Monday, 26 January 2009

To a Mouse

On the radio the other day the guests were trying a bit of Burns. With over-exaggerated accent, one guest tried the first stanza of To a Mouse:
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!
It was a game attempt, but amongst all the rolling rrrrs played for comedy effect, the poetry was lost. And though wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rouse beastie is a fine line, bursting with imagery and the delight of language, it is not the first stanza of To a Mouse that reveals Burns' genius. It is the final two:
But, Mousie, thou art no alane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An' leave 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!
Hope you all had a good Burns night last night.


Billy said...

Someone has done a spoof on holy willie's prayer about gordon brown. Haven't found it yet though

Robert Craig said...

Did you see Gordon Brown in the Broons in the Sunday Post? Very appropriate for Burns night! (Although the artist hadn't quite captured his bairn-scaring smile)

Billy said...

Smile? It reminds me more of an inflammed foreskin.