Address to the toothache



Toothache’s not much fun. Robert Burns had sore teeth few times in his life and wrote Address to the Toothache about his experiences, performed for Scots Hoose by Brooke Walker. The poem shows how bad toothache can be and reminds us to brush our teeth.

   Address to the Toothache - the poem

Address to the Tooth-ache by Robert Burns

My curse upon your venom'd stang.
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang,
And thro my lug gies monie a twang
Wi gnawin vengeance,
Tearin my nerves wi bitter pang,
    Like rackin engines!

Aw doon my beard the slavers trickle,
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle.
While roond the fire the giglets keckle,
    To see me lowp.
And ravin mad, I wish a heckle
    Were i' their dowp!

When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes,
Oor neebors sympathise to ease us,
    Wi pityin moan;
But thee! - thou hell o a' diseases -
    They mock oor groan!

Of aw the numerous human dools -
Ill-hairsts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,
Or worthy freens laid i' the mools,
    Sad sicht to see!
The tricks o knaves, or fash o fools -
    Thou bear'st the gree!

Whare'er that place be priests caw Hell,
Whare aw the tones o misery yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell,
    In dreidfu raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell,
    Amang them aw!

O thou grim, mischief-makin chiel,
That gars the notes o discord squeel,
Till human kind aft dance a reel
     In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie aw the faes o Scotland's weal
    A towmond's toothache!