To a Louse
Ha! Where are you going, you crawling marvel?
Your impudence protects you sorely,
I cannot say but you strut rarely
Over gauze and lace,
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
On such a place.
You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by saint and sinner,
How dare you set your foot upon her –
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.
Off! in some beggar’s hovel squat:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now hide you there! You’re out of sight,
Below the falderals, snug and tight;
No, faith you yet! you’ll not be right,
‘Til you’ve got on it —
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss’s bonnet.
My sooth! right bold you set your nose out,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry:
O for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or foul red poison,
I’d give you such a hearty dose of it,
Would fix your behind!
I would not be surprised to spy
You on an old wife’s flannel cap:
Or maybe some small raggedy boy,
On his under garments;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi! fie!
How dare you do it?
O Jenny do not toss your head,
And set your beauties all abroad!
You little know what cursed speed
The bugger’s making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice taking!
O would some Power the good Lord give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!