by Robert Burns




To a mouse


Did you know? "John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men from a line contained in the penultimate stanza: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley" (often paraphrased in English as "The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry")."Wikipedia

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, 
O, what a panic's in thy breastie! 
Thou need na start awa sae hasty, 
Wi' bickering brattle! 
wad be laith to rin an' chase thee, 
Wi' murd'ring pattle! 

I'm truly sorry man's dominion, 
Has broken nature's social union, 
An' justifies that ill opinion, 
Which makes thee startle 
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion, 
An' fellow-mortal! 

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve; 
What then? poor beastie, thou maunlive! 
daimen icker in a thrave 
'S a sma' request; 
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave, 
An' never miss't! 

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! 
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin! 
An' naething, now, to big a new ane, 
O' foggage green! 
An' bleak December's winds ensuin, 
Baith snell an' keen! 

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, 
An' weary winter comin fast, 
An' cozie here, beneath the blast, 
Thou thought to dwell- 
Till crash! the cruel coulter past 
Out thro' thy cell. 

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! 
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, 
But house or hald, 
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, 
An' cranreuch cauld! 

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain; 
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men 
Gang aft agley, 
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 
For promis'd joy! 

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me 
The present only toucheth thee: 
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e. 
On prospects drear! 
An' forward, tho' I canna see, 
I guess an' fear!

Source: http://www.robertburns.org/works/75.shtml





Poetry by Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 947 times
Written on 2014-12-31 at 01:23

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Burns was a master of delightful phrases like 'sleety dribble.' I love the sound of Scottish dialects. And I'm familiar with best-laid schemes gang agley--so many of mine have, at least. Thanks for posting this.
2014-12-31