Talk:Comin' Thro' the Rye

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Other versions[edit]

I've found at least two others. Google 'Ilka lassie' to find them. What say ye, Scotsmen? Siúnrá (talk) 15:40, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


That tune is nothing like the version I've heard. Too me,, is more like it. User:Rackesmack 16:04 30 August 2009 (GMT) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Racksmack (talkcontribs)

burke and hare[edit]

A character in the movie sings this just before he is murdered (talk) 06:41, 5 April 2011 (UTC)


The article glossed "draigl't" as "dragged". I've changed this to "draggled", following the OED, which says:

draggle, v. Forms: 15–18 Scots draigle. 1. trans. To wet or befoul (a garment, etc.) by allowing it to drag through mire or wet grass, or to hang untidily in the rain; to make wet, limp, and dirty. 2. To drag or trail (through the dirt). Obs. 3. intr. (for refl.) To trail (on the ground), hang trailing. So †to draggle it. 4. intr. To come on or follow slowly and in a straggling train.

Sense 1 is clearly the sense used in the song: it explains why Jenny's petticoat is wet. Gdr 18:40, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Catcher in the Rye[edit]

The section has very limited notability in this article - and seems to be gradually growing, becoming less and less notable as it grows. The content (assuming it is relevant to anything) is musch more relevant to the novel than to the song - which may or may not have a connection in their titles (citation for this?? it is actually far from self evident!). Just at a glance, I can't see anywhere in the article on the novel where the song is even mentioned. All in all - I think this section should be deleted (and I've "been bold" and done so!!). Anyone serious wanting to reinstate it: 1. Add a citation. 2. Keep it short and to the point - we ceratainly don't need a synopsis of the novel here.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

And 3. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain just how the novel bears apon the song - I CAN see a really remote possibitity the other way - someone might suppose that there is stuff in the song that has got into the novel - but where, pray, oh royal smart person, is there anything from the novel in the song. Get it into your skull PLEASE the two have nothing to do with each other - except (just perhaps) a similar rhythm to the title, and ONE word (other than "the") in common. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:07, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
If you read the reference which was included in the section you removed, p144, it explains how the title of the novel comes directly from the song. Since the novel is a particularly notable work, and since the connection is more than just incidental, I think the influence of the poem / song upon the book is relevant for inclusion in this article.
I don't have the book to hand to check, but my recollection is that Caulfield talks about the song's lyrics (at least as he heard them), but likely doesn't give its author.
Sparknotes tells a little more: Analysis: Chapters 21–23 - explaining the importance of the song and Caulfield's mis-hearing of it to the novel. (But I'm not sure if sparknotes can be counted as a reliable source.)
--David Edgar (talk) 15:54, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Holden hears a boy singing it, but incorrectly as "if a body catch a body coming through the rye". He later tells his sister about his fantasies of the rye field near the cliff, and she corrects him, explicitly mentioning the correct lines and saying it is a poem by Robert Burns. InverseHypercube 18:06, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Sorry I was a little grumpy by the way, BUT - is all this really relevant to the poem? I can see it being relevant to the book - I would have no problem with a note in the article on The Catcher in the Rye that it gets its title from the poem (incidentally, is there such a note there - wasn't last time I looked!!) - but it is really very peripheral to the poem that it gives its name to a book, even a well-known one. Unless you imagine that the book "influenced the poem??? If we do add a reference here - surely all that is needed is a note to the effect that "the novel The Catcher in the Rye talkes its title from this poem". Anyone who wants to know more can (or should be able to) click on the link to the novel and find out more there. What set me off on this was that the novel seemed to be gradually taking over this article, as if the Catcher in the Rye didn't have its own article, or perhaps even as if the novel itself was the source of the poem (which was of course around for a century or two before the novel was thought of).--Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I do not think it is excessive to have two sentences about the use of the poem in the book. In fact, I think it is essential to explain the role it plays in the book, instead of just saying it is the source of the title. Without context it is just a meaningless reference. InverseHypercube 23:51, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
But why does it even matter here at all - and why isn't it in the article on the book itself? That "extra sentence" isn't "context" but additional information that is NOT relevant at all, much less notable, to THIS article, which is about the poem. Or am I mad or something? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:38, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't see why it's not relevant; it's simply explaining how it was used in the book. If we're going to bother to say it was used for the title (which I think we established is worthwhile), it seems logical to me to explain the significance.
In fact, around 9% of Google results for "Comin' Thro' the Rye" also mention The Catcher in the Rye; see [1] and [2]. This shows that the poem is very often associated with the book, and an encyclopedic entry on the former should incorporate their connection. InverseHypercube 04:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

"Rude" version[edit]

Grownups reading (or singing) the original poem will surely be aware that (like many folk songs) it is highly charged with sexual imagery! And I have no trouble at all with the idea of including a mention of the "other version" - which is actually really no dirtier than the one we usually see - just a bit more explicit. But I still find the mention of "fuck" and "cunt" a bit gratuitous. And as for the idea that we can presume Burns' motives for writing the "explicit" version I'd put that down as pure speculation. What if the one with the "dirty words" is the original (and perhaps a folk song anyway) which Burns "cleaned up" (a little, and without changing the actual meaning much!!). Speculation of course, but just as likely. Anyway - I've rewritten the paragraph in question (and am considering moving it from the lead to the lyrics section. Any thoughts??? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:38, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

