Wednesday, December 28, 2011

from "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!


ACravan said...

Thanks for this. Caroline and I both love it. One thing, however -- I do think animals (including mice, I'll wager) look backward also, and guess and fear. They just show a lot more dignity than people when they do. Curtis

Nin Andrews said...

Yes, that's a good point. I think you are right. We underestimate animals over and over.

ACravan said...

One thing (since we're still enjoying the Burns and have shown it to Jane, who was assigned Of Mice and Men last year) I remember well is how in college my professors (probably most of them pet-owners) seemed to make the underestimation of animals almost an academic principle, shoehorning their comments on the subject into the oddest, most inappropriate contexts. I've always really loved the final passage of Claude Levi-Strauss's Tristes Tropiques, where he writes: “Farewell to savages, then, farewell to journeying! And instead, during the brief intervals in which humanity can bear to interrupt its hive-like labours, let us grasp the essence of what our species has been and still is, beyond thought and beneath society; an essence that may be vouchsafed to us in a mineral more beautiful than any work of Man: in the scent, more subtly evolved than our books, that lingers in the heart of a lily; or in the wink of an eye, heavy with patience, serenity, and mutual forgiveness, that sometimes, through an involuntary understanding , one can exchange with a cat.” Curtis

TC said...

For my part, I'd just as soon not know where my nuts are hidden.