Tuesday, January 4

Celebrating Robbie: To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough

Wee sleekit, cow'rin, 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 request;
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 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 and stibble,
Has cost thee monie a wearie 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 and 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!

--Robert Burns, November 1785

You can listen to it (brogue included!) here, courtesy of The Gaelic Home Page. You'll find translations of all the difficult words here.
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