Robert Burns

poems:

36

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! I 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 maun live! A daimen-icker in a thrave ‘S a sma’ request: I’ll get a blessin’ wi’ the lave, And never miss’t! Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin’: And 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 and 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 turned 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 a-gley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promised joy. Still thou art blest, compared wi’ me! The present only toucheth thee: But, oh! I backward cast my e’e On prospects drear! An’ forward, tho’ I canna see, I guess an’ fear!

share poem