This famous poem by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns is regularly recited during celebrations throughout the world, whenever Haggis makes an appearance on the menu.

Address to a Haggis

Instructions

Do the Preparation task first. Then go to Text and read the poem or story (you can also listen to the audio while you read). Next go to Task and do the activity.

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Address to a Haggis

By Robert Burns

(Translation into standard English)

Fair is your honest, happy face
Great chieftain of the pudding race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe or guts:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

The groaning platter there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your skewer would help to repair a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the juices emerge
Like amber beads.

His knife having seen hard labour wipes,
And cuts you up with great skill,
Digging into your gushing insides bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, oh what a glorious sight,
Warm steaming, rich!

Then spoon for spoon,
They stretch and strive,
Devil take the last man, on they drive,
Until all their well swollen bellies
Are bent like drums;
Then the old gent, most likely to rift (burp),
'Be thanked!', mumbles.

Is there that over his French Ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a pig,
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust,
Looks down with a sneering, scornful opinion
On such a dinner?

Poor devil, see him over his trash,
As weak as a withered rush (reed),
His spindle-shank a good whiplash,
His clenched fist…the size of a nut;
Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash,
Oh how unfit.

But take note of the strong haggis-fed Scot,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clasped in his large fist a blade,
He'll make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads he will cut off
Like the tops of thistles.

You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their meals,
Old Scotland wants no watery food,
That splashes in dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her a haggis!

Task 1

Below is one sentence summarising each verse of the poem, but they are in the wrong order. Can you put them in the correct order?

Exercise

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Discussion

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Comments

I've really caught inspiration:)
One of the best known Ukrainian dishes is Salo - a raw fat of pigs.
Some people in other countries call it bacon, but in fact it isn't.
Unlike bacon Salo is usually without meat – fat only (although there is also Salo with meat).
Unlike bacon Salo is usually raw (but we also can smoke it, roast, boil, grill – whatever you want:)
So, in some circumstances Salo can really turn into bacon. But in most cases they are completely different.
Salo is a huge part of Ukrainian culture and unsurprisingly we have a lot of folklore about it – mainly humorous.
I'm not sure I'm able to make up with a new song or poem about Salo, but I can try to translate one.
A couple of hints:
Shkvarka – deeply fried small piece of Salo.
Charka – small glass for vodka.
Maarkeet – market, free flight with English, just for the rhyme

Hope somebody will enjoy it:)

1.
Hey, I love this crazy Salo
and the young pork meat.
Hey, I run to buy this Salo
to the village maarkeet.

Refrain:
Something's itching in my nose,
And my soul's singing songs -
I love Salo very much,
I have Salo for my lunch

2.
Hey, I'll turn a bit of salo
into fried Shkvarka.
It’s so nice to eat my Salo
with a drink in charka.

Refrain:
Something's itching in my nose,
And my soul's singing songs -
I love Salo very much,
I have Salo for my lunch

3.
Hey, this golden tasty skin
seems to be delicious.
Hey, I love this young pork meat -
king of all the dishes!

Refrain:
Something's itching in my nose,
And my soul's singing songs -
I love Salo very much,
I have Salo for my lunch

4.
Hey, this Salo's really nice,
like some drug addictive.
I can’t sleep without twice
magic Salo eating.

Refrain:
Something's itching in my nose,
And my soul's singing songs -
I love Salo very much,
I have Salo for my lunch

Some questions:

1. What's the real (original) name of the poem - "Address to the Haggis" (on your site) or "Address to a Haggis" (on Wikipedia)

2. Why "Devil take" is used instead of "Devil takes"? Devil is single, so it must be "takes", not "take".
What's the reason?

3. I couldn't understand the expression "as week as".
Maybe it's a misprint - must be "weak" instead of "week"?
If not - could you explain the meaning?

Hello Yshc,

I think the correct title is 'Address to a Haggis' and I have updated the text on this point.

The phrase 'devil take' is a short form of the idiom 'devil take the hindmost', which means that no-one waits for the slowest or the weakest. It has a similar meaning to 'every man for himself'. The verb is a form of the infinitive/base form with the meaning of 'and may the devil take...' or 'and let the devil take...'

The spelling should indeed be 'weak' rather than 'week'. Thank you for spotting this.

 

We try very hard to ensure that our materials are free of errors but this page seems to have been poorly checked before publishing. Thank you for spotting these for us.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I've spent about two hours to undersatand the poem more or less clearly.
For better understanding I even had to compare it with the original text (from Wikipedia, with some comments on old-english):)

Note to admin:
It would be very useful to put the appropriate puncuation marks at the ends of lines.
It was a real quest for me to combine all the words into some senses without punctuation:)

Hello Yshc,

Thank you for your suggestion. I'm not sure why the punctuation was omitted when the page was created but I have added it now.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

i will write about one saying or expression from Uzbekistan.

If you have one day, eat on your day "plow",
or if you have thousand day, eat also "plow". Plow is a traditional meal which is with rice made. welcome all!!!

i hope this was little bit difficult to understand but i tried to understand and imagine it. Good luck all

it is very useful for us

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