Haggis, neeps and tatties, whisky and Burn’s Night

Every year Scotland celebrates her favourite poet’s birthday Robbie Burns on the 25th of January. He lived a rather short life in poverty even though he had some success publishing his poems during his life time. He lived for love which he explored in a wedlock with Jane Armour who bore him 9 children in ten years of which three survived. He was also well known for his various affairs; the first one with his mother’s servant which resulted in another child. He had 12 in total. He grew up as a farm worker, but was well eductated by his father and some formal education. The farming could not sustain the family so eventually he became tax & excise officers which took him around Scotland collecting taxes from whisky distilleries.

Besides his romantic poems and the fact that he found his voice in Scots he also had a very humurous side to him when he addressed the Haggis

Image from Christina Cucina

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!

First printed 1786 Robert Burns

Another one of his peoms made it almost to the national athem:

Scots wha hae (poem by Robert Burns)

The address to the Haggis can be enjoyed annually during the worldwide celebrations of Burn’s Night on the 25th of January usually alongside some good old Haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). Other ingredients to a successful Burn’s Nights are good Scottish whisky (blended or single malt if your prefer) and a good bit of ceilidh:

Robert Burns died in 1796 only 37 years old and over 250 years later here we are still celebrating his birthday.

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