Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
Address to the Toothache
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
MY curse upon thy venomed stang,
That shoots my tortured gums alang;
An’ through my lugs gies mony a twang,
        Wi’ gnawing vengeance!
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,        5
        Like racking engines.
When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or cholic squeezes;
Our neighbor’s sympathy may ease us,
        Wi’ pitying moan;        10
But thee,—thou hell o’ a’ diseases,
        Aye mocks our groan.
Adown my beard the slavers trickle;
I throw the wee stools o’er the mickle,
As round the fire the giglets keckle        15
        To see me loup;
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
        Were in their doup.
O’ a’ the numerous human dools,
Ill har’sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,        20
Or worthy friends raked 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,        25
Whence a’ the tones o’ mis’ry yell,
And rankèd plagues their numbers tell,
        In dreadfu’ raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear’st the bell,
        Among them a’;        30
O thou grim mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes of discord squeal,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
        In gore a shoe-thick!—
Gie a’ the faes o’ Scotland’s weal        35
        A fowmond’s Toothache!

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