Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The De'els Awa Wi The Exciseman

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

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

1- 8 All circle 8H round to left, Men (with partner on right) dance LH across ½ way and end BtoB facing partners
9-16 1s+3s also 2s+4s dance ¾ reel of 4 and end Men on opposite sides 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) 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 and cast into centre and 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)
Repeat from with new top couple

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


Dance Information

The title of this dance, De'els Awa Wi The Exciseman, comes from the The Deil's Awa Wi' The 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' the Exciseman.

De'els and Deil's are both alternative spellings of the word Devils, and exciseman is another name for Taxman.
The title De'els Awa Wi The 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' the' Excise".


The Deil's Awa Wi' The Exciseman Song Video

The Deil's Awa Wi' The Exciseman Song - YouTube Scottish Song Video

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