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Wylde Nept: Music & Lyrics

The Old Green Gown

(Wylde Nept)
2005
Music/Lyrics by George Curtis Jr.

Cited in Bailey's Dictionary of Canting and Thieving Slang, the term "green gown" dates back to the 1500's, about the same time Greensleeves was written.  Some historians don't think that's a coincidence.

Young tom Brown came empty handed to the party
A merrier lad you’ll never meet, but poor as the night is dark
Sweet Nancy Clancy welcomed him, it was her birthday
With no gift to give he returned with her from a short walk in the park
She was grinning slyly when I spied her dress was ruined
A long green stripe along her back from her collar and on down
That’s when I discovered a flat spot in the garden
I put two and two together, Oh! He’d given her the old green gown!
 
Old green gown
Come on poor boy show her that you love her!
Old green gown
Doesn’t really matter if you don’t have wealth or fame
Old green gown
Even if you can’t find two coins to rub together,
If you’ve nothing else to give her then give her the old green gown
 
Black Jack Wallis had never ever been a poacher
But now he’s running for his life because of one lone deer
The long armed lawmen came he had to leave the county
They caught up with him at a roadside pub and he had to leave his beer
His feet began to drag and his strength began to falter
He came upon a stately home the perfect place to hide
 
The wealthy widow Upcott saw him run into the stable
And watched him crawl onto the straw with the lawmen close behind
“What brings you here?” she said, “there’s nothing here but sorrow.
A lonely widow all alone and no one here but me.”
The lawmen tipped their hats and took their searching elsewhere
She went to the place where Jack had hid and told him; “You owe me.”
Poor jack emerged grateful but embarrassed
“I’ve nothing to give you for your time,” he said with a weary frown
That’s when she grabbed him and she threw him in the new-mown hay
She smiled at him and said to him, “You’ll be giving me the old green gown.”
 
Old green gown
Come on poor boy show her that you love her!
Old green gown
Doesn’t really matter if you don’t have wealth or fame
Old green gown
Even if you can’t find two coins to rub together,
If you’ve nothing else to give her then give her the old green gown
 
(Greensleeves bridge)
 
Not everybody will find this to their liking
This wasn’t a tale of true love or soul-mates lost at sea
These days when even simple flowers cost a fortune
It’s nice to know that even now the best things in life are free
 
Old green gown
Come on poor boy show her that you love her!
Old green gown
Doesn’t really matter if you don’t have wealth or fame
Old green gown
Even if you can’t find two coins to rub together,
If you’ve nothing else to give her then give her the old green gown
 
Old green gown
Come on poor boy show her that you love her!
Old green gown
Doesn’t really matter if you don’t have wealth or fame
Old green gown
Even if you can’t find two coins to rub together,
If you’ve nothing else to give her then give her the old green gown!