Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Written when Burns disturbed a mouse's nest in a field with his plough 


Wee, sleekit, cowrin, 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!
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 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 an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie 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 an' pain,
For promis'd 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!


I am Stan said...

Eh, what lingo is that?

Dark Lochnagar said...

Stan, the language of my ancestors, the lingo that we use in day to day conversation, not of course when we speak English to you gentlemen down there.

Toni said...

The most famous poem from a great man - The English hate him, but they mostly hate all great Scots.

Toni said...

while were on the subject of patter, i told an englishman the otherday in a bar I was drukit, (meaning thirsty), he swore blind to me it meant wet. Long time since I have been to Glasgow - who was right?

sweaty sock said...

Drukit means soaking wet ( usually spelt drookit)
Drooch is thirsty.
'E've got an awfy drooch'.. I'm awfully thirsty.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Antonio, That's because we're a much more successful race than they are. Simples!

Dark Lochnagar said...

Antonio/Sweaty one The smelly one has got it spot on BTW. It's a while since I was in Glasgow as well and although one or two words drift down here to Ayrshire, we tend to have our own ones. Mind you I would say 'drooch', is Scottish rather than Glasgow. In Ayrshire for 'drookit', you'd just use 'wringin'.

Toni said...

So drookit it is for being wet. I must be going Glaikit in my old age.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Antonio, you got that one right! If you see what I mean. :)