R OBERT B URNS. T HE MAN , T HE M YTH , T HE L EGEND. T HE B EGINNING OF R OBERT B URNS. Although his family was poor, his father wanted to give him a good education. Robert Burns was the oldest of seven children
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THEMAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND
Swith! in some beggar's haffet squattle; There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle, Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle, In shoals and nations; Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight, Below the fatt'rils, snug an' tight; Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right, Till ye've got on it --- The vera tapmost, tow'ring height O' miss's bonnet.
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose ouAs plump an' grey as onie grozet: O for some rank, mercurial rozet, Or fell, red smeddum, I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
I wad na been surpris'd to spy You on an auld wife's flainen toy: Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, On's wyliecoat; But Miss's fine Lunardi! fye! How daur ye do't.
O Jenny, dinna toss your head, An' set your beauties a' abread! You little ken what cursed speed The blastie's makin! Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread, Are notice takin'!
O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, An' foolish notion: What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us, An' ev'n devotion!
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!
Stanza 1 – In stanza one Burns addresses a mouse that he sees in some heavy Scottish dialect. He describes the mouse as something that is scared. Burns then tells the mouse that he does not want to chase it.
Stanza 2 – Stanza two brings a shift of dialect. Burns tells the mouse the reason that humans chase it is because we are broken away from our nature, and for this he apologizes to the mouse.
Stanza 3 - The poem shifts back to the heavy Scottish dialect. Burn understands that the mouse needs to steal an occasional ear of corn to live, but it is ok because the mouse needs to live so Burns does not mind.
Stanza 4 – Burns reflects on how the mouse’s house has been destroyed by his own plow, and now the mouse has nothing to make a new house out of. Burns feels especially bad because it is winter so the mouse will probably die.
Stanza 5 – Burns begins to describe how the mouse was once prepared for winter because it saw winter’s fast approach, but because of Burn’s plow destroying her home she is no longer ready for the winter.
Stanza 6 – Burns talks about how the house that the mouse spent a lot of time making is now gone, and now has to live though winter with nothing.
Stanza 7 – The beginning of this stanza marks a shift where Burns begins to tell the mouse that he is not alone, and that foresight usually ends in vain.
Stanza 8 – Burns tells the mouse that is better off than he is and that although he cannot see the future he still tries to guess what will happen so he can prepare as well as fear the parts of the future he cannot see.
Throughout the poem Robert Burns develops the theme of respecting life no matter how small. A live and let live mentality.However, In the second part of the poem Robert Burns seems to develop a second theme of one can never truly prepare for the future for it is unknown.
Burns uses diminutives such as beastie and Mousie to suggest smallness and to endear the mouse to the reader. Webster's Dictionary & Thesaurus defines diminutive as "a word or name formed from another by the addition of a suffix expressing smallness in size, or sometimes, endearment or aloofness.
(line 26) “An’ weary winter comin fast”
“Ha! whare ye gaun' ye crowlin ferlie?Your impudence protects you sairly;I canna say but ye strunt rarelyOwre gauze and lace,Tho faith! I fear ye dine but sparelyOn sic a place.”
(Lines 24-25) My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out, As plump and gray
as onie grozet
(Line 14) “and sprawl, and sprattle”
(Line 15) jumping cattle
(Line 7) “Ye ugly, creepin’, blastit wonner,
"Robert Burns - About Robert Burns." Electric Scotland Is All about the History of Scotland
and the Scots. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <http://www.electricscotland.com/burns/rburns.html>.