• "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785" recited by Harris Cameron aged 10, a pupil at Dunnottar Primary School, Stonehaven

To A Mouse by Harris CameronHarris Cameron
00:00 / 02:32
  • "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785" recited by Andrew Urquhart

To a MouseAndrew Urquhart
00:00 / 03:05

"To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785" is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume and all of the poet's later editions, such as the Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Edinburgh Edition). According to legend, Burns was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse's nest, which it needed to survive the winter.  In fact, Burns's brother claimed that the poet composed the poem while still holding his plough.

                              To a Mouse

On Turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November 1785.


Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,

O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

          Wi’ bickerin 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, whyles, 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 monie 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!

                                         Mackie Academy

Mackie Academy is a secondary school in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. As of 2019, Mackie Academy had roughly 1170 pupils and 80 teaching staff. The feeder primary schools are Arduthie, Bervie, Catterline, Dunnottar, Glenbervie, Gourdon, Johnshaven, Kinneff, Lairhillock, and Mill O'Forest.


The school was founded in 1893 thanks to the generosity of a local merchant, William Mackie, who bequeathed money in his will to establish a school in Stonehaven. The original site was on Arduthie Road, where Arduthie Primary school is now situated. The original building on this site was destroyed in a fire in the 1920s and had to be rebuilt.

The new building on Slug Road was officially opened on 20 March 1970 by former pupil Alexander Robertson, though teaching was suspended at the time due to strikes. This land had previously been used as the Academy playing fields and the grounds around the present building are still used for this purpose. Between mid-2009 and late 2010 extensive work was carried out to the toilet facilities introducing 13 disabled toilets and 15 toilets. The school served a large geographical area surrounding Stonehaven until the opening of Portlethen Academy, which reduced the catchment area of the school drastically. After 2009, a large fence was erected around the school grounds.