Robert Burns (1759-1796)

To a Louse

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 saint 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 begger'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 and 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.

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 heartly dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been suprised 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 Jenny, 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 inthers 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!