the best-laid schemes

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 the time to celebrate the birth of Christ, not Robert Burns, but the best-laid schemes and all that.
The best-laid schemes of mice and men, as Robert Burns reminded us, often go awry.
But Mousie, thou art no alane In proving foresight may be vain The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
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'.
Or does he, like the poet Burns, concede that the best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agly?
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