Sunday poetry – Encounters

Today’s Scottish love poem is one of the most famous poems by the most famous Scottish poet. Robert Burns (picture from here) wrote some of the lightest, loveliest love lyrics in the language & I always hear this one in my mind as a song, traditionally sung to the tune of Common Frae the Town.

Comin’ thro’ the rye, poor body,
Comin’ thro’ the rye;
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin’ thro’ the rye.

Oh, Jenny’s a’ weet, poor body,
Jenny’s seldom dry;
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin’ thro’ the rye.

Gin a body meet a body
Comin’ thro’ the rye;
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin’ thro’ the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken?

4 thoughts on “Sunday poetry – Encounters

  1. I just came across your beautiful blog, and the poem took me back to my childhood in my granny's house where she had an old songbook with this poem in it and we sang it together on wet afternoons….A little nostalgia – thank you!

    Like

  2. Burns' version lacks the chourus that I learnt growing up.

    'Ilka lassie has her laddie;
    None they say ha' I,
    But all the lads they smile at me,
    when comin' through the rye'

    Like

  3. Dube, I think there have been many additions & versions of the poem, especially once it was put to music. It's such a lovely, hummable tune, no matter what the words.

    Like

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