Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

No Burns night celebration would be with the traditional address to the haggis the Great chieftain o' the pudding-race according to the poet Rabbie Burns (Robert Burns for those who speak English). Today being the 25th January we will all have a wee dram to celebrate this poet. Below is the poem which is normally recieted on this night called Address To A Haggis which was written by Burns in 1786.

The poem is normally recited when the haggis is brought out to the table. The full meal should have Haggis, Neeps, Tatties, Cock-a-Leekie or Cullen Skink,  Bannocks, Cranachan and a Clootie for dessert. Since we were not organised and it was school night we had the Cock-a-Leekie, neeps and tatties, bacon and sausages, bannock and Cartmel sticky toffee pudding.


A Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding


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Address to A Hagis by R. Burns 1786


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!