“Coming Through the Rye”


"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


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.

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

Same tune

  • Coming Through the Rye (Cold Cuts) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 11; DT, COMTHRY2)


  • 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)


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 140, "Comin' Through the Rye" (1 text)
  2. Fuld-WFM, pp. 178-179, "Comin' Thro' the Rye"
  4. Roud #5512
  5. BI, FSWB140B


Author: unknown (adapted by Robert Burns)
Earliest date: 1796 (Stationer's Register)
Found in: Britain