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Poems About Mice and Rats

Table of Contents

Mice

  1. The Lion and the Mouse by Jeffreys Taylor
  2. The City Mouse and the Garden Mouse by Christina Georgina Rossetti
  3. Three Little Mice by Julia C. R. Dorr
  4. A Pleasant Ship by Emilie Poulsson
  5. Three Blind Mice by Anonymous
  6. Hickory Dickory Dock by Anonymous
  7. To a Mouse by Robert Burns

Rats

  1. The Rat by Emily Dickinson
  2. An Inconvenience by John B. Tabb
  3. Shelter by C. S. Calverley

Mice

  1. The Lion and the Mouse

    by Jeffreys Taylor

    A lion with the heat oppressed,
    One day composed himself to rest:
    But while he dozed as he intended,
    A mouse, his royal back ascended;
    Nor thought of harm, as Aesop tells,
    Mistaking him for someone else;

    And travelled over him, and round him,
    And might have left him as she found him
    Had she not—tremble when you hear—
    Tried to explore the monarch's ear!
    Who straightway woke, with wrath immense,
    And shook his head to cast her thence.
    "You rascal, what are you about?"
    Said he, when he had turned her out,
    "I'll teach you soon," the lion said,
    "To make a mouse-hole in my head!"
    So saying, he prepared his foot
    To crush the trembling tiny brute;
    But she (the mouse) with tearful eye,
    Implored the lion's clemency,
    Who thought it best at last to give
    His little prisoner a reprieve.

    'Twas nearly twelve months after this,
    The lion chanced his way to miss;
    When pressing forward, heedless yet,
    He got entangled in a net.
    With dreadful rage, he stamped and tore,
    And straight commenced a lordly roar;
    When the poor mouse, who heard the noise,
    Attended, for she knew his voice.
    Then what the lion's utmost strength
    Could not effect, she did at length;
    With patient labor she applied
    Her teeth, the network to divide;
    And so at last forth issued he,
    A lion, by a mouse set free.

    Few are so small or weak, I guess,
    But may assist us in distress,
    Nor shall we ever, if we're wise,
    The meanest, or the least despise.

  2. The City Mouse and the Garden Mouse

    by Christina Georgina Rossetti

    The city mouse lives in a house;—
    The garden mouse lives in a bower,
    He's friendly with the frogs and toads,
    And sees the pretty plants in flower.

    The city mouse eats bread and cheese;—
    The garden mouse eats what he can;
    We will not grudge him seeds and stocks,
    Poor little timid furry man.

  3. Three Little Mice

    by Julia C. R. Dorr

    I will tell you the story of three little mice,
    If you will keep still and listen to me,
    Who live in a cage that is cozy and nice,
    And are just as cunning as cunning can be.
    They look very wise, with their pretty red eyes,
    That seem just exactly like little round beads;
    They are white as the snow, and stand up in a row
    Whenever we do not attend to their needs;—

    Stand up in a row in a comical way,—
    Now folding their forepaws as if saying, "please;"
    Now rattling the lattice, as much as to say,
    "We shall not stay here without more bread and cheese,"
    They are not at all shy, as you'll find, if you try
    To make them run up in their chamber to bed;
    If they do n't want to go, why, they won't go—ah! no,
    Though you tap with your finger each queer little head.

    One day as I stood by the side of the cage,
    Through the bars there protruded a funny, round tail;
    Just for mischief I caught it, and soon; in a rage,
    Its owner set up a most pitiful wail.
    He looked in dismay,—there was something to pay,—
    But what was the matter he could not make out;
    What was holding him so, when he wanted to go
    To see what his brothers upstairs were about?

    But soon from the chamber the others rushed down,
    Impatient to learn what the trouble might be;
    I have not a doubt that each brow wore a frown,
    Only frowns on their brows are not easy to see.
    For a moment they gazed, perplexed and amazed;
    Then began both together to—gnaw off the tail!
    So, quick I released him,—do you think that it pleased him?
    And up the small staircase they fled like a gale.

  4. A Pleasant Ship

    by Emilie Poulsson

    I saw a ship a-sailing,
    A-sailing on the sea,
    And oh! it was all laden
    With pretty things for thee!

    There were comfits in the cabin,
    And apples in the hold;
    The sails were made of silk,
    And the masts were made of gold.

    The four-and-twenty sailors
    That stood between the decks
    Were four-and-twenty white mice,
    With chains about their necks.

    The captain was a duck,
    With a packet on his back,
    And when the ship began to move,
    The captain said "Quack! Quack!"

  5. Three Blind Mice

    by Anonymous

    Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
    See how they run. See how they run.
    They all ran after the farmer's wife,
    Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
    Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
    As three blind mice?

  6. Hickory Dickory Dock

    by Anonymous

    Hickory, dickory, dock,
    The mouse ran up the clock;
    The clock struck one,
    The mouse ran down,
    Hickory, dickory, dock.

  7. To a Mouse

    by Robert Burns. This farm poem was inspired by true events. The story goes that "To a Mouse" was written while the Scotch farmer and plowman poet Robert Burns was plowing a field. As one of Burns' editors wrote: "John Blane, who had acted as gaudsman to Burns, and who lived sixty years afterward, had a distinct recollection of the turning up of the mouse. Like a thoughtless youth as he was, he ran after the creature to kill it, but was checked and recalled by his master, who he observed became thereafter thoughtful and abstracted. Burns, who treated his servants with the familiarity of fellow-labourers, soon afterward read the poem to Blane."

    ON TURNING UP HER NEST WITH THE PLOW, 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!

  8. Rats

  9. The Rat

    by Emily Dickinson

    The rat is the concisest tenant.
    He pays no rent, —
    Repudiates the obligation,
    On schemes intent.

    Balking our wit
    To sound or circumvent,
    Hate cannot harm
    A foe so reticent.

    Neither decree
    Prohibits him,
    Lawful as
    Equilibrium.

  10. An Inconvenience

    by John B. Tabb

    To his cousin the Bat
    Squeaked the envious Rat,
    "How fine to be able to fly!"
    Tittered she, "Leather wings
    Are convenient things;
    But nothing to sit on have I."

  11. Shelter

    by C. S. Calverley

    By the wide lake’s margin I mark’d her lie—
    The wide, weird lake where the alders sigh—
    A young fair thing, with a shy, soft eye;
    And I deem’d that her thoughts had flown
    To her home, and her brethren, and sisters dear,
    As she lay there watching the dark, deep mere,
    All motionless, all alone.

    Then I heard a noise, as of men and boys,
    And a boisterous troop drew nigh.
    Whither now will retreat those fairy feet?
    Where hide till the storm pass by?
    One glance—the wild glance of a hunted thing—
    She cast behind her; she gave one spring;
    And there follow’d a splash and a broadening ring
    On the lake where the alders sigh.

    She had gone from the ken of ungentle men!
    Yet scarce did I mourn for that;
    For I knew she was safe in her own home then,
    And, the danger past, would appear again,
    For she was a water-rat.