Happy Robbie Burns Night 2019. The famous Scottish poet Robert Burns ponders a head louse in the hair of an attractive well-to-do young woman in church. This remind us that head lice have been with us for centuries. In fact some people call nitpicking the second oldest profession!
Furthermore Burns elaborates on how he wishes he had a toxic powder of some kind to kill the louse. In addition Burns expresses shock that a woman of means could be afflicted with lice.
Happy Robbie Burns Night 2019. Boston is celebrating the birth of Robert Burns in several ways. First of all The Haven in JP is celebrating Robbie Burns Night with 4 Burns Suppers. And over at The Burren in Davis Square you can take part in The Greater Boston Community Burns Supper on Jan 29, brought to you by Boston Song Sessions In addition the folks at WGBH Curiosity Desk wonder “Why is there a Robert Burns Statue in Winthrop Square?“
Happy Robbie Burns Night 2019! Today is the Birthday of famous Scottish Poet Robert Burns whose 1786 poem “To a Louse” remains burned into our memories! Especially relevant is the text of the poem that details Burns observing a head louse crawling on the hair of a lady in church. In fact Burns indicates his disgust for the louse, wishing it away.
TO A LOUSE
On a Lady’s Hair in Church
Ha! Where are you going, you crawling wonder?
Your impudence protects you sorely,
I can not say but you swagger rarely
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparingly
You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by saint and sinner,
How dare you set your foot upon her -
Such fine a lady!
Go somewhere else and seek your dinner
Off! In some beggar’s temples squat:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Now hold you there! You are out of sight,
Below the falderals, snug and tight;
No, faith you yet! You will not be right,
Until you have got on it —
The very topmost, towering height
My sooth! right bold you set your nose out,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry:
O for some rank, mercurial resin,
I would give you such a hearty dose of it,
I would not have been surprised to spy
You on an old wife’s flannel cap:
Or maybe some small ragged boy,
But Miss’s fine balloon bonnet! fye!
O Jenny do not toss your head,
And set your beauties all abroad!
You little know what cursed speed
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,