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!
Those are the concluding stanzas of the Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse” written around 1785 CE. The poem is addressed to the mouse, “an earth-bound companion and fellow mortal,” whose nest the farmer had just inadvertently destroyed while plowing his field.
My best laid plan of visiting California for a few weeks has gone awry with the consequences that Burns noted. C’est la vie, as the French would say upon reading the Scottish poem.