Happy Birthday, Robert Burns!

Here’s to Robert Burns and all the Scots and poetry lovers out there who are celebrating his birthday today! Enjoy your Haggis and Happy Birthday, Robert!

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Fair and honest your happy face
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
You Chief of the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Above them all you take your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Stomach, tripe, or guts:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
Well are you worthy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
The groaning platter there you fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your rump like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
Your skewer would help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
In time of need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
While through your pores the juices seep
Like amber bead.
Like amber beads.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
His knife see the serving man clean
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
And cut you up with great skill
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Making a trench in your bright, gushing guts
Like onie ditch;
Like a ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
And then, what a wonderful sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!
Warm-steaming, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they strech an’ strive:
Then spoonful after spoonful they stretch and strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
The devil will get the last bit! On they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Until all their well-stretched stomachs, by and by
Are bent like drums;
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Then head of the family, about to burst,
‘Bethankit!’ hums.
Murmurs, “Thank the Lord!”

Is there that owre his French ragout
Is there that over his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or Italian food that would sicken a sow (pig)
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Or fricassee that would make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
With perfect disgust,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
Would look down with sneering, scornful view
On sic a dinner?
On this dinner? (Haggis)

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
Poor devil! See him over his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
As feeble as a withered bullrush,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His skinny leg no thicker than a thin rope,
His nieve a nit;
His fist a nut;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
Through bloody river or field to run,
O how unfit!
How unfit he’d be.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
But look at the healthy, Haggis-fed person,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
The earth trembles under his foot.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
Put a knife in his fist,
He’ll make it whissle;
He’ll make it whistle (work);
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
And legs, and arms, and heads will shed (come off)
Like taps o’ thrissle.
Like tops of thistles.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
You powers who care about mankind,
And dish them out their bill o ‘fare,
And give them their food,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
Scotland does not want watery, wimpy stuff
That jaups in luggies;
That splashes in wood bowls;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
But, if you want her gratitude,
Gie her a Haggis!
Give her a Haggis!

What is Haggis? It used to be the liver, lungs and heart of a sheep, boiled, minced and mixed with onions, oatmeal, salt, pepper and spices then stuffed in a sheep’s stomach and boiled again.

Nowadays, it is prepared with the best meats, oatmeal, and spices and stuffed like a sausage and boiled.

I’ve never had it, but maybe today’s the day. A toast to Robert Burns.

3 responses to “Happy Birthday, Robert Burns!

  1. Hm, I’m not too sure about trying Haggis, but I’ll definitely raise my coffee cup in a birthday toast to the poet … Cheers 🙂

  2. emilydickinsonsgarden

    I was just out to lunch, but didn’t find Haggis on the menu. I opted for a french dip instead. 😉 Cheers!

  3. I cooked haggis, neeps and beans on Burns Night, followed by haggis with macaroni cheese yesterday!

    As far as I know the meat inside is still the liver, lungs and heart of a sheep, and it’s usually stuffed in a round ball shape inside a casing which you cook it in but don’t eat.

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