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Greensleeves is a fun and not too hard to play English folk song from the sixteenth century. The melody of Greensleeves is so famous, I can hardly imagine someone who does not recognize it.

Greensleeves is a waltz, so the time signature is 3/4 (this means 3 beats or counts per bar: 123 123 123...). The chords are very basic. I made an arrangement of Greensleeves for guitar, here's the video:




You can listen to the song here:

Or download the mp3 here (right click and Save Target As...): Greensleeves Mp3

And here is the sheet music with guitar tabs:

For a printable version of the sheet music, click here: Greensleeves .pdf

Greensleeves Sheet Music


The guitar chord chart for Greensleeves (for the classical arrangement above):

Greensleeves guitar chord chart

Here's a simplified chord chart with chords you can use to play the campfire version of this song:

Greensleeves guitar chord chart


The lyrics and chords for Greensleeves:

 Am      C         G     Em
Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
   Am                 E
To cast me off discourteously.
    Am     C         G        Em
For I have loved you well and long,
  Am          E         Am
Delighting in your company.


C                G      Em
Greensleeves was all my joy
Am                    E
Greensleeves was my delight,
C                   G        Em
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
    Am         E         Am
And who but my lady greensleeves. 

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
But still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

Well, I will pray to God on high,
That thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.

Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

The Christmas carol What Child Is This? has the same chords and melody as Greensleeves, but has another text: What Child Is This?

Some Greensleeves song trivia:

  • The musical form of Greensleeves is called a romanesca.
  • The song is supposedly written by Henry VIII for a woman he tried to seduce, called Anne Boleyn.
  • Lady Greensleeves was a prostitute, green sleeves were worn by prostitutes as a sign of their profession.
  • The melody of Greensleeves can be heard in the coda of the Beatles song All You Need Is Love.
  • The song has been played by many artists and bands, including Leonard Cohen, Rainbow, John Coltrane, Yngwie Malmsteen, The Scorpions, Vanessa Carlton, Neil Young, Jethro Tull, Al Di meola and Jeff Beck.


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