The Tuesday Poem: Robert Burns

Tuesday night is Burns Night - beloved of Scots all over the globe.  I'm not a scotswoman, but my grandmother (on my mother's side) was half scottish and 'Gordon' is the family's middle name and we are, apparently entitled to wear the tartan.  I live in the north of England, just across the Solway Firth from where Robert Burns was born and brought up.  He started out as a farm labourer, self-educated, and he never had much money, so he has always been regarded as 'a people's poet'.   He was a passionate man (condemned  for his promiscuity by the Kirk)  who loved women and there were quite a few Burns babies - though few of them survived into adulthood.  He died too early, at the age of 37.    I love this poem, which was probably the last poem he wrote, as he lay on his deathbed.  He wrote it for the young woman who was looking after him.  If you'd like to hear it read in a beautiful Ayrshire accent, this is the link to follow.

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 of the globe,
Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my crown
Wad be my queen, wad be my queen.

[bield - shelter]

If you would like to read more Tuesday Poems please follow this link to


  1. What a lovely and very sad Burns poem--I didn't know this one. Thank you for posting it. Ah, all the losses to poetry by the wicked Consumption or Bright's Disease or miasmas of fevers.


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