Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
VI. Animate Nature
To a Louse
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church

HA! whare ye gaun, ye crawlin’ ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
        Owre gauze an’ lace;
Though, faith! I fear ye dine but sparely        5
        On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin’, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunned by saunt an’ sinner,
How dare you set your fit upon her,
        Sae fine a lady?        10
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,        15
        In shoals and nations:
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle
        Your thick plantations.
Now baud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rels, snug an’ tight;        20
Na, faith, ye yet! ye ’ll no be right
        Till ye ’ve got on it,
The very tapmost tow’ring height
        O’ Miss’s bonnet.
My sooth; right bauld ye set your nose out,        25
As plump and gray as ony 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!        30
I wad na been surprised to spy
You on an auld wife’s flannen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
        On ’s wyliecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi, fie!        35
        How daur ye do ’t?
O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursèd speed
        The blastie ’s makin’!        40
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
        Are notice takin’!
O wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,        45
        And foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
        And ev’n devotion!

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