To A Mouse
On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, November, 1785
by Robert Burns

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 beleesin' 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 an' 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!

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page
Return to Table of Contents