We enjoyed a tasty January 25th supper last night, and thought you might like to hear our friend Ivor addressing the haggis in wonted fashion. The text of Burn’s poem is below, for those who are interested. Apologies for my shaky camerawork.


Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-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 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 make 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 wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody bog 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!

30 thoughts on “Address to a Haggis

  1. I lived in Glasgow for a few years. Most people I met, even dedicated meat eaters, preferred Macsween’s vegetarian haggis to the original one! Great with mashed swede (neeps) and black pepper.

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  2. Amazing ! Thanks for putting the verse in writing. Reading while listening helped. Bravo ! No cuts, no hesitation, the whole piece was said in a breath ! Loved it (and I am French)

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  3. This is wondrous, what a sense of occasion Ivor brings with his magical address. Thanks for sharing it! As well as the amazing poem, amazingly read, I enjoyed spotting the spectral reflections of buddies in your windows x

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  4. We live in the heart of South Africa but every year we have traditional Highland Games to honour a Scottish army regiment that was based here for many years. We took our son last year and he had Haggis for the first time….AND LOVED IT!!!! xxx

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  5. Love that supper and I haven’t eaten meat in about 35 years but if presented with a good haggis….NOT TINNED…I might reconsider. I have made it and Blood Pudding also, waste not, want not! I remember a fabulous dinner one year in West Lothian…I DO hope they piped the haggis in!!

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  6. Well, I wish I’d heard this before Sunday. In spite of both my parents being Scottish (I was born in England) my husband said my accent was terrible. My Lancashire lasses (aged 4 and 7) were unimpressed by my attempt at the address and the 7 year old doesn’t like haggis – this year in spite of me telling her it’s the law for her to eat it at she’s partly Scottish. ;)

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  7. I was required to eat haggis once. Fortunately, I had an ample supply of single malt to see me through the ordeal. I did enjoy the bagpipe music.

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  8. A very familiar piece. My birthday is Burns Night but dad was president of the Caledonian Society so guess where I always spent my birthday!

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