A farmer turning up a mouse’s nest with his plow is certainly an incident from common life. Burns’s language is the country dialect of the Scottish people.
from William Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads: “The principal object, then, which I myself proposed in these poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life.” & “My purpose was to imitate, and, as far as possible, to adopt the very language of men.”
or to follow, he is using one of many English verbs that begin with the prefix en-.
When Robert Burns laments that December’s winds are “ensuing,”
In Robert Burns’s poem “To the Mouse,”
the speaker apologizes for plowing under the mouse’s home. Yet, the speaker notes that the mouse is lucky because it did not suffer the anxieties, uncertainties, and regrets of humans. Perhaps Burns was reflecting on the history and future of Scotland, his homeland.
Burns was an extremely patriotic Scot who,
like so many others, remained fiercely loyal to Scotland even after it merged with England and Wales to form the United Kingdom in 1707. The Scots had fought for centuries to repel an English takeover, and after failing at that, they struggled for centuries more to resist English rule. In the process, Scotland still managed to maintain a lively culture and to produce eminent figures in politics, science, and the arts.
topics reflecting on the Scotland Burns so loved
• The struggle for independence from England
• The clans of Scotland
• Bonnie Prince Charlie and the House of Stuart.
• Life in Scotland in the eighteenth century
• Scotland’s geography: the highlands and the lowlands
• Famous Scots
• The literature of Scotland
• The music of Scotland
• Today’s evolved Scottish government
John Steinbeck’s famous novella, Of Mice and Men,
draws its title from line 39 of “To a Mouse.” Steinbeck was just one of many authors who looked to literature for meaningful and memorable titles for their works.
Derived Title: The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner; derived from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Derived Title: East of Eden
by John Steinbeck derived from Genesis 4:16
Derived Title: Cabbages and Kings
by O. Henry derived from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll
Derived Title: Far From the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy derived from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray
Derived Title: For Whom the Bell Tolls
by Ernest Hemingway derived from “Mediation XVII” by John Donne
Derived Title: His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman derived from Paradise Lost by John Milton
Derived Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou derived from “Sympathy” by Laurence Dunbar
Derived Title: No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy derived from “Sailing to Byzantium” by W. B. Yeats
Derived Title: The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway derived from Ecclesiastes 1:5
Derived Title: Tender Is the Night
by F. Scott Fitzgerald derived from “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats
Derived Title: Things Fall Apart
by China Achebe derived from “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats
The speaker has destroyed the mouse’s nest with
The speaker forgives the mouse for
as a fellow mortal
How does the speaker view the mouse?
winter is nearly upon them
What makes the incident particularly unfortunate?
According to the speaker, how is the mouse “blest”?
The mouse has no memory of pastor vision of the future.