Because It Is November, and I Can Relate

November 15, 2005 @ 4:44 am | Filed under: Poetry

TO A MOUSE ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH
November, 1785, by Robert Burns

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Th 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,
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 are no the 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, compared 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!


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  1. […] mouse-appreciating poems go, this one doesn’t hold a candle to the work of auld Robbie Burns. And then there’s our favorite book about a poet with a proper appreciation of mice: The […]