To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, 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' murdering 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' requet;

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 win's ensuing,

         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 and stibble,

Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!

Now thou's turned 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 are blest, compared wi' me!

The present only toucheth thee:

But Och! I backward cast my e'e,

         On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I cannot see,

         I guess an' fear!

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