To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
To a Mouse Resources
This is a handy-dandy glossary of words in the Scots dialect commonly used by Robert Burns.
In case you had any doubts that Robbie Burns is a Big Deal, here's some more proof: there's a WORLD ROBERT BURNS FEDERATION that you can join so that you can get your Burns on with fellow Burns fans from all over the world. Also, their website has some links and info about the poet useful for even the more casual fans.
Yep, there is more than one Burns Fan Club out there. This one has been around for more than 100 years.
This site has the text of the poem, a short analysis of the poem, and a link to an excellent bio of the poet.
The BBC (yeah, that would be the channel that made Downton Abbey) has a handy site on Burns, with some good pics and a useful biography.
Yep, folks still use the Scots dialect in Scotland today, although typically people are nice enough to use standard English when chatting with non-Scots. This is an interesting history of the Scots language… although you may not understand all of it, as the speaker occasionally uses Scots.
To really get this poem, you've got to hear it read out loud in its original Scots dialect.
Here's another reading of the poem, this time by Scottish actor Sean Kane.
This is probably the most famous portrait of Burns out there—it's the one you'll see on the cover of every collection of Burns' poetry.
What a good-lookin' guy he was. No wonder all the Scottish lassies couldn't get enough of him.
This is the cute little thatched cottage where little Robbie Burns was born.
Articles and Interviews
This is an article by A. M. Buchan on Burns' use of dialect in his poetry. It was written in 1951, so it's not exactly recent, but Shmoopers interested in the sound and meaning of Burns' Scots dialect should check it out.
If you're interested in the theme of "Man and the Natural World," this is an article for you. David Perkins writes about Robert Burns and animal rights in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
This article by Corey E. Andrews discusses the history of Burns' critical reception during the first decades after the publication of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, which included "To a Mouse."
This is neat: it's a dictionary of Lowland Scots Dialect (that would be the dialect as it was spoken toward the southern border of Scotland, closer to England). It's from 1888. And it's available online through Google Books.
The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, edited by Ian Brown, has a really good chapter on Robert Burns called "Writing Scotland: Robert Burns" by Carol McGuirk. Some of the chapter is available online through Google books, but to read it in its entirety, you'll have to check it out of a library.
Movies & TV
This is an adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men, which takes its title from Burns' poem.