Happy Birthday Robert Burns!

Yesterday was Robert Burns’ birthday, and here in Scotland it is widely celebrated by the eating of haggis and recitation of Burns’ poetry.

I’ve noticed that Robert Burns is some kind of a hero here in Scotland. Loads of pubs named after him, everyone celebrates his birthday, monuments in nearly every city….And people call him by his nickname. Even writing this post it’s weird for me to write Robert Burns instead of Rabbie (Robbie) Burns. Cause he’s Rabbie to me now.

This is a Rabbie Burns restaurant in Edinburgh.

I think a big part of that is because Burns wrote poetry in the Scottish dialect and about Scottish culture, experiences, predicaments that Scottish people can relate to. And he is the most famous Scottish poet (in my English major opinion); even though the things he wrote about were so very Scottish, they’ve reached people all over the world.

So here is the “Address to Haggis” that is traditionally read on Burns’ Night (AKA Burns’ Supper, Robert Burns Day, or Rabbie Burns Day).

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet 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 was 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 feckles as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ blody 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’ hands will sned,
Like taps o’ trissle.

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!


One response to “Happy Birthday Robert Burns!

  1. Pingback: Nicholson’s Pub–Cincinnati’s First and Finest Gastropub Celebrates Robert Burns Night | Fabulous 50's·

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