Celebrating the Scottish bard’s 250th birthday

Burns night this year has special significance because today is the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birthday.

The BBC has a website  dedicated to the man and his works, including readings of some of his poems.

My father was a Scot and although he immigrated to New Zealand as a young man and lived here for nearly 60 years he never lost his accent so was often called on to address the haggis.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,

Painch , tripe, or thairm :

Weel are ye wordy 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 sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like ony 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;

Then 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 make her spew

Wi’ perfect sconner ,

Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view

On sic a dinner?


Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckless as 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 mak 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 !


3 Responses to Celebrating the Scottish bard’s 250th birthday

  1. JC says:

    Every time I read Burns, I’m convinced I’m reading disguised pornography 🙂



  2. pdm says:

    When I was a youngster, probably aged 5 or 6 my uncle who lived on the Isle Of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides sent me a framed copy of the grace that Burns wrote. For those that don’t know it here it is:

    Some ha’e meat and cannae eat
    and some would eat that want it
    but we ha’e meat and we can eat
    and sae the lord be thank it

    Robert Burns.

    I hung on my bedroom wall for years.


  3. pdm says:

    Oops last line – I should be It


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