Links to other poems in the set

Poems which focus on human warmth, compassion and/or life-affirming qualities

  • To a Mouse - for the majority of the poem there is a tone of compassion towards a fellow creature in need
  • Tam O’Shanter - though apparently a moral lesson on the dangers of drink, the poem is full of the joys of conviviality, a thrilling gallop through a storm and of enjoyment of country dancing

Poems which present a negative picture of humanity

  • To a Mouse - having described the terrible plight of a mouse, caused by humanity’s dominating force, the poem suggests the parallels between this and the suffering of humanity facing an uncertain future
  • Holy Willie’s Prayer - the pride, hypocrisy and vindictiveness of Willie are chilling, especially as he believes himself to be chosen specially by God to be rewarded on earth and in Heaven