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TO A HAGGIS. The haggis, though made up of heterogeneous materials not usually in high favour with gourmands, is very palatable and toothsome, and is supposed to be a Scotch adaptation of an ancient French dish. It is composed of minced offal of mutton, meal, and suet, flavoured with various condiments in the shape of seasoning. The mess is put into a sheep's stomach, and boiled therein. In the Edinburgh Literary Journal of 1829, the origin of the piece is thus explained :-"About sixteen years ago there resided at Mauchline Mr. Robert Morrison, cabinetmaker. He was a great crony of Burns's, and it was in Mr, Morrison's house that the poet usually spent the 'mids o'the day' on Sunday. It was in this house that he wrote his celebrated 'Address to a Haggis,' after partaking liberally of that dish as prepared by Mrs. Morrison.”
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie1 face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin' race !
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm : 2
Weel are ye worthy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
* wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While through your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic labour dight,3
And cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like ony ditch;
And then, oh, what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', 4 rich !
Then horn for horn they stretch and strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their weel-swall’d kytes belyvet
Are bent like drums;
Then auld guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragoût,
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 ?
2 Small intestines.
* Which is introduced into the tied up mouth of the bag for lifting it with, · because the thrust of a fork would result in the escape of the more liquid portion of the contents.
+ Till all their well-swollen bellies by and by.
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 :
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
Oh, 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 ;
And legs, and arms, and heads will sned, 3
Like taps o' thrissle.
Ye powers wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies ;5
But if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis !
SPOKEN BY MR. Woods* ON HIS BENEFIT NIGHT, MONDAY, APRIL 16, 1787.
When by a generous public's kind acclaim,
That dearest meed is granted—honest fame :
When here your favour is the actor's lot,
Nor even the man in private life forgot ;
What breast so dead to heavenly virtue's glow,
But heaves impassion’d with the grateful throe?
Poor is the task to please a barbarous throng,
It needs no Siddons' powers in Southern's song;
But here an ancient nation famed afar,
For genius, learning high, as great in warm
Hail, CALEDONIA ! name for ever dear!
Before whose sons I'm honour'd to appear !
Where every science—every nobler art-
That can inform the mind, or mend the heart,
Is known; as grateful nations oft have found,
Far as the rude barbarian marks the bound.
Philosophy, no idle pedant dream,
Here holds her search by heaven-taught Reason's beam ;
Here History paints, with elegance and force,
The tide of Empire's fluctuating course;
Here Douglas forms wild Shakespeare into plan,
And Harley + rouses all the god in man,
When well-form'd taste and sparkling wit unite
With manly lore, or female beauty bright,
(Beauty, where faultless symmetry and grace,
Can only charm us in the second place,)
Witness my heart, how oft with panting fear,
As on this night, I've met these judges here !
But still the hope Experience taught to live,
Equal to judge-you're candid to forgive.
No hundred-headed Riot here we meet,
With decency and law beneath his feet :
Nor Insolence assumes fair Freedom's name;
Like CALEDONIANS, you applaud or blame.
O Thou dread Power ! whose empire-giving hand
Has oft been stretch'd to shield the honour'd land !
Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire !
May every son be worthy of his sire !
Fırm may she rise with generous disdain
At Tyranny's, or direr Pleasure's, chain !
Still self-dependent in her native shore,
Bold may she brave grim Danger's loudest roar,
Till Fate the curtain drops on worlds to be no more.
NATURE'S LAW HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO GAVIN HAMILTON, ESQ. “Great Nature spoke-observant man obey'd."— POPE.
LET other heroes boast their scars,
The marks of sturt and strife ;
And other poets sing of wars,
The plagues of human life:
Shame fa' the fun, wi' sword and gun,
To slap mankind like lumber!
I sing his name and nobler fame,
Wha multiplies our number.
Great Nature spoke, with air benign,
“Go on, ye human race!
This lower world I you resign;
Be fruitful and increase.
The liquid fire of strong desire
I've pour'd it in each bosom ;
Here, in this hand, does mankind stand,
And there is beauty's blossom !”
The hero of these artless strains,
A lowly bard was he,
Who sung his rhymes in Coila's plains,
With mickle mirth and glee;
Kind Nature's care had given his share
Large of the flaming current ;
And all devout, he never sought
He felt the powerful, high behest,
Thrill, vital, through and through ;
And sought a corresponding breast
To give obedience due :
Propititious Powers screen'd the young flowers
From mildews of abortion;
And lo! the bard, a great reward,
Has got a double portion !
Auld cantie Coil may count the day,
As annual it returns,
The third of Libra's equal sway,
That gave another Burns,
With future rhymes, and other times,
To emulate his sire ;
To sing auld Coil in nobler style,
With more poetic fire.
Ye powers of peace, and peaceful song,
Look down with gracious eyes ;
And bless auld Coila, large and long,
With multiplying joys ;
Lang may she stand to prop the land,
The flower of ancient nations ;
And Burnses spring, her fame to sing,
To endless generations !
WRITTEN ON A MARBLE SIDEBOARD IN THE HERMITAGE BELONGING TO
THE DUKE OF ATHOLE, IN THE WOOD OF ABERFELDY.
These lines were first printed by Peter Buchan, himself a poet and enthusi.
astic collector of Ancient Ballad Lore. They are accepted as genuine.
WHOE'ER thou art, these lines now reading,
Think not, though from the world receding,
I joy my lonely days to lead in
This desert drear;
That fell remorse, a conscience bleeding,
Hath led me here.
No thought of guilt my bosom sours ;
Free-wili'd I fed from courtly bowers ;
For well I saw in halls and towers
That lust and pride,
The arch-fiend's dearest, darkest powers,
In state preside.
I saw mankind with vice incrusted ;
I saw that Honour's sword was rusted ;
That few for aught but folly lusted ;
That he was still deceived who trusted
To love or friend;
And hither came, with men disgusted,
My life to end.
In this lone cave, in garments lowly,
Alike a foe to noisy folly,
And brow-bent gloomy melancholy,
I wear away
My life, and in my office holy
Consume the day.
This rock my shield, when storms are blowing ;
The limpid streamlet yonder flowing
Supplying drink, the earth bestowing
My simple food;
But few enjoy the calm I know in
This desert wood.
Content and comfort bless me more in
This grot than e'er I felt before in
A palace—and with thoughts still soaring
To God on high,
Each night and morn, with voice imploring,
This wish I sigh-
“Let me, O Lord ! from life retire,
Unknown each guilty worldly fire,
Remorse's throb, or loose desire ;
And when I die,
Let me in this belief expire-
To God I fly.”
Stranger, if full of youth and riot,
And yet no grief has marr'd thy quiet,
Thou haply throw'st a
cornful eye at
The hermit's prayer ;
But if thou hast good cause to sigh at
Thy fault or care ;
If thou hast known false love's vexation,
Or hast been exiled from thy nation,
Or guilt affrights thy contemplation,
And makes thee pine,
Oh! how must thou lament thy station,
And envy mine!
SKETCH OF A CHARACTER. This fragment,” says Burns to Dugald Stewart, “I have not shown to man living till I now send it to you. It forms the postulata, the axioms, the uefinition of a character, which, if it appear at all, shall be placed in a variety of lights. This particular part I send you merely as a sample of my hand at portrait-sketohing."
A LITTLE, upright, pert, tart, tripping wight,
And still his precious self his dear delight: