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O WERT THOU IN THE CAULD BLAST
Robert Burns


O wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee;
Or did Misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.

Or were I in the wildest waste,
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a Paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there;
Or were I Monarch o' the globe,
Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my Crown
Wad be my Queen, wad be my Queen.

Footnote : Our National Bard wrote this beautiful song in thanks to Jessie/Jessy Lewars for her help as he approached death in 1796. In 'Who's Who in Burns' by John D Ross (Eneas Mackay, Stirling 1927) the following information is given on Jessie Lewars :-
 

                                           THOMSON, MRS. JAMES. JESSY LEWARS 
 
Born 1778; died 26th May, 1855. Daughter of John Lewars, supervisor of Excise for Dumfries and sister to the brother exciseman of the poet, John Lewars. She resided with her brother in Dumfries, and was a very intimate friend of the Burns family. As is well known, the poet was rarely able to leave his room from April, 1796, and at this trying period Jessy rendered invaluable services in helping Mrs. Burns in her own gentle way to soothe and to cheer the poet in his despairing moments. Two lyrics from the poet's pen, "Here's a health to ane I loe dear" and "O wert thou in the cauld blast" have rendered her name immortal. Jessy was married on 3rd of June, 1799, to James Thomson, a well known writer of Dumfries. She died 26th May 1855, and was buried quite close to the poet's mausoleum.
 
[ Incidently the Who's Who was dedicated to Dr George Fraser Black of the New York Public Library, a devoted student of Robert Burns, and of the history, literature and antiquities of Scotland,]
 
My thanks to Flag visitor Dennis Roddy for reminding me of this byornar song, which I am delighted to include in this further mini-series of Burns' songs as we approach his birth-date on 25 January.

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