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"Browning" or "The Leaves be Green" was a popular tune of the late 16th. century that several English Composers have used as the basis of a composition. Versions by William Byrd, Clement Woodcock and Henry Stonings (in 5 parts) and by Elway Bevin (in 3 parts) have survived. In all of them, one part plays the basic melody while other parts play variations and harmonies on the melody, the melody moving from part to part. In most, the first statement of the melody is in the tenor followed by the bass then moving to the upper parts. There are two sets of words that may be sung to the melody.

The version here by Henry Stonings is the shortest, with one complete statement of the melody in each part.
Version by Clement Woodcock
The leaves be green, the nuts be brown,
They hang so high, they will not come down.


Browning Madame, browning Madame,
So merrily we sing browning Madame,
The fairest flower in the garden green,
Is in my love's breast all comely seen,
And with all others, compare she can,
Therefore now let us sing browning Madame.

Copyright Geoff Walker © 2001
Last Modified 29 September 2001