There's no hard and fast rules about Burns Night speeches but Burns Nights do tend to have one thing in common, summarised by this little ditty by me
Do the Scots like to drink?
Was Hitler fond of war?
At the end of a Burns Night
They're all flat out on the floor
Burns Night Speeches begin usually with Grace (and end often in disgrace)
Some hae meat and canna eat;
And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Coming next in the Burns Night Speeches is usually the Address to a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Burns Night Speeches include the
One of the guests gives a short speech, celebrating aspects of Burns' life or poetry. This should be entertaining, generally light hearted but there will be Burns Nights held which are intensely serious. Avoid these at all costs unless you are one of those Scots whose company most Scots would seek to avoid
The Immortal Memory finishes with a toast to Robert Burns which is just one of many drinks consumed during the evening.
To Rabbie Burns...drink, drink
The Burns Night Speeches usually continue with a Toast to the Lassies
This is a short speech given by a male guest, normally amusing, thanking women for preparing the food, extolling the virtues of women generally and ending in a toast which of course involves inbibing alcohol. The astute ones among you will have spotted the emergence of a theme.
To the Lassies...drink, drink
It's only right and proper that this should be followed by a reply from the lassies, proposing a Toast to the Laddies.
There is a lack of material out there so I have adapted a Toast to the Lassies, which hopefully won't offend the original author, credited below
My you laddies can be a curious pest
Ay'ways chunterin' on when we need rest.
If we disagree, you ay'ways ken best
Then the silence is lang.
Then begins the game where we huv' tae guess
What we did wrang
In time o' need
When you need to answer nature's ca'
You jist pee agin the wa'
We huv tae go alang twa by twa
Like there's a tether.
Then stand in line for hours, an a'
Jist fur a blether.
When we're stappit fu' wi' cold or flu,
Or a fever that we can't subdue,
We pray some tenderness may ensue,
But where's the fuss?
When laddies get sick one thing is true
They're no as ill as us!
But chief among your faults sae heinous,
Is the obsession o' the penis,
The whean o' pleasure it hae gein us,
We're aye glad now the mighty phallus
Has its uses.
Inspiring bold John Thomas's wan e'e
Is still nature's prime necessity
In the race of life tae pregnancy,
Agin the body's clock.
Where would we be if no fur thee,
A man needs a wife when he comes hame.
Fair scunnered sittin' there on his ain,
A bachelor's life is such a shame,
The puir wee thing,
He needs a lassie tae tak' his name,
Mak his hert sing.
I've never seen a more handsome sight,
Than the laddies gathered here tonight.
Rabbie himself would agree I'm right.
This I know.
In better words he'd show his delight,
And tell you so.
So here's tae our laddies, let’s be fair,
Whether blond or black, or lack o' hair.
There known as friends 'n' lovers 'n' mair
than hopeless dancers.
Its' a' we can dae no tae stop and stare,
Like glaikit chancers!
Yes, here's tae our laddies.
May you aye be near.
Lassies, please lift your wine or beer
And with one voice and hearty cheer
At times they’re baddies,
But where would we be if they weren't here?
To the Laddies...drink, drink
Original work by Alisdair Smith of Dunblane, Scotland. January 2002.
Not just to consume another drink but more in tribute to the Bard, a toast could be proposed to, say, a Fart, in the style of The Man Himself's tribute
To A Mouse, which starts
Tae A Fert
Oh what a sleekit horrible beastie,
Lurks in yer belly efter the feastie.
Just as ye sit doon among yer kin,
There sterts to stir an enormous wind.
The neeps and tatties and mushy peas,
Stert workin like a gentle breeze.
But soon the puddin' wi the sauncie face,
Will have ye blawin' all ower the place.
Nae matter whit ye try tae dae,
A'bodys gonnae have tae pay.
Even if ye try to stifle,
It's like a bullet oot a rifle.
Hawd yer bum tight tae the chair,
Tae try and stop the leakin' air.
Shift yersel frae cheek tae cheek,
Pray tae God it doesny reek.
But aw yer efforts go assunder,
Oot it comes ? a clap o' thunder.
Ricochets aroon the room,
Michty me, a sonic boom!
God almighty it fairly reeks,
Hope I huvnae pooed ma breeks!
Tae the loo I better scurry,
Aw who cares, its no ma worry.
A'body roon aboot me chokin,
Wan or two are nearly bokin
I'll feel better for a while,
Cannae help but raise a smile.
"Wis him!" I shout with accusin' glower,
Alas too late, he's just keeled ower!
"Ye dirty thing!" they shout and stare,
I don't feel welcome any mair.
Where ere ye go let yer wind gang free,
Sounds like just the job fur me.
Whit a fuss at Rabbie's perty,
Ower the sake o' wan wee ferty!!!
Let's toast the fart,
To the Fart... drink, drink
Perhaps next in the Burns Night Speeches could come
To Tam...drink, drink
The Burns Night speeches could continue with a Toast to the Downcoming of a Sassanach
To the downcoming of a Sassanach ...drink, drink
And next in the Burns Night Speeches could be a Toast, thusly
Help ma boab, I'm feeling drouthy, thorsty
I propose a toast to a...
to a toastie
To a toastie...drink, drink
And so it continues until everyone is thoroughly
For more Burns Night speeches, here's a link
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my love is like a melody,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I,
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life shall run.
And fare the weel, my only love!
And fare the well awhile!
And I will come again, my love.
Tho it were ten thousand mile!
Jon Bratton © 2009