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 ?
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".
It's the time to celebrate the birth of Christ, not Robert Burns, but the best-laid schemes and all that.
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'.