Coming Through the Rye
DESCRIPTION: "Gin a body meet a body comin' through the rye, Gin a body kiss a body, need a body cry?" The singer remarks that no one knows her swain, but notes that all the lads smile at her in the rye. She observes that she has a love whom she keeps secret
AUTHOR: unknown (adapted by Robert Burns)
EARLIEST DATE: 1796 (Stationer's Register)
KEYWORDS: love courting bawdy nonballad farming
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1860, "Comin' Through the Rye" (1 fragment)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #369, p. 25, "Comin' Thro' the Rye" (1 reference)
Silber-FSWB, p. 140, "Comin' Through the Rye" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 178-179, "Comin' Thro' the Rye"
ADDITIONAL: James Kinsley, editor, Burns: Complete Poems and Songs (shorter edition, Oxford, 1969) #560, pp. 664-665, "Comin thro; the rye" (1 text, 1 tunes, from 1796)
Edith Helena, "Comin' Thro' the Rye" (Gramophone & Typewriter Co. 3348, n.d. but pre-1907)
Nevada Vanderveer, "Comin' Through the Rye" (Bell 1117/Bell S-77, c. 1923)
Ruth Vincent, "Comin' Thro' the Rye" (Columbia 30024, c. 1906)
cf. "Miller's Wedding" (tune, per Burns)
Coming Through the Rye (Cold Cuts) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 11; DT, COMTHRY2)
Comin' from the War ("If a body meet a body") (see WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 25)
The Grundys ("If you nominate a woman, In the month of May," a song mocking the presidential candidacy of Victoria Woodhall in 1972) (Lawrence, p. 453)
The Saucy Little Turtle ("Down on the Mississippi River") (WolfAmericanSongSheets, p. 193)
Our Bonnie Lad ("Gie's song o' hearty greetin', For our bonnie lad") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 129)
NOTES [97 words]: Fuld observes that the earliest copies of this song (including the text known to Burns) were bawdy, and the Digital Tradition text is one of these.
The Burns version from the Scots Musical Museum opens with an eight-line stanza that is rarely if ever heard, followed by the familiar "Gin a body meet a body" stanzas.
There is a version of this in the Wilder family tradition (By the Shores of Silver Lake, chapter 15), but it looks imperfectly Scottish, as if learned from print. - RBW
The Digital Tradition version is Burns's. The GreigDuncan8 fragment is that version's chorus. - BS
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