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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Highland Hospitality


Unto his housemaid spoke the Laird:
"Tonight the Bishop is our guest;
The spare room must be warmed and aired:
To please him we will do our best.
A worthy haggis you must make,
And serve a bowl of barley bree;
We must be hearty for the sake
Of Highland Hospitality.

The feast was set, the candles lit,
The Bishop came with modest mien,
And (one surmised) was glad to sit
And sup in this ancestral scene.
A noble haggis graced the board;
The Laird proposed a toast or two,
And ever and anon he poured
His guest a glass of Mountain Dew.

Then to his maid the Laird gave tongue:
"My sonsie Jean, my friend is old.
Comparatively you are young,
And not so sensitive to cold.
Poor chiel! His blood austerely beats,
Though it be sped by barley bree . . .
Slip half an hour between the sheets,
Brave lass, and warm his bed a wee.

Said she: "I'll do the best I can
So that his couch may cosy be,
And as a human warming pan
Prove Highland Hospitality."
So hearing sounds of mild carouse,
As in the down she pillowed deep:
"In half an hour I will arouse,"
She vowed, then soundly went to sleep.

So when the morn was amber-orbed
The Bishop from a dream awoke,
And as his parritch he absorbed,
Unto his host he slyly spoke:
"Your haggis, Laird, was nobly bred,
And braw your brew of barley bree -
But oh your thought to warm the bed!
That's Highland Hospitality.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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