At Popisms.com, we show you how pop culture (TV, movies, books, ads) is connected to other pop culture. For example, what song is in that Super Bowl commercial or TV episode? What book is that character reading? What music is another song sampling? We answer these questions and many more.

To a Mouse (1785) written by Robert Burns

Home > Explore > Publications > Poetry > To a Mouse
To a Mouse (1785) (Poem) written by Robert Burns
Buy Poem Now

To a Mouse (Poem)

written by Robert Burns

1785
 
  • Download on iTunes
  • Buy on Amazon.com
"To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough" is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. According to legend, Burns was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse's nest, which it needed to survive the winter. In fact, Burns's brother claimed that the poet composed the poem while still holding his plough. 
 
Wee, sleekit, cowran, 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, 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' wast,  
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 are 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!