Address To a Haggis
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Robert Burns (1759–1796)

Broad Scots Dialect

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 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 ye up wi' ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

        Like onie ditch;

And then, Ach! 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 made 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 a wither’d rash,

His spindle-shank a guid whip-lash,

        His nieve a nit;

thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,

        Ach! 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'll 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!


English Translation

Good luck to you and your honest, plump face,

Great chieftain of the pudding race!

Above them all you take your place,

        gut, stomach-lining, or intestine,

You're well worth a grace

        as long as my arm.

The overloaded serving tray there you fill,

Your buttocks shaped like a distant hilltop,

Your wooden skewer could be used to fix a mill

         if need be,

While through your pores your juices drip

         like liquid gold.

His knife see the serving-man clean,

And then cut you up with great skill,

Making a trench in your bright, gushing guts

        To form a ditch,

And then, 0h! What a glorious sight!

        Warm, steaming, and rich!

Then, spoonful after spoonful, they eagerly eat,

The devil will get the last bit, on they go,

Until all their well-stretched stomachs, by-and-by,

        are bent like drums,

Then the head of the family, about to burst,

        murmurs “Thank the Lord".

Is there a pretentious soul who, over his French ragout,

Or Italian cuisine that would make a pig sick,

Or French stew that would make that same pig ill

        with complete and utter disgust,

Looks down with a sneering, scornful attitude,

        on such a meal? (as Haggis)

Poor devil! See him over his trash!

As feeble as a withered bullrush,

His skinny leg no thicker than a thin rope,

        His fist the size of a nut,

Through a river or field to travel,

        Completely unfit!

But look at the healthy, Haggis-fed person!

The trembling earth respects him as a man!

Put a knife in his fist,

        He'll make it work!

And legs, and arms, and heads will come off,

        Like the tops of thistle.

You Powers who look after mankind,

And dish out his bill of fare,

Old Scotland wants no watery, wimpy stuff

        That splashes about in little wooden bowls!

But, if You will grant her a grateful prayer,

        Give her a Haggis!