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Wilson's Border Tales
To a Mouse


November, 1785

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', timrous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou needna start awa sae hasty.
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be faith 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, though maun live.
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
And 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 and 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 passed
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee big heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony 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 and pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och, I backward cast my e'e
On prospects dear
An' forward, though I canna see,
I guess an' fear.


Listen to this in Real Audio
With thanks to Marilyn Wright and
the Flag in the Wind

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