Saturday, January 25, 2014

Address to a Haggis - Robert Burns

Address to a Haggis

For my part in today's Burns Night Blog Hop, I write the following with love. So, gather round, bring the shortbread and pour a wee dram while I explain what has been told to me about this poem and this event. A wee word to my American friends...if you can eat fried Southern pork sausage, you can eat haggis. Now, off we go...

Address to a Haggis was written by Robert Burns in 1786 to celebrate his appreciation of the Haggis. As a result Burns and Haggis have been forever linked.

This poem is always begins the evening of Burn's suppers. The haggis is carried in on a silver platter at the start of the festivities.

As it is brought to the table a bagpiper plays a traditional, Scottish melody. An invited speaker then recites the poem before the theatrical and dramatic cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial knife. 

Due to his Scottish Lowlands, or Lalands dialect, (as the Scots still call it today, just like Burns did in his poetry) my late father-in-law was in great demand at Burns Supper events. This blog is dedicated to him, his love of the arts and his devotion to Rabbie Burns. 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 

Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

Thank you for stopping by today! Three copies of Magic in Memphis, my Yule novella from A Celtic Tapestry, the Moon Rose Publishing anthology, will be given to the first three people who comment. Cheers!

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