I Caa it Macaroni
American bairns as aften as no wull sing ither kin o pastas in place o macaroni in Yankee Doodle: rigatoni, canelloni, et ceterae. The thinkin ahint this is that if Yankee Doodle can caa his powny a donnert name like macaroni, syne hou no ony donnert name, as lang's it rhymes?
But it's no the powny he's caain macaroni, it's the feather! Macaroni uised ti be in general uise ti mean Italian. The idea is that he juist haes ti pit a feather in his bunnet an he thinks he's aa buskit the best Italian style.
Macaroni wis uized like this an aa ti describe poems written pairtly in the Laitin (a Italian langage efter aa, if ye tak the ettle here), an pairtly in some ither langage. Fowk that wis educate made sic poetry gey naitral in the days whan the Laitin wis ti the fore in a body's education. Ane o the forritmaist examples is William Dunbar's Lament for the Makars, whaur the last line o every verse is in the Laitin:
or the mair extensive Laitin in the poem Sleepy Body bi kenna wha:
Syne an on, the term macaronic verse wis taen ti mean ony kin o verse that wis written in a mixtur o langages. Here Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch stappin a bittie English (wi transmugrifee'd spellin) inalang wi his Scots ti mak a ugsome pun in the New Ballad o Sir Patrick Spens:
Burns is aiblins the maist famous for stappin English inalang wi his Scots ti guid effect, like in the Tam O'Shanter whaur he uizes English ti merk a lull in the storm o ragin Scots:
But the ar a faur mair doutsome uise o macaroni amangst Scots poets, an that's the stappin in o a English word insteid o a Scots ane juist for ti git a rhyme. Fergusson did it (Leith Races):
Burns did it (Tam O'Shanter):
An Stevenson did it (A Mile an a Bittock):
Ay, maist Scots poets aa doun throu the centuries seems ti a duin it. Whanever they saw a English word that wad sort oot their rhymes for them they couldna haud theirsels back. The'r juist ae byordnar case A can think on, an that's William McGonagall, tragedian an unconscious humorist. Tho McGonagall wrate vernear aathing in English (the ar twathree poems o his in Scots, the likes o The Bonnie Lass o Dundee an Little Jamie), he teuk the no-sae-strecht (but gey nairae) path o faain throu inti Scots whanever he wis wantin a rhyme for his English verse (fae The Bonnie Lass of Ruily):
- Robert Burns: Tam O'Shanter.
- William McGonagall: Little Jamie, The Bonnie Lass o Dundee.
- Robert Fergusson: Leith Races
- Robert Louis Stevenson: A Mile an a Bittock