4 February 2019
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’.
Robert Burns has chosen to use some wintry imagery in this love poem. For the cold wintry weather forms the perfect foil to illuminate the warmth of love and the contrast between death and intimations of new life.
And so the poet offers his sweetheart room under his plaidie and a shelter from the wintry storm not built with wood and stone but simply his bosom where she may rest her head through the worst of winter’s cauld blasts!
His little poem brings these striking images together – the barrenness of winter and the fruitfulness of love, the shelter built with physical materials and the protection which love can afford in a warm embrace.