FEEL THE BURNS

I offered a snippet of the poetry of Robert Burns in my column of Jan. 6, 2010, titled “Have a heapin’ helpin’ of haggis.” The column (check it out at http://sbsun.com/johnweeks) offered details about the upcoming Robert Burns Dinner being hosted by the Scottish Society of the Inland Empire (iescots.com).

I also promised to provide, here, the complete text of two Burns poems, “Address to a Haggis” and “Auld Lang Syne,” along with modern translations. Here goes:

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 hudies 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-reeking, 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 scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As fecless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Tho’ 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 whistle;
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 gratfu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS
By Robert Burns

Fair full your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, intestines –
Well are you worthy of a “grace”
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your haunches like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.

His knife for rustic labor right
Will cut you up with ready might,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
As in a ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm, steaming, rich!

Then spoon for spoon, they stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well-swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
And then the host, his gut alive,
The ‘grace’ he hums.

Is there one who eats French ragout,
Or stew that would sicken a shrew,
Or fricassee that would make one spew
With perfect disgust,
Who’d look down with sneering, scornful view
On such a feast?

Poor devil! See him over his trash,
Feeble, withered with rash,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He will make it whistle;
And legs, and arms will drop, and heads,
Like tops of thistle.

Powers that be, who make mankind your care,
And dish us out our bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery ware,
That splashes in frail dishes;
If you wish our grateful prayer,
Give us a haggis!

AULD LANG SYNE
By Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne
By Robert Burns

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And all the days gone by?

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

And sure, you’ll pay for your pint,
And sure, I’ll pay for mine,
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
We’ve wandered many a weary foot
In all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till noon;
And seas between us broad have roared
In all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me one of yours!
We’ll both enjoy a good-will drink,
For all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.