Friday, 25 January 2013

The Ploughman Poet

Today is the 25th January, Burns day. Burns Day is the day people celebrate the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was born on the 25th of  January 1759. As a boy he loved poems and was homeschooled by his dad at his farm.  Because Burns would plough the fields at his farm, he was called  the ploughman poet. When Burns became a man. he began writing his famous and popular poems, such as "To A Louse" and "My Love Is Like A Red, Red, Rose". He married a woman named Jean and died at the age of 37.

One of his most famous and loved poems is "To A Mouse". Here it is in it's  traditional scottish.

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, 
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 mony 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! 
It is talking about how a poor mouse's house is destroyed in the fields by a plough and it is forced to try to survive the harsh Scottish winter. Burns says this can happen to humans as well, having all their hard work destroyed in one event. The  poem continues and Burns says that the mouse is lucky as it is an animal and, unlike humans, cannot worry.  I think this is a great poem because of his clever metaphor and the poem's great message to all of us.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jake for writing about Robbie Burns. I especially like 'A Red, Red Rose', it has always been one of my favourites. My Grandad used to recite it from memory.