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On turning her up in her nest, with the plough,
November, 1785
Robert Burns


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' 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, 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,

And never miss't !

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin !

Its silly wa's the win's are strewin;

And 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 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 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 an' men

Gang aft a-gley,

An lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promised 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 canna see,

I guess an' fear !


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