"To A Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church" is a 1786 Scots language poem by Robert Burns in his favourite meter, standard Habbie.[1] The poem's theme is contained in the final verse:

In this poem the narrator notices a lady in church, with a louse that is roving, unnoticed by her, around in her bonnet.[2] The poet chastises the louse for not realising how important his host is, and then reflects that, to a louse, humans are all equal prey, and that they would be disabused of their pretensions if they were to see themselves through each other's eyes.[3] An alternative interpretation is that the poet is musing to himself how horrified and humbled the pious woman would be if she were aware she was harbouring a common parasite in her hair.[1]

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  1. ^ a b Rumens, Carol (13 October 2008). "Poem of the week: To a Louse". The Guardian.
  2. ^ "Robert Burns - To a Louse". BBC. 2014.
  3. ^ "'To a Louse': A Poem by Robert Burns". Interesting Literature. 9 December 2018.

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