This public-house sign represents the gamekeeper, who used at
one time to be dressed in green.
But the `Green Man' shall I pass by unsung,
Which mine own James upon his sign-post hung?
His sign, his image— for he once was seen
A squire's attendant, clad in keeper's green.
The men who let off fireworks were called Green-men in the
reign of James I.
“Have you any squibs, any green-man in your shows?” —The Seven
Champions of Christondom.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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