Links to other poems in the set

Poem that uses the ‘Address’ form talking to a ‘character’ who cannot understand or does not exist

  • To a Mouse - the speaker addresses the mouse whose nest he has accidentally destroyed. His tone is reassuring, though he recognises that he has jeopardised the mouse’s survival during the winter

Poems which create a narrative voice or persona

  • Holy Willie’s Prayer - the dramatic monologue is spoken by the hypocrite Willie who reveals his spitefulness and prejudice through his own voice. By describing his own bad deeds, making excuses for them and telling God to curse his enemies, he shows how insincere his ‘Christian’ viewpoint really is
  • To a Mouse - the persona is a ploughman who has just destroyed the mouse’s nest and is genuinely sorry. He is very close to the personality of Burns himself
  • Tam O’Shanter - the persona tells the story of Tam and the witches. Burns occasionally steps into the story himself to provide a moral, but these moral moments do not seem as sincere as his wholehearted enjoyment of the excitement of the narrative