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To a Mouse


On Turning up in Her Nest with the

Plough, November, 1785

An cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro thy cell.

Wee, sleeket, cowran, timrous beastie,

O, what a panics in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee
Wi murdring pattle!

That wee-bit heap o leaves an stibble

Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thous turnd out, for a thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the Winters sleety dribble,
An cranreuch cauld!

Im truly sorry Mans dominion

Has broken Natures social union,
An justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An fellow-mortal!

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 leae us nought but grief an pain,
For promisd joy!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
S a sma request:
Ill get a blessin wi the lave,
An never miss t!

Still, thou art blest, compard wi me!

The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my ee,
On prospects drear!
An forward tho I canna see,
I guess an fear!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!

Its silly was the wins are strewin!
An naething, now, to big a new ane,
O foggage green!
An bleak Decembers winds ensuin,
Baith snell an keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste,
An weary Winter comin fast,

To a Mouse
(Whilst ploughing on a November day,
Burns ruined the nest of a field mouse.
He ponders why the creature runs away
in such terror)
Oh, tiny timorous forlorn beast,
Oh why the panic in your breast ?
You need not dart away in haste
To some corn-rick
I'd never run and chase thee,
With murdering stick.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
And fellow mortal.
I do not doubt you have to thieve;
What then? Poor beastie you must live;
One ear of corn that's scarcely missed
Is small enough:
I'll share with you all this year's grist,
Without rebuff.
Thy wee bit housie too in ruin,
Its fragile walls the winds have strewn,
And you've nothing new to build a new

Of grasses green;
And bleak December winds ensuing,
Both cold and keen.
You saw the fields laid bare and waste,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cosy there beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash; the cruel ploughman crushed
Thy little cell.
Your wee bit heap of leaves and stubble,
Had cost thee many a weary nibble.
Now you're turned out for all thy trouble
Of house and home
To bear the winter's sleety drizzle,
And hoar frost cold.
But, mousie, thou art not alane,
In proving foresight may be in vain,
The best laid schemes of mice and men,
Go oft astray,
And leave us nought but grief and pain,
To rend our day.
Still thou art blessed, compared with
The present only touches thee,
But, oh, I backward cast my eye
On prospects drear,
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear.

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