Bessy and her Spinning Wheel

O Leeze me on my spinnin-wheel, And leeze me on my rock and reel; Frae tap to tae that cleeds me bien, And haps me fiel and warm at e'en! I'll set me down and sing and spin, While laigh descends the simmer sun, Blest wi' content, and milk and meal, O leeze me on my spinnin' wheel. On ilka hand the burnies trot, And meet below my theekit cot; The scented birk and hawthorn white Across the pool their arms unite, Alike to screen the birdie's nest, And little fishes' callor rest: The sun blinks kindly in the biel' Where, blythe I turn my spinnin' wheel. On lofty aiks the cushats wail, And Echo cons the doolfu' tale; The lintwhites in the hazel braes, Delighted, rival ithers lays: The craik amang the claver hay, The pairtrick whirring o'er the ley, The swallow jinkin' round my shiel , Amuse me at my spinnin' wheel. Wi' sma' to sell, and less to buy, Aboon distress, below envy, O wha wad leave this humble state, For a' the pride of a' the Great? Amid their flairing, idle toys, Amid their cumbrous, dinsome joys, Can they the peace and pleasure feel Of Bessy at her spinnin' wheel!


Crawford Logan

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1792 and is read here by Crawford Logan.

More about this song

This pastoral is set to the tune of ‘Sweet’s the lass that loves me’, and was originally found in Original Scotch Tunes, published in 1700.

It was thought that the song might be linked to ‘The Loving Lass and Spinning-wheel’, which appeared in The Tea-Table Miscellany, however James Kinsley in his extensive study of the poems and songs of Robert Burns has dismissed this connection.

The heroine Bessy, refers to Elizabeth Burgess of Watcarrick.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this song

work nature life woman

Selected for 12 June

The spinning wheel (and the young woman behind it) has fascinated poets from classical antiquity through Goethe, to the composers of Irish ballads, to Burns. For rock 'n' roll, popular song enthusiasts would have to wait another couple of centuries. But here we have 'rock 'n' reel'! In Scots!

Donny O'Rourke

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