Greensleeves is a traditional English ballad written by an unknown composer. There is a legend that King Henry VIII wrote Greensleeves about Anne Boleyn. This is not likely, however, because the song is written in a style which was not known in England until after Henry VIII died.
The earliest known mention of Greensleeves occurred in September 1580, when a printer named Richard Jones had licensed to him "A new Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves". On that same day, printer Edward White also had a license for "A ballad, being the Ladie Greene Sleeves Answere to Donkyn his frende".
Thus began a back and forth struggle between the printers for the rights to this beautiful melody, with various versions being published. It was not until 1584 that Jones printed his final version, which is the one we know today.
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