, who had a dispute "among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest" (Luke 22:24). Pastor Paul Kolch of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sacramento taught that the three referred to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who resisted burning in the fiery furnace and were "rivals" to the Babylonians. Another option is Yr Eifl, a group of three similar and adjacent mountains in Wales called "The Rivals" in English. A classical option is Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, the three goddesses between whom the Judgement of Paris was made.

Green Grow the Rushes, O - Wikipedia
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Somebody else loves this song as well!

I wanted to share a fantastic English folk song common in Somerset and the Westcountry which I recently learned. It’s really difficult to get out of your head once started and its great for making long car journey’s fly by!

It’s called Green Grow The Rush, O! though is sometimes referred to as The Twelve Prophets or The Ten Commandments. The lyrics of the song are in quite obscure, with an unusual mixture of Christian, astronomical and pagan symbols, all wrapped up in a mnemonic to remember them by.

Green Grow The Rushes, Ho! An English Folksong – Wonderful Things
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
The song has to do with religion .............
 

NWRatCon

Eco**Social Marketeer
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
12,045
Reaction score
6,711
Location
PNW
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
I've always enjoyed the song and my family sang it frequently, in harmony. It was also a common camp song in my youth. My sisters had explanations for all of the references, although I can't remember them. I've always thought that, like most Christian traditions, it was "borrowed" and bastardized to conform to Christian theology.
 

Rumpel

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
11,722
Reaction score
1,553
Location
Black Forest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I've always enjoyed the song and my family sang it frequently, in harmony. It was also a common camp song in my youth. My sisters had explanations for all of the references, although I can't remember them. I've always thought that, like most Christian traditions, it was "borrowed" and bastardized to conform to Christian theology.


Green grow the rushes oh.

I'll sing you twelve ho.
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is the twelve oh?
12 for the Twelve Apostles.
11 for the 11 that went to Heaven.
10 for the Ten Commandments.
9 for the 9 bright shiners.
8 for the 8 bold rangers.
7 for the 7 stars in the sky.
6 for the 6 proud walkers.
5 for the symbols at your door.
4 for the gospel makers.
3, 3, the rivals.
2, 2, the lily white boys clothed all in green oh.
One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so.


And here is the text again. :)
 

NWRatCon

Eco**Social Marketeer
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
12,045
Reaction score
6,711
Location
PNW
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other

Green grow the rushes oh.

I'll sing you twelve ho.
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is the twelve oh?
12 for the Twelve Apostles.
11 for the 11 that went to Heaven.
10 for the Ten Commandments.
9 for the 9 bright shiners.
8 for the 8 bold rangers.
7 for the 7 stars in the sky.
6 for the 6 proud walkers.
5 for the symbols at your door.
4 for the gospel makers.
3, 3, the rivals.
2, 2, the lily white boys clothed all in green oh.
One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so.


And here is the text again. :)

Those words are slightly different than I remember. 8 was the "April rainers". My recollection was that the "seven stars" was a reference h to the Big dipper that pointed to the North Star. The Three were the Magi Two were Shepard boys, and one was Jesus. But, it's always hard to know if these were after-the-fact rationalizations.
 

zyzygy

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
43,901
Reaction score
8,677
Location
Flanders.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Here is another one that we used to sing at Christmas.


As it fell out on a bright holiday
Small hail from the sky did fall;
Our Saviour asked his mother dear
If he might go and play at ball.

As it fell out upon a bright holiday
Small hail from the sky did fall;
Our Saviour asked his mother dear
If he might play at ball.

“At ball? At ball? My own dear son?
It's time that you were gone;
Don't let me hear of any complaints
At night when you come home.”

“At ball? At ball? My own dear son?
It's time that you was gone,
But don't let me hear of any doings
Tonight when you return.”

So up the hill and down the hill
Our sweet young Saviour ran
Until he met three rich lords',
“Good morning to each one.”

So it's up the hill, and down the hill
Our sweet young Saviour ran,
Until he met three rich young lords
All playing in the sun.

“Good morn, good morn, good morn,” said they,
“Good morning,” then said he,
“And which of you three rich young lords
Will play at ball with me?”

“Good morn, good morn, good morn”, cried they,
“Good morning,” oh says he,
“And which one of you three rich young lords
Will play at ball with me?”

“We are all lords' and ladies' sons
Born in a bower and hall,
And you are nothing but a poor maid's child
Born in an ox's stall.”

“Well, we're all lords' and ladies' sons,
All born in a bower and hall,
And you are nothing but a Jewish child
Born in an oxen stall”

Sweet Jesus turned him round about,
He did neither laugh nor smile,
But the tears came trickling from his eyes
Like water from the sky.

“If you're all lords' and ladies' sons
Born in your bower and hall,
I'll make you believe in your latter end
I'm an angel above you all”

“Well, though you're lords' and ladies' sons
All born in your bower and hall
I'll prove to you at your latter end
I'm an angel above you all”

So he made him a bridge of the beams of the sun
And over the water ran he;
The rich young lords chased after him
And drowned they were all three.

So he built him a bridge from the beams of the sun
And over the river danced he;
Them rich young lords followed after him
And drowned they was all three.

So up the hill and down the hill
Three rich young mothers ran
Saying, “Mary mild, fetch home your child
For ours he's drowned each one.”

So it's up the hill and down the hill
Three rich young mothers run
Crying “Mary mild, fetch you home your child
For ours he's drowned each one.”

Then Mary mild, she took her child
And laid him across her knee
And with a handful of withy twigs
She gave him slashes three.

So Mary mild fetched home her child,
She laid him across her knee
And with a bundle of withy twigs
She gave him thrashes three.

“Oh bitter withy, oh bitter withy
You've caused me to smart.
And the withy shall be the very first tree
To perish at the heart.”
 
Top Bottom