Monday, January 25, 2010

happy birthday

to Robert Burns yes, Auntia ... you may now take possession of your plaid Gingher scissors
and to celebrate dear Rabbie's birthday, here's his poem about haggis...

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 of a grace As lang's my arm. The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hudies 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 slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like onie ditch; And then, O what a glorious sight, Warm-reeking, 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 mak her spew Wi perfect scunner, Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view On sic a dinner? Poor devil! see him owre his trash, As fecl;ess as a wither'd rash, His spindle shank a guid whip-lash, His nieve a nit; Tho' bluidy 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 make it whistle; 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 gratfu' prayer, Gie her a Haggis!

for those of us who need a translation, there is a wonderful site here that will tell you just what it is that Robert Burns was saying...

Fair full your honest, jolly 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
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour wipe,
And cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm steaming, rich!

Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
Then old Master of the house, most like to burst,
'The grace!' hums.

Is there that over his French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricassee would make her throw-up
With perfect disgust,
Looks down with sneering, scornful view
On such a dinner?

Poor devil! see him over his trash,
As feeble as a withered rush,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He will make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads will crop
Like tops of thistle.

You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland want no watery ware,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But is you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her a Haggis!

as for me putting a bite of haggis in my mouth ... the closest i'll ever come is my morning bowl of oatmeal ... and that must have plenty of butter and brown sugar ... unless, of course, each bite is followed by a sip or two of Dalwhinnie

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

In my Scottish Country Dancing days we performed at a Burns Night Supper....the haggis was piped in, and this poem recited. Haggis was served with mashed neeps (turnips), it wasn't bad either. Then the whisky was piped in and we all had a wee dram. Then the home brew was passed around.....holy cow Batman, it was strong stuff......All up, a very interesting evening!