Season 2. Episode 8: Celebrating Robert Burns Address to a Haggis

Welcome to a special episode of Tea Toast and Trivia. I am you host, Rebecca Budd and I’m looking forward to sharing this moment with you.  Tonight, we celebrate Robert Burns, affectionately known as Rabbie Burns, the great Scottish poet and lyricist.  He has been given the honoured titles of National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire and the Ploughman Poet. He penned in the language of the Scots, even though much of his writing is in light Scots dialect and in English.

January 25, 2020, Rabbie Buns will be celebrated with the traditional Address to a Haggis accompanied by the rousing sound of bagpipes.  For those of you who have not tried Haggis, please do – you may be surprised by how much you enjoy the “Trenching your gushing entrails bright.”  Never fear, there is vegetarian Haggis so all can join in the merriment.

For those who have never heard the Address to a Haggis, I have asked Thomas,  my son, to recite these famous words.

Truthfully, I am unable to pronounce the words, so will leave the honour to Thomas.

 

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 ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie 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 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’ 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 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!

Music by Traditional “Auld Lang Syne” Epidemic Sound

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I enjoyed this bit of Scottish literary and culinary history, although, truth be told, my view is colored by my dad’s characterization of haggis as an incomprehensibly vile foodstuff. Be that as it may, Thomas gave a most impressive performance of the poem!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I have found that there is “haggis” and then there is “haggis” and still other “haggis.” The first time I tasted haggis was in 2008 in an Edinburgh pub. It was wonderful. Then I came back to Canada and tried to find the same haggis. Alas, it was not to be found until I attended the Burns night supper given my Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, which takes place every year. They know their haggis. I don’t miss their event. And the bagpipe music is outstanding. I especially enjoy watching the young people take on the challenge of the bagpipe and drums. https://sfupipeband.com/. Thomas send his thanks along with mine. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh! I didn’t know that not all haggis is created equal.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Come to Scotland with me!

        Like

  2. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Your son did you and Rabbie proud! I love the sound of a Celtic brogue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I enrolled in a Gaelic course on-line – what an interesting experience. There were about 10 students that would take turns speaking a phrase. The professor was a young woman who learned the language in a very short time – attended a school in Cape Breton, I believe. She was truly amazing. I always wanted to go last because I just could get my tongue around the sounds. A great experience which was based on the compassion of this young woman who was ever a strong encouragement.

      Like

  3. Resa says:

    Love Burns’ work, adore the pipes, Auld lang Syne, To A Field Mouse, My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose, …GAG on the haggis, veggie or not!
    Lol! My step dad was a proud descendant of the Scots. Every year on Burns’ birthday, we had haggis. Well, they ate it. I went to bed hungry. Worst meal of the year. “Gaggis” I called it.
    Thomas did a fab job on the reciting!!! Seems well done recitations run in the family
    This might be my fave podcast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I laughed out loud when I read “Gaggis.” I can just see you as a child looking very doubtful at the haggis repast. I am going to look into Scottish dishes and how women worked with seasonal food they had available. I’m certain that they used oatmeal and barley. It must have been difficult to grow vegetables in a cooler climate. I think of the gardens that people had in Northern Manitoba. I remember that we picked blueberries, raspberries, and pin-cherries in the bush. It grew wild. Our fruit picking afternoons were so much fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Resa says:

        Yeah!!!! and Saskatoon berries!

        Liked by 1 person

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