And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

onsdag 31. oktober 2018

Address to the toothache - a poem by Robert Burns



I try not to get too personal on this blog, as it is mostly inteded for sharing scholarly or cultural things that interest me or that I find worth sharing or talking about, and also pictures of nature. However, this time I give you a poem by Robert Burns which mirrors my own personal life for the few days, in which I have been struggling against that most aweful of tortures, a toothache. Burns' poem provides the perfect description. I have here taken it from bartleby.com. The poem came readily to mind during these travails, as it is a hauntingly comic work which I've had somewhere on the periphery of my mind ever since I first read it in an excellent translation into Norwegian by Johannes Gjerdåker, several years ago.


Address to the toothache
 
MY curse upon your venom’d stang,
That shoots my tortur’d gums alang,
An’ thro’ my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi’ gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or argues freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,
Our neibor’s sympathy can 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,
While round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle,
Were in their doup!

In a’ the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien’s 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,
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 squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie a’ the faes o’ SCOTLAND’S weal
A townmond’s toothache!

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