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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To a Louse

by Robert Burns

ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY’S BONNET AT CHURCH

1. 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.

2. Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested. shunn’d 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.

3. Swith! in some beggar’s hauffet squattle :
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi’ ither kindred,jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations ;
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

4. Now haud you there! ye’re out o’sight,
Below the fatt’rills, snug an’ tight ;
Na, faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
Till ye’ve got on it—
The vera tapmost, tow’ring height
O’ Miss’s bonnet.

5. 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!

6. I wad na been surpris’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy ;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On’s wyliecoat ;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do’t?

7. O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what curs├Ęd speed
The blastie’s makin!
Thae winks an’ finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

8. O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!

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