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