Published: January 31, 2010

Address to an MSR

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great MSR o’ the pipe band-race!

Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,

Jigs, hornpipes, suites:

Weel are ye wordy o’a grace

As lang’s my arm.

The spectator benches ye dinna fill,

Nae bugger cares tae hear yer trill,

And yet no band to the final goes

Unless thro’ your scores they carefu’ tread

One wee slip and sure they’re dead.

His pencil see rustic judge dight,

An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

On the crit sheet;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

The ensemble judge’s sheet is white!

Then, tune for tune, they stretch an’ strive:

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,

Till a’ their weel-play’d doublings ring

And too many tenor drums do sing;

Then auld bassface, maist like to jive,

Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French gavotte

Or some damn suite that Michael wrought,

Or mazurkas that dinnae mak full sense

Wi’ perfect time,

Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view

On sic a tune?

Poor devil! see him play that trash,

As tenors twirl and drummers bash,

The whole band, a guid whip-lash;

Needed on the back;

Thro’ the qualifier to dash,

O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, MSR,

The trembling earth resounds his tread.

Clap in his chanter a fulsome reed,

He’ll mak it whissle;

An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will fly,

Tae the beer tent, to get dry.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak pipe bands your care,

And dish them out their bill o’ fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae musical sludge

Like suites and such;

But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer

Gie her an MSR!

– Anon.

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