Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Coming Through The Rye

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

COMING THROUGH THE RYE (J8x40) 3C (4C set) Carolyn Hunt San Francisco Collection 2

1- 8 1M dances ½ LSh reel of 3 with 2s. 1M dances RSh ½ reel with 3s while 1L dances RSh ½ reel with 2s
9-16 1L dances LSh ½ reel of 3 with 3s ending below 3s on Men's side while 1M casts up Ladies' side to top and crosses to own side, 1s cast round 2M/3M into middle BtoB (Man facing up)
17-24 1s dance Double Triangles (up/down), 1s ending with a petronella turn to 2nd place own sides
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back
33-40 1s lead down between 3s and cast up to 2nd places, lead up between 2s and cast down to 2nd places

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Coming Through The Rye - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The title of this dance, Coming Through The Rye, comes from Coming Through The Rye - Poem written by Robert Burns in 1782.

O, Jenny's a' weet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry:
She draigl't a' her petticoatie,
Comin thro' the rye!

There exists much debate regarding the meaning of the words "Comin' thro' the rye".

G. W. Napier, in an 1876 Notes and Queries, wrote that,

The rye certainly refers to the growing crop, not a district.

A longstanding legend in the Drakemyre suburb of the town of Dalry, North Ayrshire, holds that "comin thro' the rye" describes crossing a ford through the Rye Water at Drakemyre to the north of the town, downstream from Ryefield House and not far from the confluence of the Rye with the River Garnock. It is perhaps worthy of note that the Rye Water ford at Drakemyre is just 23 miles (37km) from the Brig O' Doon, made famous in the Tam O' Shanter poem, also written by Robert Burns.

It seems probable that the original song referenced the crop, Rye, and possible that Burns had in mind the river when he revised the song.

Maybe the protagonists could agree that Burns used a fair amount of poetic licence when writing his version of this, much older song, whose full meaning may perhaps never be known.

Coming Through The Rye Poem - Information Video

The Ford Across The Rye Water
The Ford Across The Rye Water At Drakemyre

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Coming Through The Rye article on Wikisource.
Image copyright Rosser1954 Roger Griffith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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