To a Louse
by Robert Burns
Scottish poet and songwriter, Burns is best known today for the latter and, in particular, for his Auld Lang Syne, generally sung in Britain upon the occasion of New Year. This appeared, along with such other lyrics as O My Loves Like a Red, Red Rose, Ye Banks and Braes and Scots wha hac, in the selection of Scottish tunes Burns collected and contributed to: the Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice (1793-1818). Other of his songs are also collected in another compendia, The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803).
As a poet Burns worked with simple concepts, but applied them across a number of forms. He wrote and published satires, scenes of rustic life, epistles to friends, epigrams and nature poems, both in a composite poetic form made up of a number of Scottish dialects and in English. In poems such as The Cotter's Saturday Night and To a Mountain Daisy he uses both Scottish dialect and English together. His poems were published in the Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786).
To a Louse
(On seeing one on a lady's bonnet at church)
Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie!
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle;
Now haud ye there, ye're out o' sight,
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
I wad na been surprised to spy
O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
O, wad some Power the giftie gie us