Newest Review: ... tartans and highland dress is largely a Victorian invention, long after Burns' death. So tomorrow you'll have a bit of a hangover but ... more
A whiff of clapshot
Member Name: duncantorr
Date: 25/01/12, updated on 29/05/13 (187 review reads)
Advantages: "The dews distil like amber bead."
Disadvantages: "Painch, tripe, or thairm." (from Address to a Haggis, Robert Burns)
Today was the birthday of Robert Burns, most of whose poems were written in an impenetrable 18th century Lowlands dialect. For some reason, Burns is still regarded as Scotland's national poet, whilst such eminent versifiers as William McGonagall and Marriott Edgar are overlooked. Poets seldom receive the recognition they deserve, but in his particular case one suspects it might be the other way round. Stranger still, his anniversary is celebrated by people of Scottish descent around the world, who often dress up in tribal costume and observe arcane rituals for the occasion.
A Scot on his own is an excellent man,
Be he working-class, middle or upper,
But two is a football crowd, three is a clan
And four is a Burns Night Supper.
Why any would host an occasion to toast
A bard so obscure is curious.
Was he really the best that their nation can boast?
Is there no one whose claim is less spurious?
It may be just a ruse to take on some booze
A canny excuse to foregather,
But what reason is that to wear kilt or plaid trews
And listen to tedious blather?
A Balmoral bonnet with cockade upon it,
A dirk or a sgian dubh,
Might inspire from Rabbie an ode or a sonnet
But I wouldn't wear it, would you?
I almost believe that it's all done to tease;
They surely can't claim to be serious.
To a jockular Scot it might seem like a wheeze,
To a Sassenach it's just mysterious.
But then north of the border their wit is well-known;
Full many a Scotsman a wag is.
In nothing they do is it so clearly shown
As in filling their bellies with haggis.
Such humorous peeps, pretending that sheep's
Offal makes a prize pudding - that's batty;
And how about swedes being, jokingly, 'neeps'?
Or spuds, euphemistically, 'tatties'?
Do they swallow such stuff just to show off how tough
They can be, aye, how hardy, how Spartan?
Like enduring the bagpipes... if that's not enough,
Then there's what they wear under their tartan.
To sport sporran and kilt would make lesser men wilt;
Who else would chance something so risky?
It takes courage to burn and no sense of guilt,
And copious measures of whisky.
For between them they slam down full many a dram
Enough to make Highlanders reel,
Yet stay conscious through doggerel ad nauseam
And stomach the haggis-based meal.
Brave as the Black Watch, they down their hotch-potch,
Which, you'd think, all enjoyment would scupper.
Would it not be top-notch just to stick to the Scotch,
And dispense with the Burns Night Supper?
© Also published under the name torr on Ciao UK 2012
Summary: Need one go to such lengths to drink whisky?