Covers from the Hall Collection: The Haggis of Private McPhee

scotsMr. Hall has donated several additional items to the Hall Collection, including Rhymes of a Red Cross Man by Robert W. Service.  This collection of poems about war in the trenches includes The Haggis of Private McPhee. In Scots dialect, we follow the adventures of Privates McPhee and McPhun, who, on the eve of being sent out to reconnoiter “Naebuddy’s Land”, recieve a package from McPhee’s “auld mither”, containing haggis.  Here is my translation into English: On their mission, McPhee’s leg is blown off, and McPhun blinded.  Motivated, however, by their appetites for haggis and whisky, these intrepid soldiers combine in a sort of Scottish proto-transformer, with the legless McPhee as eyes, and McPhun as the braun (see illustration).  However “strength has its leemit, and Private McPhun/Wi’ a sab and a curse fell his length on the grun’./Then Private McPhee shoutit doon in his ear:/’Jist think o’ the haggis!  I smell it from here./It’s gushin’ wi’ juice, it’s embaumin’ the air;/it’s steamin’ for us, and we’re just aboot there.”   They make it back to camp and their fellows marvel at their heroic stamina and resolve.  They have just settled down to feast on their reward when a shell comes over the line and lands squarely on the haggis, obliterating it.  McPhee and McPhun stand, stunned, then come to their senses.  With a murderous zeal, they fix their bayonets and hobble off in the direction of the murderous Huns.  -Ed Scripsi

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Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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