Robert Burns, 1759-1796 was considered to be a leader of the Romantic Movement. He was also a patriot (Scots Wha Hae) and a social commentator, (A Man's A Man For A' That). He had a love for all creatures and wrote To a Mouse after disturbing a mouse nest in a field as
he was ploughing and felt chagrin at disturbing the nest. He was certainly a romantic soul and loved the lasses but seemed to have had a little difficulty with monogamy. That he loved his wife Jean seems certain; that
he loved her only, wildly improbable, considering his widespread paternity
Jean Armour was born in 1765 to a stonemason. In 1785 Jean and Robert began a relationship and soon she announced she was pregnant.
Robbie intended to marry Jean, admitting paternity and signing an informal
marriage agreement. Jean's father was said to have fainted at the news and tore up the marriage agreement, sending Jean away to live with relatives. Scottish law was a little different at this time and it's possible the signed agreement already made them husband and wife, torn up or not.
Anyhow, Robert considered Jean's moving away and allowing the agreement to be torn up as a desertion on her part. He had also been involved with Mary Campbell during this period, and was thinking about running away to Jamaica with her. However Mary died after nursing her brother through typhus, which she then contracted.
Burns now declared himself single again but Jean's father issued a warrant against him for paternity and Robert went into hiding.
Jean returned home and she and Robert saw each other on at least one occasion, enough for her to become pregnant again. This time her parents threw her out. Robert returned from hiding to find Jean pregnant and destitute and looked after her while she bore him another set of twins.
They decided again to get married, this time with Jean's father's approval since Burns was now gaining a reputation for his work. They were married officially in August 1788, although they had probably been legally
married all along. His poem "I Love My Jean" was written just after their marriage. Many more of his romantic poems were written for her.
From here on they appear to have had a happy marriage living together until Robbie's death in 1796. They had nine children together, the last one born on the day of Robbie's funeral. Only three survived them.
Jean outlived Robert by 38 years, and never remarried.