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To a Mouse

An obscure bit of probable Burns poetry, "discovered" for Mel's Burns Night party, 2010.

An early draft of a famous poem, before it came over all "politically correct".

On returning home from a poaching trip to find a mouse in the pantry

WEE, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous mousie, 
O, what a mess tha’s made o my housie! 
Th’art right to start awa sae hasty, 
                    Wi’ bickering brattle! 
Were I not drunk, I’d rin an’ chase thee,
                    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

All ma bread lies there in ruin
The oats across the floor are strewin!
My joint is mired, I’ll need a new ane
                   For Sunday lunch
 T’is good I caught a hare for stewin’:
                   Not thine to munch

Tha has na take the cheese I set
In yonder trap, for thee to et
But a the things na mouse should touch
                   So say the books
An so I thank thee very much
                   As will the cooks

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving cunning may be vain; 
The best-laid traps for mice an’ men 
                    Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, 
                    For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d 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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