To a Mouse
"To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough" (also known as just "To a Mouse") is a poem written by Robert Burns. The poem was written in Scots in 1785. "To a Mouse" is about a young man who accidentally overturns the soil of a mouse’s nest.
John Steinbeck named his novella Of Mice and Men after a line in the seventh stanza of the poem. This line is: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley" ("The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go often askew").
|Burns' original||Standard English translation|
|Wee, sleeket, cowran, 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’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,
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:
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 monie 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 promis’d 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!
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
Your small house, too, in ruin!
You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
But little Mouse, you are not alone,
Still you are blessed, compared with me!
- "To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough". robertburns.org. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "To a Mouse". cummingsstudyguides.net. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "Robert Burns' "To a Mouse": Analysis". BestWord. Archived from the original on 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2011-09-25.