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Date of writing:

Place written: Ayrshire

 

Tae A Moose
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!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big an new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an keen!


Thou saw the fields laid bare and 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 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 oft a-gley.
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promised joy.


Still thou art blessed, 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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