WP:Wikipedia is not censored, and nothing is "gratuitous": "Wikipedia may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive, even exceedingly so". We should not compromise the encyclopedic value of the article by removing the words, which are contained in the poem. And the alternative you posted is WP:euphemism.
Also, the sources don't indicate which came first, so saying they are "divided" is misleading. InverseHypercube 03:49, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
One of the cited sources calls the rude version "the original" - and implies that it is a folk poem that Burns cleaned up. Another calls it an "alternate version", implying that the rude version is a variant rather than the original. I have seen similar contradictory statements elsewhere too. I think the "sources are divided" comment is accurate enough.
To return to your main point - because we MAY use words like "fuck" where it is appropriate doesn't mean we HAVE TO everytime we might. That is essentially the difference between maintaining lilly white purity (which I don't favour any more than you do, BTW) and just being "dirty" for the sake of it, like a little boy who's just discovered his penis tickles. There is other sexual imagery in the rude version apart from the two famous words anyway (the "standing stone" for instance is a patent phalic symbol)- do we need to include this as well? Would it perhaps make the article "more encyclopedic" to reproduce two or three or four versions of the complete "rude" lyrics? Are we missing something important by failing to point out in graphic detail and using the bluntest words we can think of just what Jennie (even in the "clean" version) has been up to to "wet all her petticoats"? I honestly don't think so.
Put it another way - a censored version would not mention the alternate version at all - and if it did it would not mention the fact that both versions are more than a bit PG. In fact both versions of the poem use euphemism quite a bit (although the rude one calls a spade a bloody shovel a little more forthrightly). If they didn't they'd actually be less rather than more "improper" - certainly a lot less funny. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:30, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that "alternate" indicates that it was made after; I think it's safer to not interpret, it sounds dangerously close to WP:SYNTHESIS.
Regarding the words, I don't see it being rude for the sake of it. The reader should get an idea of the content of the uncensored version without having to read it externally. What is world literature? reproduces several stanzas; is this "just being 'dirty'"? I wouldn't object to doing that instead, but it takes up more space. InverseHypercube 05:38, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
How's this for another rewrite then? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:01, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Good, but I removed the informal tone and unsourced statements. Is this good InverseHypercube 22:25, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Unsourced?? - the "statements" are practically all drawn directly from the sources already cited! (That's in fact where I got them.) The exceptions can be clearly inferred from them, or are pretty self evident. Anyway, I am reverting back to my last version, not because I doubt your good faith, but as part of a "let's get this right" process - on the understanding you will make a more thoughtful edit rather than just cutting everything that wasn't there before. In particular, can you be specific about statements you feel to be both doubtful AND uncited, (no need to cite "this poem is far from pure" when it obviously isn't, for instance) and particular instances of "informal tone"? (Or could you rewrite any offending passages, or even the whole paragraph, to be more "formal"?) I think that if we are to mention the alternate version(s) at all (there ARE more than one, in fact even our sources to not precisely tally) we need to do it properly, and as informatively as possible - otherwise those words really ARE gratuitous. Incidentally, does this matter belong in the lead - or should it be in the "lyrics" section? (Or have its own section, even.) What do you think? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:20, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I didn't cut everything; I preserved some of your wording, and the way in which you wanted to present it.
I don't see where you got the fact that there are various versions; they all seem the same, except for the placement of the chorus, which probably does not constitute a different version. As well, in accordance with WP:OR, please source the claim that the original poem is "already full of sexual imagery"; it may not be "evident" to everyone.
By informal tone, I meant the use of "bawdy", as it has a humorous connotation, as well as "of course", which is inadvisable per WP:EDITORIALIZING. InverseHypercube 05:27, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
  • 1. I've cut the different versions - not notable or important enough to fight over - to be blunt I can't really be bothered.
  • 2. It doesn't have to be "evident to everyone" - young children and other very innocent people may not see the imagery, at least until it is pointed out to them, but anyone else? Whatever else could Jennie's "thing" be? (Just to take the clearest of half a dozen examples). I think we are agreed that getting down to explicit explanations ourselves would be unnecessary (even gratuitous). WP:NOTOR makes a very sensible case about what can be read from the text of a book or other literary work by anyone NOT being OR that I think would apply just as strongly to song lyrics. Otherwise it gets plain silly - and you can't write an article about a literary work at all.
  • 3. I am very well aware of the meaning of "bawdy" - in fact the element of humour in this sort of thing is one of the things that differentiates between it and matter that is purely prurient - again not worth going to war over a word, at least not here. (But does mentioning that something amusing is funny necessarily make for "informal" tone? A bit limiting that would be.
  • 4. Point taken about "of course" - best avoided in an encyclopedia, on the whole. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:14, 5 January 2012 (UTC)