I love this poem, even if it is a little depressing. I found a place online where you can listen to a woman reading it. I found it makes a lot more sense if you have a proper Scottish accent.
On turning her up in her nest, with the plough,
Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae (so) hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith (loath) 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,
I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun (must) live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave (an occasional ear of corn out of 24 sheaves)
'Sa sma' request:
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave (remainder),
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 (build) a new ane,
O' foggage (moss) green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith (both) snell (severe) 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 (iron piece in front of plough) past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost the mony (many) a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole (endure) the winter's sleety dribble
An' cranreuch (hoarfrost) cold!
But, Mouse, thou art no thy lane (not alone)
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, (often go awry)
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' 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 an' fear!