by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)

Green grow the rashes, O
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): FRE
  Green grow the rashes, O ;
  Green grow the rashes, O ;
The sweetest hours that e'er I [spend]1,
  Are spent amang the lasses, O.

There's nought but care on ev'ry han',
  In ev'ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life o' man
  If 'twere na for the lasses, O.

The [war'ly]2 race may riches chase,
  And riches still may fly them, O;
And tho' at last they catch them fast,
  Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O.

[But gie]3 me a canny hour at e'en,
  My arms about my dearie, O,
[An']4 war'ly cares, and war'ly men
  May a' gae tapsalteerie, O !

For you sae [douce]5, ye sneer at this ;
  Ye're nought but senseless asses O;
The wisest man the warld saw,
  He dearly lov'd the lasses, O.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
  Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her prentice han' she tried on man,
  And then she made the lasses, O.


About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Cambridge edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897, page 76.

1 Haydn : "spent"
2 Haydn : "warldly", passim.
3 Haydn : "Gie"
4 Haydn : "And"
5 Haydn : "douse"

Canny = gentle
Tapsalteerie = topsy-turvy
Douse = sober, prudent


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Ó sítin zelených"
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Les roseaux poussent verts, oh !", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani