On Jessy Lewars


Talk not to me of savages From Afric's burning sun, No savage e'er can rend my heart As, Jessy, thou hast done. But Jessy's lovely hand in mine, A Mutual faith to plight, Not even to view the heavenly choir Would be so blest a sight. Fill me with the rosy wine, Call a toast - a toast divine; Give the Poet's darling flame, Lovely Jessy be the name; Then thou mayest freely boast, Thou hast given a peerless toast. Say, sages, what's the charm on earth Can turn Death's dart aside? It is not purity and worth, Else Jessy had not died. But rarely seen since Nature's birth, The natives of the sky; Yet still one seraph's left on earth, For Jessy did not die.

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John Bett

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1796 and is read here by John Bett.

Themes for this poem

death woman friendship

Selected for 29 June

The sequence of poems for the young neighbour who nursed the poet as his life drew to a close concludes. Today we present, as one continuous lyric, more (short) stanzas in praise of Jessie Lewars, the Dumfries girl who cared for Robert Burns at the end of June and into July 1796 when he finally succumbed to heart disease and exhaustion.

Donny O'Rourke

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