Burns Night Celebrations Podcast TTT Robert Burns Season 3

Season 3 Episode 4: Celebrating Robert Burns with the Address to a Haggis

Celebrating Robert Burns with the Address to a Haggis

A Rose from Burns Cottage Garden, Alloway, Scotland

Welcome to a special episode of Tea Toast and Trivia.

I am you host, Rebecca Budd, and I am 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.

This year’s celebration will be different from all other Robert Burns Suppers that have been held throughout its history. January 25, 2021 will be the first time that the Burns Suppers will be going virtual across the world.

Thank you for joining me in celebrating the life and works of Robert Burns.

Robert Burns Desk, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Address to a Haggis

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 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!

I invite you to OnTheRoadBookClub to meet up with Dr. Leith Davis, Professor of English at Simon Fraser University and Director of Simon Fraser University, Centre for Scottish Studies. She speaks of another moment in the history of Burns Suppers when new technologies connected the community celebrations across vast distances.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

34 replies on “Season 3 Episode 4: Celebrating Robert Burns with the Address to a Haggis”

I am thrilled that you joined Thomas and me in celebrating Robbie Burns. Thomas sends his thanks. As you know I love quotes. And it seems that there are many others like me, so when I read this Robbie Burns quotes, I laughed out loud. “I pick my favourite quotations and store them in my mind as ready armour, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent time.” A man who we quote, quoted others. But the more profound message, of course, is that humanity, in every generation, has experienced turbulent times. Many thanks, Darlene for your heartwarming comments.

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I wonder, too, Liz. There is so much more to learn about Robert Burns. I am especially interested in how he went back to the past and recorded Scotland’s folklore. The more I learn, the more complexities I find. But that is what makes life all the more interesting. Keeps the mind ignited!

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Thank you, Tim. I am delighted that you listened in and heard the Address to a Haggis. I looked up Menudo and agree that it is the same idea. I was reading that many countries have produced similar dishes. I have a feeling that there are many secret family recipes for Haggis.

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I ate some pretty strange things made from all the animal parts in Spain. None of it was too bad, except for Orejas (pig ears). They were slimy, hairy, crunchy and chewy all at the same time.

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Such a brilliant, thorough and heartfelt tribute, Rebecca. I’m speechless at the breadth of knowledge and inspiration you’ve uncovered. Thomas’ delightful reading was anticipated, by me, from the beginning of the podcast. You embody so many of the attributes you attribute to Burns. Hugs + hugs + hugs 🙂

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Thank you Mary Jo for your heartwarming comments. I am thrilled that you enjoyed this podcast. I tried to recite the poem myself, but I simply could not achieve the nuance of the language. Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about universal themes that are remembered through the centuries. The style and presentation may differ but the underlying theme underscores the message. Robin Hood, to Gandalf, to Peter Pan – our hopes and fears are held within our stories. Sending many hugs back your way!!!

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Stunning recitation Thomas. It was both moving and brought a smile to my face. Haggis Scoticus, Rebecca- one of the great Crypid beasties of the Highlands- perhaps even more famous than Nessie.
Yours is lovely tribute and if Rabbie Burns heard it, I believe he would have a smile on his face too.

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Paul – I am certain that I saw Haggis Scotticus on one of my trips. Unfortunately I was unable to take a photo because they are speedy around those corners. Thank you for your heartwarming comments. Robert Burns continues to influence us today. Here is something that would interest you: I just read about the graphic novel “Robert Burns Witch Hunter”. This is from the Amazon Blurb: “This award winning depiction of Scotland’s most loved poet asks what if the events of his most famous narrative poem Tam o’Shanter were actually based on something that really happened to Burns himself.” P.S. Thomas sends his thanks along with mine.

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…and I unintentionally ate mashed potatoes and turnips with dinner last night which should count for something. Just now went to my stack of poetry and dug out a little booklet of Burns’ poetry titled “My Heart’s in the Highlands” which I picked up at a library used book sale almost 20 years ago. To my surprise, it has the original price sticker of £1.50 from the Burns Cottage at Alloway! What a treasure 🙂

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Those potatoes and turnips are celebration food. And that book from the Burns Cottage at Alloway is indeed a treasure. I checked out the date of publishing: December 1, 1988. I think your book may be one of only a few left.

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This is a delightful continuation of your Robbie Burns story. Thank you to Thomas for his excellent reading of the “Address to the Haggis”. The fact is that the Robbie Burn story is one of the most loved stories of his time and of all time. He made big contribution to the human soul and to society worldwide. Thank you for sharing.

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I agree, Frances – Robbie Burns made a hugs contribution to the human spirit enlivening the Scottish diaspora. The more I read about Robert Burns, the more I realize that I know very little about him or his work. This literary adventure continues….

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What surprised me was the influence he continues to have on our time. Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Robert Burns in 1966? I didn’t. I’m very intersected in learning about the poetry of Ferguson and Ramsay. It seems that they influenced Robert Burns.

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An historic poem, and if you’d ne’er tasted haggis, my suggestion is that you have an honest Scot, translate the poem and give you a reasonable idea of what you are getting into or more so what will be getting into you, A next door neighbour of many years ago had just recently moved to Canada.Thus for Robbie Burns day celebration, he was to invite a few wee neighbours to be served a soulful helping of his Haggis he’d been preparing for the past few days. A memorable occasion, as in remembering to be out of town at all future Burns day celebrations. His wife had let it be known that a week or two before Robbie’s day, a clean the kitchen exercise would take place, and no surprise if the odd old sock or other clearings floated to the top of the haggis as it simmered in a huge iron cooking pot or vessel, as the haggis bouquet permeated the neighbourhood. A memorable day indeed, for these wonderful Scots are well known for their sense of humour…!

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What a wonderful time you had. There is something about gathering for a meal that has special significance. It is inviting all those who celebrated in the past, to the celebration of the present. Check out this link on Scottish Food History. It is so easy for us to obtain food by simply going to our local grocery store, but this benefit has only come to us in a few short decades. Think of the 1930’s when there was scarcity of food, followed by a return to widespread commercial agriculture after WWII with the accompanying decrease in small family farms. But I digress… Thank you Jean-Jacques for your wonderful comments – you always give a smile to my day. And I will be watching out for the odd sock….

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I did not know that Mary Smith lived in Dumfries. I can only imagine the fun you had on Mary’s tour. Dumfries is a lovely city isn’t it? I loved walking over the Devorgilla Bridge. I would love to recite Robert Burn’s poetry, but alas I simply can’t manage to capture that marvelous accent. Another time we could have passed by each other on the streets of Dumfries, Robbie. Serendipity is bringing us together.

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It is wonderful that you also love Scotland, Rebecca. It was because of Mary that we stopped off in Dumfries and I was so glad that we did. The museums and places of interest there are fascinating. We also walked over that bridge and Mary showed us the decorative artworks on the railings. We may well meet up in the future as we are considering Edinburgh in Scotland as our UK destination.

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