“The Suit of Green”


A girl mourns the loss of her love taken by guards "for wearing of the suit of green." Her master buys her a suit of green to wear to Dublin where she pleads with the Colonel for her lover's life. The Colonel spares them both; they will marry.

Supplemental text

Suit of Green, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From James N. Healy, ed., The Mercier Book of Old Irish Street
Ballads, Volume Two (1969), #8, pp. 42-43. Source not indicated.

I was sent for by my master a man who I longed to see,
He brought me down to Dublin the rights of law to show to me,
He brought me to a merchant's shop as neat a cloth as could be seen,
Embroidered with gold laces he bought for me a suit of green.

On a summers evening as I walk'd through a shady grove,
Not thinking any harm he declared to be my love,
He leant his head against my breast most feeling words to me he said
'I fear my life's in danger for wearing of the suit of green.'

(6 additional stanzas)


Although wearing green was never an actual crime in Ireland, it was often associated with rebels (see "The Wearing of the Green" and the like). In times of trouble, it was likely to invite, shall we say, official attention. - RBW


  • Bodleian, Firth c.14(134), "Suit of Green," E.M.A. Hodges (London), 1855-1861; also 2806 b.9(226), 2806 c.15(123), 2806 b.9(277), 2806 b.10(208), 2806 b.10(208), Firth c.26(264), Johnson Ballads fol. 363, "[The] Suit of Green"


  1. OLochlainn 24, "The Suit of Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Zimmermann 22, "The Suit of Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. OBoyle 23, "Suit of Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Healy-OISBv2, pp. 42-43, "(A Much-Admired New Song Called) The Suit of Green" (1 text)
  5. ST OLoc024 (Partial)
  6. Roud #3023
  7. BI, OLoc024


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1862 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.14(134)); first half 19C (Zimmermann)
Found in: Ireland