To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church

To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church
Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlan ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
		Owre gawze and lace;
Tho’ faith, I fear ye dine but sparely,
		On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepan, blastet 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.

Swith, in some beggar’s haffet 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.

Now haud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rels, snug and tight,
Na faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
		Till ye’ve got on it,
The vera topmost, towrin height
		O’ Miss’s bonnet. 

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an’ gray as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
		Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty dose o’t,
		Wad dress your droddum!

I wad na been surpriz’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
		On ’s wylecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi, fye!
	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 Pow’r 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!
Robert Burns
Robert Burns

If ever a poet understood the character of his nation, he was Robert Burns. The language he was most fluent in wasn’t so much Scots or English – it was the language of the heart. All too human in his personal life, he carried that humanity over onto the page. Nothing was too small or too large to escape his notice, from a mouse in the mud to God in his heavens. A poet for all seasons, Burns speaks to all, soul to soul.

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