Red Rose Red Rose is a poem written by Robert Burns, during 1796, the year of his death. The poem consists of four stanzas; each one four lines long. The first stanza has an exact rhyme at the end of the second and fourth lines — June and tune. The repetition of “O, my luve” in the first stanza conjures up the idea that his love is different from other men. His woman is so special to him that she reminds him of a red, red rose, not just a “plain” red rose.
He uses two different similes for his love — the rose and the melody, and “that’s newly” and “that’s sweetly” describing those similes. She is so young and fair that he compares her to the first rose of the season in its’ purity and youth. His love is so sweet that she reminds him of a soothing melody played in tune. I immediately feel that he has known no other love like this. O, my luve is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June.
O, my luve is like the melodie, That’s sweetly played in tune. The second stanza has a perfect rhyme at the end of the second and fourth lines — “I” and “dry.” In this stanza, the narrator reminds her and us that his love is undying no matter what happens around him. His reference to bonnie and seas makes me think of a childhood song’s lyrics, “..my bonnie lies over the ocean, my bonnie lies over the sea..” As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I, And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry. The third stanza has an exact rhyme at the end of the second and fourth lines — “sun” and “run.” He repeats the endearment “my dear” at the end of the first and third lines to emphasize his affection for her. He also rhymes within the stanza using till, will, and still, creating a pleasant sounding stanza.
Included with these words is “shall” which doesn’t rhyme but whose appearance is similar with the double consonant “L.” He clearly states that he will be in love with her until certain occurrences happen in nature — “seas go dry” and “rocks melt with the sun” which feasibly can never happen. In other words, his love for her will last forever. Even though time goes by like the sand in an hourglass, age will not hinder his undying love for her. Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun! And I will luve thee still, my dear, While the sands o’ life shall run. The fourth and final stanza of the poem has an exact rhyme at the end of the second and fourth lines — “awhile” and “mile.” We also find Burns repeating “luve” on the first and third lines, as well as beginning the first, second, and third lines with “and” and continuing the first and third with “fare thee weel” as if his persistence will make all the difference in the outcome of their lives. He tells his love that he will come back to be with her again even if he finds himself as far away as ten thousand miles.
He assures her that she is his only love no matter how long he is away from her side. He wishes her well-being and hopes that she remains healthy awhile for it seems he will be gone from her for some time. And fare thee weel, my only luve, And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my luve, Though it were ten thousand mile! The narrator appears to be a sailor expressing his admiration of a woman to his reader during the first stanza. In the following three stanzas, he addresses his words of devotion directly to her. His dramatic monologue clearly states his love of this woman and everything about her.
Burn’s use of nature in his descriptions of this woman and his narrator’s adoration for her bring vivid scenes or ideas to mind. His use of imagery is not always exactly what he wants us to observe, but rather the feeling it derives.