the best-laid schemes

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the best-laid schemes

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the line, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" (go astray), from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which itself is a play on the proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid schemes and all that. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid schemes, I suppose."
See also: scheme
References in periodicals archive ?
IT'S AN UNCONTESTABLE FACT THAT THE BEST-LAID schemes of mice and men "gang aft agley," as Robert Burns would have it--or "often go awry," as it's generally translated into English.
Rangers striker Kenny Miller walked through the front door on Saturday night, checked the Barcelona result against Deportivo La Coruna and knew the best-laid schemes don't always go to plan.
Many more of us have read our Robbie Burns and know full well that "the best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley".
mouse grounding a powerful jet aircraft brought to mind the wisdom of Robert Burns's poem To A Mouse: "The best-laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, for promis'd joy
The best-laid schemes of mice and men, as Robert Burns reminded us, often go awry.
Robbie Burns would have done well to have rewritten his famous line: "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley" replacing it with the best-laid plans of mice and pregnant women.
But Mousie, thou art no alane In proving foresight may be vain The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, 'Gang aft agley, 'An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 'For promis'd joy
But if odds-on winners can end up last and long-time losers romp home first, perhaps the runaway favourite in the race to be SNP leader is worriedly reflecting that it's not just the best-laid schemes of horses and bookies that can 'gang aft agley'.
It's the time to celebrate the birth of Christ, not Robert Burns, but the best-laid schemes and all that.