Scottish Poetry Selection
- Scotch Porridge

Porridge is still popular in Scotland though these days many people will buy it pre-prepared in supermarkets and heat it up in the micro-wave! But this eulogy on Scotch Porridge by Robert Bird refers to the more traditional ways of making this Scottish national dish.

      Scotch Porridge

Ower Scotland's corn the laverocks whustle,
Amang the rigs the corncraiks rustle,
Frae gowden taps the millstanes jostle
      And hoop wi' health,
Auld Scotland's cog o' grit an' gristle -
      A nation's wealth.

Ye wha wad ken life's pleasures sweet,
Wad haud the doctor in the street,
Wad mak' the tichtest twa en's meet
      Whan scant o' siller,
Taste parritch fine! and thy glad feet
      Will chase the miller.

In boilin' water, salted weel,
'Tween fingers rins the ruchsome meal,
While the brisk spurtle gars them wheel
      In jaups an' rings -
Ae guid half-hour, syne bowls may reel
      Wi' food for kings.

Nae butter, syrup, sugar brown,
For him wha sups, shall creesh thy crown,
But milk alane, maun isle thee roun',
      Till thou dost soom,
Then a' man needs is ae lang spoon
      And elbow room.

Gie France her puddocks and ragouts,
Gie England puddings, beefs, and stews,
Gie Ireland taties, shamrocks, soos,
      And land sae bogie,
True Scotsmen still will scaud their mou's
      Ower Scotland's cogie.

Puir parritch! here thou'rt scant respeckit,
For frizzled fare, thou'rt aft negleckit;
But Grecian Sparta sune was wreckit
      'Mang drinkin' horns,
And Scotia's thristle may be sneckit
      Whan thee she scorns.

But, mark the Scot ayont the sea
Welcome his meal, wi' dewy e'e,
He gars the first made parritch flee
      Frae oot the dish,
While, that his pock ne'er toom may be,
      Is a' his wish.

Proud Scotland's sons, o' hill and glen,
Ha'e round the world frae en' tae en'
Wi' doughty deeds o' tongue and pen,
      Coal, steam, and steel -
O! what has made those mighty men,
      But Scotland's meal?

On Bannockburn, and freedom's day,
When Britons met in war's array,
E'en though the Northmen knelt to say
      Their creed or carritch,
What made the differ' in that fray
      Was Scotland's parritch.

For makin' flesh and buildin' banes,
There ne'er was siccan food for weans,
It knits their muscles steeve as stanes,
      And teuch as brasses;
Fills hooses fu' o' boys wi' brains,
      And rosy lassies.

My blessing on the dusty miller
Wha gi'es me gowden health for siller!
My blessing on each honest tiller,
      Wha breaks the clod,
And gars green corn, Death's foe and killer,
      Spring frae the sod!

Meaning of unusual words:
rigs=space between the furrows on a ploughed field
tichtest twa en's=tightest two ends
ruchsome=rustic, unpolished
spurtle=wooden rod for stirring porridge
jaups=dash against the side
puddocks=frogs, toads
ragouts=small pieces of meat in vegetables, highly seasoned
scaud their mou's=scald their mouths
cogie=small cog
Scotia's thristle may be sneckit=Scotland's throat may be suddenly cut
siccan=such a
steeve=strong, sturdy
teuch=tough, hard

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