Links to other poems

Man’s relationship to the natural world

  • To a Mouse - Burns uses the image of the mouse whose nest has been destroyed to dwell on the devastation wrought by man on the natural world. Burns also considers those who make their living honestly from the land.
  • Tam O’Shanter - this is a tale of both the natural and elemental world (consider the development of setting in this poem) and the supernatural. In the end, Burns’ drunken mock-hero Tam has his life saved by his trusty horse.

Powerful human emotions

  • A Poet’s Welcome to his Love Begotten Daughter – In this poem Burns depicts the joy he experienced at the birth of his daughter. This poem is compassionate and optimistic.
  • Tam O’Shanter – this poem examines our propensity for socialising and the enjoyment that comes from it. More importantly, perhaps, Tam O’Shanter also explores mankind’s susceptibility to fear.

Interesting narrative voice

  • Holy Willie’s Prayer – this dramatic monologue presents the voice of ‘Holy Willie’ a figure guilty of hypocrisy.
  • To a Mouse – we are presented with a speaker closely aligned with the poet himself. This speaker is compassionate towards the mouse, and apologetic about destroying the nest that the creature toiled so hard to construct.
Move on to Audio