Robert Burns

poems:

36

to a louse

on seeing one on a lady’s bonnet at church

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie! Your impudence protects you sairly: I canna say but ye strunt rarely Owre gauze and lace; Tho’ faith, I fear ye dine but sparely On sic a place. Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner, Detested, shunned by saunt an’ sinner, How daur ye set your fit upon her, Sae fine a lady! Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner, On some poor body. Swith, in some beggar’s haffet squattle; There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle Wi’ ither kindred, jumpin cattle, In shoals and nations; Whare horn or bane ne’er daur unsettle Your thick plantations. Now haud ye there, ye’re out o’ sight, Below the fatt’rels, snug an’ tight; Na faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right Till ye’ve got on it, The vera tapmost, towering height O’ Miss’s bonnet. My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out, As plump an’ grey as onie grozet: O for some rank, mercurial rozet, Or fell, red smeddum, I’d gie ye sic a hearty dose o’t, Wad dress your droddum! I wad na been surprised to spy You on an auld wife’s flainen toy; Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, On’s wyliecoat; But Miss’s fine Lunardi!—fie! How daur ye do’t? O Jenny, dinna toss your head, An’ set your beauties a’ abread! Ye little ken what cursed speed The blastie’s makin! Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread, Are notice takin! O, wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us An’ foolish notion: What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us, And ev’n Devotion!

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