To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785

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’!
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 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 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 and men
Gang aft a-gley,
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 oh! I backward cast my e’e
On prospects drear!
An’ ¬†forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Robert Burns

Leave a Comment