“The Gown of Green (I)”


Polly agrees "to wear the gown of green" The singer leaves "to fight our relations in North America." Many are killed. Some men foolishly buy their sweethearts toys, rings and posies; "give her the gown of green to wear, and she will follow you"


The description follows broadside Bodleian Harding B 11(1098).

Roud assigns the same number to "The Gown of Green" (I) and (II). The two are obviously related though there is no overlap in story or evidence that they are fragments of some longer ballad; in fact, the wars are not the same. - BS

(In fact it's just possible that they are the same, though not likely. During the American Revolutionary War, Spain was fighting against Britain; if the hero was a sailor, or just a soldier being transported in a warship, it's just possible that he could have been in a fight with a Spaniard. Alternately, if we reverse the place where he lost the limb, Our Hero could have fought in Wellington's Peninsular Campaign in Spain, then been shipped to America to fight in the War of 1812. That happened to several regiments. - RBW)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 16(106a), "The Gown of Green" ("As my love and I was walking to view the meadows round"), J. Evans (London), 1780-1812; also Harding B 25(766), Harding B 17(116b), Firth c.14(198), Harding B 11(1098), Harding B 11(2104), Harding B 25(766), "The Gown of Green"


  1. Roud #1085
  2. BI, RcTGoGr1


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1813 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 16(106a))