> Folk Music > Songs > Gay Green Gown

Gay Green Gown

[probably by Ruth Tongue]

Bob and Gill Berry sang Gay Green Brown in 2006 on their WildGoose CD BitterSweet. They noted:

This is a truly superb song collected from one Isiah Sully, over a period of 16 years 1904-20, by Ruth Tongue and published in her lovely little book called The Chime Child in 1967. We first heard the song on a Graham & Eileen Pratt album. Graham and Eileen were an inspiration to us in our first years of singing together and we owe them a debt of gratitude not only for this song but many others too.

Malcolm Douglas commented in the Mudcat Café thread Lyr/Tune Add: The Gay Green Gown in 2004 about the provenance of the songs allegedly collected by Ruth L. Tongue:

The Gay Green Gown is one of the surprising songs that appeared in Ruth L. Tongue's engaging book The Chime Child. Although they were presented as having been collected from various (pseudonymous) singers in Somerset in the early part of the 20th century, all but one have never been found anywhere else, and internal evidence suggests that many of them were written by the same person; quite possibly Miss Tongue herself, though it is impossible to be sure. With the caveat that they may be fakes and not real traditional songs, they are nevertheless interesting and unusual, and well worth attention.

Lyrics

Ruth Tongue's Gay Green Brown Bob and Gill Berry sing Gay Green Brown

The Proud Ladye she rode through the wood,
And there in her way the Wicked One stood.
“Now welcome, Proud Ladye, Light down! Light down!
For I must give thee a gay green gown.
'Twill punish thy pride, for no honest Bride
Wears such a gown, wears such a gown—a gay green gown.”

The Proud Ladye she rode through the wood,
And there in her way the Wicked One stood.
“Welcome, Proud Ladye, Light down! Light down!
I will give you a gay green gown.
'Twill punish your pride, for no honest Bride
Wears such a gown, wears such a gown—a gay green gown.”

The Proud Ladye rode out of the wood,
And her tears fell fast for her maidenhood.
“I will not cause my mother to frown,
I will not sully my Father's Crown-
With my little pen-knife I will take my young life.”
And all for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.

The Proud Ladye rode out of the wood,
And tears fell fast for her maidenhood.
“I will not cause my mother to frown,
I will not sully my Father's Crown—
With my little pen-knife I'll take my young life.”
All for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.

The Proud Ladye she laughed in scorn,
“No Imp of the Pit by me shall be born!
Now God me forgive that I take my own life,
For maid I am none, and I'll never be wife.
A Leman of Hell, in flames I must dwell
All for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.”

The Proud Ladye laughed loudly in scorn,
“No Imp of the Pit by me shall be born!
May God forgive me that I take my own life,
For maid I am none, and I'll never be wife.
A Leman of Hell, in flames I must dwell
All for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.”

The Proud Ladye she stabbed so deep,
Her heart's blood trickled down to her knee.
The gown that was green was crimson to see
And red, red, red was her winding sheet.
Now let the bell toll for this Lost Ladye's soul
And all for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.

The Proud Ladye she stabbed herself deep,
Her heart's blood trickled right down to her feet.
The gown that was green is now crimson to see
Red, red, red is that winding sheet.
Now let the bell toll for that Lost Ladye's soul
All for a gown, all for a gown—a gay green gown.