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To A Louse
(On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church)
by Robert Burns


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, 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 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.

Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight, 
Below the fatt'rils, snug an tight, 
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right, 
Till ye've got on it--- 
The vera tapmost, tow'rin 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 you sic a hearty dose o't, 
Wad dress your droddum!

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?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head, 
An set your beauties a' abread! 
Ye little ken what cursed speed 
The blastie's makin! 
Thae winks an finger-ends, I dread, 
Are notice takin!

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'es us, 
An ev'n devotion! 

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Last Updated 22 July 2005
Copyright 2000