Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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Songs of Pleasantry.
COMIN' THRO' THE RYE.
The author of this song is unknown. Previous to Christmas, 1795-'6, when the Enghsh claim that it appeared in an English pantomime,an old familiar Scottish song waa touched up by Burns, which referred to the fording of the little Eiver Eye. It read:
Comin' through theRye, poor body,
Comin' through the Rye, She draiglet a' her petticoatie
Comin' through the Rye. Oh, Jenny's a' wat, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry; 8he draiglet a' her petticoatie,
Comin' through the Rye.
Gin a body meet a body, Comin' through the Rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry ? Gin a body meet a body
Comin' through the glen, Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken ?
O Jenny's a1 wat, poor body, Jenny's seldom dry;
She draiglet a' her petticoatie, Comin' through the Rye.
So we see that the popular idea of the song, understood as having reference to passing through a field of grain, is erroneous. It furnishes a striking example of that popular comprehension, or want of comprehension, which so often catches at a word instead of an idea. In pictorial title-pages, and other ways, the song has been often illustrated,—and always as an encounter in a waving field of rye. Eecently the idea has been utilized by the manufacturers of a celebrated brand of rye whiskey, who have hung in every bar-room a finely executed chromo representing the lovers in the rye-field. The full significance of the song is apparent when we know that custom established a toll of kisses to be exacted from lasses who were met in crossing the stream on the stepping-stones. The first stanza of an old English song, reads:
If a body meet a body,
Going to the fair, If a body kiss a body,
Need a body care ?








E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III