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A wee dram a day keeps the doctor… away?

January 25, 2010

But no haggis, thanks. I am not aware that I have any Scottish ancestry; English, Irish, Welsh, to be sure… and maybe some Scottish, way, way back. But not enough that I feel compelled to indulge in the whole Burns supper ritual.

However, I will break out the The Macallan. It’s often a bit of a conundrum, deciding the occasions on which to sample your most expensive bottle… but I think that Robbie Burns’ birthday is an easy one.

But absent any haggis, I’ll to find an alternative poem to Burns’ “Address To A Haggis“. This one isn’t so pleasant, but the theme is universal:

Address To The Tooth-Ache

by Robert Burns

My curse upon your venom’d stang,
That shoots my tortur’d gums alang;
And thro’ my lugs gies mony a twang,
Wi’ gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or cholic squeezes;
Our neighbors’ sympathy may ease us,
Wi’ pitying moan;
But thee — thou hell o’ a’ diseases —
They mock our groan!

Adown my beard the slavers trickle!
I throw the wee stools o’er the mickle,
As round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup;
While raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup.

O’ a’ the num’rous human dools,
Ill har’sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,
Or worthy friends rak’d i’ the mools,
Sad sight to see !
The tricks o’ knaves, or fash o’ fools,
Thou bear’st the gree.

Where’er that place be priests ca’ hell,
Whence a’ the tones o’ mis’ry yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu’ raw,
Thou, Tooth-ache, surely bear’st the bell
Amang them a’!

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes of discord squeel,
Till daft mankiud aft dance a reel
In gore a shoe-thick; —
Gie a’ the foes o’ Scotland’s weal
A towmond’s Tooth-ache!

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