The closing stanza is said to have been composed extempore during a dinner at the home of John Morrison, a Mauchline cabinet-maker. The complete poem was written soon after Burns arrived in Edinburgh, and appeared in the Caledonian Mercury on 19 December 1786 and in the Scots Magazine in January 1787 --- the first of Burn's poems to be published in any periodical. Oddly enough, the earliest recipe for Haggis appeared the same year, in Cookery and Pastry by Susanna Maciver.

The poem is influenced by Fergusson's `Caller Oysters', also written in the Standard Habbie stanza, which Burns made his own.

   Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,                          cheerful
   Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
   Aboon them a' ye tak your place,                               Above
      Painch, tripe, or thairm:                             paunch/guts
   Weel are ye wordy of a grace                                  worthy
      As lang's my arm.
   The groaning trencher there ye fill,
   Your hurdies like a distant hill,                           buttocks
   Your pin wad help to mend a mill                              skewer
      In time o' need,
   While thro' your pores the dews distil
      Like amber bead.
   His knife see rustic Labour dight,                              wipe
   An' cut ye up wi' ready slight,                              skill
   Trenching your gushing entrails bright                       Digging
      Like onie ditch;
   And then, O what a glorious sight,
      Warm-reekin, rich!                                      -steaming
   Then, horn for horn, they strech an' strive:                   spoon
   Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
   Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,                bellies/soon
      Are bent like drums;
   Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,                         burst
      'Bethankit!' hums.
   Is there that owre his French ragout
   Or olio that wad staw a sow,                                  sicken
   Or fricassee wad mak her spew
      Wi' perfect sconner,                                      disgust        
   Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
      On sic a dinner?
   Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
   As feckless as a wither'd rash,                            weak/rush
   His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
      His nieve a nit;                                         fist/nut
   Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
      O how unfit!
   But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
   The trembling earth resounds his tread.
   Clap in his walie nieve a blade,                              choice
      He'll make it whissle;
   An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,                        trim
      Like taps o' thrissle.                               tops/thistle
   Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
   And dish them out their bill o 'fare,
   Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware                         watery
      That jaups in luggies;                        splashes/porringers
   But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
      Gie her a Haggis!