It is a song and traditional melody of English folklore, basically on a motif that continues the shape named Romanesque.
Legend, widespread, ensures that it was composed by Enrique VIII (1491-1547) England for his lover and future Queen Consort Ana Bolena. Ana, who was the youngest daughter of Tomás Bolena, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, rejected attempts by Enrique seduce her. This rejection apparently alluded to in the song, when the author writes "cast me off discourteously" ("me repudias descortesmente"). It is not known if the legend is true, but song is still commonly associated with this lady in public opinion.
Probably circulated in the form of manuscript, as much music of social use, much until it was printed. A song with this name was recorded in the London broadside's Company (company of printers of London) in 1580, as A New Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves. No copy of that impression is not known. In the preserved work A Handful of Pleasant Delights (1584) appears as "A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves." "To the new tune of Green sleeves". It is debatable whether this suggests that there were in circulation an old song 'Greensleeves' or which of them is the melody that is familiar to us.