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24 Songs That Every Child Should Know
Comm' Thro* The Rye
It is by no means an established fact that Burns wrote the words of
this song, although he did scratch a stanza of it upon a pane of glass at
Mauchline. ,. „. , , , . , ,
" Gm a body kiss a body
Comin' thro' the grain;
Need a body grudge a body
What's a body's ain ? "
If Burns wrote the words of the entire song, then the stanza on the pane seems differently to interpret the word " Rye"—which has been interpreted in another place as a reference to the river Rye. There is a fugitive stanza that seems to argue in favor of the river, quite as much as the Mauchline stanza seems to stand for the other explanation. These verses
run thus: _ T . , , ,
" O Jennie 's a weet, poor body,
Jennie 's seldom dry ;
She 's draigl't a' her petticoatie,
Comin' thro' the RYE."
If we are to accept that word as other than a reference to grain, it means that Jennie forded the river at Dairy, in Ayrshire. The song was probably first sung at a Christmas pantomime in London, in 1795.
If a body meet a body
Comin' frae the town, If a body greet a body,
Need a body frown ?
Ev'ry lassie has her laddie, etc.