- Robert Burns spent his early life as a poor tenement farmer, but did not enjoy it.
- In his spare time he wrote songs and poems loosely based on his illicit relationships and illegitimate children.
- Robert Burns married Jean Armour in 1788 and had 12 children with Jean and other women.
- Burns died at age 37 from bacterial endocarditis secondary to chronic rheumatic heart disease.
- It is claimed that Michael Jackson's Thriller is inspired by Burns' poem Tom O'Shanter.
- John Steinbeck took the title of his book Of Mice and Men from a line from Burns' poem 'To a Mouse'.
- There is a replica of Robert Burns' Alloway cottage in Atlanta.
To A Mouse
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickerin 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,
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 winds 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 turn’d 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 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!
- The whole poem is a metaphor for the speaker's life.
- The mouse is personified when he describe's its nest as a house.
- bickering battle
- weary Winter
- beneath the blast
- Mice an' Men
- Connection between the speaker and the mouse
- They're both born on earth and are both mortal