Burns Night 2021: How to address your haggis in honour of the great poet

[ad_1]

Burns wrote over 550 poems in the second half of the 18th century and remains an icon of the Romantic period and a hero for his liberal and socially-minded political outlook.

The centrepiece of the Burns Night festivities remains the noble haggis – a delicacy comprised of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs boiled with mincemeat, suet and onions in its own stomach.

But before the haggis, neeps and tatties can be tucked into, the dish must be toasted with a ceremonial reading of the poet’s work, a secular blessing paying tribute to the late writer and to the glory of Scotland.

Burns himself wrote a poem ideally suited to this purpose, “Address to a Haggis”, an ode it has since become the custom to recite before the meal commences.

Haggis is commonly served at Burns Night dinners

Haggis is commonly served at Burns Night dinners

(PA)

For those whose memory needs jogging, the complete text of the address, written in Burns’s inimitable dialect, is below (with an English translation to follow for the uninitiated).

“Address to a Haggis” (1787)

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

The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

While thro your pores the dews distil

His knife see rustic Labour dight,

An cut you up wi ready slight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:

Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,

Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve

The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

Is there that owre his French ragout,

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad mak her spew

Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckless as a wither’d rash,

His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,

Thro bloody flood or field to dash,

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread,

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

An legs an arms, an heads will sned,

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,

The Robert Burns monument in Dumfries (London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty)

(London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

English translation

Good luck to you and your honest, plump face,

Great chieftain of the sausage race!

Above them all you take your place,

Stomach, tripe, or intestines:

Well are you worthy of a grace

The groaning trencher there you fill,

Your buttocks like a distant hill,

Your pin would help to mend a mill

While through your pores the dews distill

His knife see rustic Labour wipe,

And cut you up with ready slight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:

Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,

Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by

Then old head of the table, most like to burst,

Is there that over his French ragout,

Or olio that would sicken a sow,

Or fricassee would make her vomit

Looks down with sneering, scornful view

Poor devil! see him over his trash,

As feeble as a withered rush,

His thin legs a good whip-lash,

Through bloody flood or field to dash,

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread,

Clap in his ample fist a blade,

And legs, and arms, and heads will cut off

Like the heads of thistles.

You powers, who make mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill of fare,

Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,

That splashes in small wooden dishes;

But if you wish her grateful prayer,

Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!

[ad_2]

Source link

Related posts