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    Robert Burns
    Address to a Haggis

    This noted production was composed within a fortnight after the poet's arrival in Edinburgh, and was printed in the pages of the Caledonian Mercury, December 20th, 1786. Hogg assures us that it was produced almost extempore, at dinner, within the house of Mr Andrew Bruce, merchant, Castlehill.

    Address To A 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 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 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 lyke 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 sconner,
    Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
    On sic a dinner?

    Poor devil! see him ower 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!

    A Translation

    Fair is your honest happy face
    Great chieftain of the pudding race
    Above them all you take your place
    Stomach, tripe or guts
    Well are you worthy of a grace
    As long as my arm

    The groaning platter there you fill
    Your buttocks like a distant hill
    Your skewer would help to repair a mill
    In time of need
    While through your pores the juices emerge
    Like amber beads

    His knife having seen hard labour wipes
    And cuts you up with great skill
    Digging into your gushing insides bright
    Like any ditch
    And then oh what a glorious sight
    Warm steaming, rich 

    Then spoon for spoon 
    They stretch and strive
    Devil take the last man, on they drive
    Until all their well swollen bellies
    Are bent like drums
    Then, the old gent most likely to rift (burp)
    Be thanked, mumbles

    Is there that over his French Ragout
    Or olio that would sicken a pig
    Or fricassee would make her vomit
    With perfect disgust
    Looks down with a sneering scornful opinion
    On such a dinner

    Poor devil, see him over his trash
    As weak as a withered rush (reed)
    His spindle-shank a good whiplash
    His clenched fist, the size of a nut.
    Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash
    Oh how unfit

    But take note of the strong haggis fed Scot
    The trembling earth resounds his tread
    Clasped in his large fist a blade
    He'll make it whistle
    And legs and arms and heads he will cut off
    Like the tops of thistles

    You powers who make mankind your care
    And dish them out their meals
    Old Scotland wants no watery food
    That splashes in dishes
    But if you wish her grateful prayer
    Give her a haggis! 


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