September 14, 2005

A poem

To a Louse
On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church

by Robert Burns


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 somewere 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 tapmost 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 aiblens some bit duddie boy,
On 's wylecoat;
But Miss's fine Lunardi, fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jenny, dinna toss ye're 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!

8 comments:

Setiago said...

Burns, one of my favorite poets. I especially like Bannockburn, A Red, Red Rose, and the Cotter's Saturday Evening.

Nomos said...

I like your taste in poetry.

fa-so-la-la said...

We've been saying the first line of that poem to each other ever since we read it in school on Wednesday. You have to do it with a certain vigor and violence in your voice for the right effect. We have mastered the trick-- the Shieldmaiden's rendition is especially effective!

Owl of the Desert said...

Could you record a reading(s) and post it for us? :-)

multifarious said...

Burns is one of my favorites too! I want his complete works for Christmas...

Eugene said...

Is that a hint, Multifarious girl?

X-ON Designer said...

Is this the one with the garlic breath in it?

beatrice said...

No.