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"To a Mouse." By Scottish poet, Robert Burns
"Written by Burns after he had turned over the nest of a tiny field mouse with his plough. Burns was a farmer and farmers are generally far too busy to be concerned with the health of mice. This poem is another illustration of Robert Burn's tolerance to all creatures and his innate humanity."
The title of John Steinbecks' book, "Of Mice and Men," came from Robert Burns' poem, "To a Mouse." (November, 1785) --
But Mousie, thou are 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!
A very good friend of mine from Edinburgh, Scotland, told me about this poem. He is Scottish and 81 years of age. Mike Flynn is his name. Mike is nearly totally deaf so it is not easy communicating with him. But he reads lips well and one thing of modern technology makes it easier, just take your cellphone and type or dictate what you want to say and let him read it. Mike even has an old can of beer from Scotland labeled, "Robert Burns." Mike is even still a good stick at the game of pool! :)
Listen to a Scot read a pleasant Scottish narration: To a Mouse
English translation (the original Robert Burns' Scottish poem is below):
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
Oh, what a panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With your hurrying scamper
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!
I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.
Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and piercing!