Fy Gar Rub Her O'er Wi' Straw
X:1 T:Fy gar rub her o’er with Strae M:C| L:1/8 B:Daniel Wright – Aria di Camera (London, 1727, No. 18) N:”being A Choice Collection of Scotch, Irish & Welsh Airs N:for the Violin and German Flute by the following masters N:Mr. Alex. Urquahart of Edinburgh, Mr. Dermot O'Connar of Limrick N:Mr. Hugh Edwards of Carmarthen” F: https://ia600808.us.archive.org/20/items/AriaDiCamera1727/Wright-AriaDiCamera-1727.pdf Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Amin B|c3B A3e|(de)(cd) B2G2|c3B A3e|(dc)(Bc) A3B| c3B A3e|(de)(cd) B2G2|c3d e2a2|(ed)(cB) A3|| ^f|g2e2e2 (dc)|(Bc)(dc) B2 (AG)|g2e2 e2 (^fg)|(ag)(eg) a3b| g2e2 e2 (dc)|(Bc)(dc) B2 (AG)|c3d e2a2|(ed)(cB) A3||
FY(E) GAR RUB HER O'ER WI' STRAE. AKA - "Rub Her over with Straw." Scottish, Reel or Air. A Minor (most versions): B Minor (Oswald). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Wright): AABB (Gatherer, Howe, Manson): AABBCCDD (Aird): AABBCCDDEEFFGG (Oswald). The title means 'rub her over with straw'. This tune, found in manuscripts from c. 1610 on, and an instrumental version was printed by Daniel Wright in his Aria di Camera (London, 1727). The melody was later used by Theophilus Cibber as an air to a song in his Scotch ballad opera Patie and Peggy (1730), by Munro (in 1732) for the last a movement of a variation sonata, and by Allan Ramsay in his ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd (1725). Williamson says all that is known of the old song is this chorus:
Gin ye meet a bonnie lassie
Gie her a kess and let her gae
But gin ye meet a dirty hizzie
Fye, gar rub her o'er wi' strae.
The word fy or fye has a few meanings; it can be an exclamation or surprise, shame or disgust, or it can mean 'come' or 'hurry'. Gar means to 'make'. Perhaps the best translation of the title, suggested by Ted Hastings is "Make her rub herself with straw"—a curious phrase, although in the context of the lines above one might surmise that it might refer to making a 'hizzie' (i.e. hussy) clean herself by rubbing herself with straw, as one might rub down a horse.