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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Angel To Robert Burns

Jessie Lewars was the last of the fair sex to be immortalised by Robert Burns. This young lady was the sister of John Lewars, the poet's friend and fellow exciseman at Dumfries. During the poet's brief and fatal illness, Jessie Lewars acted the part of a ministering angel in the Burns' household and Burns seemed to imagine himself as the lover of his wife's kind-hearted young friend. The tender and beautiful lyric of "O wert thou in the cauld blast" was one of various tributes to young Jessie. According to the lady's own statement, Burns called upon her one morning and said if she would play him any favourite air for which she might wish new words, he would endeavour to produce something that should please her. She sat down to the piano, and played the air of the old ditty, already familiar to him by his wife's singing and, after a few minutes' abstraction, he produced the song - "O wert thou in the cauld blast". The last four lines of this song must surely be the finest words of love ever written:

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.

Jessie Lewars became a Mrs. Thomson and died in 1855. Her remains, appropriately, lie quite close to the poet's Mausoleum in St. Michael's Kirkyaird, Dumfries.

Biography of Robert Burns. Burns Supper. Robert Burns Books. Robert Burns Songs. Free Robert Burns Books. Robert Burns Tours of Scotland.

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