Robert Burns

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’ bickerin’ brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
                            Wi’ murd’rin’ 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,
                            An’ 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 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 promised 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!

Listen to this poem

Read by Charlie MacDonald · Source: Librivox.org

About the poet

Robert BurnsRobert Burns

By the same poet
Lament for Culloden
Auld Lang Syne
Address to a Haggis
To a Louse
Mary Morison
My Bonnie Mary
John Anderson, my Jo
The Banks o' Doon
Ae Fond Kiss
Bonnie Lesley
Highland Mary
O were my Love yon Lilac fair
A Red, Red Rose
The Farewell
Hark! the Mavis
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Robert Burns at amazon.co.uk