Address To A Haggis

by Robert Burns

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 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 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 strech an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
'Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld guid man, 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 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' bloody 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' 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 gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Notes to the poem:

The haggis, though made up of heterogenous materials not usually in high favour with gourmands, is very palatable and toothsome, and is supposed to be a Scotch adaptation of an ancient French dish. It is composed of minced offal of mutton, meal, and suet, flavored with various condiments in the shape of seasoning. The mess is put into a sheep's stomach, and boiled therein. In the Edinburgh Literary Journal of 1829, the origin of this piece is explained as follows:

"About sixteen years ago there resided at Mauchline Mr. Robert Morrison, cabinetmaker. He was a great crony of Burns's, and it was in Mr. Morrisons home that the poet usually spent the 'mids o' the day' on Sunday. It was in this house that he wrote his celebrated 'Address to a Haggis,' after partaking liberally of that dish as prepared by Mrs. Morrison."


The Poetical Works Of Robert Burns
Copyright 1910
Ward, Lock, and Co., Ltd