To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
To a Mouse Dreams, Hopes, Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane, (20-21)
The mouse's nest seems to represent the culmination of a lot of hard work and carefully-made plans, and now the walls ("wa's") of the house are being strewn around by the cold winds ("win's"), and the mouse is left without any raw materials to build ("big" is Scots for "build") a new one. Sure, the mouse could continue to hope, and dream, and plan, but without the physical means to make those plans a reality, what's the point? The poor little guy is out in the cold.
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell— (25-28)
The speaker imagines the mouse observing the weather and the coming winter, and carefully making his little mousie plans for the future. Do mice really hope and plan like this, or is it all instinct? It's hard to say, but it's a good mental image, and anthropomorphizing the mouse (talking about her like she's a human) helps to make the analogy between the mouse and all of humankind a lot clearer.