Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The De'el's Awa' Wi' The Exciseman

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE DE'EL'S AWA WI THE EXCISEMAN (J4x48) Sq.Set John W Mitchell Whetherly Book I

1- 8 All circle 8H round to left; Men join LH in centre and RH with partner to dance LH across ½ way. Men end BtoB facing partners
9-16 1s+3s also 2s+4s dance ¾ reel of 4 (LH across in centre). End with Men on side opposite original position and Ladies BtoB facing new partner, 1 place clockwise from original place (1L facing 4M in 2nd place), All clap and set
17-24 Ladies (with new partner on left) dance RH across for 4 steps and open out to circle 8H round to right
25-32 All dance ¾ Grand Chain (1 bar per hand) Ladies travelling clockwise, Men anticlockwise, to end Ladies in original places and Men 1 place anticlockwise from original places, All clap and set
33-40 Couple in 1st place (2M+1L) dance out through couple in 3rd place, separate and cast into centre; 2M dances RH across with couple in 2nd place while 1L dances LH across with couple in 4th place (2M+1L ending back in 1st place)
41-48 All Ladies cast anticlockwise behind original partner, turn next corner RH and all clap and set (with original partner). 2341

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


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

The title of this dance, De'el's Awa' Wi' The Exciseman, comes from the The Deil's Awa Wi' Th' Exciseman - Poem written by Robert Burns in 1792.

Burns wrote the poem while serving as an exciseman, a position he secured in 1788. The last stanza of the poem refers to Scottish dancing:

There's threesome reels, there's foursome reels,
There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man,
But the ae best dance ere came to the land
Was-the deil's awa wi' th' Exciseman.

De'els and Deil's are both alternative spellings of the word Devils, and Exciseman is another name for Taxman.
The title De'el's Awa' Wi' Th' Exciseman means The Devil has Taken the Taxman Away.

In 1785, in his poem Scotch Drink, Burns referred to excise officers in less than flattering terms as "Thae curst horse-leeches o' th' Excise".

The Deil's Awa Wi' Th' Exciseman Song - Information Video

De'el's Awa' Wi' Th' Exciseman
De'el's Awa' Wi' The Exciseman


Image copyright Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons.

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