The best laid schemes of mice and men

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The best laid schemes of mice and men : Phrases


The most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.


From Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse's nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

The poem is of course the source for the title of John Steinbeck's 1936 novel - Of Mice and Men.

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