Sunday, January 25, 2015

Address to the Haggis

Roberts Burns was one of the most important writers of all time in Scotland. In a public poll in 2009, he was voted the greatest of all Scots. Children learn about him in school and he has become one of the symbols of the country. There is one day in the calendar when everybody remembers him - 25th January, Burns Night. I have included some information before about this to explain especially to the non Scots what this day consists of, so if you don´t have a clue about what is going on in Scotland on this day, keep these three words in mind: pipes, haggis and poems. There is a ceremony full of traditional steps, the most important moment of which comes with the reading of a Robert Burns poem written in 1786: Address to the Haggis. Find it below although I have to warn you that, if you are not familiar with this tradition you´ll be so confused after reading it (yes, I don't understand most of it either). But there is nothing like listening to a Scot reading the poem (click on the link below to hear the poem read by John Gordon Sinclair).


Robert Burns es uno de los escritores más importantes de Escocia. En una encuesta publicada en 2009, fue elegido como el mejor escocés de todos los tiempos. Los niños aprenden sobre él en la escuela y de esta forma, se ha convertido en todo un símbolo para el país. Existe un día en el calendario cuando todos le recuerdan: el 25 de enero, la Noche de Burns. Ya he incluido anteriormente información sobre esta tradición en el blog sobre todo para explicar a los no escoceses en qué consiste pero, si estás leyendo esto y no tienes ni idea, acuérdate tan sólo de tres palabras: gaitas, haggis y poemas. Y es que la Noche de Burns es toda una ceremonia repleta de tradiciones y pasos a seguir hasta llegar al momento más importante: la lectura de un poema escrito en 1786 y que lleva por título Address to the Haggis, el cual puedes encontrar a continuación. Pero no te preocupes si no lo entiendes (está escrito en escocés antiguo), a mi me ocurre lo mismo pero no hay nada como escucharlo recitar por un escocés (en el enlace puedes escuchar el poema recitado por John Gordon Sinclair).


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet 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 was 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 feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody 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 mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

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!


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