Address To The Toothache

Rabbie Burns wrote this poem, "Address to The Toothache." It isn't obviously as famous as "Auld Lang Syne" or his "Address To A Haggis", or the beautiful love song, which happens to be one of my favourites "My love is like a Red, Red Rose" , or some of his other work. But it's an interesting poem. My Mum was a real lover of Burns' works and I remember as a child having toothache on one occasion, and surprise, surprise, she read this poem to me.

By the way, if YOU know a Scottish Poem that you would like to be included on this site, or indeed if you have written one, why not submit your contribution HERE, so people from around the world can enjoy it.

'Address to the Toothache' really captures that indescribable pain that comes with toothache. You can't always see it and it doesn't get the sympathy that is given if you suffer from other ailments. So, the toothache must have affected him so bad that he wrote this 'address'.

Other poems by him are "Mary Morrison" and also "The Carls O Dysart" (which is just outside Kirkcaldy) which Rabbie wrote on a trip to the kingdom of Fife. He also paraphrased some of the Psalms, including Psalm 1.

The picture below was scanned in from a book I have of Rabbie's Poems, which printed and published in 1865, on the page with the poem, "Address to the Toothache". I kind of like it. I hope you do too.

Address to The Toothache



Address To The Toothache, by Rabbie Burns

My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gooms alang,
An' thro' my lug gies monie a twang,
Wh' gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes,
Our neebors sympathize to ease us
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee! - thou hell o' a' diseases,
They mock our groan!

A' down my beard the slavers trickle,
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle
To see me loup,
An' raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were i' their doup!

Of a' the numerous human dools
Ill-hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's laid 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,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell
Amang them a'!

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeal,
Till daft humankind aft dance a reel
In gore a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!


If this poem Address to The Toothache has interested you, see also the following poems and songs:-

My Love is Like a Red Red Rose - This lovely romantic poem/song by Rabbie Burns.
The Collier Laddie - Believed to be one of the oldest of Fife's songs.
Address to a Haggis - Rabbie Burn's famous poem, recited at Burn's Suppers throughout the world.
Auld Lang Syne - Rabbie Burns' famous song, traditionally sung to bring in the New Year.
Poem Mary Morrison - Another love poem by Rabbie Burns. I've dedicated this page to my Aunt, also called Mary Morrison who passed away in 2007.

The Boy in The Train - This delightful poem describes one young lads arrival by train to Kirkcaldy with smell of the linoleum factories.
Titanic Poem - Answers this question followed by a poem about that tragedy written by my Grandmother (from Scotland, of course!)
Translation Auld Lang Syne - Find out what the words of Auld Lang Syne mean?
The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens - This ballad mentions Dunfermline, the ancient capital of Scotland.
Psalm 1 - A paraphrase of this Psalm by Rabbie Burns.
The Carls o Dysart - This Poem/song was written by Rabbie Burns on a journey through Fife.
Burns Supper - Learn a bit more about a Burns Supper and get the Menu and recipe for Haggis, chappit potatoes and bashed neeps.
Hogmanay - See how we bring in the New Year in Scotland.
Scottish Custom and Traditions - Learn a bit more about some of our customs and traditions.
Language, Customs and Culture Bookstore - Browse through our Bookstore for Scots-English Dictionaries, and plenty books on the works of Rabbie Burns.

See also poems contributed by visitors:
Share Scottish Poetry. Do contribute YOUR poems and have them published on this site!

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