| 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 and 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, whiles, 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!
And bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell and keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
And weary winter comin' fast,
And 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 mony 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 and men
Gang aft a-gley,
And 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 drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess and fear.