How green the groves

Music: Trad. arr. Alasdair MacLean. Words: Robert Burns, adapted by Alasdair Maclean
SATB & piano
Performance time approx 2m 05s
Range S: d' — f'' / A: g — d'' / T: d — f' / B: F — d'
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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This piece is part of the set Five Scottish songs
The next piece is I'll never leave you
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy How green the groves individually using the link on this page.
This attractive song of love fulfilled appears in the 19th century collection Songs of Scotland edited by George Farquhar Graham. Burns’ words, loosely based on a song by James Thomson called ‘The Happy Shepherd’, are associated with at least two tunes; the one used here is called ‘Down the Burn, Davie’ and dates from at least as early as 1725.

The recording is by the Elliott Chorale of Mount Allison University, Canada, dir. Gayle Martin, and is used with permission.

For a different setting of these words (SSA&piano) see Brad Pierson's Behold, my love, how green the groves.


Behold, my love, how green the groves,
The primrose banks so fair;
The balmy gales awake the flow’rs,
And wave your flaxen hair.
The laverock shuns the palace bright, [lark]
And o’er the cottage sings;
For Nature smiles as sweet, I know,
To shepherds as to kings.

Let skilful minstrels sweep the string
In lordly lighted hall;
The shepherd stops his simple reed,
Blythe in the birken shaw. [cheerful in the birch thicket]
The princely revel may survey
Our rustic dance with scorn;
But are their hearts as light as ours,
Beneath the milk-white thorn?

The shepherd in the flow’ry glen
In homely phrase will woo;
The courtier tells a finer tale,
But is his heart as true?
These wildwood flow’rs I’ve picked to deck
That spotless breast of thine;
The courtier’s gems may witness love,
But ’tis no love like mine.

Robert Burns, adapted by the composer

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